Low vision patients are set to benefit from the campus at Guide Dogs Victoria with $2.5 million in Federal Government funding announced last week.
The investment, which builds on $2 million in funding provided in 2016, will modernise the organisation’s current facilities in the Melbourne suburb of Kew and provide job opportunities.
The redevelopment will include a new world-first sensory hub which utilises sounds, textures and scent together with human-enabled technology and braille, which is designed to provide an engaging space for people with low vision or blindness.
It will also include a world-class training centre, a new building for client services, refurbished onsite accommodation for clients and a commercial hub with a veterinary hospital, dog day-care centre and on-site café.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Mr Michael McCormack said the new commercial hub and sensory campus would help Guide Dogs Victoria become financially self-sustaining into the future.
“This is critical to boosting economic growth and providing a connection to the community through local amenities and facilities.”
Federal Treasurer and Local Member for Kooyong Mr Josh Frydenberg welcomed the additional funding.
“I am thrilled the Federal Government is able to invest $2.5 million in this project which will benefit the many Victorians who require a Guide Dog or other services due to blindness or low vision,” he said.
Frydenberg said the need for the services of Guide Dogs Victoria is greater than ever before, with approximately 15,000 Victorians diagnosed with some form of irreversible vision loss every year.
“Guide Dogs Victoria has been providing vital services for people with low vision or blindness for 60 years and it is critical that we continue to support the important work that they do, especially in these challenging times,” he said.
Guide Dogs Victoria CEO Karen Hayes said the organisation has been overwhelmed by the support and generosity from the community for this project.
“This is an amazing contribution from the Federal Government which provides an important piece of the funding puzzle towards our world first sensory campus,” she said.
“We recognise it’s a tough time for everyone, but we’re still here, committed as ever, providing vital services for people with low vision or blindness and training our special dogs through these challenging and changing times.”
The project is expected to be completed by mid-2022.