Photo caption: Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt (second from left) and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (third from left) visited the Collarenebri Community Health Hub today with Walgett Shire councillor Lawrence Walford, RARMS CEO Mark Burdack, Anisha Thompson, Dr Julian White, Ash Mack, councillor Kelly Smith and Mayor Ian Woodcock OAM.
The Collarenebri community will have greater access to health services, with a Health Hub to be built thanks to $945,000 in Federal Government funding.
Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton were today joined in Collarenebri by Rural and Remote Medical Services (RARMS) CEO Mark Burdack to discuss the project.
The Collarenebri Community Health Hub is one of 16 local projects awarded a grant under the third round of the Coalition Government’s Economic Development Program.
Mr Coulton said the Health Hub will not only help attract and retain medical professionals to town, but will provide a place for young people to train and learn.
“The Health Hub will provide a facility for integrated primary and allied health professionals, as well as medical training facilities, an Indigenous youth drop-in centre, study room and facilities for school and university students, an Elders’ space and a gym,” Mr Coulton said.
“The Collarenebri community has a high Aboriginal population, with many elderly people, and this will mean they will not have to leave town to access vital healthcare such as dental or Aboriginal Health services.
“It will also help keep the local pharmacy viable and attract more ‘health tourism’ revenue to the town from grey nomads and residents from neighbouring villages where services are not available, while supporting better educational outcomes.
“Each of the projects that have been successful so far under Round 3 will help communities by using local suppliers and resources as well as through local knowledge to drive the best outcomes for our region.”
The Collarenebri Community Health Hub will be built and operated by RaRMS.
RARMS CEO Mark Burdack said this project is a great example of what rural and remote communities can do when they work together.
“This was a team effort and was only possible because of the extraordinary support RARMS has received from the local community and from organisations like the CWA, LALC, Murdi Paaki and Walgett Shire Council,” Mr Burdack said.
“More than a building, we need hope. We have these really talented kids who want to become doctors and nurses in their community, but they need help to understand how they can achieve this ambition and see those job opportunities in the town.
“They need to have someone telling them ‘you’ve got this’. That is what this Hub is all about – hope, aspiration and a leg up.
“The output of this project will be a building, programs and services. But the outcome we want is hope for a better future.”
Minister Pitt said the Economic Development Program recognises that local communities know how best to tackle the challenges they face, and what kinds of activity would support people in their own areas.
“It was great to day to be able to get out on the ground and see firsthand how these economic grants will be able to improve communities like Collarenebri for the better,” Minister Pitt said.
“The Collarenebri Community Health Hub is a perfect example of a project that will create new jobs, increase the capacity of communities like Collarenebri by diversifying and strengthening the local economy.
“Across the Basin, people have been dealing with the biggest water reform in Australia’s history along with drought, demographic change and commodity price change.
“This funding recognises the pressures that many people in the Basin’s rural and regional communities are under, and seeks to create new economic activity and job opportunities for impacted communities.”
Close to $39 million of funding has already been approved under Rounds 1 and 2 of the program for a huge array of activities-throughout Murray-Darling Basin communities.