NATIONAL PRESS CLUB OF AUSTRALIA FORUM
‘Hidden Harms: How concealed Budget cuts are killing Australia’s health sector’
Speakers: Michael Moore, Rod Wellington and the Hon Sheila McHale
Tuesday 10 November 2015, National Press Club, Canberra
A coalition of over 20 peak and non-government organisations (NGOs) from the health and community sectors is calling on the Australian Government to scrap plans to cut nearly $800M in funding to key health initiatives over the next four financial years. Three renowned speakers – representing different parts of the NGO health sector – have spoken at the National Press Club today, providing their distinct perspectives on how the foreshadowed cuts will drastically reduce the capacity of NGOs and peak bodies to deliver services across the country and to provide advice and support for reform in health.
“It has been revealed in Senate Estimates that $596.2M is to be cut from the Health Flexible Funds over the next four financial years. This is on top of cuts totalling $197.1M announced in last year’s Budget – making a total of over $793M. There is still no clarity in relation to how these savings are to be achieved, with most existing funding contracts for NGOs set to expire either at the end of 2015 or on 30 June 2016,” said Michael Moore, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Health Association of Australia.
“Projects and initiatives targeting rural and remote Australians are one of the areas that will be hit hard by these cuts. Essential services working to Close the Gap in health outcomes for Indigenous Australians; managing vital responses to communicable diseases; and preventing and managing chronic diseases around the country have an uncertain future. The peak bodies that represent these services and work to improve health policy for rural and remote Australia are in the same position. Obviously this is of great concern to all the services and organisations potentially affected,” said Rod Wellington, CEO of Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health.
“These organisations are integral to the achievement of a broad range of social and health outcomes and the foreshadowed funding cuts will have a direct impact on people struggling to address and overcome some of the big health challenges facing their families and communities,” said Sheila McHale, CEO of the Palmerston Association – one of WA’s leading and respected not for profit drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.
Hon Sheila McHale, CEO, Palmerston Association
Since 2009, Hon Sheila McHale has been in the role of CEO of Palmerston Association, one of WA’s leading and respected not for profit drug and alcohol rehabilitation services. Using her negotiation, strategic and communication skills, Sheila’s focus has been to strengthen the governance and strategic direction of the organisation, explore opportunities for growth and create a robust and sustainable organisation.
Sheila is a former Member of Parliament, having served in the WA Parliament for 12 years, eight of them as a Cabinet Minister, where she held a broad range of portfolios including Tourism, Consumer Protection, Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Disability Services.
Sheila is a member of the national advisory body to the Australian Charities and Not –for-profits Commission, state councillor on the Governance Institute of Australia (WA) vice chair of the peak association WA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (WANADA), Board member of the Community Employers of WA and a non-executive director of YMCA, WA. Sheila is a Fellow of AIMWA and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a certified member of the Governance institute of Australia.
Building on her skills developed in the dark world of politics, Sheila is committed to harnessing opportunities for the sector in which she operates and the broader community of Western Australia.