By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT this evening accepted the Fitzgerald Social Change Award at the NT Human Rights Awards, yet it consistently fails to provide essential information to the public.
AMSANT, which represents 26 services throughout the NT, recently issued two media releases: One about an outbreak of syphilis in the NT, clamouring for more resources, which we published on November 16; and the second release was about remote services having to close because there is no or inadequate police protection for staff. We published that report on November 29.
The second release named Haasts Bluff west of Alice Springs. We asked which other communities are affected.
And we also asked where the syphilis outbreak had occurred.
We contacted David Cooper, AMSANT’s Manager Research Advocacy Policy, nominated on the releases as the contact person, several times by leaving phone messages, by email (to the address provided on the releases), and by ringing him, reaching him in person once, getting his answering machine on the other occasions. The writer put the questions to him and he undertook to obtain and communicate the information.
He did not.
We spoke to and emailed staff at the AMSANT office several times, leaving messages for the the organisation’s CEO John Paterson to get back to us. No luck.
AMSANT’s 2018 financial report lists receiving grants amounting to $7.9m as well as cash and cash equivalent reserves amounting to $2.8m.
AMSANT’s annual report says it aspires to having “a strong organisational culture matched to high achievement [that] must also be underpinned by robust and accountable policy”.
The awards, known as the “Fitzgeralds,” are named after Queensland’s former Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Tony Fitzgerald.
We will report the information we have requested if and when AMSANT provides it.
Image from the AMSANT annual report.