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CQUni collaborates with Central West region to repurpose the ‘old’ Blackall Hospital

Published:04 September 2019

CQUni reps meeting Blackall locals: L-R are Desley Pidgeon (CQU), Bec Manns (Sport and Recreation Officer, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council), Dr Susan Williams (CQU), Deb Power (CQU), Dr Mel Hayman (CQU), Judy Murray (Blackall resident), and Andrew Martin (Mayor, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council).

CQUniversity is helping ensure there is plenty of consultation and assessment of community needs as plans progress for the redevelopment of the 'old' Blackall Hospital.

The old facility will have a fresh life once construction of the new hospital is complete.

The consortium involved in exploring options for the old hospital involves CQUniversity, The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland), Central West Health and Hospital Service, and Blackall-Tambo Regional Council.

RFDS has provided $750 000 for CQUni's 'Blackall-Tambo and Beyond' project team, led by Dr Susan Williams and Dr Mel Hayman, to conduct a feasibility study and conduct pilot projects.

Their focus is on 'Collaborating with the Central West to Re-purpose the ‘old’ Blackall Hospital'.

"The CQUni team leading the feasibility study recently attended the Better in Blackall Festival to meet with community members across the shire, develop initial understanding of the community’s vision for their local hospital and get people talking about their needs, wants and desires for future use of the old Blackall Hospital," says Dr Williams.

"The CQUni team are very grateful to the community for their hospitality and openness in talking about their connections with the hospital and the hospital’s connection with their community. During their visit they felt the overwhelming community pride and willingness to share their stories with visitors."

Dr Hayman says future visits to Blackall and Tambo will be conducted by the CQUni team in September, October and November this year, with a range of community engagement activities planned.

"In the meantime, the CQUni team are eager to receive feedback from as many Blackall-Tambo community members as possible and want everyone to feel able to have their say," Dr Hayman says.

Community members can register interest to be involved in group discussions and activities or individual interviews that will be conducted face-to-face in the community, online or via the telephone.

All people living in Blackall, Tambo and the surrounding district can register their interest via https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BTBRegisterInterest . The CQUni team contacts are btb@cqu.edu.au or (07) 4930 6456.

"The CQUni team encourages you to think outside the box and see the building as a multi-purpose centre that will provide something for everyone into the future," Dr Williams says.

"Things to consider are: what do I/we need in relation to health, education, training, economic development, tourism, digital connectivity, workforce, service delivery? What would I/we do if starting from scratch?"