Giant step forward

WORK towards a planned new university training clinic in Churchill can commence quickly following today’s announcement of Federal Government funding for the project.

Welcoming news of a $4 million commitment to the $6.7 million project, Latrobe Community Health Service chief executive Ben Leigh said the clinic would be a “giant step forward in developing new industry and training in the Latrobe Valley and diversifying the local economy”.

Federal Regional Services Minister Catherine King said the LCHS project would help train medical and allied health professionals in the region and a planned new dental prosthetics laboratory, as part of the project, would help with “highly skilled jobs provision” in the Valley.

“This is great news for Latrobe and Gippsland,” Mr Leigh said, adding the dental laboratory would become a “key centre for the export of knowledge-based services as well as the manufacture of dental prosthetics”.

“This project is about rural health, rural training and rural jobs.”

Mr Leigh said discussions with Monash University and other universities on research and training components of the project could also now be finalised.

“I expect this facility will influence the future planning of tertiary education in the region,” he said.

The total project will involve the expansion and redevelopment of LCHS’s existing Churchill site, creating construction jobs in the process.

Mr Leigh said it was anticipated the new prosthetics, health clinic and training activities would create 41 ongoing jobs.

“The prosthetics manufacturing facility will be new to the region and will supply and export dental prosthetics,” Mr Leigh said.

“The original concept for the Latrobe Valley University Training Clinic emerged from regional discussions on improving local education and training, attracting new industries to the area, and attracting more health and dental practitioners to regional areas.

“This project puts all those ideas into practice.”