As most residents would already be aware, the Australian Government is funding a project to develop a business case for a new health and aged care facility on Norfolk Island.
I would like to thank the many local community groups and residents who shared their health and aged care views and experiences during last week’s community consultation meetings and events to inform the revision of the Health Service Plan for Norfolk Island. This plan is an essential element for a business case to fund new facilities as it will describe the Island’s current and expected service needs.
Last week’s consultations provided the project team with an even greater appreciation of the Island’s health and aged care needs and an understanding of the expense and disruption to family life caused when people are required to travel long distances to access services. The community’s support and openness in sharing their experiences was much appreciated.
I encourage any interested residents that were unable to attend one of the consultation sessions to contribute prior to the 21 February closing date. The Community Feedback Form, in the Discussion Paper, is available at /territories/norfolk_island/norfolk_island_health_services/Multipurpose-Health-Services-Facility-Project.aspx. All submissions will be treated in confidence to ensure that privacy is respected. Personal information is not being sought as part of your submission, although any received will be collected in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.
The community will be kept informed and consulted as the project develops. The next opportunity for public input will be when the draft health services plan is released for public consultation. I will provide further information about the public consultation process in due course.
Subject to Government approval, the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities will engage a company to prepare design options for a new facility. Opportunities for community engagement and consultation will be provided throughout the design phase to ensure the proposal submitted for funding has strong community support for the new facility, is sympathetic to the local environment and respects the Island’s culture. I expect design consultation to commence later this year.
It is important that we all understand there are still some hurdles to jump before funding can be approved and several years before the new health and aged care facilities are constructed on Norfolk Island. However, I am confident this community will continue to engage in this project with openness to create a facility that everyone can feel proud of.