RARMS has submitted a $1 million bid to the Murray Darling Basin Community Grants (Round 3) to create a Health, Education and Young People’s Hub in Collarenebri.
The bid has the support of Collarenebri Aboriginal Land Council, the Country Women’s Association (Collarenebri Branch) and Walgett Shire Council.
The funding bid will see the construction of an integrated health and wellness facility that will house RARMS medical, dental and allied health services; an after-school study centre for young people; dedicated training facilities to provide support towards a health career; a free gym and an Elders in Residence room on the main street of town.
“This is a forerunner of what we believe should be in every rural and remote town in Australia” said Mr Burdack, CEO of RARMS.
“We know that a major cause of poor health is lack of educational attainment and unemployment, which leads to poverty, inadequate housing and illness.
“Working with the local community, we agreed that we need to do more than treat people when they get sick. We need to stop people getting sick in the first place by addressing the preventable causes of poor health when people are young.
“We will be working with the Collarenebri Central School, TAFE and our University partners to expand opportunities for young people to gain experience of the broad range of high-paying health jobs and we will work with them to help support engagement in education and training.
“What we want to do is not just create the opportunities, but create the local jobs in health so that kids know that if they work hard and study, there will be a job waiting for them in Collarenebri in the health sector” said Mr Burdack.
Roslyn McGregor, Chair of the Local Aboriginal Land Council, has lived in Collarenebri all her life. She is a tireless advocate for change to address the inequality experienced by Aboriginal people.
“The RARMS Health Hub is a much-needed initiative for Collarenebri”, says McGregor.
“I support this program because it is a commitment of services to support our young people in overcoming the health, education and employment disadvantages that disproportionately affect our Aboriginal communities.
“By putting health and wellbeing at the forefront of people’s minds in the main street of Collarenebri, the RARMS health hub will create a space where our young people can take control of their own health and education.
Margaret Moore, President of the Collarenebri CWA, is excited about the opportunity. “It’s all about community. This facility – if funded – will give our community a place to build on our strengths, combat ill-health, and tackle our challenges together”, Mrs Moore said.
Walgett Shire Councillor Kellie Smith says there’s also an important economic development dimension. “The Community Health and Education Hub will bring new jobs, build economic capacity in our community and contribute towards establishing Collarenebri as a health and recreation tourism destination”, Councillor Smith said.
“This is a very strong bid that goes to the heart of building resilience in rural and remote communities. We hope that our local MPs get behind the bid and make this a top priority,” said Mr Burdack.
For further information ring Mark Burdack on 0418 974988.
PICTURE: Dr Julian - Resident-GP in Collarenebri for the last 4 years at the Smoking Ceremony to mark the start of RARMS new centre in Collarenebri.