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Wednesday, 23 September 1936

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) .- I listened with interest .to what the Minister had to say, because I wished to ascertain whether provision had been made for a hospital at Alice Springs.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The amount of £26,000 is provided for hospital, appurtenances and equipment.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - Out of the £68,000?


Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - I am glad to hear that. Instead of criticizing, 1 congratulate the Government. This is a belated move, but I am pleased to learn that at last the work is to be put in hand. When in Alice Springs a few weeks ago, I found that the hospital provision is entirely inadequate. The building is the hostel of the Australian Inland Mission, which permitted it to be used for its present purpose. Its dimensions are small, there is no permanent doctor, and no adequate surgery. The present population of Alice Springs is something like 300 or 400 persons, compared with a previous population of 30 persons. The whole of the arrangements are sadly deficient. There is a doctor in Alice Springs, but he has no control over the hospital, which one can understand is not convenient from his view-point. One can also understand that the nurses are rot anxious to be under the control of a medical man who has no real authority over them. I could see at a glance, and my impressions were strengthened by what I heard, that the provision of adequate hospital arrangements is of very great importance to Alice Springs. I have reason for saying that the Australian Inland Mission is only too anxious for the Government to build a hospital so that the hostel may be devoted to the purpose for- which it was intended. The thanks of the community are due to the mission for having provided a stopgap during the years when the Government had not a hospital. The intention to erect one and thus fill a longfelt want will be a matter for gratification over a very wide area.

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