Unions pledge to upgrade dilapidated Indigenous health clinic

A ‘hazardous’ and moldy building owned by SA Health used by an Indigenous health service in Ceduna will receive a $13 million upgrade if Labor wins the next federal election, an SA senator has promised, ending a bureaucratic deadlock over funding.

The SA Labor Party has also pledged an additional $2.5 million to support the construction of a new clinic for Yadu Health Aboriginal Corporation in Ceduna.

When asked today if he would match the state Labor Party’s funding pledge, Prime Minister Steven Marshall said the opposition ‘was spending money they didn’t have “.

“Taxpayers in South Australia should be extremely concerned,” he said.

InDaily Yadu Health executives raised concerns last year that the 50-year-old building was a “ticking time bomb” and an “imminent accident”.

The non-profit Indigenous community-controlled health service says between 30 and 40 per cent of the building it operates from free of charge is deemed “unsafe” due to water damage, asbestos and mould.

But despite repeated appeals to state and federal governments, the health organization has been unable to secure funds to upgrade its facilities.

South Australian Labor Senator Marielle Smith was in Ceduna this morning to announce a pledge of $13.35 million to upgrade the Yadu Health Clinic if her party wins the next federal election.

She said calls for the building to be upgraded had fallen on “deaf ears” and Yadu Health staff, volunteers and patients deserved a safe clinic that was responsive to their needs.

“Infrastructure issues at Yadu Health have been political football for too long,” she said.

“This funding commitment shows that Labor takes seriously the need to deliver Closing the Gap and for South Australian Aboriginal communities.”

Inside the Yadu Health building last year before repairs. The department says it constantly needs to fix mold and water damage in the building. Photo: Supplied

In August, the federal government pledged to spend $254.4 million on Indigenous health infrastructure upgrades through its Closing the Gap program, but it has yet to provide a tranche of that funding. at Yadu Health.

In response to questions from InDaily Last month, a spokesperson for the Federal Department of Health said the government was “aware that many Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) across the country have deteriorated or limited health infrastructure”.

“That’s why the government is investing $254.4 million over four years, from 2021-22 to 2024-25, to strengthen the sector,” they said.

The department said Yadu Health was also eligible to apply for funding under a new grant program that opened last month.

“The grant opportunity was co-designed with the National Indigenous Community-Controlled Health Organization (NACCHO) on behalf of the ACCHS sector, in line with priority reforms under Closing the Gap,” said a spokesperson.

“All applications will be assessed through a transparent and competitive process to identify where funding is most needed.

Cracked walls inside the Yadu Health building last year. Photo: Supplied

SA Health has already said InDaily that he supported Yadu Health’s quest to build a new clinic with Commonwealth Government funding.

He said an investigation found that the current Yadu Health building was safe to occupy and there were no serious health risks.

But SA Labor indigenous affairs spokesman Kyam Maher said the situation at Yadu Health “gave indigenous people the feeling that their health was not valued”.

SA Labor has pledged $2.5 million to support the construction of accommodation for additional health services, including dental and other related health care, at Yadu Health.

“The Yadu Health building is no longer suitable for any use except the scrap heap,” Maher said.

“Indigenous peoples face some of the highest levels of disadvantage and poorest health outcomes in Australia – this historic (Labour) investment is an important step in closing the gap.”

Yadu Health supports about 3,000 of the 5,000 people living in the western part of the state and is visited by specialist doctors about 1,300 times a year.

The organization says it is one of the largest employers of Indigenous people in Ceduna, with around 70 field workers supporting the approximately 50 to 100 people who pass through the building on average a day.

It also runs outreach clinics in Koonibba and Scotdesco in the west of the state.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has yet to announce the date for the federal election, but the latest possible date is May 21.

Local news matters

Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it, and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.

Donate today

Powered by
Press Patron