Calls for community input in planning for upgraded Banksia Mental Health Unit

SPEAK UP: Di Wyatt is encouraging locals to have their say for the proposed Banksia Unit upgrade. Photo: Peter Hardin
SPEAK UP: Di Wyatt is encouraging locals to have their say for the proposed Banksia Unit upgrade. Photo: Peter Hardin

FEEDBACK from the community has been called for, with planning for New England's new mental health unit, Banksia, underway.

Locals from Moree will be given the opportunity to have their say on the updated project plans later this week.

Di Wyatt, who has been instrumental in the establishment and improvement of the mental health unit, urged the public to make their voices heard.

"It's for the community this new mental health unit," she said

"It's really important to go along, have a look, and if there's something you don't like about it you can actually tell the people there."

Community consultation has been integral to the 'Better Banksia' project with 380 comments received regarding the draft designs earlier this year.

So far, local input has been essential in determining the layout and design of both indoor and outdoor spaces, parking and the building itself.

Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson was confident this second round of public consults would continue to provide much-needed feedback.

"The pandemic has highlighted the need for better mental health services and infrastructure in our region," he said.

"It's important that our community has as much input into the new Banksia build as possible."

The project is currently in the design phase. Construction is anticipated to begin next year, with the unit expected to be physically connected to the Tamworth Hospital Emergency Department and completed in 2024.

The complete rebuild will contain 33 beds to accommodate general inpatients, older persons, and short stay facilities for adolescents and vulnerable people.

Ms Wyatt welcomed the upgrade and said it was a step closer to the available mental health services she had been advocating for.

"We need more space, we need it to feel more friendly, more homely," she said.

"We need to make the people that need Banksia to feel more comfortable and at ease so they can heal much quicker."

For those wishing to have their say, public consultations will be held at Balo Square shopping centre in Moree on Thursday from 9am to 11am.

Similar consultations will take place in Tamworth and Armidale.

This story Moree public consulted about Banksia mental health unit first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.