Northern Territory - April 2016

A message from the Northern Territory State Committee Chair

Dear Fellows and trainees,

This Newsletter is a welcome opportunity to keep you up-to-date on what is happening in the Northern Territory (NT). This information has been tailored especially for you, the members in our region, covering our issues and our events.

As you would be aware, the College has finalised its Committee election process. In the 2016–2018 term we are pleased to welcome Dr Nadarajah Kangaharan, Dr Anna Holwell and Associate Professor Henrik Falhammar to the Committee ranks.

Being involved with the NT Committee is extremely professionally rewarding, having the opportunity to network and create relationships with other Colleges and health industry stakeholders. You get back more than what you put in and you often work with Fellows and trainees outside your specialty.

During 2015 the NT Committee was actively involved in:

  • meetings with, and representation to, the Health Minister, Transport Minister and Chief Minister regarding open speed limits and children in detention
  • delivering a successful ‘Physicians as advocates’ themed Annual Scientific Meeting in Darwin with remote attendees participating by videoconference
  • working collaboratively with the College on 12 policy and advocacy papers and position statements
  • providing representation to eight College working parties on matters such as education policy, selection into training and telehealth.

I encourage you to get involved in the College at a local level by joining one of our committees, or if you have suggestions for the Northern Territory Committee please email us at

Dr Christine Connors
NT State Committee Chair

Save the date – 2016 NT Annual Scientific Meeting, Saturday, 26 November 

The 2016 NT Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) will be held on Saturday, 26 November 2016 at the Waterfront Lecture Theatre, Charles Darwin University with videoconferencing to Alice Springs Hospital. The Committee is considering a theme and would welcome any suggestions from our NT Fellows and trainees – contact

The successful 2015 NT ASM had a focus on ‘physicians as advocates’ and included research, panel discussions and presentations on climate change and vulnerable children.

Thirty-four Fellows and trainees attended with additional participants videoconferencing from Katherine and Alice Springs. We kicked off with an interactive panel session, followed by presentations from the Adult Medicine Division and Paediatrics & Child Health Division Presidents. Throughout the day seven Fellows presented their research and trainees presented for the Gerry Murphy prize and RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence.

We are proud that two trainee prize winners are scheduled to present in the 2016 Congress program.

At the close of the ASM attendees participated in the People’s Climate March, led by two trainees with 20 Fellows marching behind the RACP banner.

Putting the brakes on open speed limits

Road deaths in the NT exceed the Australian average by about three times. 

During the decade to 2013, the NT recorded a mean of almost 22 road deaths per 100,000. This is in contrast to a national reduction to a mean of 5.2 Australia wide.

Further, the NT has the lowest Australian Road Assessment Program safety ratings. This is costly to the community in lives, well-being and health and emergency resourcing. 

Despite this, in February 2014 the Northern Territory Government introduced a trial of open speed limits for a 200 km section of the Stuart Highway. 

Over the past two years, the NT State Committee has vigorously opposed the trial.

Committee Chair, Dr Christine Connors, has worked collaboratively with the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) and Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) to meet with the NT Transport Minister and advocate in writing to the Minister for Transport, Hon Peter Chandler and the Chief Minister, Hon Adam Giles to abolish the trial and abandon any expansion of the open speed limit zones.

The Committee was particularly active on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims with a co-signed media release from the Colleges supported by tweets from Alice Springs based Committee member, Dr Rosalie Schultz.

For more articles on deaths and injuries on NT roads visit Real ED Stories, which includes the stories ‘Over a dozen times’ by Dr Stephen Gourley and ‘One crash: five families’ by Dr Didier Palmer. 

1. Read DJ 2014. Open speeds on Northern Territory roads: not so fast. MJA;203 (1): 14-15.

Close overlay