Dental lab offers ‘whole new industry’: minister

Construction of the $5.33 million Latrobe Valley University Training Clinic and Dental Prosthetic Laboratory being delivered by Latrobe Community Health Service in Churchill is well underway.

State Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford inspected the progress of the facility on Monday.

Ms Pulford said the lab would fill a gap in the market by providing “a whole new industry for Gippsland” and creating new exports.

“This is exactly the kind of new industry this region needs,” she said.

Ms Pulford said the project would create 38 local jobs and provide quality health services for people in the region.

“There is a persistent gap in health outcomes for rural communities,” Ms Pulford said.

“Dental health is so important for people’s wellbeing.”

LCHS chief executive Ben Leigh said the facility was being built by a local construction company and was “on budget and on time”.

“This will provide jobs and services…. to increase GP and allied health services from this site,” Mr Leigh said.

The facility will include a specialist laboratory to make dental prosthetics; three dental surgeries and consultation rooms for physiotherapy, podiatry and counselling; workspaces and offices to accommodate up to 35 staff, students and academics.

The State Government has contributed $1.9 million for the project and the Commonwealth has invested $2.6 million through its National Stronger Regions Fund.

Federation University and RMIT are project partners.

The facility will provide opportunities for teaching and research collaboration and specialist medical services to 3000 Federation University students and more than 920 staff.

The facility is expected to be finished by the end of the year.