Kidney action group launches in Alice Springs: Family,country,compassion and hope

Kidney Mob.jpg Low Res

Download press release,speeches and letters of support

Speakers Left to right: John Paterson (CEO AMSANT), Donna Ah Chee (CEO Central Australian Aboriginal Congress), Preston Thomas (Deputy Chair of Ngaanyatjarra Health / Director of Western Desert Dialysis), Sarah Brown (CEO Western Desert Dialysis), Andrea Mason (Coordinator, NPY Women’s Council)

FamilyCountry.   CompassionHope.

KAN Launch_NPY ladies

 These words, written onto a sea of purple balloons, were a poignant symbol of unity for almost 100 people who gathered in Alice Springs today to launch the Kidney Action Network.

 Those gathered yesterday – World Kidney Day – included representatives from Aboriginal health organisations, NGOs, health workers and renal patients and their families, many of whom have had to relocate into town to access the dialysis services they rely on to survive.

 John Paterson, CEO of Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT) said in his address that kidney disease affects Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory at greater rates than anywhere in Australia.

 “Its impact is felt most acutely in our remote communities, where the social and cultural structures and everyday wellbeing of our communities depends on the presence of our old people. We need them to be present as long as possible.”

 Mr Paterson called on the SA, WA and NT governments to work together with the Commonwealth and the community sector to “engage in proper planning and provide the extra services and infrastructure that are essential for a fair deal for remote area kidney patients.”

 “The Kidney Action Network has been established to put life at the front and centre of health policy here in the NT.”

 Bobby West, Chair of Western Desert Dialysis, also called on governments to work together on solutions for renal patients in the NT.

 “Instead of fighting each other, governments should be working together,” Mr West commented. “We just want to live longer.”

 Messages of support from Dr Mandawuy Yunupingu and Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner were read out.

 Most touching were the words spoken by renal patients themselves:

 “Every day I’m in two places. I’m here [in Alice Springs] for my family who are on renal but I’m also back home where my country and my family are. Families are worried for families. Governments should build something out on the lands so that everybody can be safe and healthy.”  Margaret Smith from Imanpa, NT

 “We are worrying for our families back home when we here [in Alice Springs] for renal. We cry because we lost our family here. We need something to help people to go back home and sit down with family. We been talking about this one for long time and we still talking. We are crying for our family. Lot of Aboriginal people they all got renal.” Janet Inyika from Amata, APY Lands, SA

 Also speaking at the launch was Donna Ah Chee, CEO of Central Australian Aboriginal Congress; Sarah Brown, CEO of Western Desert Dialysis; Andrea Mason, Coordinator of NPY Women’s Council; Preston Thomas, Deputy Chair of Ngaanyatjarra Health / Director of Western Desert Dialysis.

 The importance of tri-state planning – between Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia – was emphasized as one of the critical issue for the Network to lobby state and territory governments.

 Preston Thomas, in his address, summed it up very well:

 “Expecting people to seek renal treatment thousands of kilometres from home is not Closing the Gap.”

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Brown, CEO Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation
Mobile:  0488 685 610

Kidney Action Network Member Organisations

  • Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT)
  • Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation
  • NPY Women’s Council
  • Ngaanyatjarra Health
  • Miwatj
  • Waltja
  • WDNWPT (Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation – Western Desert Dialysis)
  • Central Land Council
  • Red Cross
  • Papunya Tula Artists
  • Uniting Communities
  • Poche Centre for Indigenous Health
  • Business Council of Australia
  • Baker IDI
  • Desert Knowledge Australia


NPY Women’s Council the 2012 Indigenous Governance Award for Outstanding example of Indigenous governance

Photo from the Koori Mail newspaper

NPY Women’s Council has received the 2012 Indigenous Governance Award in the category of Outstanding example of Indigenous governance in an Indigenous incorporated organisation. The Council won it ahead of four other finalists from across Australia, pleasingly two of the other finalists were from Central Australia.


“A record number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations applied this year, I heard there were over 100 applications so to have made the short list as a finalist was a great achievement in itself”, says Andrea Mason, Co-ordinator of NPY Women’s Council.

The Council’s Chairperson, Mrs Yanyi Bandicha met with the judging panel in August in Alice Springs, when they visited to hear further examples of the governance strengths of the Council.

“ The judges came prepared, the questions they asked were well thought through, they certainly knew a lot about what we do and we have achieved. I spent a lot of time with them, explaining how the members provide direction to the organisation and how they keep the organisation strong. They asked for examples of how we have made a difference in the lives of people from our region and we told them about how we spoke up about petrol sniffing and how we advocated for Opal fuel to be available in our region to reduce petrol sniffing especially in young people”.

“NPY Women’s Council is pleased to receive this Award because it gives public acknowledgment to the efforts the women have been doing for many years in our communities. This Award belongs to all members and staff, past and present”.

NPY Women’s Council was established in 1980 by the women of the Naanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands to give them a platform to speak out on issues of concern to them. In the early years the women advocated to protect sacred women’s site, for funding for art centres and they facilitated a trip to attend a national women’s consultative group where they raised the need for action to deal with domestic violence, alcohol abuse and petrol sniffing in their home communities.

Today NPY Women’s Council delivers a range of services including a domestic and family violence service, programs for youth, child and family wellbeing services, aged and disability services and advocacy, a cross border respite service and the award winning Ngangkari (traditional healers) project and Tjanpi Desert Weavers which is NPY Women’s Council social enterprise.

The range of services and projects at the Council demonstrates how the Council reflects the strength, creativity and resilience of its members in central desert communities” said the judges of the 2012 Award.