Gidgee did not consult us says Page

UNHAPPY: Cheryl Page questions whether the new Gidgee Healing site is culturally appropriate and in a safe location.
UNHAPPY: Cheryl Page questions whether the new Gidgee Healing site is culturally appropriate and in a safe location.

The new clinic in Pioneer has almost doubled Gidgee Healing’s ability to serve Mount Isa’s indigenous community but not everyone is happy.

Member and former employee of Gidgee Healing Cheryl Page questions whether the site is culturally appropriate and in a safe location.

“Being a health worker I’ve come to every Gidgee Healing meeting since 2012 so our people can have a voice,” Ms Page said.

“I feel they have not done enough community consultation to let the community know the steps they have taken.”

Ms Page said the community did not have sufficient say in the choosing of the new site.

“There was nothing said in the paper about this new clinic till last year,” she said.

“Where it is situated now is not culturally appropriate because they put it up near a pub, they put it on the main drag, Marian St, there is enough social wellbeing issues in the community already.

“If this is all about determination, we should have been consulted about where it is.”

CEO Dallas Leon.

CEO Dallas Leon.

Ms Page said the site was hard to access for people like her with disabilities.

“I’m visually impaired and I find crossing Marian St is a health hazard, what if I get taken out by a semi trailer?” she said.

Ms Page said the site was not setting a good image for local Indigenous people.

“People coming in and out of Mount Isa, the first and last thing they see is sick Indigenous people, is that the image we want to give?” she said.

Ms Page encouraged community members become members “so they can have a voice”.

Gidgee Healing CEO Dallas Leon said they did community consultation twice a year.

“We have open forums where we tell the community what we are doing,” he said.

“We try to be as inclusive as possible and act in the best interests of our community.”

Mr Leon defended the location of the new clinic saying it was close to where the majority of its Indigenous clients live.

“We also have a transport service for those needing assistance to access appointments,” he said. 

“But normal care and safety needs to be taken when crossing a road.”

Mr Leon said they offered to meet with Ms Page but she declined their offer.