New wellness centre a major win for St George community

10 Apr 2024

Most people would know St George as a small country town, located in southern Queensland.

Situated in the Shire of Balonne, the rural town is home to approximately 700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with a general population of over 3,000.

And today, the town is celebrating a major triumph – it is now home to a specialised wellbeing centre for First Nations peoples, called the St George Community Wellbeing Centre.

Managed by Goondir Health Services, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service, the centre is the first of its kind – not only within the area, but across wider Queensland.

An official opening ceremony was held today, which included a Welcome to Country and Digeridoo performance, with various speeches from project partners.

The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) proudly invested almost $2 million into the centre, which will host over 35 health and wellbeing programs and activities for First Nations peoples.

These include cultural development, youth engagement, female empowerment, fitness classes as well as education on nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle.

The centre will look to tackle multiple health issues which currently impact the community, such as high rates of smoking, obesity, alcohol intake and chronic diseases.

This means the centre will no doubt be a game-changer for the community.

Goondir Health Services Executive Clinical Services, Dr Vlad Matic has welcomed the opening of the St George Community Wellbeing Centre with open arms.

“It’s facilities such as this that address the health and social determinants of health care that makes my job as a GP much easier,” said Dr Matic.

These views were echoed by Goondir Health Services Chief Executive Officer, Floyd Leedie, who reiterated the importance of holistic health care.

“A holistic approach to delivering health care services avoid the ill-fated silo approach to remedying our Mob’s issues,” said Mr Leedie.

“And that’s what this centre is all about – making it easier for those seeking health care services and making it easier for those delivering the health care services.

“I’d also like to express my thanks to our project partners who have made this possible for our community.”

ILSC Group Chief Executive Officer, Joe Morrison, reflected on Goondir’s significant achievement.

“We are stronger when we partner with the community. The ILSC’s investment in this project demonstrates our ongoing commitment to Goondir and an acknowledgement of the importance of health care services for First Nations peoples, no matter their geographical location,” said Mr Morrison.

“I look forward to seeing the many positive health and wellbeing outcomes the St George Community Wellbeing Centre will deliver for the local Indigenous communities.

“Congratulations to the Goondir team. Your endless efforts towards this project are now coming to fruition.”

Ahead of the centre’s opening, Goondir closely consulted with St George locals, service providers and supporting organisations – whose response has been overwhelmingly positive.

From left to right: Gary White (Goondir Health Services Chairperson), Kathryn Morton (Operations Manager – Eastern Division ILSC) and Floyd Leedie (Goondir Health Services CEO)

Share this post