IWC GM Wayne Mulvany, Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and IWC CEO Ara Harathunian announce the funding.
IWC GM Wayne Mulvany, Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and IWC CEO Ara Harathunian announce the funding. SImon Young

407 JOBS: Federal funding a boost for Bundy employment

A PUBLIC campaign for funds has reaped dividends for the IWC and Bundaberg with the Federal Government announcing a $7.4 million injection for the organisation yesterday.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the money from the Building Better Regions Fund would cover 50% of the $14.8 million cost of Stage 2 of the IWC Health & Wellbeing Centre.

"Residents in the Bundaberg region will receive great benefits from this project, including more GPs, nurses, health and support workers, as well as access to additional allied health professionals and specialists,” Mr Pitt said.

"IWC have stated the Stage 2 project will create 407 full time equivalent positions and IWC will work with local business and industry to main and operate the facility.

"We've fought long and hard for this project and it's so great to see it delivered.

"The Building Better Regions Fund received more than 500 applications and ours was one of about 100 which were approved,” MrPitt said.

IWC General Manager Wayne Mulvany said the news, delivered by Mr Pitt, was very welcome.

"IWC is delighted to have received this $7.4 million in dollar-for-dollar funding from the Federal Coalition Government for the Stage 2 expansion project.

"We do currently have waiting lists for many of our services delivered within the IWC Health & Wellbeing Centre, including our GPs, but with the expansion of the Centre we will be able to build the numbers of GPs, Allied Health services and other essential programs.

"The Stage 2 expansion is a $19.8 million project, and IWC has already invested a large amount of our its money in getting the project 'shovel ready' in line with the requirements of the Building Better Regions Funding critieria. This has to date included buying and clearing the sites, which are adjacent to Stage 1 of the Centre, and gaining the required permissions.

Mr Mulvany paid special thanks to the 1630 members of the community who, at very short notice, rallied behind IWC to sign a petition supporting the community organisation's Building Better Regions Funding submission.

"These signatures were gathered in just three weeks, at very short notice, and we want to thank each and every person who signed the petition to show the high level of community need for this Stage 2 expansion. Our thanks also to the many well-wishers who have voiced their strong support right across our communities,” he said

Mr Mulvany said the Federal Government and local community would get major value for money through the delivery of the funding.

"IWC consults widely at the grassroots level around the real needs of our communities, and that is the secret to our success as an Aboriginal community-controlled organisation that works hard for all people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, across one of the most disadvantaged regions in Australia,” he said.

According to the Government's SEIFA (Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas), 82.6 per cent of our population in Bundaberg and Wide Bay Burnett covered by IWC services are disadvantaged or very disadvantaged.

Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said she created the Building Better Regions Fund to help build strong communities for decades to come.

"I aim to help build the kinds of regional communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to, and projects like this one do exactly that,” Minister Nash said.

"After a competitive merit-based selection process, there are always those who were not successful and are naturally disappointed. We know this and we've got dedicated staff in the Department of Industry to give tailored feedback to each unsuccessful applicant to help improve those applications for next time. They can be contacted on”

Minister Nash said she expected to open another round of BBRF before the end of the year.

Minister Nash will announce the successful applicants for funding under the BBRF's Community Investments Stream - for projects designed to support a range of local capability-building activities - in the coming months.

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