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Mallacoota will receive $300,000 in Federal Government funding to build a new medical centre.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester today welcomed an announcement the Mallacoota Medical Centre was well on its way to having a new, modern home. 

“The Federal Government is funding half of the cost of this project through the Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund, with the other half raised by the Mallacoota community, led by Mallacoota Inlet Aged Care,” Mr Chester said. 

“This is a remarkable result of the hard work of two local charities for a community-driven project that will benefit many, many people.

“The new medical centre will be built next to the centre’s current building in Maurice Avenue and will give doctors, nurses and other practitioners more space to see patients.

“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.”

Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund (CHIRF) convenor Robin Bryant said the new building would be purpose-built and designed to meet future health care needs.

“The new medical centre will have modern facilities and will include three consulting rooms for doctors, a treatment room, a training room, office space and a room for a nurse practitioner,” Mr Bryant said. 

“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 (MPS) that will focus on aged care and a small six-bed hospital.”

“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 Avenue 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 mid-2018.

The practice is one of two in Gippsland and 67 nationally to be offered grants totalling $13.1 million under the Government’s Rural General Practice Grants program.

The Orbost Medical Clinic received $13,000 under the same grant program to buy new equipment. 

Assistant Minister for Health Dr David Gillespie said practices would match the amount of their grants to undertake their projects.

Dr Gillespie said the projects could range from building new rooms to renovating existing rooms and buying computing technology or medical equipment. 

“As well as medical graduates, they may be used for training overseas trained doctors, nurses, Aboriginal health workers or other health professionals employed in the practice,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Other grants will be used to create meeting rooms where patients can receive education about health conditions, such as diabetes, so they can take a more active role in managing their own health.”

“The Government supports a strong primary care workforce that can meet Australia’s future healthcare needs.” 

“Improving access to doctors and other health professionals in rural and regional Australia is a priority for our long term national health plan.”

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