Nursing home decision on backburner ... again
THE committee trying to build a nursing home in Mossman has expressed frustration their request for a donation from Cairns Regional Council has been “ignored” for another month.
The Mossman District Nursing Home Committee asked council last November to hand over the 2.5ha block of land on Johnson Rd, purchased by the Douglas Shire Council specifically for a nursing home.
The committee thinks owning the deed to the land will allow the organisation to mount a commercial business case and win bank funding for a 42-bed residential care facility.
Marj Norris, the chair of the Mossman District Nursing Home Incorporated, said she is frustrated at the lack of a response from council.
“This is a tardy response to our request to be granted the land which was bought by the people of Douglas for the people,” Ms Norris said.
Ms Norris said it was unlikely a private corporation would build and operate a nursing home, given the low returns expected.
“No one seems to be taking up the challenge on aged care,” she said.
“It’s no surprise really, returns on investment are long-term and very poor.
“However, we are desperately short of fulfilling our obligations to our ageing population.”
The non-profit group’s previous commercial partners walked away from the project when the global financial crisis began to bite.
Providers of aged care have been reluctant to expand their services in a climate where 40 per cent are reported to be operating at a loss and the average return on investment is a paltry 1.1 per cent.
Ms Norris said there was a large and growing local population of senior citizens who would prefer to stay in the local community.
Demographic trends outlined at the Australian Coastal Council Conference last week are expected to double the population of non-metro coastal councils over the next 40 years, at the same time as the Australian population ages rapidly.
Division 10 councillor Julia Leu said she supported the MDNHI request to be granted freehold over the block of land next to the Mossman hospital.
“We need to remember the land was purchased by the former Douglas Shire Council specifically to be used as an aged care facility in response to the community desire at the time,” she said.
“In my opinion, that support is stronger than ever.
“At this stage I don’t know what will be recommended but I certainly hope that council will agree to the committee’s request.”
– Marj Norris