OPINION: New aged care home is a win-win
THE arrival of Ozcare's new home should be a celebration for the region.
It brings two things we desperately need - aged care beds, and jobs.
The Wide Bay has been behind the eight ball for many years when it comes to the number of aged care places available.
Back in 2012, then-Member for Hinkler Paul Neville described the situation as a crisis, when the region was about 430 beds short of meeting demand.
It made our region the third-worst in Australia when it came to the ratio of aged care beds, to the number of people aged 70 or over.
Since then, the figures for available beds have not changed substantially, yet the need has continued to grow.
There have been boosts to in-home care, but there comes a point in many lives where that simply is not enough.
Anxious families are faced with a genuine struggle to find care for their loved ones who have become too frail to live at home.
To have an extra 160 beds opening soon is a huge benefit, not just to those who have been waiting to get a place but also to another 100 people who will join the staff, with a wide variety of jobs on offer.
It also means that for the young people who are studying nursing or aged care at our local university, USQ, now have more options to stay in the region when they graduate.
This is not a silver bullet, and the aged care crisis is not over.
But it's still a positive step forward.