The government of Queensland in Australia is planning to invest A$70m ($49m) to build a new hospital in Roma, west of Brisbane, to improve health access in the region.

The Roma hospital is part of the government’s A$180m ($126m) Enhancing Regional Hospitals programme.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: "This project is a clear signal that we are committed to building and improving our health services in Queensland no matter where they are located.

"Initial planning for the new hospital indicates an increase in capacity from 3,000 to 3,500 patients per year at a cost of around A$70m ($49m)."

Construction of the hospital is scheduled to start later this year. It will deliver more than 250 jobs to the region over this period.

"This project is a clear signal that we are committed to building and improving our health services in Queensland no matter where they are located."

The proposal for a new hospital was made as the existing one is out of date and has a number of maintenance issues.

Queensland Health and Ambulance Services minister Cameron Dick said: "We have decided a new build is the most cost-effective option for the future of the hospital and one that will best meet community expectations.

"We expect designs to be available for public release mid-year and for work to start in late 2016."

Over the next few weeks, the government will conduct community and stakeholder consultations to find the right design for the South West region.

Palaszczuk added: "The South West Hospital and Health Service will then use the feedback from the consultation process to help finalise designs and the costing for the new hospital.

"Details of the consultation times, dates and locations will be provided locally in the coming weeks."