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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. The foreshadowed cuts would 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 the latest round of 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.
Among the 14 Flexible Funds apparently to be affected are those supporting the provision of essential services in rural, regional and remote Australia; working to Close the Gap in health outcomes for Indigenous Australians; managing vital responses to communicable diseases; and delivering substance use treatment services around the country. Obviously this is of great concern to all the services and organisations potentially affected. 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.
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.
Since September 2007, Rod has worked with Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) as the Chief Executive Officer. Rod brings to SARRAH extensive skills in policy development, project and program management, strategic planning and reporting, and organisational representation and negotiation.
Rod’s achievements whist CEO of SARRAH include: reformed the SARRAH constitution; engaged and effectively created relationships and influence with key stakeholders; assisted in facilitating the establishment of the Australian Allied Health Forum; convened four successful national SARRAH conferences and three summits.
Rod was born in Numurkah, northern Victoria. His family have a mixed sheep and grain farm in the Numurkah district. Since 1981, Rod has resided in Canberra.
With almost 20 years experience in the Commonwealth public sector, holding various positions at senior management levels, he is well experienced in dealing with Federal, State and Territory Governments, peak national industry associations and community groups.
Rod also has private sector experience working for three years as Chairman of an employment and training company.
In October 1999, Rod joined the Wheat Export Authority and remained there until July 2007, holding the position of Executive Officer.
In November 2014, Rod was elected as a Director to the Board of Networking Health NSW (formerly General Practice NSW).
Rod is a graduate and current member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Michael Moore is the CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia and is the Vice President/President Elect of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. He is the chair of a number of health networks. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra, was formerly a teacher and consultant and served four terms as an elected member of the ACT Legislative Assembly from 1989 to 2001. Michael was Australia’s first independent Minister when he was appointed as Minister of Health and Community Care.