Work has begun to construct a $7 million palliative care facility for terminally ill people in Hervey Bay.
The new purpose-built Fraser Coast Hospice will provide 24-hour home-like accommodation, professional and compassionate care to clients at the end of their life, and bereavement care to their families.
Federal Member for Hinkler and Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, on behalf of the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, represented the Australian Government at a sod-turning event to commemorate the start of construction.
Minister Hunt said terminally ill patients would receive specialised end-of-life care in an alternative setting from their home or hospital.
“This is a place where people at the end of their life can receive the expert and compassionate care they need,” Minister Hunt said.
“Staff will support and guide patients and their families through the most difficult of times, and ensure each and every person is treated with dignity and grace.”
Minister Pitt said palliative care in the region had been a concern of his for some time.
“All Australians deserve to get the highest quality care in their own community. For the people of the Hervey Bay region, the new hospice means they can get the best care and support close to their family and loved ones,” Minister Pitt said.
“The hospice will also provide employment opportunities during construction and in operation. And through partnerships with the local education sector, allied health, nursing and personal carer students can do placements.”
Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, Nola Marino, said the project was an important part of the Hinkler Regional Deal’s vision for Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and its surrounds.
“Ensuring we continue to build strong and cohesive local communities is an important focus of the Hinkler Regional Deal, and the Fraser Coast Hospice will ensure the region can continue to support the whole community locally,” Assistant Minister Marino said.
Mayor of Fraser Coast, George Seymour, said Council was pleased to bring this facility to the Fraser Coast and support the association through a peppercorn lease of land on Urraween Road.
“This is a really significant day for the Fraser Coast as we continue to ensure we have the range of medical and support services our region needs,” Mayor Seymour said.
“I am pleased that collectively, we have been able to make this important hospice facility a reality, and that Council was able to support the association through a peppercorn lease of land near our medical precinct.”
This project is part of the $260 million Hinkler Regional Deal between the Australian Government and Fraser Coast Regional Council and Bundaberg Regional Council.
The six-bed hospice is expected to open in mid-2021.