Mallacoota is will have a new medical centre by next year after receiving a $300,000 grant from the Federal Government.
The government will fund half the project through the Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund (CHIRF), with the other half raised by the Mallacoota community, led by Mallacoota Inlet Aged Care.
Member for Gippsland Darren Chester welcomed the announcement on Wednesday, July 12, saying the Mallacoota Medical Centre was on its way to having a modern home.
“This is a remarkable result of the hard work of two local charities for a community-driven project that will benefit many, many people,” Mr Chester said.
“Better facilities will also allow more doctors, nurses and other health workers to get hands-on training in general practice in a remote area.
“They will be able to attend to patients and, when they are fully qualified, are more likely to decide to stay in the Gippsland region or join another rural community.”
The new medical centre will be built next to the centre’s current building in Maurice Ave and include three consulting rooms for doctors, a treatment room, training room, office space and a room for a nurse practitioner.
CHIRF convenor Robin Bryant said the new building would be purpose-built and designed to meet future health care needs.
“It will help to attract doctors to work here and provide a way for the community to progress its claims to have a multi-purpose service centre that will focus on aged care and a small six-bed hospital,” Ms Bryant said.
“Mallacoota is two hours from an emergency department. To help overcome this isolation, the new centre will have video conferencing, medical and other equipment to help bridge that distance and help reduce the need for patients to travel to Orbost or Bega for hospital treatment.”
Mallacoota Inlet Aged Care (MIAC) president Etienne van der Merwe said the funding announcement for the new medical centre had brought MIAC closer to achieving its long-term goal.
“MIAC has been working for 24 years to have aged care facilities in our town. Through MIAC, the community already owns the Maurice Ave property,” Mr van der Merwe said.
“With this strong support from the Federal Government, MIAC’s community donations and help from the Bendigo Bank, we are getting closer to realising this dream of caring for our elderly residents within our community.”
Construction is expected to begin at the start of next year, with the building due to be finished by mid-2018.