Official Opening of the Tarnbuk Centre

It was terrific to officially open the Tarnbuk Centre yesterday, with the assistance of the Minister for Mental Health, Gabrielle Williams, the Member for Frankston, Paul Edbrooke MP, Peninsula Health Board Chair, Diana Heggie and our Cultural Lead and Elder, Aunty Helen Bnads

Indigenous Elder Uncle Mick performed a traditional smoking ceremony and welcome to country, to cleanse the new space, overseen by Peninsula Health Aboriginal Elder Aunty Helen.  

Peninsula Health Acting Chief Executive Helen Cooper said the new centre brought the Mental Health and the Alcohol and Other Drugs teams into the one facility, allowing them to work more closely together.  

“The aim of co-locating these two services is to improve continuity of care for clients and to provide a more collaborative working environment for staff across both services,” she said.    

Ms Cooper said staff had already settled in to their new surroundings and there was a positive atmosphere in the centre.  

“We have already seen an uplift from staff, who have been working in this building for the past three weeks,” she said.  

“Having a new, contemporary, open and light-filled building provides a much better working environment for staff and will allow us to continue to attract the best people to deliver these services into the future.”  

“Just walking around, you can see the smiles on the faces of our staff and we can tell how much of a difference this new facility has made for them.”  


Mental Health Minister Gabrielle Williams and Peninsula Health Acting Chief Executive Helen Cooper unveil a plaque, officially opening the Tarnbuk Centre.
Mental Health Minister Gabrielle Williams and Peninsula Health Acting Chief Executive Helen Cooper unveil a plaque, officially opening the Tarnbuk Centre.


Peninsula Health Mental Health Operations Director Bronwyn Lawman said it made sense for both services to be located within the same building.  

“Many of our clients have both mental health issues as well as substance use issues, so by co-locating these services we hope to improve access for those who need them,” she said.   

“Our former buildings had been retrofitted more than 20 years ago and were no longer fit for purpose. We were expanding as a service, so we needed more space and a more contemporary building to allow us to run more therapy support groups and programs onsite.”  

Ms Lawman said the new building allowed the teams to take a more holistic approach to care with the inclusion of a wellness clinic and access to dietetics, exercise physiology and music therapy onsite.   

“This new facility will enhance our service delivery and allow us to provide access to more programs than we were able to offer previously,” she said.  

“The new building is a much more welcoming place for clients to attend, which will hopefully encourage more people to take advantage of the services we offer.”  

“Being located in the central business district of Frankston also provides better links to other services our clients may need.”  

Ms Lawman said the new facility had been purpose-built to meet the needs of the mental health and alcohol and other drugs services now and into the future.  

“We worked very closely with the architects to design and build the space to meet our current needs and also to allow for future expansion,” she said.  

Mental Health Minister Gabrielle Williams said the new facility would ensure more people living in Frankston and on the Peninsula could access the mental health, alcohol and drug services and support they needed under one roof.

“We’re investing more than ever to improve access to mental health and wellbeing care because it’s vital people get the support they need, when they need it, closer to home and existing support networks.”

Incorporated in the new building is Indigenous artwork, which is a true acknowledgment of the Indigenous culture and a connection to the traditional owners of the land.   

Ms Lawman said she hoped the name of the new building – Tarnbuk – would reduce some of the stigma associated with seeking assistance for mental health and drug and alcohol services.  

“By providing a new name for the centre, which in the Indigenous language means ‘to pick yourself up and get better’, we hope it will break down some of the previous barriers for people in seeking treatment and accessing the support they need,” she said.