Veterans’ Oasis opens in Townsville
A new one-stop support shop that has been years in the making has officially opened in Townsville today to provide ongoing support for veterans and their families.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Federal Member for Herbert, Phillip Thompson OAM MP representing the Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester today officially opened The Oasis Townsville, a fit-for-purpose community hub for veterans to seek support.
“The Oasis Townsville will help give local veterans and their families a clear pathway to transition to civilian life, with the respect, dignity and support they deserve,” the Premier said.
“I’m proud to mark this important milestone for veteran support in Townsville and North Queensland.
“My government has proudly supported the development of The Oasis Townsville over the last five years, including providing the site of the former Queensland Government biosecurity lab as well as $4.3 million for early works to develop infrastructure including roads, footpaths and parking.
“And delivering on our commitment at the last election, we will provide an additional $1 million over the next four years to support service delivery at the centre.
“This site is incredibly significant in Townsville’s military history used as a Staging Camp during World War II before deployment and also the place many veterans transitioned out of the ADF after their return form operations in PNG.”
The Federal Government provided $5 million to the capital works of The Oasis Townsville over three years from 2019-20, for the construction of the main facility plus five smaller buildings, as part of a $40.7 million investment in a network of eight veteran wellbeing centres across the nation.
Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said The Oasis would provide one of our largest growing veteran communities with a one-stop shop to access assistance from government, health services, ESOs and community groups.
“Townsville is home to some 12,000 ADF personnel and their families, as well as some 8,000 veterans and their families, who will all have access to the services and support from the Oasis,” Mr Chester said.
“Three Veteran Wellbeing Centres are now open as part of the Federal Government’s commitment, with a further two operating from interim locations, providing additional support to our ADF members, veterans and their families.”
Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said it was great to see this long-awaited project now realised and ready to start supporting the serving and ex-serving community in Australia’s largest garrison city.
“I transitioned from the ADF almost 10 years ago and I wish there had been something like this available for me back then. I’m proud of the increased support we’ve provided for veterans and their families, particularly during transition, and this is just another step in ensuring all veterans receive support when and where they need it,” Mr Thompson said.
“I encourage local veterans and their families to get in touch with The Oasis to access the support already available and to start building strong relationships and connecting with the staff and other veterans who visit the centre.”
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said The Oasis Townsville provided the kind of support and services our current and former serving men and women need and deserve.
“Credit must go to the local defence and veteran community for their vision and hard work in seeing this come to fruition,” Mr Christensen said.
Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said the new centre was completed using Townsville-based construction companies Woollam Constructions and Newlands Civil Construction and supported approximately 33 full-time equivalent local construction jobs.
“With input and oversight from a group of dedicated veterans, I know The Oasis Townsville will be a place of support for ex-service personnel in North Queensland’s proud garrison city,” Mr Walker said.
“Veterans at The Oasis Townsville will have access to a range of support services including health and wellbeing, employment, training, housing, peer support, entrepreneurial pathways, and volunteering opportunities.”
The Queensland Government also provided a one-off $30,000 grant to fund the development of a service model to inform the delivery of services and referrals to external agencies.
Minister for Communities Leeanne Enoch said in recognition of the Oonoonba site’s historical military significance as a Staging Camp during World War II – an area where troops would gather before they were deployed to serve overseas, the new road built here has been named Staging Camp Avenue.
“It’s great to see this important project for Townsville now open and delivering much-needed support services for veterans,” Ms Enoch said.
The Chair of The Oasis Townsville LTGEN John Caligari, AO, DSC (Ret’d) welcomed the official opening.
“We are all very excited to expand our operations after the move from our office in the CBD to our new purpose-built facility in The Village in Oonoonba,” John Caligari said.
“The Oasis Townsville is a place for the veteran community to connect with others in the community, relax have a coffee and feel safe among friends.
“We offer support to those looking to be directed to the best services in Townsville and an opportunity for others in the community to offer support to strengthen the community and help mates in any small way they can.
“All of us at The Oasis Townsville are very grateful for the support from all three levels of government, Townsville’s businesses, and the community to make this dream a reality.”
For more information on The Oasis Townsville, please visit https://www.theoasistownsville.org.au/