Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (third from left) and Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt (third from right) with members of the Wee Waa Community Complex Incorporated, Bruce Gray, treasurer Kerry Watts, Anne Weekes and chair Andrew Greste, at the housing site.
A community project to establish housing for medical professionals in Wee Waa has received a $304,000 boost from the Federal Government.
Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton were today joined by members of the Wee Waa Community Complex Incorporated committee for a visit to the housing site.
The Wee Waa Medical Professional Housing is one of 16 local projects awarded a grant under the third round of the Coalition Government’s Economic Development Program.
Mr Coulton said he’s pleased the Federal Government is able to support the Wee Waa community in helping to attract more health professionals to the Basin town.
“One of the more significant impediments to attracting medical professionals to rural communities is the lack of affordable, comfortable and appropriate accommodation,” Mr Coulton said.
“The committee’s intention is to construct purpose-built accommodation for use by professional medical staff who will service the local hospital and surrounding district, with the aim to secure more permanent doctors to the area.
“Improving the town’s medical services will help facilitate future socio-economic growth and development for the local community and surrounding districts.
“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.”
Wee Waa Community Complex Incorporated chair Andrew Greste said there has been a long-term need to get more doctors to the Wee Waa area.
“As part of this strategy the community decided to build accommodation tailored to meet the needs of medical professionals that service the Wee Waa District,” Mr Greste said.
“The project is to construct two houses located very close to the hospital, however the community initial only had the ability to fund one of the houses.
“We are very grateful to have received the Federal Government grant funding as it will be used to complete the project in its entirety. It will allow the project to save some costs and gain efficiencies by completing both houses together and a lot sooner than anticipated.
“We hope this will attract more doctors and help improve the health outcomes in general for the people of Wee Waa.”
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 Wee Waa for the better,” Minister Pitt said.
“The Wee Waa Medical Professional Housing is a perfect example of a project that will create new jobs, increase the capacity of communities like Wee Waa 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.