Com­mon­wealth comes to the ta­ble with cash for units

Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE - By James Ben­nett

The num­ber of in­de­pen­dent liv­ing units avail­able at Fin­ley’s Alu­muna devel­op­ment could treble with more than $1.25 mil­lion in Federal Gov­ern­ment fund­ing al­lo­cated to the fa­cil­ity this week.

Fin­ley Re­gional Care was named as a re­cip­i­ent un­der round two of the Com­mon­wealth’s Build­ing Bet­ter Re­gions Fund on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

Its CEO Ben Levesque said the grant rep­re­sents half the cost of the en­tire $2.5 mil­lion project, and comes as con­struc­tion works un­der stage one move into their fi­nal stages.

Six in­de­pen­dent liv­ing units are ex­pected to be com­plete and ready for res­i­dents by the end of this year as part of stage one.

This week’s an­nounce­ment could fund up to 12 new units.

Mr Levesque said this fund­ing, and the project as a whole, will have a huge im­pact on lo­cal em­ploy­ment and the lo­cal econ­omy.

‘‘Alu­muna will cre­ate 48 jobs dur­ing the build and 10 ex­tra jobs on com­ple­tion, pro­duc­ing $3 mil­lion in ex­pected flow on ben­e­fits to Ber­ri­gan Shire,’’ Mr Levesque said.

‘‘We’re us­ing lo­cal trades­peo­ple to build at least 16 dwellings over the next 12 to 18 months, which will con­trib­ute to the lo­cal econ­omy.

‘‘The six star-rated, en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly homes are de­signed within Live­able Hous­ing De­sign Guide­lines, which meet the chang­ing needs of home oc­cu­pants across their life­time.

‘‘The units also source their own power us­ing so­lar gen­er­a­tion and bat­tery stor­age.”

Ber­ri­gan Shire gen­eral man­ager Rowan Perkins said the coun­cil was also ex­cited by the prospects the fund­ing and the devel­op­ment could pro­vide for the com­mu­nity.

‘‘The coun­cil con­grat­u­lates the board and ex­ec­u­tive of Fin­ley Re­gional Care in se­cur­ing grant fund­ing from the Build­ing Bet­ter Re­gions fund,’’ Mr Perkins said.

‘‘This fund­ing will help pro­vide a wider range of qual­ity care op­tions for Fin­ley and the wider com­mu­nity, and im­por­tantly help di­ver­sify the lo­cal econ­omy and pro­vide an ex­panded range of em­ploy­ment op­tions,’’ Mr Perkins said.

The Alu­muna devel­op­ment was an­nounced by Fin­ley Re­gional Care in Septem­ber last year, when the civil con­struc­tion con­tract was awarded to Craw­fords in Tocumwal and the build­ing con­tract to Kennedy Builders in Mul­wala.

Work be­gan later in 2017, with the units be­ing con­structed on an eight-hectare block of land be­hind Fin­ley Hos­pi­tal in Scoullar St.

The block is large enough to ac­com­mo­date up to 50 units and a ser­viced apart­ment block.

The com­plex will also in­clude a stand­alone pow­ered ‘mini grid’ with bat­tery and gen­er­a­tor back-up, en­sur­ing elec­tric­ity fees are kept to a min­i­mum for res­i­dents.

In an­nounc­ing the fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion on Mon­day, Federal Mem­ber for Far­rer Sus­san Ley said the sav­ings that will be pro­vided to res­i­dents who live at Alu­muna is one of the project’s great ad­van­tages.

‘‘This is a re­ally im­por­tant devel­op­ment, al­low­ing Fin­ley Re­gional Care to pro­vide low-cost, af­ford­able hous­ing to se­niors from our lo­cal area,’’ she said.

‘‘The units pro­vide res­i­dents with in­de­pen­dent liv­ing in main­te­nance-free, safe ac­com­mo­da­tion in a car­ing com­mu­nity, mean­ing our older cit­i­zens can be cared for in their own home as long as they wish to be there.’’

The tar­get mar­ket for Alu­muna will be peo­ple aged 55 and over and the units will be ‘‘mo­bil­ity friendly’’.

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