The South West Aboriginal Medical Service has received a big boost in the federal budget, with funding allocated for a major facility upgrade.
$18.3 million was set aside on Tuesday night's budget announcement, honouring an election promise from the Labor government made in March.
Federal Labor Senator Sue Lines told the Mail at the time that SWAMS first approached her office five years ago in the hopes of receiving support.
"They've been spending $600,000 a year on rent, which is money that should be going into providing services, so this will allow them to do what they need to," Ms Lines said.
The funding will go a long way towards building a brand new heath hub for SWAMS in Carey Park on land donated to the project by the City of Bunbury.
SWAMS approached the State Government for further funding with a 1400-strong petition in 2020, but they are still waiting on a commitment before construction can start.
SWAMS chief executive Lesley Nelson said the hub would be a huge step forward for Noongar people.
"The Heath Hub will have an enormous positive impact on the heath and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in the south west," Ms Nelson said.
"This has been many years in the planning, involving local elders and community members to bring their vision to fruition."
SWAMS hopes the facility will ease pressure on other medical services in Bunbury by reducing emergency room presentations, and providing more targeted management of mental health patients.
The hub will also be able to host medical students on placement, and provide training for allied heath students, nurses, GP's and Aboriginal health practitioners.
"The development of this facility will support an overall improvement in the heath of Aboriginal people, which is one of the main Closing The Gap targets," Ms Nelson said.
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