Yirrkala comes on board!

Board Member Djapirri Mununggurr outside the Yirrkala Clinic

Board Member Djapirri Mununggurr outside the Yirrkala Clinic

The people of Yirrkala community have a strong record of standing up for their rights – from the Bark Petition protesting the takeover of their traditional lands by a mining company in the 1960s, to the High Court case which granted Aboriginal people rights to sea country in 2008.

And now they have taken another big step forward, as management of their health care changes from the NT Government to a community-controlled organisation, Miwatj Health.

Resident of Yirrkala and member of the Board of Miwatj (and signatory to the original Bark Petition), Wali Wunungmurra, expressed his delight at the change. ‘We’ve been talking about, and requesting this, for many years’, he said. ‘It’s been too much talk and not enough action, but at last we’re there.’

Miwatj Health is working with the staff at Yirrkala health centre in a ‘systems approach’ to health care. ‘We have to balance the need to provide acute care with the need to implement a longer-term preventive approach’, said Dr Angela Woltmann, the Medical Director at Miwatj. ‘But we’re optimistic about the way we’re going, and look forward to getting to really know this community and its needs.’

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