Health centre for Alyawarr nation seeks urgent support

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Selwyn Button, has today placed Ampilatwatja Health Centre Aboriginal Corporation (Ampilatwatja) under special administration.

Operating since 1995, Ampilatwatja provides health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Alyawarr nation, 320 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs. In the 2019–20 financial year, Ampilatwatja received $2 million in funding for comprehensive primary health care. With that it served around 900 clients in 6400 episodes of care.

On 28 March, a majority of the directors wrote to the Registrar requesting the urgent appointment of a special administrator. On 1 April, in response to the ‘show cause’ notice (which gives the corporation an opportunity to object to the appointment) the directors reaffirmed the need, explaining that disputes between the directors and senior management of the corporation were putting health services at risk. The directors advised they were unable to resolve the matters themselves and that the dysfunction was detracting from the corporation’s service to the community.

‘Since early March,’ said Mr Button, ‘the corporation has sought assistance from my office to manage a dispute between senior managers and various board members. The health service is currently compromised. Significantly, the dispute has caused a delay in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine to the community. It has also prompted the corporation’s major funding body to withhold the latest release of primary health care funding. Under these circumstances, special administration is appropriate to rectify the matters as quickly as possible.’

The Registrar has appointed Jack James and Paula Smith as special administrators until 25 June 2021.

Media contact

Lisa Hugg 0477 762 290

ORIC MR2021-16
12 April 2021