LOCAL health services, community groups and Western Downs Regional Council are uniting to call for $3.22 million from the Federal Government to fund a new aged care community centre in Chinchilla.

Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ) has proposed the creation of an Age Well Community Centre to provide a new community space and additional integrated services to locals of Chinchilla and surrounds.

Western Downs mayor Paul McVeigh, together with leaders from business groups including Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise Group (TSBE), Goondir, Southern Queensland Rural Health and Chinchilla Community Commerce & Industry (CCCI) are all backing the proposal.

Jason Eldering, CEO of Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ) said the injection of $3.22m would enable the construction of the centre and deliver critical services for the Western Downs community.

Southern Cross Care Queensland CEO Jason Eldering, speaking commencement ceremony for Illoura Village’s redevelopment. IMAGE: Country Caller

“Connection keeps our communities strong, and our vision for the Age Well Community Centre is that it will be a place of connectivity, to support the social fabric of our regional communities,” Eldering said.

“Older people are in desperate need of support and access to the resources to age in place, and the wider community needs access to allied health and community meeting spaces everyone can use.”

“We know that there are a lot of people in need at the moment – and together we are calling on the Federal Government to support the health and wellbeing of the Chinchilla now and into the future.”

Envisaged to be built at SCCQ’s Illoura Village, the centre would provide spaces for day respite, recreation activities, as well as several flexible, interconnected indoor and outdoor spaces.

“Western Downs Regional Council continues to advocate for effective and quality local health care services that ensure ‘whole of life’ care for our residents,” Cr McVeigh said.

“We are supportive of any investment that seeks to improve the lives of people who choose to call the Western Downs home now, and into the future.”

Western Downs Regional Council mayor Paul McVeigh, speaking commencement ceremony for Illoura Village’s redevelopment. IMAGE: Country Caller

TSBE chief executive Ali Davenport said: “The health industry is a major contributor to our regional economy. Government investment in the Age Well Community Centre in Chinchilla will not only assist in delivering more health services for our older residents but will also create jobs throughout the construction and operation phases. It is a win-win for all involved.”

Floyd Leedie, CEO of Goondir said “this will address the existing health and ageing services challenges we face and will support the best lives for all members of the community, and those satellite communities living in unique regional and rural settings.”

Associate Professor Geoff Argus, Director of SQRH, echoed the range of challenges for this community in accessing health services, particularly allied and preventive care.

“This is an innovative community model that has the potential to effect profound change in rural communities Vwhere healthy ageing and service options are often limited, and we need the Federal Government’s support to ensure it is delivered,” Argus said.

CCCI manager Robyn Haig said: “The Chinchilla community has clearly communicated to us how important quality whole of life health services are to them and their families. Chinchilla is a vibrant growing community and supporting health services must grow in line with this ever-increasing demand.”

“We support organisations seeking to work with our community to deliver these vital services,” Haig said.

Chinchilla Community, Commerce & Industry manager Robyn Haig. IMAGE: Country Caller
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