The first stage of works to expand and create purpose-built facilities is underway at Launceston’s Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.
In a $1 million redevelopment of the Charles Street centre, the refurbishment will include four purpose-built consulting rooms for the health service’s doctors, nurses and workers.
Centre manager Lisa Coulson said the renovations for the first stage have started and were expected to be finished in November.
“Stage one will consist, as part of the Aboriginal Health Services, as an area for the counselling service and include a larger family counselling meeting room,” she said.
“It will be a more comfortable and supportive space for group counselling.”
Works will also create a purpose-built room for the delivery of an aged care program.
The Launceston centre houses the Aboriginal Health Service, an Aboriginal legal service, the palawa kani language workers and Aboriginal cultural workers.
Ms Coulson said the first of two stages would be the smallest.
When the rooms are built contractors will move to the larger task of refurbishing the clinical areas at the centre.
That work is expected to take seven months and involve building specialist consultation rooms and increasing the number of consulting rooms for GPs and medical specialists.
“This redevelopment, part of stage two, will bring the service into the 21st century,” Ms Coulson said.
She said the project had been split into several stages to avoid affecting service delivery.
The rooms will also facilitate visiting physiotherapy, paediatric and psychologist clinics.
Ms Coulson said it was vital to continue investment in Aboriginal health services to improve health outcomes.
Aboriginal Australians are more likely to be unemployed, die earlier and have lower numeracy and literacy rates than white Australians.
Ms Coulson hoped the Launceston centre’s focus on health would help improve quality of life.
There is no plan to increase the number of health professionals employed at the centre, but Ms Coulson said the service would re-evaluate opportunities when renovations were complete.