Medical centre search continues

THE use of the old Allora shire council offices as a medical practice has been all but ruled out, with the Southern Downs Regional Council resolving earlier this week to help search for Commonwealth funding to build a new structure.

Mayor Ron Bellingham said yesterday the cost to build a new facility was in the vicinity of what it would cost to refurbish the old offices.

Either way, he said the Southern Downs Regional Council would not be able to fund the entire amount.

Cr Bellingham is in Canberra today for a conference, and said he would endeavour to meet with Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott to discuss the issue before returning to Warwick tomorrow.

“Council agrees that it is a matter of urgency that the Allora community has access to a doctor, but there are facilities already there, and the indication to the council was that the doctors that are interested will be prepared to use the old facilities ahead of a new facility being made,” he said.

“No matter which way we go, it is beyond council; the costs are quite considerable.

“That’s the problem for council, there would have to be outside funding made available for either scenario to proceed.”

Cr Bellingham said he wanted to personally bring Mr Scott up to speed, as the Federal Member initiated the discussion with the Mayor about possibly utilising the old council chambers.

“It’s out of courtesy that I feel it’s important we keep him informed of the latest issues,” he said.

Allora Medical Services Task Force chairman Job Constable yesterday told the Daily News they had some preliminary designs for buildings which could be used if they started on a Greenfields site.

Mr Constable said he appreciated the cost pressures council were under, and said it did not surprise him that they would not be able to fully fund any potential project. He said the task force had been in discussions with two local doctors, but said it was imperative a new or refurbished facility was built in order to attract doctors to stay long-term or into the future.

“We have a design of a building that can be put on a vacant piece of land, council will help us apply to the Federal Government,” Mr Constable said.

“It looks like getting these old buildings up to speed for a modern medical practice requires a lot of work.

“We’ve been talking to a couple of building designers and we’ve got a design that the doctors appear happy with.”

Mr Constable said the next step was to apply for Federal Government funding.

“Hopefully if we can get something in this first round of funding we’ll know by Christmas. That’s if everything falls into place,” he said.

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