Pika Wiya denies petition calling for general meeting

Adnyamathanha elder Charlie Jackson in front of the Pika Wiya building on Dartmouth Street at Port Augusta.
Adnyamathanha elder Charlie Jackson in front of the Pika Wiya building on Dartmouth Street at Port Augusta.

Port Augusta's Aboriginal health service corporation has once again caught the attention of a federal regulatory body following a petition submitted to its governing officials.

The petition, headed by Adnyamathanha elder Charlie Jackson, calls for a general meeting to discuss a "vote of no confidence" in Pika Wiya's management executive and board of directors.

The petition has garnered 45 signatures and outlines a concern about the "split board" and "delivery of primary health care services" to the Aboriginal community.

"The reason why we wanted to call a general meeting is because we want to take it back to the community and get the community to be involved so they can make a decision on exactly how the management of the organisation should be managed," Mr Jackson said.

"Because of the nature of Pika Wiya itself, it's a community controlled health service, therefore the community has got to be given every opportunity to make that decision."

The Transcontinental reported Pika Wiya being under examination by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) in November last year.

While the petition was submitted to ORIC, it is up to Pika Wiya's board of directors to accept or decline the request for a general meeting.

Pika Wiya Chairperson Aileen Shannon responded to the petition in a letter on behalf of the board, denying the request.

"The petition was discussed at length by the Board at a special meeting held on Thursday 19 December 2019," she wrote.

"The Board was very concerned that calling a general meeting on the grounds and proposed resolution outlined in the petition would be detrimental to the organisation, especially at this critical point in time where so many important changes havebeen implemented to better service the members with key services.

"The Board recognised that improved communication with the membership would resolve any concerns."

Pika Wiya closes Women's Health Centre 

Tensions within the community where further exasperated when Pika Wiya's Women's Health Centre was closed later that same month.

Pika Wiya closed the facility, providing just two days notice to clients via email.

"The most disappointing aspects of whats been happening here is the closure of the women's centre," Mr Jackson said.

"The women's centre has been set up to be separated from the main clinic because of the nature of the service to the women and whereby the women need to need away from the clinic so they don't have any contact with the male patients that come through Pika Wiya."

The service has been held in a separate house within the Pika Wiya boundary but will now be moved to the main building.