9 February 2022
The NSW Government has stepped in to address critical housing stress faced by local and visiting frontline health workers, with a $15 million investment to deliver new modular accommodation close to key hospitals in Southern NSW.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole and Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor met with health workers on Wednesday 9 February at Cooma Hospital to talk about the difference this will make in attracting and retaining health workers in the region.
Mr Toole said the accommodation would provide high quality housing close to health facilities such as Cooma Hospital.
“It is essential that our regional and rural hospitals have comfortable, temporary accommodation to house visiting locums, students and other medical and nursing staff,” Mr Toole said.
“The region has experienced explosive growth off the back of new investments in Snowy 2.0 and upgrades to our hospitals and health facilities, and this has placed pressure on housing supply in the region. This investment will help tackle the issue.”
Mrs Taylor said the new accommodation was about taking care of the health workers devoted to caring for the local community.
“I’m thrilled to be here today to confirm that we will be delivering modern, sustainable accommodation for health workers in Cooma, to ensure we can attract and retain the health workers we need,” Mrs Taylor said.
“It’s no secret that housing availability is challenging in the Snowy Monaro, which is why the NSW Government is taking action to better support our frontline health staff.
“It is critical that we pave the way for the best and brightest health care workers to come to our rural and regional hospitals. In the Snowy Monaro that means providing the accommodation the region needs.”
Michelle Esler, Cooma Hospital’s new Director of Nursing and Midwifery, said she is currently living in the Hospital’s old nurses quarters as she is struggling to find a place to call home.
“Potential new staff are deterred by the issue of housing. New staff accommodation will ensure there are no barriers to bringing the best health workers to work in Cooma,” Ms Esler said.
Locations for staff accommodation will be announced following additional planning work which will take place this year.
Today’s announcement is part of a $500 million funding boost for rural and regional health services, announced last November.