ON THE WAY: An artist's impression of the aged care facility at Derby St.
ON THE WAY: An artist's impression of the aged care facility at Derby St. Contributed

Federal money for 70 residential aged care places in Gladstone

SEVENTY new residential aged care places are coming to Gladstone thanks to Federal Government funding.

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the announcement of the places brought the Derby St, SoGlad Health and Aged Care Precinct, a step closer to fruition.

"I'm excited by the prospect of this project and am proud to be able to deliver this news today; a facility cannot be developed without these vital residential care placements,” Mr O'Dowd said.

"This announcement of more than $4.5 million of new care placements takes the Derby Street project closer to fruition and shines a light on a brighter future for Gladstone's ageing population.”

The new facility will go where CQUniversity currently has their engineering students.

They will move to the university's marina campus, with a tender out at the moment, to build new buildings to house the facility.

Mercy Health and Aged Care, Gladstone Regional Council and CQUniversity signed a memorandum of understanding about the facility earlier this year.

Mercy Health and Aged Care Executive Officer Lesley Schneider said Mercy were pleased to hear the news.

"Mercy Health is grateful for the support of the local community, CQ University and representatives including Ken O'Dowd.

"The 'SoGlad' Health and Aged Care Precinct is an intergenerational concept, focussed on community and wellness, that is proposed for the 'soon to be' repurposed CQU TAFE campus at Derby St Gladstone.

"The project will include facilities serving a mix of elderly residents requiring aged care, retired residents, residents requiring allied health services, students, children (and childcare), and other community organisations and their members at the site.

CQUniversity Associate Vice-Chancellow Gladstone Professor Owen Nevin also welcomed the announcement.

"This announcement is an important and exciting one for the Gladstone community and for CQUniversity; it marks a significant milestone for us and our partners Mercy Health and Aged Care in the journey towards delivering world class health and aged care training and services in the Gladstone region.”

Mr O'Dowd said Gladstone residents wanted greater choice and control over the care they received.

A lack of aged care options in the region has been a major issue, with many people forced to move to places like Hervey Bay for the right facilities.

Councillor Cindi Bush, who has been one of the big drivers of the new facility, said Mr O'Dowd's announcement brought tears to her eyes.

"This is not just a couple of beds to accommodate a few elderly, this is the emergence of a new way of caring,” she said.

"We're going to see a revolution in Gladstone, and we'll set an example for the rest of the country and quite possibly the rest of the country.”

Cr Bush said they were not expecting the money for the beds as soon as this.

There has been money for an extra 10 beds at the facility too.

Mayor Matt Burnett thanked Mr O'Dowd for the commitment.

"It's a fantastic outcome, we did expect it, but maybe in 12 months time,” he said.



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