Toowoomba is the second largest inland city in Australia and is located 125 kilometres west of Brisbane. It is affectionately known as the ‘Garden City’ and it is well populated with close to 164,000 residents in 2011.  It is 700 metres above sea level and has great views over the Lockyer Valley and Table Top Mountain. It is a major health and education centre for the region, has a growing local economy and affordable housing.  Industries include manufacturing, wholesale and agriculture. The most accepted meaning of the name of the city is it is a pronunciation of the Aboriginal word for ‘The Swamp.’ Toowoomba is home to many people and is a great place to live and to visit. It is a modern city and there is easy access to all major services and facilities. Australians who live in the cities visit Toowoomba to experience the comforts of country hospitality. The annual Carnival of Flowers attracts many tourists to the region. The city has 150 public parks and gardens and the surrounding mountains feature lots of walking tracks with rainforests and waterfalls. The Empire is the largest regional theatre in Australia and has many stage and music events. Toowoomba has over 30 primary schools, almost 20 high schools, a TAFE campus and the University of Southern Queensland. There is much to see and do, including an art gallery, museums and the Darling Downs Zoo. The population in Toowoomba has a high proportion of females, young people and older people than the rest of Queensland. There are certain pockets within the city which are of lower socioeconomic status and are affected by unemployment, lower income and unskilled occupations.

The key health care issues in the region are high alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, poor nutrition and physical inactivity. There is an increased burden of disease within the Indigenous population in areas such as stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes, suicide and mental health. Social determinants of health related specifically to the Indigenous community in this region include housing, employment and transport. Priorities for health proportion for the Toowoomba region include weight reduction, improving diabetes control reducing substance abuse. The Toowoomba Hospital is a large 324 bed Queensland Health public hospital. It has all the usual medical services plus more specialities including: intensive and coronary care, surgery, dialysis services, stroke and rehabilitation service, Ear, Nose and Throat surgery and a CT scanner. There are two major private hospitals - St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba and St Andrews Hospital which is an 137 bed acute care hospital. There are also private radiography clinics which the state hospital currently outsources for MRI scans for their patients. Toowoomba is home to the office and staff of QRME (Queensland Rural Medical Education), which provides training programs for General Practice and rural medicine.

There are many transport options in and around Toowoomba. Bus services within the city are operated by Bus Queensland Pty Ltd and timetables and routes are available on the Q Connect website.  There are also private coach companies who travel to locations such as Oakey, Pittsworth and Crow’s Nest.  Greyhound Australia operates interstate coach services. Many of the local and long distance coaches leave from the Toowoomba bus station in Neil Street. See the Council website for more transport information.

Flights currently operate to Brisbane and Sydney from Toowoomba aerodrome and the main flight operator is Skytrans.The Wellcamp Airport is due to open in late 2014 and this jet-capable airport is about 15 minutes drive from the city centre. There are also well sealed roads in Toowoomba and surrounds and taxi services are also available.

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