Big miners provide $5m to Pilbara health

13/08/2009 - 11:59

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BHP Billiton, Chevron, Rio Tinto, Woodside Petroleum and the North West Shelf Venture will collectively provide more than $5 million towards the Pilbara's health services as part of a partnership with the government.

Big miners provide $5m to Pilbara health

BHP Billiton, Chevron, Rio Tinto, Woodside Petroleum and the North West Shelf Venture will collectively provide more than $5 million towards the Pilbara's health services as part of a partnership with the government.

Health Minister Kim Hames said today that the industry funds will be in addition to the state government's contribution of $32.9 million, to be taken from royalties for regions.

The $5.28 million industry funds will be spent over the next three years.

Dr Hames said funds will be used to strengthen the emergency transport services in the region and employ paramedics to support volunteer ambulance services in Karratha, Burrup Peninsula, Newman and Port Hedland.

 

 

The announcement is below:

 

 

A new partnership of the Liberal-National Government's Royalties for Regions initiative and major industries in the Pilbara would significantly boost funding for the region's health services.

Health Minister Kim Hames said that under the partnership arrangement, the State Government would contribute $32.964million from Royalties for Regions, topped up with $5.28million from industry over the next three years.

Industry would contribute through members of the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy's Pilbara Industry's Community Council (PICC) - BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Chevron Australia,
North West Shelf Venture, Rio Tinto and Woodside.

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the partnership would fund urgently needed services and equipment in the region, which had struggled to keep pace with population pressures and the needs of the growing community.

"We have seen the extraordinary resource sector development and associated rapid increase in population over the past decade significantly stretch demand for key services, particularly health services, in the Pilbara," Mr Grylls said.

"Health services in the region must also be able to respond to emergencies such as cyclones or serious accidents.

"This new partnership through Royalties for Regions and industry will make a major difference in meeting these needs."

Dr Hames said some of the money would be used to strengthen emergency transport services in the region and employ rural paramedics to support volunteer ambulance services in Karratha and the Burrup Peninsula, Newman and Port Hedland.

"In addition, an all-weather 24-hour helipad with remote-controlled lighting will be built at Karratha's Nickol Bay Hospital," he said.

"Advanced training programs will also be provided to staff to enhance the region's ability to respond to large-scale emergencies."

Dr Hames said money would also be provided for a CT Scanner at Nickol Bay Hospital, reducing the need for patients to travel to Perth and Port Hedland for diagnostic tests.

Vital signs emergency monitoring equipment would also be enhanced through electronic networking at Tom Price, Newman, Port Hedland, Nickol Bay and Onslow hospitals.

Emergency, surgical and paediatric specialists would be employed in the West Pilbara and a visiting ear nose and throat specialist service would be provided to Tom Price.

"A nurse practitioner will be employed at Newman Hospital to enhance primary care services, and additional Aboriginal Liaison Officers appointed to support Aboriginal patients attending emergency departments at the Newman and Port Hedland hospitals," Dr Hames said.

"Extra support to boost services would also be provided to sexual and family health workers in the region.

"A scholarship, training and employment program will be offered to encourage indigenous people in the Pilbara to take up a variety of roles within the health system."

Dr Hames said health planners would work together with communities at Tom Price and Newman to ensure health services were appropriate to meet the needs of the local population.

"Following my recent meeting with concerned Tom Price residents, I am pleased that some of this additional funding can be used to support initiatives discussed during my June visit," he said.

"Funding will also be provided for urgent works to be carried out to refurbish or upgrade hospitals at Newman, Tom Price and Paraburdoo, and to build extra staff accommodation at Newman."

Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Reg Howard-Smith said PICC industry members were working in collaboration with the State Government to ensure better access to health care services in the Pilbara.

"A partnership approach is vital in building the sustainable growth of the Pilbara as an attractive place to live, work and invest to the benefit of industry and the communities,"
Mr Howard-Smith said.

Dr Hames said the latest development was on top of significant funding already provided to support a range of health service initiatives in the Pilbara.

"We look forward to continuing to develop this partnership with PICC over the coming years," he said.

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