Media & Speeches

Supporting and Celebrating Indigenous Initiative and Success

The remarkable resilience and innovation of Indigenous communities in Central Australia and the Western Desert will be celebrated today with the launch of the Purple House Fund, an initiative that enables patients suffering end-stage renal disease to receive treatment on their country.

Business Council of Australia (BCA) Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott will launch the fund at a celebration in Melbourne in support of the Purple House (Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation).

The fund has been developed with the assistance of BCA and one of its member companies, Australian Unity, a national healthcare and financial services company, to provide the opportunity for everyday Australians to support this unique, solutions-focused organisation.

The genesis of the Purple House came 15 years ago when a group of senior artists painting for Papunya Tula Artists raised a million dollars at an art auction to get the vital dialysis service they needed in their home communities.

An initial cost-benefit analysis conducted for the Purple House by EY demonstrates that the model of care is more cost efficient than government-provided services. With the number of Indigenous renal patients in the Purple House’s region expected to double in the next five years, pressure is building for the service to extend.

“The special thing about the Purple House is that it continually demonstrates the initiative, creativity and courage that Australia needs to face its most pressing and complex challenges, particularly in health,” BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“This is an example of people identifying a problem, developing their own solution and securing independent resources to get started.

“Today, the organisation is a thriving example of how to leverage philanthropic and government funds to provide a responsive service that is absolutely driven by the community and patients.” Ms Westacott said.

Australian Unity’s Group Managing Director Rohan Mead said the Purple House was an example of patient-centred innovation. “The health system is very good at technological innovation, but true person-centred and business model innovation like this is rare,” he said

Today’s event will also see the launch of a book about one Australia’s most celebrated Indigenous artists, Patrick Tjungurrayi, a major force in the establishment of the Purple House.

Patrick’s life is a poignant example of the history of Indigenous health. Diagnosed with end-stage renal failure, his fight to be treated in his home community highlights the significance of the Purple House to Aboriginal people throughout central and northern Australia.

For information about the Purple House, the Purple House Fund and Patrick Tjungurrayi: Beyond Borders visit – http://www.bca.com.au/policy-agenda/purple-house

Media contacts: BCA, Claire Tedeschi 0457 822 642 / Australian Unity, Kimina Lyall 0434 353 886