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Pat Conaghan MP

Health careers brighter with new $12M building

The $12 million Health Sciences building at Southern Cross University opened today heralding a new era of sophistication in allied health training and greater opportunities for students.

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said the new building would help boost the reputation of the Coffs Harbour education precinct and provide more jobs in the Coffs education sector.

“Our strategy is to play to our economic strengths and realise our opportunities and the new Health Sciences building achieves exactly that for the Coffs Coast,” he said.

“Already Coffs has an impressive education precinct, with Southern Cross University, TAFE, a senior college and National Marine Science Centre all nestled alongside an airport and international stadium.

“We have built on this strength through investing $12 million for the Health Science building and I am excited by the jobs and new opportunities it will provide to domestic and international students.”

The Southern Cross University Health Sciences building was conceived in 2016. Construction started in 2018 through funding from the Australian Government’s Community Development Grants program, creating 21 full-time equivalent jobs, plus a further 20 ongoing jobs.

Southern Cross University’s School of Health and Human Science currently has 625 students enrolled to study and employs 49 staff. Two new full-time staff members have started with the school to deliver the new Occupational Therapy (OT) training in the OT lab in this new building.

First-year OT student, Sophie Cameron, said the OT lab was top-class.

“The OT lab is spacious, so it makes it easier to use hoists and tilt wheelchairs and other tools we use in occupational therapy,” she said.

“The kitchen benches in this room literally move up and down to different heights on the wall for ease of use by someone in a wheelchair. We want to make sure people aren’t held back by their injury and this facility helps us to see how we can do that.”

Vice Chancellor of Southern Cross University Professor Adam Shoemaker said opening the building was a symbol of momentum for his university and for the city and region.

“Investing in vital infrastructure has a threefold effect: it creates a valuable asset for the region, city and community that provides an economic boost,” Mr Shoemaker said.

“The new building will surround our students, teachers and researchers in the latest and best facilities for allied health such as exercise science and occupational therapy. And lastly, it will help to build a graduate workforce that is focused on the major growth area for the region which is health and aged care.

“We are so pleased to have had Federal Government support for this vital project and look forward to continuing to grow and expand our Coffs Harbour campus.”



Degrees to be offered in the Health Sciences building:

  • Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Sport and Exercise Science
  • Psychological Science.

Facilities in the $12 million building include:

  • Indoor-outdoor running track with pressure plates to relay data to a big screen
  • Observation rooms with two-way mirrors to allow students and teachers to observe clinical simulations
  • Patient simulation mannequins in rooms designed similar to hospital suites
  • And a Yarning and Healing Circle for traditional Indigenous-style gatherings and discussions.

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