CHIRF Job Opportunity


CHIRF - Mallacoota's Community Health, Infrastructure and Resilience Fund IncPosition Vacant,  

Project Manager        CHIRF Administrator

Full Time of Part time, working from home. 
CHIRF, a small DGR charity based in Mallacoota has been working for 2 1/2 years to secure Doctors for the Medical Practice and provide underpinning support for continuity of medical services to the Mallacoota Community. Our interests extend beyond Mallacoota to neighbouring communities of Gipsy Point, Genoa and Cann River. 
CHIRF has secured a third Doctor for the Medical Practice and is currently working with another charity, MIAC to build a new medical centre. Construction is about to commence and due to be completed by April 2019.  CHIRF is working closely with the Medical Centre to build the business cases for better mental health services, after hours services and chronic disability support funding from government and philanthropic bodies. 
CHIRF is also working to secure additional medical facilities and a residential aged care facility for Mallacoota.

CHIRF has secured significant funding to employ an administrator to support the work of the volunteer group that is CHIRF. The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal has made a significant contribution towards ensuring the experience of the volunteer CHIRF Principals can be passed on to younger people who can continue the community work they have started. FRRR recognises burn out can be a significant issue with volunteer organisations. 

The Administrator will have the responsibility for the day to day operations of a charity including the formal requirements of the government bodies . Minor bookkeeping working with a professional accounting organization.

The Administrator will increasingly take on the responsibilities of the people that created CHIRF to allow them to carry out higher level functions and guidance of the organization. This is part of our succession plan. 

This is an opportunity for a relatively young person with a reasonable level ofexperience and qualifications to learn a new industry and contribute to improving the welfare of a remote community. To work with a small committed community group, learn from them and make your own way. The preference is for a Mallacoota or close regional area person but the CHIRF Principals are very much part of the internet management process. 

The Principals are solely outcome focused and not interested in committees, meetings or lengthy interactions that are not designed to get to the end point by the shortest possible distance. They are all highly experienced in business, government and the medical industry. They are however trained to listen. 

The person we are looking for will have to be a self starter, have ideas but be prepared to accept both direction and support. The funding has been designed to allow the Board to impart experience to the suitable person and provide future continuity for the Charity and its work. 

A detailed list of the work that the current Principals undertake is indicative of the work that the Board would expect the person to pick up on a graduated basis. It is not expected that a person would have the capacity to immediately undertake all functions the current Secretary particularly undertakes. Training, support and considerable patience are available. 

Relationships and a team environment is important. The Person would be expected to be responsive to working with Medical Centre Personnell as well as the CHIRF Board and be part of the team. We work on very flat structures. 

Salary and hours negotiable in accord with award rates. 

Regular Duties of the Secretary of the Board (not totaly exhaustive)

• Filing of formal documents with ACNC

• Filing of formal documents with the State Authorities covering Charity, fund raising, gambling. 

• Financial management using XERO as the accounting tool

• Working with SBM Financial and Accounting Services on BAS, bill payments and other financial matters.

• Ensuring all CHIRF employment obligations are met including contracts, OH&S insurance

• Publicity using both the internet, Mallacoota Community News, The Mouth and regional newspapers and the ABC Racion and local Radio

• Maintenance of the CHIRF and MIAC website and Facebook pages for Dr Search

• Support for the Dr Search Committee including arranging attendance of volunteers at the key conferences(attendance may also be part of the arrangement) 

• Maintain records of the Charity

• Be conversant or prepared to learn to use Dropbox and Google Drive

• Have solid skills with all technology , computer, internet etc

      Able to string two words together and be 

• Write grants for projects under direction

• Establish opportunities for Grants, identify need and undertake. 

• Assist management of the Medical Centre building project

• Work with the Board on the development of a program for the building of a Residential Aged Care Facility 

• Research and analysis of key regional medical health issues

• Continued development of the Mallacoota Health Check a document outlining health issues facing the community. 

Salary negotiable depending upon experience, duties etc but circa $45,000 to $55,000. Note CHIRF is a DGR Charity and is able to give employees tax free benefits under the tax law that add considerably to the value of the salary package. 

Robin Bryant  0417271852

Linda Bruce  0409 580 100

Sue Brown  0414 773 380

John Hilvert 0419 639 572

Dr Sara Wins Award

Congratulations Dr Sara


CHIRF and MIAC warmly congratulate our very own Dr Sara Renwick-Lau on winning a Herald and Weekly Times- Harvey Norman Shine Award. Six awards were given over a range of categories.


Dedication: East Gippsland doctor Sara Renwick-Lau is the winner of the 2017 Shine Award for Dedication. Sara has dedicated her time and energy to help save Mallacoota’s medical centre.


The Shine Awards highlight the contribution and achievements of women across rural and regional Australia in six categories — Courage, Grace, Dedication, Belief, Passion and Spirit.

The awards are proudly presented by The Weekly Times in partnership with Harvey Norman.

We have worked closely with Dr Sara for well over a year and more significantly since the community meeting that exposed the real issues that a remote rural GP faces trying to keep the community serviced.  Over that period we have planned lobbied and pleaded to find more Doctors. Dr Sara has built around her a small group of dedicated community members with significant skills to help in the community’s hour of need.


Now the envy of much of the medical fraternity for her grit and determination to succeed it was obvious at the major medical conferences this year that Dr Search/CHIRF attended with her that not only had Dr Sara commanded much respect amongst her peers for her work she was very well regarded as a remote area GP. One of that special breed of Drs that work very remotely and have to call on many skills that urban and not so urban Doctors are never called on to exercise, or can send their patients nearby to an emergency Department.


We are very proud of Dr Sara, what she has achieved and look forward to working with her for a while yet as we fill the gaps in primary health care in Mallacoota.



Robin Bryant on behalf of CHIRF and MIAC


Note The other winners include South Gippsland farmers Sally Ruljancich and Amelia Bright; East Gippsland doctor Sara Renwick-Lau; Meeniyan garlic growers and festival creators Kirsten and Felicity Jones; Meg’s Children Charity founder Trish Ryan of Bowna; and Northern Tablelands cattlewoman Sue Francis

PHOTO Dr Sara at the RACGP 17 Conference Sydney with Assoc/Prof Dr Brad Murphy a senior RACGP Committee Member.  “Where is Dr Sara I want my photo with her Dr Brad told me”

RIPERN Scholarships

6 September 2017:
(After hours to be introduced asap).

Mallacoota Medical Centre’s Dr Sara Renwick-Lau aims reintroduce 24/7 after hours and palliative care into the Mallacoota District using a nurse-based model. Initially with RN qualified nurses the service will grow with training to expand the nurse’s legal capabilities to take appropriate action with patients.

Applications are sought from interested and qualified Registered Nurses prepared to undertake the appropriate RIPERN course during 2018 t allow this to happen. Up to four positions may be available.

With funding from the sales of Mallacoota Calendars by the Mallacoota Fund Raising Group the Mallacoota Medical Centre and CHIRF offer financial support for nurses to train up to RIPERN standard.

Starting as soon as possible the ongoing program relies on funding support from the Commonwealths After Hours Care Program through Gippsland Primary Health Care Network(GPHN). Minister Gillespie has advised us funding for this program was approved in the last budget. We are awaiting advice from GPHN. Once confirmed we will be looking to start as soon as possible. The service will necessarily be developed around the accessibility of GP’s and as a last resort Telehealth.

A rural and isolated practice endorsed registered nurse (RIPERN) is a nurse that has undertaken additional training to provide a wider range of primary care and emergency services from rural health services.

RIPERNs help fill the gap in rural medical settings and improve the availability of medical services. RIPERN training enables nurses to extend the scope of their practice as first-call health practitioners. It provides another means to ensure the sustainability of after hour medical services for our region.

Benefits – Full cost of course fees paid for the Graduate certificate in Health (scheduled medicines) offered by the University of Southern Queensland. The course is run externally (by distance) and is a postgraduate degree recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.
You will also receive clinical mentorship and supervised clinical experience within the supportive environment of the Mallacoota Medical Centre

Number of scholarships offered in 2017 – up to 4

Selection – Based on the applicants ability to demonstrate professionalism and willingness to be involved in the after-hours on call roster and willingness to complete the course within 18 months of commencement.

Eligibility – Scholarship is available to current Mallacoota residents. Must be able to meet the entry requirements for the Graduate certificate in Health (scheduled medicines) i.e. Registered division one nurse with at least one year of full time clinical experience.

Retention – Scholarship holders will be required to enter into an agreement relating to employment at the commencement of the course.

Other info – Applications close Friday 15th of September. After this date please contact the Medical Centre directly.

Email applications with brief CV to Inquiries may be made by contacting the Mallacoota Medical Practice 03 5158 0777.

$300K for new med centre

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Mallacoota will receive $300,000 in Federal Government funding to build a new medical centre.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester today welcomed an announcement the Mallacoota Medical Centre was well on its way to having a new, modern home.

“The Federal Government is funding half of the cost of this project through the Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund, with the other half raised by the Mallacoota community, led by Mallacoota Inlet Aged Care,” Mr Chester said.

“This is a remarkable result of the hard work of two local charities for a community-driven project that will benefit many, many people.

“The new medical centre will be built next to the centre’s current building in Maurice Avenue and will give doctors, nurses and other practitioners more space to see patients.

“Better facilities will also allow more doctors, nurses and other health workers to get hands- on training in general practice in a remote area. They will be able to attend to patients and, when they are fully qualified, are more likely to decide to stay in the Gippsland region or join another rural community.”

Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund (CHIRF) convenor Robin Bryant said the new building would be purpose-built and designed to meet future health care needs.

“The new medical centre will have modern facilities and will include three consulting rooms for doctors, a treatment room, a training room, office space and a room for a nurse practitioner,” Mr Bryant said.

“It will help to attract doctors to work here and provide a way for the community to progress its claims to have a Multi-Purpose Service centre (MPS) that will focus on aged care and a small six-bed hospital.”

“Mallacoota is two hours from an emergency department. To help overcome this isolation, the new centre will have video conferencing, medical and other equipment to help bridge that distance and help reduce the need for patients to travel to Orbost or Bega for hospital treatment.”

Mallacoota Inlet Aged Care (MIAC) President Etienne van der Merwe said the funding announcement for the new medical centre had brought MIAC closer to achieving its long- term goal.

Media contact: Jo Crawford-Wynd P: (03) 5144 6744.

“MIAC has been working for 24 years to have aged care facilities in our town. Through MIAC, the community already owns the Maurice Avenue property,” Mr van der Merwe said.

“With this strong support from the Federal Government, MIAC’s community donations and help from the Bendigo Bank, we are getting closer to realising this dream of caring for our elderly residents within our community.”

Construction is expected to begin at the start of next year, with the building due to be finished mid-2018.

The practice is one of two in Gippsland and 67 nationally to be offered grants totalling $13.1 million under the Government’s Rural General Practice Grants program.

The Orbost Medical Clinic received $13,000 under the same grant program to buy new equipment.

Assistant Minister for Health Dr David Gillespie said practices would match the amount of their grants to undertake their projects.

Dr Gillespie said the projects could range from building new rooms to renovating existing rooms and buying computing technology or medical equipment.

“As well as medical graduates, they may be used for training overseas trained doctors, nurses, Aboriginal health workers or other health professionals employed in the practice,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Other grants will be used to create meeting rooms where patients can receive education about health conditions, such as diabetes, so they can take a more active role in managing their own health.

“The Government supports a strong primary care workforce that can meet Australia’s future healthcare needs.

“Improving access to doctors and other health professionals in rural and regional Australia is a priority for our long term national health plan.”

Dr Mubashar Sherazi joins Mallacoota

March 2018: Mallacoota Finds a Third Dr

Community breaks new ground attracting GPs

“It’s an exciting time for my family and me,” Dr. Sherazi said. He is looking forward to working with Dr. Sara Renwick-Lau, a very experienced remote area GP, who heads the Far East Gippsland town’s Medical Centre, and with its registrar Dr. Emily Butlin. Dr. Sherazi will work toward a GP Fellowship from May this year.

Dr. Sherazi graduated in 1998 and so already has 20 years’ experience. He is a skilled Doctor with qualifications from Pakistan, Canada and the UK. He worked for six years in Pakistan, four years in Canada and has been working in the emergency department of Mackay Hospital, Queensland, Australia, since March 2017. It is planned he will be available for consultations throughout the Mallacoota district and surrounds from May this year.

Dr. Sherazi’s arrival reflects the efforts of the Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund (CHIRF) a community group that stepped outside the envelope to find and select their own doctors to present to RVTS for their consideration. CHIRF’s “Doctor Search Team” has been very visible at GP Medical Conferences and it was there that Dr. Mubashar made contact.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said he was pleased Mallacoota Medical Clinic has been able to appoint a doctor through the Remote Vocational Training Scheme.

“I’ve been a long-time supporter of Mallacoota’s efforts to secure additional  GP’s. CHIRF has worked hard and shown enormous commitment to attracting and securing the best possible candidates,” Mr Chester said.

“I am sure Dr Sherazi as the third Dr will be warmly welcomed and I hope he finds his new position professionally fulfilling.”

In April 2016, the Mallacoota region struggled to save their sole G.P. and Medical Centre, attracting national headlines through ABC-TV’s Backroads feature.

With a population of 1063 residents, the coastal town of Mallacoota, Far East Gippsland, is as remote as it is picturesque. With 251 people aged over 70, many of its residents are elderly. The nearest hospital is at Orbost, Victoria or in Bega NSW both two hours’ drive away. This placed unsustainable pressure on its sole resident GP, Dr. Sara Renwick-Lau.

In April 2016, Dr. Renwick-Lau called a community meeting to report her one-GP practice would cease operations without drastic action. She challenged the community to generate sustainable alternatives and at the same time, revamped her struggling practice.

In response, CHIRF was formed to engage with the medical fraternity, launching its innovative Doctor Search Team. This first attracted Registrar Dr. Butlin for a year’s placement.  Then it attracted Dr Sherazi at a medical conference in Sydney in 2017, and with assistance from the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) he was selected from a short-list of aspiring GPs.

RVTS is a federally funded program for training medical practitioners in remote and isolated communities throughout rural and remote Australia.  Its four-year training program leads to a Fellowship of either ACRRM (Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine) or RACGP (Royal Australian College of General Practitioners).

Instead of waiting for fortune to find another GP, CHIRF’s Doctor Search initiative was locally organised and funded to attract suitable candidates to the attention of RVTS.

The CEO of RVTS, Dr. Pat Giddings said partnering with a community group dedicated to achieving its goals, was challenging but rewarding.

“RVTS sees this Doctor Search model which gives the Community more say and more responsibility in attracting GPs is a promising way ahead for many remote communities”.

To attract GPs, Dr. Sara with CHIRF support and encouragement opened her practice to Registrar training. This resulted with the appointment of Dr Emily Butlin in February 2018. Dr. Butlin is working with the practice for one year as part of her pathway to a specialist GP Fellowship.

CHIRF and its sister charity Mallacoota Inlet Aged Care (MIAC), are building a new medical centre with a grant from the Federal Government. They are also focusing on future residential aged care for the community and 24 hour aged care medical service for those at home.

CHIRF appreciates the ongoing support and financial contribution of the Gippsland Primary Health Network in securing long term medical services to the area. Ms Marianne Shearer, CEO Gippsland PHN, said “I look forward to being involved in planning with the community and the health and medical services, and in developing solutions which will increase community access to other health services”. CHIRF has also had support from RWAV (Rural Workforce Agency of Victoria) to augment the work that they have been doing.

For privacy and ethical reasons CHIRF has a practice of thanking its financial donors personally. We would be remiss in not recognizing that without their support and the support of the many others who helped put things together, these successes wouldn’t have happened.

The tireless work of the small crew who attended the conferences made the difference. Sue Brown, Tricia Hiley, June Kinsella, Susie Rogers Wilson, Robin Bryant and Dr Sara Renwick-Lau. It was East Gippsland Shire’s initial contribution that sent Doctor Search to Canberra in 2016, and support from SBM Stavros Accountants was absolutely pivotal. We would also like to recognize CHIRF’s ongoing work to secure the medical framework, including the much-needed upgrade of equipment. This assists doctors to treat patients in Mallacoota, rather than sending them long distances for small procedures.

Donations can be made by EFT to CHIRF Medical Account    BSB  633 000 ACCOUNT 159 562 776

Contact:  CHIRF Robin Bryant 0417271852
Editor’s Note Facebook Mallacoota Community News contains video interviews with Dr. Mubashar Sherazi, Dr. Emily Butlin and Dr. Sarah Renwick-Lau. .