Joint Media Release with Minister for Indigenous Health The Hon Ken Wyatt MP and Country Liberals Candidate for Lingiari Jacinta Price
The Turnbull Government is the major funding partner in a new $7.9 million project, the Hearing for Learning Initiative, to be delivered by Charles Darwin University and jointly funded by the Balnaves Foundation and the Territory government.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, said he was delighted to see this critical investment by the Federal CLP being made in the Territory.
“I congratulate Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt for supporting this wonderful new initiative and for ensuring the funds needed to make this project a reality.
“These are the type of life changing investments we can make to improve the health and wellbeing of Territory children because the Turnbull Government has managed the budget and the economy so effectively,” Minister Scullion said.
Country Liberals Candidate for Lingiari, Jacinta Price, said ninety per cent of Aboriginal children under the age of three in the Territory suffer from an ear disease which can lead to hearing loss and ultimately hold these children back from learning and realising their full potential.
“These services are critical to addressing the entrenched disadvantage too many Indigenous children face.
“The funding I am announcing today will ensure local community members are upskilled and trained to support the delivery of diagnostic and treatment services which will reduce the reliance on fly-in, fly-out specialists and reduce waiting times to receive essential treatments.
“I am particularly proud that this service will not only build capacity in Indigenous communities but that it will be led by Australia’s first Indigenous Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist Dr Kelvin Kong,” Ms Price said today.
Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM said, “This is an exciting new opportunity to remove the preventable blight of hearing loss from current and future generations.
“These local ear health warriors will integrate with existing primary care services, strengthening the work of health professionals to combat ear disease.
“Lifting the capacity of local families to recognise, report and treat ear problems early promises to help our children reach their full potential.”
Professor Alan Cass Director Menzies School of Health Research, said “Hearing is essential for strong early childhood development and chronic hearing problems in children cause education difficulties leading to entrenched disadvantage.
“The Hearing for Learning Initiative is a ground-breaking 5-year investment combining public and private funding to solve this serious health and education problem.”
Neil Balnaves AO, Founder, The Balnaves Foundation and Chancellor, Charles Darwin University, said “When we learned about the chronic nature of ear disease in children living in remote communities in the Northern Territory, we could not ignore the fact that this likely leads to profound disadvantage in health, education and employment outcomes.
“We believe more must be done and the next step is to support the community to deliver a solution.
“Philanthropy plays a unique role in recognising and piloting new approaches, however, it requires partnership with government to deliver these approaches at scale.”