Boost for regional health services in North-West WA

People living in North-West Western Australia will benefit from a $5 million state of the art ambulance and regional support facility thanks to a strong investment partnership between the Federal Government, State Government and the St John Ambulance Service.

In Broome today to make the announcement, Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean said the facility will have strong health and social benefits for the region as demand for health services grows.

Mr Crean said the project will receive $2.5 million through the second round of the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) grant to construct the facility in Broome.

“This state of the art ambulance and regional support facility for the North-West of Western Australia  will include offices, a training area, a six-bay ambulance garage and parking for more than 20 vehicles,” Mr Crean said.

“The $2.5 million RDAF grant will leverage partnership investment, including contributions from the state government and the St John Ambulance Service, to join the dots between broad benefits for people living in the region and delivering a strong social and economic dividend.

“Construction of this facility will mean the number of career paramedics can be doubled, allowing better support for volunteer staff and reduced waiting times for ambulance services.

“It will also enable St John Ambulance to provide additional support to Volunteer Sub Centres in the region that provide valuable health services for smaller communities and the Indigenous Ambulance Service Delivery Program.

“Further support will also be provided to the 387 registered volunteers operating ambulance services in the North West, some of which are in very remote locations, allowing the ambulance service to better respond to the pressures from a growing population.”

Mr Crean said the new facility demonstrated the importance of securing partnerships across government and the private sector in building projects that will deliver real benefits for Australia’s regions.

“No one government alone can fund the massive demand for infrastructure. Such a view inevitably results in buck-passing, inaction and a blame game,” Mr Crean said.

“The alternative is a partnership between the three levels of government, and where appropriate, the private sector.

“RDAF is more than a regional investment program, it is driving cultural change – demonstrating what is possible when you prioritise, build partnerships and leverage funding from a range of sources.”

In the past month, Mr Crean has visited Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia to announce $200 million in RDAF funding for 46 projects which leverage a total investment of $779 million.

The four successful Western Australia projects are:

  • $15 million to the Shire of Carnarvon towards the second stage of the $79.9 million Carnarvon Flood Mitigation Works
  • $4.9 million to the City of Greater Geraldton towards the $13.8 million West End Recreation and Entertainment Precinct Revitalisation
  • $2.5 million to St John Ambulance Australia (Western Australia) towards the $5 million North West Regional Office, Training and Ambulance Centre in Broome
  • $1.2 million to the Shire of Augusta, Margaret River towards the $5.9 million Margaret River Surfers Point Precinct Redevelopment.

The four projects will share in $23.6 million of RDAF funding but leverage other sources to deliver more than $104 million in total partnership investment.

Senator for Western Australia Louise Pratt said the new facility will make an important contribution to the Kimberley.

“RDAF is already making a significant difference around regional Australia with $150 million distributed to 35 projects through Round One last year including $32.89 million in Western Australia,” Ms Pratt said.

“This project will deliver a clear social and economic dividend for the Kimberley region which has strong projections for growth, and the demand for paramedic services in Broome and the wider Kimberley region has risen to close to 3,000 cases per year.”

Senator for Western Australia, Glenn Sterle said that the appointment of a new Indigenous Project Officer will allow the service to implement effective models of ambulance service delivery to meet the needs of the local Aboriginal community.

“This is an important benefit of the project which will help ensure the region continues to meet the health needs of all residents, including Indigenous community members,” Mr Sterle said.

More information on RDAF projects can be found at www.regional.gov.au

Media contacts: Glen Atwell 0403 949 599