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Renal Services

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia—Australian Greens Whip) (12:31):  I move:

That the Senate—
(a) notes:
(i) the importance of local, grass roots delivery of renal services in central Australia for closing the gap in Aboriginal health outcomes,
(ii) the vital work of Western Desert Dialysis in improving the quality of life for people with end stage renal failure and supporting other renal services in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia, and
(iii) that the Government will cease funding Western Desert Dialysis as of December 2011, despite its success as a recipient of Commonwealth funding;
(b) draws attention to the previous motion supported by the Senate on 7 July 2011, which acknowledged the serious nature of kidney health problems for Aboriginal people in central Australia and called on the Government to show leadership and dedicate resources to implement the Central Australian Renal Services Action Plan; and
(c) calls on the Government to:
(i) take leadership on renal issues in central Australia,
(ii) implement the Central Australian Renal Services Action Plan, and
(iii) continue to fund Western Desert Dialysis, through the provision of a 3 year agreement.

Senator LUDWIG (Queensland—Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery) (12:31):  by leave—Senator Siewert's motion, as I understand it, claims that the Australian government intends to stop providing funding for Western Desert Dialysis, regarded as Purple House, which is untrue. The government has allocated $1.6 million annually to support the work it does in Alice Springs, Ntaria, Kintore and Yuendumu. Regardless of any future administrative arrangements, it is our objective to secure this annual funding into the future, and Western Desert Dialysis have been assured of this both verbally and in writing. More recently, the government approved funding of $2.3 million to support the delivery of nurse assisted dialysis to Lajamanu and Kalkarindji.
In addition, the government has allocated $147,000 to the end of May 2013 for Western Desert Dialysis to provide chronic disease management and health promotion. Furthermore, the government recently announced the allocation of $13 million for accommodation in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek to house renal dialysis patients and their families. The government remains committed to working on these issues, although treatment for renal patients is primarily a state and territory responsibility. On that basis, we do not support the motion. We think it is not factually correct.

Question agreed to.

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