Mildura Weekly : Friday March 18 Vol 10 No 19
NEWS 25 FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2016 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU AN initiative to increase the number of indigenous people employed at Mildura Base Hos- pital (MBH) is close to reaching its first target goal. The hospital developed its first Aboriginal Employment Plan in 2012 which included increasing the percentage of in- digenous staff to one percent by 2017. MBH currently employs 600 staff, five of whom are indige- nous which means six employees are required to reach the one per- cent target by the end of the year. Project Officer of the Plan, Melissa Badenoch, has been overseeing its progress since November, and spoke of the im- portance of making the hospital more accessible for the indig- enous community. “MBH has the highest num- ber of Aboriginal patients pre- senting in Victoria, so our Ab- original Health Unit provides a key role in making sure that people’s needs are met and that care is culturally appropriate,” Ms Badenoch said. “The theory behind the plan is if more indigenous people are working in health care services, more indigenous patients are go- ing to present, which will help to close the gap.” Ms Badenoch said the chal- lenge in increasing indigenous employment at the hospital is finding positions that are cultur- ally and skill set appropriate. “We have been discussing and identifying what positions would be suitable but the simple fact is because the system is a bed to patient ratio, we can’t just cre- ate jobs,” she said. However Ms Badenoch be- lieves the key to increasing the number of indigenous employ- ees in health care services is to encourage students to take an interest in a career in health at an early age. “One of the programs I’m try- ingtosetupistogotoschool career days and get the kids inter- ested at that stage, I really want to encourage indigenous stu- dents to lead their career path in health care, because the benefits are fantastic,” she said. MBH director of mental health, Belinda Pavilach, said she would like to see the hospi- tal extend the plan from this year and increase indigenous employ- ment consistently in the future. “We are really keen to in- crease the capacity for Aboriginal people to be in the workplace, we want to have those pathways available for them, and once they are in the industry, how we sup- port them to stay in the indus- try,” Ms Pavilach said. As for where MBH’s Plan sits in comparison to other plans in the State, Ms Badenoch said Mil- dura is well ahead of other proj- ect areas, including some metro- politan health services. “We are currently on track, compared to the other employ- ment officers in other plans statewide that aren’t even at 50 percent of the one percent target, I’ve only been in the role since November and we are one em- ployee away from reaching our target,” she said. “We still have a long way to go, but we are working towards it, and everyone has been very supportive.” Indigenous jobs push at hospital • Melissa Badenoch and Belinda Pavilach. FEDERAL Member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, has called on parents across the Far West, including those in the Went- worth Shire, to join a national push to have their children immunised against preventable diseases. Ms Ley said families currently re- ceiving the Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate have until today to make sure their child’s immunisations are on track to ensure they don’t miss out on child care payments under the ‘No Jab No Pay’ policy. “I am delighted that in Broken Hill and across the Far West an incredible 98.53 percent of children have already been immunised,” she said. “This is one of the highest immunisation rates in Australia – but there is always work we can do. “Across the country there has been a sharp rise in the number of children being immunised against preventable diseases, and in New South Wales there are about 92 percent of children who have been immunised. “The Federal Government is aim- ing to increase the national immunisa- tion rate to at least 95 percent to en- sure Australia has ‘herd immunity’ for diseases like measles, whooping cough and chicken pox. “Babies under six months are at the greatest risk of severe whooping cough disease and death. “High vaccination rates help to protect our most vulnerable, including young babies and those unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons. Parents who do not intend to vacci- nate their child can ask the Department of Human Services to stop their child care subsidies straight away to avoid in- curring a debt. For more information about the changes to immunisation require- ments log onto www.humanservices. gov.au/immunisation. Parents urged to have their kids ‘join up for the jab’ Do you have Environmental Matters? 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Friday March 11 Vol 10 No 18
Friday March 25 Vol 10 No 20