The Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, today announced $1.65 million to build three specialist facilities to support First Australians needing lifesaving kidney dialysis in remote locations.

The rate of end-stage kidney disease (those on dialysis or waiting for a kidney transplant) for First Nations peoples in remote communities is 18 to 20 times higher than Australians in the broader population.

There is increased recognition that outcomes for First Nations end stage kidney disease patients are improved when dialysis treatment can be provided ‘on-country’, or as near to their communities as possible. This has led to a surge in ‘home dialysis’ where dialysis is completed in communities, rather than faraway medical facilities.

‘Home dialysis’ requires large quantities of dialysate, a chemical that draws fluids and toxins out of the bloodstream and supplies electrolytes and other chemicals to the bloodstream. Ten end-stage kidney disease patients require up to 30 tonnes of dialysate every three months.

Dialysate must be stored at temperatures below 23 degrees Celsius, a significant challenge in very remote communities in Far North Queensland where winter temperatures average around 30 degrees Celsius.

The Morrison Government will provide $1.65 million to build three bulk dialysate storage facilities in Cape York communities of high need.

Each storage facility can contain up to 30 tonnes of dialysate product, enabling long-term access to dialysate for up to 30 end-stage kidney disease patients across the three locations.

The storage facilities will be specifically designed and engineered to suit local conditions.

The storage facilities will be constructed by Equity Health Solutions and owned and operated by the local community-controlled Apunipima Cape York Health Council.

I am proud that the Morrison Government is providing the infrastructure needed to support lifesaving dialysis for First Australians in their communities.