A plan for much-needed new staff accommodation at the Blue Care Star of the Sea Elders Village on Thursday Island will become a reality thanks to a Federal Government grant.
The Government is investing $5.8 million in the project, which will enable the construction of 24 self-contained one-bedroom units and a central laundry facility for staff.
“This is fabulous news and is desperately needed,” Mr Entsch said.
“This new facility will mean that at least 32 staff will be able to be accommodated at the service in new and existing buildings.
“One of the challenges in providing aged care services for those wishing to remain in their country is attracting and housing staff in remote locations, and this will help Star of the Sea to recruit staff from the whole Torres Strait.
“I’ve been lobbying for five years for new staff accommodation here – the previous building has been empty for several years and staff members have had to live in former patient rooms.
“The new accommodation will provide appropriate security, will be energy efficient and durable, locally sustainable and appropriate to the cultural and physical environment.
“This project will also provide employment opportunities in the Torres Strait.”
Minister Fifield said the Thursday Island project is part of a $9.4 million investment in critical staff accommodation in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.
“It’s vital that communities have access to quality, culturally-appropriate aged care services,” Minister Fifield said.
“This practical project will enable more people in the local communities to receive quality care in the Torres Strait, rather than travel long distances.”
The project is due for completion by 30 November 2017 and will involve demolition of the existing building, the construction of the new facilities, furnishings, fittings and landscaping.