Funding Boost

Aboriginal Health centre to receive $200,000 in annual funding, Marshall announces.

(Author: Steve Green. First appeared in Inverell Times on the 11th July 2016)

RECURRENT funding for Armajun Aboriginal Health Services worth $200,000 per annum was announced by the Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall at the NAIDOC Awards ceremony held in Victoria Park on Friday, July 8.

“This is the first time the state government has provided funding to Armajun,” Mr Marshall said.

“It will be used for the work that it does around chronic diseases, around not only health care, but also prevention around encouragement of healthy living, exercising, all of that.

“And not only in Inverell, but in all the other centres that Armajun services as well; Armidale, Tenterfield and everywhere in between and out west as well.”

Mr Marshall said chronic diseases were the largest contributors to the mortality rates of Aboriginal people and that life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Jason Sharpley described himself as a Kamilaroi boy from Moree, said he used the Armajun service as much as he could and welcomed the funding.

“Armajun needs more assistance with more people using the health system,” he said.

“We need more health outlets to close the gap. Aboriginal people have got chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. 

“It’s good to go to Armajun because they give you a full assessment. And they talk about nutrition, like eating the right sort of products. A lot of Aboriginal people back in the day, like my mum and dad, didn’t get taught about fatty foods.”

Mr Sharpley said the biggest problem in Australia at the moment was alcohol and drug abuse now.

“Because we’ve the ice that’s taken over all the families. Most of the elder people in the community don’t understand why our kids are losing themselves mentally and physically,” he said.

“There’s still a lot to be done, but we can’t get it done unless all of us as Australians all come together as one, because we can all learn off each other.”

Armajun chief executive officer Deb McCowen said wile the funding was unexpected it was great news.

“We were actually one of seven Aboriginal Medical Services across NSW to receive the funding and none of us had previously received any funding from NSW Health,” she said.

“While it’s not a great deal of funding in the overall scheme of things, it will allow us to employ a social and emotional mental health worker, which we haven’t had the capacity to do in the past.

“It will allow us to run some smoking cessation programs and allow us to engage a physiologist to help people with their diet and their weight.