New James Cook University health laboratory in the Torres Strait

An expansion of health facilities is leading to skilling and employment opportunities for the Torres Strait and Far North Queensland.

The Palaszczuk Government’s third investment in biosecurity and research was opened today by Ministerial Champion for the Torres Strait Shannon Fentiman.

James Cook University’s Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) research laboratory on Thursday Island caps off a $62.83 million rollout of three new north Queensland research centres, including an additional two in Townsville and Cairns.

“This new laboratory will provide job and training opportunities in the region and see ongoing research and training in the fight against infectious and vector-borne disease,” Ms Fentiman said.

“The $6.33 million laboratory is positioned next to the major employer and health training centre on Thursday Island, the Torres Strait Hospital.”

“The dual purpose facility will continue to deliver critical skills training for jobs in the health sector and will see Thursday Island health professionals and staff collaborate with visiting researchers.”

The Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service is responsible for the health services of approximately 25,000 people widely spread across Cape York, the Northern Peninsula Area and the Torres Strait Islands.

“The health service offers clinical practice experiences to undergraduate and postgraduate nursing and midwifery students from all Australian universities and registered training organisations including TAFE Queensland,” Ms Fentiman said.

TAFE Queensland’s Thursday Island campus offers intermediate-level Certificate IV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care.

“A certificate IV provides training to assist with delivery of supervised clinical care. It also trains students to understand the disease process and the treatment process,” Ms Fentiman said.

Tomorrow evening the Thursday Island campus is hosting a graduation ceremony for 19 Certificate IV in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care and 16 Certificate II in Health Support Services VET in Schools students.

Each of the 19 certificate IV students completed 500 hours of vocation work at health facilities throughout the Torres Strait to complete their certificate.

Cape York featured strongly in the Tropical North Queensland Regional Finals of the 2018 Queensland Training Awards.

“It was great to have Gilmore Bon, from Mer Island, named Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year, and Philimina Wosomo, from Saibai Island, awarded the Vocational Student of the Year, along with a number of other finalists from the Torres Strait Islands.”

In addition to the new laboratory, the Palaszczuk Government is investing in the Torres Strait, including a $36 million dollar redevelopment of the Thursday Island Hospital.

“This development will support approximately 125 construction jobs, on top of the critical health sector jobs we are creating in the Torres Strait,” Ms Fentiman said.

The projects will also fall under the Queensland Government Building and Construction Training Policy which requires contractors to employ apprentices and trainees and undertake other workforce training as a mandated component of being awarded work on eligible Queensland Government projects.

Minister Fentiman recently announced a partnership with private sector providers to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander small business owners access to the tools and knowledge they need to start, grow and employ.

“We are engaging six organisations, with contracts worth more than $140,000,” Ms Fentiman said.

“These organisations will deliver targeted workshops and other training in the next year in Thursday Island, Burketown, Normanton, Cairns, Townsville and south east Queensland.”

These industry partnerships are part of the Palaszczuk Government’s Advancing Indigenous Business initiative, under the $22.7 million Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy.

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