Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot and the Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, have announced the first payment of more than $1.5 million in zero real interest loans to the Frank Whiddon Masonic Home (Kyogle Court) and the Cedars Nursing Home in Casino.

Ms Saffin said the loans will provide 19 beds and packages in Kyogle and help build four new aged care beds in Casino.

In addition, they will stimulate the local economy through construction jobs.

“The $1.5 million funding announcement is a huge win for the region and a very important investment for the local community,” she said.

The Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliott, said the payment is part of the Rudd Labor Government’s election commitment to provide access to $300 million in zero real interest loans.

“Zero real interest loans provide nursing home beds for our nation’s older, frail and aged through low-cost finance in areas where they were previously unlikely to be established,” she said.

The loans are provided in two separate rounds of $150 million each.

The first loans round offers new aged care places in areas designated as high need.

“This is about tackling the challenges of the 21st century and our nation’s ageing population,” Mrs Elliot said.

This program is part of the Rudd Government’s investment and long-term plans for aged care. On average, over the next four years, the Federal Government will provide up to $43,000 a year for every aged care resident in Australia.