University cuts ties with Millicent accommodation

University cuts ties with Millicent accommodation

Flinders University has relinquished the lease on two Millicent houses which had provided accommodation for their trainee doctors.

They were erected in Skeer Street Millicent in 2005 on council-owned land which had formerly been known as the Oberlander Street netball courts.

All three tiers of government shared in the capital cost and the official opening was performed by then Regional Development Minister Rory McEwen.

Wattle Range Council chief executive Ben Gower told the March monthly council meeting the university was not charged rent and council maintained the houses.

Mr Gower said the university had not given a reason for ending the leases.

However, Councillor Dennis Muhovics said it was his understanding the trainee doctors found the Skeer Street houses to be unsuitable.

One of the houses had a clever play-on-words for its name as it was dubbed “Bedsyde Manor”.

For several summers when the trainee doctors were on vacation, the Skeer Street houses were used as a respite centre for young people with disabilities.

The trainee doctors had become familiar faces around the Medical Clinic Millicent in Short Street as well as Millicent and District Hospital.

The medical students were part of the Parallel Rural Community Curriculum (PRCC).

For around a decade, it had been the usual custom for the Medical Clinic Millicent to host two third year university students from the Flinders University Rural Clinical School.

The medical students also gained experience in clinics and hospitals at Hamilton and Mount Gambier.

Flinders University Dean, Rural and Remote Health, Professor Robyn Aitken has explained her university’s actions.

She said Flinders University was grateful for the support Wattle Range Council has provided over many years towards facilitating a pipeline of local doctors for the town and the Limestone Coast more generally.

Professor Aitken said Flinders University has ended its lease for two properties on Skeer Street as they no longer meet the standards required for student and junior doctor accommodation.

“However, Flinders University has continued to invest in student accommodation in Millicent, and a new lease has been secured,” Professor Aitken said.

“We currently have 12 properties in the region, representing an increase since 2022.

“Flinders University celebrated 20 years of activity in the Limestone Coast region in 2022.

“The university’s contribution to the regional economy remains a priority and we are expanding our activities through the recent commencement of a new rural allied health course in Mount Gambier.

“This course prioritises local residents and will produce graduates for local positions in speech pathology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

“The university has seen strong demand for the course this year and in 2025 will also commence a full medical program in rural South Australia.

“The university was one of five successful medical programs nationally to obtain Commonwealth Government funding for an additional 20 medical students.

“Together with existing medical student places, this will create a cohort of students who will spend significant time studying on-site in Mount Gambier.”

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