Central Highlands Regional Council threw its support behind Central Queensland’s doctors and key health staff during the council meeting this week.
Mayor Kerry Hayes said he had received credible advice that the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Services (CQHHS) is ceasing the provision of housing and subsidies on accommodation for some key heath workers in the region.
‘My understanding is that some doctors will actually have to leave their accommodation and fend for themselves by 31 December 2020,’ the mayor said.
‘While I acknowledge this issue sits firmly with the Queensland Government and the CQHHS, the councillors and I feel strongly enough about the issue to make our position known publicly.
‘This move would appear to be counterproductive to any strategy to attract and keep health professionals in rural and regional areas,’ the mayor explained.
‘It’s absolutely critical to get enthusiastic and qualified people out here and to take away an important incentive is difficult to comprehend.
‘Supply of housing and rental accommodation fluctuates in towns like Emerald because of the nature of the mining industry and is often in short supply.
‘Council itself recognised the need for affordable housing and formed the Central Highlands (Qld) Housing Company Limited in 2012 to address the issue.
‘The timing of this announcement in itself defies logic,’ the mayor added.
‘Here we are in the midst of a global pandemic where doctors and health professionals are going above and beyond for their communities; working long hours; adapting to new ways of delivering their services; and without doubt trying to manage their own mental health and that of their staff.
‘Having this ultimatum added, and in this fashion, does not sit well with our community.’
The mayor has written to the CQHHS regional director to make the council’s position known and to offer any assistance if possible. The LNP Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar tabled the matter in the Queensland Parliament on 16 July 2020 where the Minister for Health Dr Steven Miles undertook to seek further information from the CQHHS.