By ERWIN CHLANDA
The fate of Sheila Major and Stanley Roberts, and their daughter Rickisha, fits neatly into the litany of horror stories about public spending by the NT Government which, per head of population, gets twice as much the GST share from Canberra than the rest of the nation.
Ms Major was diagnosed with kidney failure in October last year, requiring dialysis three times a week.
The couple lives in Papunya where Mr Roberts is a pastor of the Lutheran Church. They have two sons and Rickisha, aged 12.
The Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation Inc, better known as Purple House, provides a limited dialysis service at Papunya but there is a long waiting list.
As shuttling three times a week between the community and Alice Springs – 250 kms one-way – isn’t feasible, the couple has to live in Alice Springs until Ms Major’s turn comes to get dialysis in Papunya.
Rickisha has a disability. The couple, of course, wants the girl to be with them, but this is where the trouble starts.
Finding accommodation suitable for a child requiring major care is enormously difficult, says the couple.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is providing funds for a case worker for limited hours, between 50 or 100 hours a year.
But what is the NT Government doing for the family? Not much.
The waiting list for public housing in Alice Springs, in all categories, is six to eight years.
Almost daily the family has to move between hostels, friends’ homes or houses available for public purposes, always depending on availability, and usually for a very short period.
We asked Families Minister Kate Worden this morning what, if anything, she is going to do for the couple.
We also invited the Disability Advocacy Service in Alice Springs to comment.
We will report any responses from both of them if and when they are provided.