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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 122

Mr McARTHUR (4:55 PM) —I wish to raise the matter of the Hesse Rural Health Service at Winchelsea and the Chelsea Lodge Hostel, which is a low-care aged-care facility. I put on record that the Hesse Rural Health Service provides wonderful services for rural people in the electorate of Corangamite. It emerged from the original Winchelsea hospital and was developed to provide district nursing and other medical facilities for some of those smaller rural townships in the centre of Corangamite.

Hesse Rural Health Service has been conducted by a very vigorous and hardworking voluntary local committee. Over the years, they have been very much part of this facility’s success. Following the development of Hesse Rural Health Service, Chelsea Lodge was developed as an aged-care facility with 21 beds. I well recall early in my time as the member for Corangamite that there was a very strong fundraising effort by the local people. I remember that Joe Kelly was president, and it was a fantastic effort by the locals. They did not have a lot of money at that time, during the difficulties of the 1980s, but they put huge funds together to develop Chelsea Lodge.

This facility in the local community of Winchelsea and surrounding townships is working well, but we now have a proposition to add to the 21 low-care beds. A further 10 dementia-specific beds have been approved, so they need some more money. The local committee have found some funds, and they have put a proposition to both state and federal governments that a further $300,000 would help the project.

Mr Speaker, you would be interested to know that my cousin Colin McArthur died at the age of 101. Some of the McArthurs live for a long while, and Colin McArthur was a well-known identity in my family. He spent his last three or four years in Chelsea Lodge, and he very much appreciated the wonderful services of the nurses who looked after him in his last three or four years.

The development of the dementia-specific wing has, the last I heard, begun. But further funding would make sure that the 31 beds—21 plus the extra 10 beds—would make the operation more efficient and effective. As you know, Mr Speaker, some of these aged-care facilities are now looking at from 60 up to 100 beds to make them efficient in terms of funding from the Commonwealth government. I have been a very strong supporter of this proposition.

John Carr, the president of the local committee, has lobbied me over a number of months—almost years—on this project. The committee are well known to me. They are very conscientious in (1) looking after the aged-care facility and (2) providing a range of medical services to people of the Winchelsea district. It is a very commendable project. I have approached the government to see if we can get some further funding to complete this aged-care facility. It is of a very high quality and it is well designed. It has a very good ethos and connection to the local community, and I think the residents feel they are at home in Winchelsea when they spend their last few years there, either at the low-care level or in the high-care level beds.

So I support Chelsea Lodge in Winchelsea. It is a wonderful project and I have been supporting them for some time. I am hopeful that the government will support a very worthwhile project in Corangamite and that it can be a symbol of what can be done with not a lot of money, with community support, with state government support and with federal government support in looking after our older residents who have lived in the country all their lives and do not want to go to Ballarat, Geelong or Hamilton but would like to remain in their local community. So I strongly support the proposition and hope that I can persuade the government to assist them with further funding for their dementia-specific project.

The SPEAKER —Order! It being 5 pm, the debate is interrupted.