Funding foots the growth bill

By Lachlan Durling

ECHUCA Podiatry has grown throughout the past year thanks to a more than $250,000 Federal Government grant.

The local business shared in $20 million distributed throughout the Goulburn Valley, receiving $263,650 through the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages grant program.

With the regional jobs funding the business has been able to relocate to a larger clinic and also purchased state-of-the-art equipment such as a gait analysis system that uses pressure sensors and cameras to examine how people walk — to display in real-time on a monitor.

‘‘This hasn’t changed how we treat our clients’ issues, but rather it allows us to show exactly what is happening and communicate that visually to them,’’ Echuca Podiatry owner Emma Hall said.

‘‘Previously we used to have people walk down the hall and watch them in that way.

‘‘But to have something like this anywhere outside of Melbourne means we’re very lucky — and we wanted to keep it affordable so that everyone has access to it, this grant has helped us do that.’’

The relocation of the clinic also involved a refit of a shopfront and meant the organisation could add staff to the workforce.

‘‘We previously had two staff members and we’ve gone up to four, but as we were moving in here we used local trades, IT and a local website designer so keeping it local was really important to us,’’ Ms Hall said.

Mr Drum said it was important to be able to provide opportunities for employment and training locally, and this investment allows access to state-of-the-art programs locally.

‘‘It’s also important to continue to invest in health projects. People are a lot more savvy about their health now and show a greater interest in a wider range of health issues,’’ Mr Drum said.