The Queensland Government has gifted Ronald McDonald House Charities a block of land to provide family accommodation for the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital precinct in South Brisbane. Scheduled to open in 2016, the facility, which is expected to be the world’s largest Ronald McDonald House will enable families of sick kids from rural and regional Queensland to be closer to their son, daughter, brother or sister as they undergo treatment at the hospital.

Premier Campbell Newman said the new House will have the capacity to accommodate more than 450 people a night, more than double the existing facility, making it the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world.

He explained that one of the scariest things for a child receiving inpatient care, often for long periods of time, is being separated from their family. For any parent, but especially those from out of town, it is equally heart-wrenching to have to leave their child’s bedside and make that long journey back home. That’s where Ronald McDonald House steps in as a ‘home away from home’ for regional families with seriously ill children being treated in hospital.

Mr Newman said his government had a strong plan for a brighter future and this included vital community initiatives such as providing land to enable the building of a new Ronald McDonald House.

Mr Springborg said the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital would be the centre of a network of care for children from all over Queensland, supporting and strengthening paediatric services in Queensland. The new hospital precinct will ensure that their sick children get world-class health care and treatment and their recovery will hopefully be accelerated by having their families close to them in the Ronald McDonald House.

Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland Board Chairman Adam Dando said the gift of land for the new South Brisbane House is a powerful testament to the strong relationship that exists between their organisation and the Department of Health.

Ronald McDonald House will cost $35 million to build; while RMH South East Queensland has pledged $15 million to the project, a campaign is underway to raise the balance $20 million with another $5 million recently secured as a lead gift.

There are currently 14 Ronald McDonald Houses in Australia including two in Brisbane; both will continue to operate until the new house at South Brisbane opens.

Between the two Brisbane Houses, the charity provides almost 23,000 room nights to seriously ill children and their families each year.