Community Affairs 25 February 2011
Senator SIEWERT—I understand that there has been, variously, a number of consultants that have been engaged for or by Ilpurla to look at its operations and help its operations; is that correct? Could you tell me how much? The reason I am asking this is because I understand that they have a very heavy workload. They have a 20-bed residential facility. Have you done an analysis of what its funding should be compared to the services that are provided by others?
Mr Fisk—Yes, there have been number of analyses trying to determine the level of funding required for Ilpurla. If I go back a little way, Ilpurla have suffered a number of difficulties, primarily as a result of their lack of business management skills. That is where we have been trying to give them a lot of assistance. The service model that they have got, certainly anecdotally, is an extremely good one; a lot of good cases have come out of there. It has really been very difficult for the Abbott family to be able to manage the funds and get the level of funding that they require. One of the things that we have been looking at is whether the services really require not just Commonwealth funding but funding from the NT in particular. We have been encouraging them to access additional funds. We are still assessing the level of funding for the organisation. We have had recent reports provided to us. There will be an increase in the level of funding for the organisation, I believe, to enable them to deliver the services that they require. The final decision on that level of funding would not be too far away.
Senator SIEWERT—Do you mean it is too far away for the next financial year?
Mr Fisk—It would be for the next financial year.
Senator SIEWERT—Could you take on notice the increase in the level of funding? My understanding is they also support Aboriginal patients from Western Australia as well, not just Northern Territory; is that correct?
Mr Fisk—Barry Abbott is willing to take clients from just about anywhere where he feels that he can assist. He is a very welcoming man and is trying to do the very best that he can for the youth who are suffering from the afflictions that they have. He finds it very difficult to say no. He should not be saying no, but he finds it a difficult thing to follow up and get the level of funding from the different areas that he should. That is where we have been trying to encourage him. We have actually recently funded a business manager to work with the organisation to ensure that they get all the levels of funding from the different areas, including NT, from the magistrates funds and also from Centrelink.
Senator SIEWERT—I am just pre-empting the issue that we have been dealing with over dialysis and the Northern Territory government not wanting to fund services. You will be fully aware of the episode where people were banned from going over the border from Western Australia. I am wondering if that is an issue that is going to come up again and whether there has been an approach to the Western Australia government as well, given that there are Western Australians that use the service as well.
Mr Fisk—As I say, a business manager has been engaged and has tried to source funds from wherever those clients come from to assist in the funding to enable them to get the services they require.
Senator SIEWERT—I just did not want to see another dialysis episode coming down the road. Mr Fisk—No. Senator SIEWERT—Thank you for giving me that information, it is much appreciated.