STOKED: Murroona Gardens residents are jumping for joy following the approval of 14 new residential aged care places. Pictured are Murroona Gardens CEO Greg Pollard, Gary Martin, Dawson MP George Christensen, Ruth Morton, Ross Meyer, director of nursing Megan Murray, Kevin Baxter, Adrian Tilney and Michael Reinke.
STOKED: Murroona Gardens residents are jumping for joy following the approval of 14 new residential aged care places. Pictured are Murroona Gardens CEO Greg Pollard, Gary Martin, Dawson MP George Christensen, Ruth Morton, Ross Meyer, director of nursing Megan Murray, Kevin Baxter, Adrian Tilney and Michael Reinke.

Federal support results in bed capacity increase at Murroona

BOWEN'S aged care sector has received a significant boost after a Federal Government funding announcement that will lift the resident capacity of Murroona Gardens.

A total of 14 new residential aged care places, worth more than $900,000 a year, have been approved by the Federal Government.

Murroona Gardens CEO Greg Pollard said the facility's biggest challenge in recent years has been occupancy rates, which are currently the highest on record.

He said the new licences would relive the pressure.

"Once our stage three works are done, this will allow us to take another 14 patients into care, so that's the biggest benefit," he said.

"The licences are controlled by the Department of Health and we've got a licence for 90 beds and can't go above that.

"With the extra 14 beds we can now legally have 104 residents in our care."

The announcement comes amid a major three-stage redevelopment of the facility worth upwards of $12 million. The new beds will be placed in the  Wattle Wing of Murroona Gardens, which will undergo renovations and modernised to include a day therapy area and a cafe.

The renovation makes up stage three of the project, which will begin this year.

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The Member for Dawson George Christensen, who along with Aged Care minister Ken Wyatt, recently met with the Murroona Gardens board, said there was a need for more aged care services in rural areas such as Bowen.

He said as of last week the licences had been approved and will be delivered this financial year.

"It means not just greater financial stability, but 14 more elderly residents who most likely will be from Bowen or Collinsville who will be able to stay in their local region where they grew up, which is the most important thing," he said.

Mr Christensen said the work and dedication of the Murroona Gardens board would see the facility rated as one of the best aged care centres in the nation.

"They've had a plan in place about how to take what was an ageing facility up to modern standards and this time next year this entire place will be like a resort," he said.

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