DM calls it a day
D Morgan, the most recent
General Manager at
Anyinginyi Congress has left for other pursuits.
During his time at Congress his straight-laced
management style brought stability to one of
Tennant Creek's vital health service providers.
Here is what he said at his farewell ...
I have been working at Congress and living in Tennant Creek for just
over three years and the time seems to have passed in a flash. I can
still remember my first day turning up to work wearing a tie but very
quickly being told that nobody wears a tie to work in the Northern Territory.
I can say without doubt that my time at Congress has been one of learning.
I feel I have learnt much more from the Board, Congress staff and the
Tennant Creek community than I have contributed. And I thank all of
you for that learning experience. One of the biggest things that I learnt
was that remote country town living is what you make of it and can be
very enjoyable and satisfying.
When I came up for my interview for the position of General Manager
I walked the length of the township a number of times, talked to a few
locals and thought, "yeah there is something going for Tennant
Just before my interview, here in Tennant Creek, I had had an interview
for a job in Alice Springs. I had also walked around Alice Springs and
talked to some of their locals. But when I left Alice Springs after
my interview I said to myself that if I was offered the job in Alice
Springs I would turn it down as there was something about Alice Springs
that just didn't sit right with me.
I never had one of those thoughts about Tennant Creek.
When I was offered the position of General Manager I told a number of
people about how happy I was in being given the opportunity to work
in Tennant Creek. Many of those people said I should be certified as
I was told, amongst other comments, that Tennant Creek was "hell
on earth" and it was the last place they would ever go to live
or work. To me it is fairly obvious that those persons have never been
to Tennant Creek or have only passed through and have been incapable
of seeing Tennant Creek for what it is - a remote country town like
any number of remote Australian communities that has its share of problems
but knows how to work together as a community and to make the most of
the limited resources that are available.
From my first day of work with Congress I saw that this Aboriginal Community-controlled
organisation was a little different from the other similar organisations
I had worked for. There was a strong sense of purpose, a sense of pride
in the services that were being provided to the community and a genuine
desire for the health of the Aboriginal people serviced by Congress
to keep on improving.
When I looked around the organisation it was plain to see why this is
so and that's because all staff, Aboriginal and non Aboriginal, and
the Congress Board of Directors, work together as a team. This is vitally
important for any organisation to be successful.
There have of course been some disappointments. Of most concern to me
is the lack of progress towards having a renal dialysis unit established
in Tennant Creek. In my first few months at Congress I believe we were
closer to having a facility than we are now.
I find it difficult to believe that Tennant Creek has been trying for
over ten years to have a renal dialysis unit established here. Both
the NT and Federal Governments recognise that a unit must be established
in Tennant Creek. However, both governments are continually backing
away from their moral obligation to establishing a renal dialysis unit
in Tennant Creek.
I keep on hearing excuses as to why a unit hasn't been established.
But cost, policies, facilities and the such are not valid excuses. Every
Australian has the right to quality, culturally appropriate health services
no matter where they live. Health services are not tied to cost or politics
because it is a government's moral responsibility to provide these services
no matter the cost or the difficulties.
These services have been established elsewhere in the NT or greater
Australia so my question to those who make the decisions is "why
can't renal dialysis happen here, in Tennant Creek - right now?"
On a brighter note some things are happening in relation to Aboriginal
health, which will have direct consequences for Congress and the Tennant
Creek community in general. The Primary Health Care Access Plan is currently
being implemented and will provide the different health zones around
the Northern Territory the opportunity to determine the type of health
service they want and who should provide it.
I am a great advocate for community control. Who better is there to
provide services to the local community but a community controlled health
service that is managed by the community people who use that services.
This health plan is an exciting program, which is going to bring hundreds
of thousands of new health dollars each year into the Barkly Region.
I know it won't be easy implementing this health plan but it will bring
huge benefits to all community members and I would ask that you provide
whatever support you can for this very worthwhile and much needed program.
Who should I thank? There's so many that I won't mention people by name
but I would like thank the Board of Directors and each of the four Chairpersons
of the last three years for their support and guidance.
To all the Congress staff, thank you. Your willingness to work in a
professional manner has made working at Congress a pleasure indeed.
To those community members that have befriended me thank you.
As I said earlier there is something special about Tennant Creek and
I guess that is you, the people that live here. To those business operators
that I have worked with thanks for your service and the opportunity
to keep as much of Congress's money here in Tennant Creek where it belongs.
In conclusion I would like to say that I have really enjoyed my time
at congress and living in Tennant Creek. I am feeling sad about leaving
and I will take many memories away with me. I will try to visit whenever
Once again thank you to all. It really has been a pleasure.
Ronald Plummer, Archie Allen Jangala, DM, May Phillips
Nungaray, Carol Fitz-Slade, Judy Nixon, D Williams Nakamarra at the Tennant
Creek Council Chambers for DMs farewell.