Cobar miners subsidise medical centre

Three mine operators in western New South Wales will subsidise half the rent of Cobar’s Primary Health Centre.

The Outback Division of General Practice asked the council to contribute $30 000 a year to help meet rising electricity charges and rent, the ABC reports.

Mayor Lilliane Brady confirms four organisations have agreed to each contribute $5 000.

She says the $20,000 contribution will be ongoing.

"We’ll do that every year and as more mines come into Cobar it’ll become less," she said.

"Say next year there’s a new mine going ahead at Nymagee one at Canbelego, well they will come in and then our contributions will be less."

Brady told the ABC it is essential the medical centre remains open.
"We can’t afford to have it closed.

"It’s just an important service in town and Cobar’s very fortunate to have four doctors in our town so it’s something we have to do but I think this is as far as we can go they’ll have to manage on this now."

The Chief Executive of the Outback Division of GP’s, Stuart Gordon has welcomed the changes.

"Just the reality is I think it’s a centre that ultimately breaks even," he said.

"It needs to be subsidised both through the division and other people like council to make it a more attractive option.

"If you have to pass costs on then ultimately you have to charge someone and we’re trying to avoid that."

He says the centre is structured to maximise access to services.
"It’s actually a primary health care centre that has a range of different services and many of those services need to be subsidised.

"And at the moment the Division really doesn’t receive any funds to support general practice over there in Cobar and this support from council helps organisations like ours to make this a more sustainable service delivery model," he said.

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