By James Wells

SYDNEY: Philips Australia has joined companies including Vodafone Australia and Nike Australia to assist the health of remote Australian indigenous communities.

The Red Dust program, funded solely by the Australian business community, takes elite athletes and other positive role models from the business and entertainment worlds into remote communities to conduct health education sessions to enrich the lives of young members of indigenous communities.

According to a spokesperson for Philips, each trip involves role models spending four days and nights at each community, visiting school classes and health clinics to reinforce existing education initiatives aimed at improving the health and well-being of indigenous kids.

“They even sleep out under the stars and participate in discussions with traditional owners around the fire, enabling a two-way exchange of information and experiences as they learn more about the indigenous culture. Role models are accompanied on every trip by health professions and assist in conducting health screenings of youth in some of the Territory’s most remote communities.”

Former Philips Australia Consumer Electronics general manager, and now Philips Australia CEO, Harry van Dyk, has confirmed he will participate in the project later this year.

“To grasp the magnitude of the issues we need to take our feet out from under the desk and immerse ourselves in this project. As such, we are committed to supporting our financial investment with a genuine hands-on role and I can’t wait to touch down in the top end to do whatever I can to help and also learn more about the needs of these communities,” said van Dyk.

“My participation in a community visit is going to be only one of many trips that Philips staff will be involved in, as we are not about simply writing a cheque and asking for some pictures six months later.”