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Friday, 5 December 1986
Page: 3502

Senator REYNOLDS —Will the Minister for Community Services report on new decentralisation procedures involving the Townsville rehabilitation centre in offering better services throughout north Queensland? How will community use of this centre be managed following the major restructuring of rehabilitation in this region?

Senator GRIMES —Townsville will retain its rehabilitation unit to service the rehabilitation needs of Townsville and its immediate area. It will also have a specialist services unit which will provide specialist needs for people with more severe disabilities. Following a suggestion by Senator Reynolds and the local member, the Department of Community Services approached the City Council in Townsville, which has agreed to manage the four residential units located at the periphery of the rehabilitation centre, the Vincent Centre, as part of its emergency accommodation program. It will agree to continue its assistance with the rehabilitation centre by providing accommodation in the community for those who undertake rehabilitation and who need that accommodation.

We are also establishing a regional centre for the Department of Community Services in Townsville to serve the north Queensland area and this will also be located in the Vincent Centre. This will mean that matters such as child care, aged people's accommodation, all the residential programs, home and community care and supported accommodation as well as rehabilitation and disability will have a centre in Townsville. We will no longer have to refer everything to Brisbane. The Department will have this regional presence. It has been easy to do because of the co-operation of the local Council in Townsville. We will also consider moving the artificial limb facilities into the Centre so that we have a central operation for community services and care for the disabled in Townsville. Senator Reynolds and Mr Lindsay, the local member, have been very helpful in making suggestions. As I have said, the Council has been very co-operative. As a result of that very soon we will have a north Queensland centre for the Department which is important in that decentralised State.