Youth with a Mission Medical Ships

Monday, 03 June 2024

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell) (16:18): Today I had the great honour of engaging with representatives from Youth with a Mission Medical Ships Service, including the esteemed new patron, Madame Michelle Marape, the wife of Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and Mr Charles Abel, who was a former Deputy Prime Minister, who both serve as copatrons of this vital organisation. For 14 years, the collaborative medical ships initiative between Papua New Guinea and Australia has yielded remarkable health benefits for the people of PNG. The 14-year tenure of the program has been a cornerstone of primary health care in the region in PNG, reaching about 161,000 individuals and conducting 48,000 dental procedures and administering nearly 179,000 immunisations and educating 951,000 community members on health matters. The vessel is manned by a dedicated crew of volunteers from more than 21 nations, would you believe, 35 per cent being PNG nationals training on medical care.

I have to say, members of the coalition were very impressed. Their request from the Australian government is for $7.5 million only when you think about the volume of services, the primary healthcare outcomes, this couldn't be easier for Australia for us to continue to provide. I ask the Albanese Labor government to give it the proper considerations to sustain this vital humanitarian effort. It's not aid; it's supporting a vital service and a training service between the peoples of Australia, PNG and the world to deliver better primary health care in the region.