Healthy Communities

News & Resources
Regional Goal

To enhance both healthy communities and our living environment.

To achieve the provision of adequate, appropriate and affordable housing.

Program Goal

To contribute to the Regional Goal. The TSRA seeks to influence policy for all health programs across all tiers of government, monitor health services and initiatives across the Torres Strait region and provide strategic policy advice.

The Program also provides direct support for initiatives that promote healthy lifestyles, supports home ownership and other specific housing initiatives that are linked to healthy lifestyles and economic development in the region.

Program Objectives
  • Monitor and provide strategic policy advice regarding health service delivery in the region to ensure health service levels are equal to the national standard
    • Seek to influence policy for all health programs across all tiers of government.
    • Monitor health services and initiatives across the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area and provide strategic policy advice. This will be undertaken under the broad platform of Integrated Service Delivery and the Torres Strait Health Partnership, with reports being delivered at appropriate forums under the service level agreement intended for the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area.
  • Improve the health of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people living in the region through proactive healthy living initiatives
    • Direct support targeting healthy lifestyles including such areas as improving the availability of fresh produce and healthy food options and encouraging people to undertake healthy activities.
  • Increase Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal home ownership
    • Provide direct support for home ownership and specific housing initiatives which are linked to economic development. This support could be for enterprises that assist people to develop trade skills or community initiatives to deliver environmental management services relating to water or renewable energies. The TSRA will also assist traditional owners to negotiate land releases for housing developments where appropriate.
Program Deliverables

Healthy homes initiatives:

  • funding contributions towards community market garden and horticulture initiatives in conjunction with the Environmental Management Program
  • engaging with food suppliers and retailers to explore improved healthy food options

Healthy lifestyles initiatives:

  • monitoring and provision of strategic policy direction for health
  • funding contributions towards health education initiatives in areas such as physical education, nutrition, obesity, diabetes programs, motivation, substance abuse and sport and recreation
  • funding contributions towards sport and recreation minor infrastructure
A photograph of a local medical practitioner performing health check on a boy

Health check, Thursday Island.

Improved housing and home ownership initiatives:

  • funding contributions towards essential services and infrastructure to support healthy living environments
  • land tenure resolution through Indigenous Land Use Agreements and other formal agreements in conjunction with the Native Title and Environmental Management Programs.
Program Expenditure 2012 - 2013

Table 2-11 Healthy Communities Program Expenditure 2012 - 2013

Budget $'000's Actual $'000's Variance $'000's
6,736 6,807 71
Torres Strait Development Plan Outcomes
  • Improved access to affordable fresh and healthy foods
  • Health care systems are effective to meet and support the primary health care needs of community members
  • More active and healthy communities
  • Affordable home ownership available across the region
  • Sufficient land to build houses
A chart illustrating the details of TSRA's healthy communities program

Healthy Communities Program Projects and Achievements

Project Name: Health / Healthy Homes initiatives / Community Market Gardens

Project purpose

To provide funding contributions towards the establishment of community and market gardens and support training initiatives in horticulture for community members.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

The TSRA is on track to exceed the target to establish eight community sustainable horticulture systems by 2013, as outlined in the Torres Strait Development Plan 2009 - 2013.

The Regional Landcare Facilitator continues to support four community market garden pilot projects, at St Pauls, Masig, Hammond and Horn Island, as part of the Environmental Management Program's sustainable horticulture program.

Community gardens and nurseries at Erub, Mer, Iama, Mabuiag and Badu are also being supported as part of the sustainable horticulture program.

The Regional Landcare Facilitator is working with community members from Dauan, Saibai to assist with traditional garden projects.

Project Name: Health / Healthy Homes initiatives / Improved Access to Healthy Foods

Project purpose

To engage with relevant retailers and food suppliers to explore options for improved access to affordable healthy food.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

The TSRA monitors policies put in place by the Islanders Board of Industry and Service (IBIS) to promote healthy shopping choices. IBIS engaged a nutritionist to conduct in-store promotions and place material in all IBIS stores across the region, highlighting healthy foods and diets, and promoting the Healthy Food tick, which appears on shelf product labels. The policy extends to having a price differentiation between high and low sugar and/or fat products, not putting those with high sugar and/or fat content on special, and only promoting healthy foods in media advertisements.

Healthy Communities Program Projects and Achievements

Project Name: Health / Healthy Homes Initiatives / Monitoring and Strategic Policy Direction for Health

Project purpose

To monitor the delivery of health initiatives in the Torres Strait and provide strategic policy advice to the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area Health Partnership to ensure that advances are being made in primary and preventative health care.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in place with the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), the TSRA supported the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area (TS&NPA) Health Partnership, which provides a forum for community representation on matters affecting the health and wellbeing of the people of the region.

The TS&NPA Health Partnership played an important role in liaising directly with both State and Commonwealth Ministers in the roll-out of the National Health Reform agenda in the region.

Over the past year, activities focused on the following key issues:

  • Supporting the establishment of a joint advisory committee for the TS&NPA Region Hospital and Health Services and the Medicare Local (Far North Queensland).
  • Supporting regular representation of the Health Issues Committee (HIC) Chair at Partnership meetings to provide direct updates on HIC activities.

Project Name: Health / Healthy Lifestyles Initiatives

Project purpose

To provide funding contributions towards health education initiatives including:

  • physical education
  • nutrition
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • substance abuse.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

The TSRA provides grant funding for a range of healthy communities initiatives, including the Lift for Life Program delivered by the Torres Shire Council, and Healthy Ilan Homes and Live Long Live Strong delivered by the Kaziw Asesered Le Association.

Funding was granted to the Kaziw Asesered Le Association to create a second healthy lifestyle booklet as part of the Healthy Ilan Homes program. The booklet will be called ‘Healthy Kai Kai (food) for Kids'.

The Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council received funding for the Northern Peninsula Area Show, which supports and promotes a range of traditional healthy lifestyle activities such as dancing and traditional games, and provided funding for a Farm Supervisor based at Bamaga.

Healthy Communities Program Projects and Achievements

Project Name: Health / Healthy Lifestyles Initiatives / Sport and Recreation Programs

Project purpose

To provide funding contributions towards the operation of the Torres Strait Youth and Recreational Sporting Association (TSYRSA) and other funded organisations to contribute to the Healthy Communities Program objectives.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

The TSRA provides funding to the TSYRSA.

This year, the TSYRSA supported 33 sporting events, of which two were major sporting carnivals.

Twenty-one Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal individuals were helped to participate in various sporting events at state and national championships.

Project Name: Major Infrastructure Program (MIP)

Note: This project is the featured case study in the Healthy Communities Program

Project purpose

To improve the health and general wellbeing of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people living in the region, through the delivery of essential environmental health infrastructure including clean water supplies, reticulated sewerage systems, and serviced subdivisions. This project is achieved through a partnership between the TSRA and the Queensland Department of Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience (DLGCRR), and through the TSRA's administration of the Major Infrastructure Program (MIP). The three regional Local Government Councils, Torres Shire Council (TSC) Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC), are the beneficiaries of environmental health infrastructure works constructed under the MIP.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

Stage 4 of the MIP has delivered the following projects:

  • Bamaga Residential Subdivision
  • Wasaga Roads and Drainage Stage 1
  • Badu Island Sewerage Extensions
  • Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) Asset Sustainability Group A (Dauan Island Water Supply Upgrade and Ugar Island Water Supply Upgrade)
  • TSIRC Asset Sustainability Group C (Hammond, Mabuiag and Saibai Water Supply Upgrade and Saibai Island Sewerage Upgrade)
  • Erub Roads and Drainage (Stage 2)
  • Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council Asset Sustainability Project (comprising sewerage reticulation, roads and storm water upgrades)
  • Saibai Waste Management Facility Access Road (Stage 2)
  • Thursday Island Sewer Pump Station Controls
  • Thursday Island Kerb and Channel Construction
  • Regional Waste Management Feasibility Study
  • Regional Tidal Gauges.

Healthy Communities Program Projects and Achievements

Achievements for 2012 - 2013 continued

The following MIP Stage 4 Projects are under construction:

  • Poruma Reticulated Sewerage Treatment Plant
  • TSIRC Asset Sustainability Group B (water supply and desalination upgrades at Mer, Masig and Poruma, Iama, Boigu and Warraber).

Planning and consultation for MIP Stage 5 has commenced.

As part of the planning process for the rollout of MIP Stage 5, the TSRA led a regional infrastructure needs planning and prioritisation process. Undertaken in conjunction with the DLGCRR, TSC, TSIRC and NPARC, this process resulted in a comprehensive list of regional environmental health infrastructure priorities which will guide the delivery of MIP works until 2015–16.

Project Name: Heavy Equipment Management and Training Program (HEMTP)

Project purpose

The Heavy Equipment Management & Training Program (HEMTP) is jointly funded by TSRA, the Queensland Department Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) and the Queensland Department of Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience (DLGCRR). The primary aim of HEMPT is to provide construction industry skills development and training for local Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal residents via routine maintenance works on environmental health infrastructure, and a plant pool of heavy equipment and machinery for the delivery of minor capital works.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

The HEMTP funding provides essential support to projects delivered under both the MIP and the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme, providing accredited training and employment to local Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal workers whilst simultaneously reducing project costs.

The HEMTP completed the Erub Roads and Drainage Project in 2012 - 2013.

A Memorandum of Understanding signed between the TSRA and Queensland DTMR outlines the schedule of works to be delivered by the Torres Strait Island Regional Council in 2013.

The HEMTP will continue throughout the 2013 calendar year, during which time TSRA will work with DTMR and DLGCRR to establish a revised construction skills training and development program in 2014.

Healthy Communities Program Projects and Achievements

Project Name: Torres Strait Island Regional Council Engineering Services (TSIRC-ES): Water Services Operations and Maintenance Program

Project purpose

To achieve improved health, economic and social outcomes for communities through the provision of funding assistance to the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) for the operation and maintenance of water supply and sewerage services; and to strengthen community and local government capacity to operate and maintain water supply and sewerage services.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

The TSRA provided funding through its grants program for the maintenance of essential water services to outer island communities throughout 2012 - 2013. The water standards achieved meet legislated requirements and an approved Drinking Water Quality Management Plan is in place. Reports on drinking water quality are provided to both the regulator and the TSRA.

The service was delivered in 2012 - 2013 by the TSIRC. The program is monitored through the detailed status and financial reporting required by the TSIRC and provided to the TSRA and Queensland Department of Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience.

Project Name: Horn Island Affordable Housing Project (HIAHP)

Project purpose

This joint TSRA and Torres Shire Council (TSC) project seeks to:

  • provide safe, healthy, adequate, appropriate and affordable housing at Horn Island to local Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal families residing in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area region.
  • provide an opportunity for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal employment and training in the development of land and housing construction.

Achievements for 2012 - 2013

In 2011 a Funding Deed was agreed between TSRA and the TSC for the planning, design and construction of a serviced 30-lot subdivision for the Horn Island Affordable Housing Project (HIAHP). The TSRA and the TSC then made a formal agreement for the governance and operation of the Project.

The TSRA has allocated $3.4 million to HIAHP, which is being used in accordance with agreed activity milestones outlined in the Funding Deed.

The TSC has commenced the detailed Master Planning and Housing Design, Housing Eligibility and Governance Policy Framework and employed a dedicated HIAHP project officer to progress the project.

Construction work on the housing subdivision is scheduled to commence in late 2013.

A photograph showing a man fishing barramundis

Barramundi fishing, Saibai Island.

Key Performance Indicators – Portfolio Budget Statements

Infrastructure Projects

Number of environmental health infrastructure projects completed

Seven projects were completed under the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS). Fifteen projects were completed through the Major Infrastructure Program. The Erub Roads and Drainage Project was completed under the Heavy Equipment Management and Training Program (HEMTP). These projects were possible through whole-of-government partnerships and joint funding arrangements.

Short-term benefit description

Communities have essential health related infrastructure, including adequate water supply and safe and environmentally acceptable waste disposal.

Benefit target Progress COAG target
90 per cent of environmental health infrastructure projects completed per annum as per the Major Infrastructure Project (MIP) Implementation Plan. 90 per cent of MIP Stage 4B projects have been completed.
On track to meet 2013 targets for the delivery of Major Infrastructure Program, Heavy Equipment Management Training Program and Torres Strait Island Regional Council Essential Services Water Services targets.
COAG Target 1 –
Close the life expectancy gap within a generation.
COAG Target 2 –
Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade.

Number of people participating in organised healthy activities

Approximately 2,390 individuals participated in healthy initiatives that were funded by the TSRA. Approximately 2,000 people participated in organised sporting activities delivered through the Torres Strait Youth and Recreational Sporting Association. Nine communities participated in food garden projects. Programs have been tailored for all ages, including the Old People Action Program, the Live Long Live Strong Program, Lift for Life and the Healthy Ilan Homes Program. These initiatives and activities are funded by the TSRA and delivered by Torres Shire Council, Mura Kosker Sorority, Kaziw Asesered Le Association and the Torres Strait Youth and Recreational Sporting Association.

Short Term Benefit Description

Increased participation of people in healthy activities.

Benefit target Progress COAG target
A five per cent increase per annum in the number of people participating, realised progressively from July 2010 to 2013. TSRA reached its target of increasing the rate of participation by five per cent from the previous year's rate. Individual participation increased by approximately 35 per cent in the 2012 - 2013 Financial Year, using benchmarks reported the 2011 - 2012 TSRA Annual Report.
This target has been achieved through grant funded activities, including Live Long Live Strong, Lift for Life, Healthy Community Gardens and Sports activities through the Torres Strait Youth and Recreational Sporting Association.
COAG Target 1 – Close the life expectancy gap within a generation.
COAG Target 2 – Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade.

The benefit achievements above are fully aligned to the Torres Strait Development Plan benefit targets.

Additional Key Performance Indicators – Torres Strait Development Plan

Future Development

Increase in Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal home ownership and affordable housing

The TSRA is supporting the development of the Horn Island Affordable Housing Project (HIAHP) in partnership with the Torres Shire Council. Torres Shire Council has commenced the detailed Master Planning and Housing Design, Housing Eligibility and Governance Policy Framework and employed a dedicated HIAHP project officer to progress the project. Construction work on the housing subdivision is scheduled to commence in 2013 - 2014.

Short-term benefit description

Certainty for future development.

Benefit target Progress COAG target
Land made available for housing development through Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) from July 2010. All ILUAs are managed by the Native Title Office, which is being supported in its efforts to negotiate a regional infrastructure ILUA which will underpin the roll out of Social Housing and Infrastructure initiatives.
The Torres Shire Council has secured title to the land for the Horn Island Affordable Housing Project, which will make 30 lots available to eligible local Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal home loan applicants.
COAG Target 1 – Close the life expectancy gap within a generation.
COAG Target 2 – Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade.
A photograph showing two men working at a plant

Major Infrastructure Program works, Poruma.