The Indigenous Mothers Accommodation Fund (IMAF) provides accommodation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers from remote areas when they travel to regional centres to access pre-natal obstetric and post-natal medical care and related services. Specialised health care is often located a long distance from rural and remote communities and this service offers a safe, supportive and affordable place for Indigenous mothers to stay.
The Australian Government provided funding of $10 million over three years to the Indigenous Mothers Accommodation Fund in the 2008-09 Budget. To date, all funds have been committed towards the completion of three capital projects.
An upgrade and extension to the existing hostel facility operated by Aboriginal Hostels Limited in Katherine, Northern Territory, has been completed. The Katherine Womens Medical Hostel caters specifically for Indigenous women who require accommodation while accessing medical treatment.
A new facility for the Mookai Rosie Bi-Bayan Corporation in Cairns, Queensland, is expected to be completed in August 2010. The new 24-bed ante-natal and post-natal facility has received IMAF funding of just over $5 million.
Mookai Rosie Bi-Bayan (Aunty Rosie’s Place) was established in 1983 as Australia’s first Indigenous community-managed organisation specialising in women’s and children’s maternal health care. The new facility will offer referrals, advice, education and support for the many Indigenous mothers from far north Queensland who cannot access these services in their home communities.
A third site is expected to be announced shortly.