Petition Closed

Petition to save the Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney from forced closure by the Federal Government

This petition had 5,655 supporters

The Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney (AMSWS), which has been operating since August 1987 as an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service based in Mt Druitt, is being forced to shut down operations after the Federal Government decided to stop its funding from the start of the next financial year, starting on Wednesday 1st July. The decision to cease all Federal funding effectively means that the services will have to wind down, and will leave many thousands of community members without access to essential services.

AMSWS services the largest urban Aboriginal population in Australia, and has over 11,000 active patients from greater Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, servicing Aboriginal people from nine Local Governments Areas of:- Blacktown, Penrith, Parramatta, Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains, Fairfield, Holroyd, Auburn, Baulkham Hills.

AMSWS has been chronically underfunded for many years and have been operating on much smaller operational grants compared with other urban Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, who receive operational grants 3-4 times that of AMSWS, servicing significantly smaller populations.

AMSWS provides a “one-stop shop” for community members that access a large variety of expert staff and specialist services, mental health, and social services, in addition to the GP services. This means that many of AMSWS’ patients will not be able to access the variety of services they require.

This decision, in effect, risks the lives of many chronically ill patients, and will further hold dire consequences to the health and wellbeing of many other community members. Furthermore, it will lead to a loss of jobs of 96 staff members, most of whom are Aboriginal people, and who have provided a monumental service to the community. According to the spokesperson for the Department of Health, the decision comes due to significant debts of the organisation. However, the spokesperson failed to mention that the debts have increased several times over while AMSWS was under financial administration by a government-appointed administrator from the start of 2015.

We the undersigned hereby protest the forced closure of the Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney (AMSWS) by the Federal Government.

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