News

Regional health clinic is flying high with $1.73m injection of funds

Sunday 24 November 2019

An overstretched health clinic in the far north of the South Australia is set to get a modern makeover to respond to the growing numbers of tourists heading to the region.


The 2019-20 Regional Growth Fund competitive grant program is contributing $716,000 to the Marree Remote Area Clinic Precinct Redevelopment, while the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) will inject an additional $1.016 million.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone acknowledged the importance of access to healthcare in remote communities.

"With booming tourism in the Far North region, including tourists flocking to the Lake Eyre flooding, Birdsville Track and Strzelecki Track, emergency medical services and our Royal Flying Doctor Service are in demand," said Minister Whetstone.

"Our tourism sector is growing, and in future will place further strain on the current infrastructure.

"This total $1.73 million investment will ensure outback residents and our visitors can be given the right care, and the precinct will create a new benchmark for remote primary health services delivery.

"This is a forward-thinking and innovative project I am pleased to be able to fund."

The RFDS will use modular and prefabricated construction to create a purpose-designed agile health infrastructure precinct – there will be seven jobs created during construction.

The precinct will include a 250m2 purpose-built medical facility, additional staff accommodation and overall site upgrades to create a state-of-the-art medical facility for the Far North community.

Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan said this project will significantly improve health outcomes for those in the Far North.

"Currently, due to space restrictions, when the fortnightly RFDS 'fly-in' GP clinic from Port Augusta arrives consultations are often undertaken at the school, the community office, or even on the veranda of the clinic," said Minister van Holst Pellekaan.

"This project will create a purpose-built medical facility which will improve healthcare access in Maree and the wider Far North region."

RFDS Central Operations Chief Executive Tony Vaughan ASM welcomed today's announcement.

"The Royal Flying Doctor Service is proud to provide around-the-clock access to health services in remote South Australia – whether it be caring for born-and-bred locals, workers on the land, or travellers taking in the wonders of the outback," said Mr Vaughan.

"The redevelopment of the Marree Remote Area Clinic is another important step towards enhancing the quality of care we deliver every day to patients in every corner of the state."

The Marshall Liberal Government has committed $150 million over 10 years through the Regional Growth Fund to support regional South Australia as part of the Recharging Our Regions policy.

"The Regional Growth Fund was established to unlock new economic activity in our regions, deliver critical economic infrastructure to create direct benefit across regional industries and strengthen regional communities," said Minister Whetstone.

In 2019-20, the Regional Growth Fund included a $5 million allocation for Regional Growth Fund Competitive Grants. Applicants could seek grants from $50,000 up to $2 million.

The applications were assessed by an independently chaired panel, and recommended based on how well they aligned to the Fund's criteria.

For more information, visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/regionalgrowthfund

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