Funding boost for Cairns spinal support centre

Healthy Living CentreCairns will soon become the first regional location in Australia to have a centre specifically designed to support people with spinal cord damage.

The new Spinal Life Healthy Living Centre in Cairns is set to improve the quality of life for far north Queenslanders who are among the 12,000 Australians to live with some form of spinal cord injury.

The Queensland Government through the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) has pledged $3 million in support of the Centre.

The Centre will offer accessible accommodation and specialist services to support the health and wellbeing of people with spinal cord damage or other physical disabilities.

Construction on the project has been completed, with the finishing touches now underway before opening in early February next year.

Spinal Life Australia Chief Executive Officer Mark Townend thanked MAIC for its contribution, which is aimed at supporting the allied health services that will be offered through the Healthy Living Centre.

“MAIC has been a long-term supporter of Spinal Life Australia for many years, funding a range of projects, services and programs to improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord damage and other physical disabilities,” Mr Townend said.

“They also support our Spinal Education Awareness Team (SEAT) program which sees our volunteer presenters visit school students across Queensland to share their personal experience of sustaining spinal cord damage, as well as important safety messages.

“We’re incredibly grateful to MAIC for their support and are delighted that this has now extended to the innovative Healthy Living Centre in Cairns, which will bring specialist services closer to home for Far North Queensland.”

Insurance Commissioner Neil Singleton says MAIC is proud to support the new centre to help improve the lives of people with spinal cord injury.

“More than 12,000 Australians live with some form of serious spinal cord injury, and motor vehicle crashes are responsible for almost half of the injuries reported in Australia each year,” Mr Singleton explains.

“In addition to the impact this has on individuals and their families, the estimated cost to the Australian healthcare system and society is $2 billion per year.

“While we work hard to support road safety initiatives that prevent injuries on Queensland roads, we know that sadly, some motor vehicle crashes will still occur.

“That’s why we’re committed to partnering with organisations like Spinal Life Australia to improve health outcomes and reduce the effects of serious spinal cord injury.”

The Centre has been purpose-built with accessibility in mind, featuring short-term accommodation for transitional stays, respite and holidays, along with a gym and hydrotherapy pool, allied health services including occupational therapy and physiotherapy, a community café and more.

To find out more about the Healthy Living Centre, visit spinal.com.au/cairns.

Last modified 6 January 2020