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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13368

Ms HALL (ShortlandGovernment Whip) (19:57): It gives me great pleasure to rise to speak on this very important motion that is before the House today. We all remember the trauma suffered by people on 12 October 10 years ago. At that time, I visited the Darwin hospital. I spoke to those wonderful, dedicated health professions who are involved in the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre at the hospital. I was overwhelmed by their dedication, by their sheer skills and expertise, and by their ability to react to a situation like they had following the Bali bombings. It is not only their skills but also their special, special personal attributes which make them able to do that kind of work.

The National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre is a key element of the Australian government's disaster and emergency medical response for both national and international incidents. It is located in a very special place in Australia, an area where there are no other health resources like those that are available at the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre. I congratulate the member for bringing this motion to the parliament so that we can acknowledge the fine work done by that centre. The centre ensures that there is enhanced surge capacity at the Royal Darwin Hospital, to provide a rapid response in the event of a mass casualty incident in the region.

I have been fortunate enough to visit that hospital to see the centre and to speak to those health professions who actually respond and run the centre. They provided us with a breakdown of the way the trauma centre operates. I know that members of this House really appreciate the work that they do. They inject $9.2 million a year to fund 58 medical nurses and allied health profession, NCCTRC positions. That body also gives funding to Darwin Hospital. They provide training and education to the trauma centre and there are significant investments to see trauma and disaster training given to clinicians from the Northern Territory and Australia. So it really has that very special role of being able to respond but, at the same time, to be able to train. It is a unit that is set up to respond to those one-off critical incidents that we do not expect to happen. It links into the training courses through AusMAT and it also has the ability to call in other personnel who have had the proper training. The trauma response centre responded to incidents in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and it has been involved in the second Bali bombing, East Timor unrest and many other incidents. It is an asset that has also been used to respond to other local disasters, including cyclones. It is a unit that provides leadership and has expertise does not exist anywhere else. It is a unit that has research potential that is then used in that leadership role to respond in times of disasters and critical incidents.

I congratulate the member for Solomon for bringing this to the parliament. I suspect it is in her electorate and it is an organisation she can be exceptionally proud of.