To enhance both healthy communities and our living environment and achieve the provision of adequate, appropriate and affordable housing.
The TSRA seeks to influence policy for all health programmes across all tiers of government, monitor health services and initiatives across the Torres Strait region and provide strategic policy advice.
The Programme 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.
The Healthy Communities programme aims to:
- Seek to influence policy for all health programs across all tiers of government.
- Monitor health services and health initiatives across the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area and provide strategic policy advice.
- Direct support targeting healthy lifestyles, including improving availability of fresh produce and healthy food options, and encouraging people to undertake healthy activities.
- Provide some direct support for home ownership.
Torres Strait Development Plan Outcomes
- Secure whole-of-government investment for infrastructure to support healthy homes and healthy living environments.
- Policies support community-managed delivery of primary and public health care services and are based on regional needs and priorities.
- Improved access to affordable fresh and healthy foods.
- More active and healthy communities.
- Affordable home ownership available across the region.
- Support community market garden and horticulture initiatives (in conjunction with the Environmental Management Programme).
- Engage with food suppliers and retailers to increase supply and variety of healthy food options.
- Support health education initiatives including physical education, nutrition, obesity, diabetes programmes, motivation and substance abuse programmes.
- Fund sport and recreation activities and minor infrastructure
- Contribute funding and provide policy advice for the delivery of essential services and infrastructure to support healthy living environments.
Healthy Communities Programme - Key Initiatives
Major Infrastructure Programme
Thirteen environmental health infrastructure projects were delivered under the Major Infrastructure Programme Stage five (MIP five). All MIP five projects have been completed.
The TSRA successfully secured $30 million from Australian and Queensland Governments for Stage six of the Major Infrastructure Programme (MIP six). The funding will deliver 12 environmental health infrastructure projects under MIP six.
TSRA continues to work closely with the three Regional Councils to implement the MIP six projects and associated employment and training outcomes for communities. TSRA also secured $6 million in infrastructure funding for the Prince of Wales Safe Landing project which will provide safe access for the community.
Torres Strait Seawalls Construction
The joint Australian and State Government funded initiative to increase coastal protection in low lying Torres Strait communities continued throughout the financial year. Construction of the seawall on Saibai reached practical completion on Monday 22 May 2017. Seawalls construction work on Boigu Island is due for commencement in late 2017.
Healthy Fresh Food and Horticulture
The Healthy Communities Programme continued to support the Environmental Programme with delivery of horticulture initiatives through the provision of grant funding to community organisations to support market garden activities. The Environmental Management Programme’s ‘Mekem Garden’ Sustainable Horticulture Project delivers food garden initiatives and workshops to communities to increase knowledge and practice of traditional gardening activities and promote the growing of fresh foods in Torres Strait communities.
The Healthy Communities Programme compliments the project by providing grant education in sessions in conjunction with the ‘Mekem Garden’ workshops conducted by the Regional Landcare Facilitator, to encourage communities to access TSRA grant funding opportunities for gardening and horticulture activities.
Sport and Recreation Activities (Grant Funding)
The Torres Strait Youth and Recreational Sporting Association (TSYRSA) administers sports subsidy funding on behalf of the TSRA throughout the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area region.
The TSRA also provided additional support to the TSYRSA to build its organisational capacity to improve service delivery, including training and development of staff and committee members in areas of administration and accounting.
In 2016/17, six major local sporting carnival events were supported. A total of 73 sport and recreation grants encouraged participation in a range of sporting and recreational activities including participation in various sporting events at State and National levels.
Sport and recreation participation rates for the period:
- In the 0-12 age group: 1026 children
- In the 13-25 age group: 818 young people
- In the 26-54 age group: 1159 adults
- In the 55 years and over: 131 older persons
Total: 3,137 participants
TSRA funds several Local Council minor sporting infrastructure projects including upgrades to Erub Stadium and Masig Stadium.
Health Promotion and Community Education Projects
TSRA provides operational funding to Torres Strait Youth and Recreation Sporting Association (TSYRSA). The TSYRSA provided support towards sporting events in the region and worked closely with event organisers to engage with stakeholders such as Queensland Health, to deliver health and nutrition education initiatives.
TSRA funded a community waste education programme as part of Torres Shire’s Waste Solutions project. TSRA also influences policy for all health programmes across all tiers of government through participation in the following forums;
- Torres Strait Cross Border Health Issues Committee
- Department of Health: Implementation Plan Advisory Group
- Department of Health: Aged Care Master Plan
- James Cook University Torres Strait Health Sciences Consultative Committee
- National Health and Medical Research Committee – ATSI Research Ethics Guidelines National Consultations
- Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership (QATSIHP)
Regional Water Operations and Support
TSRA continued its contribution to the TSIRC Water and Waste Water Management Programme through 2016-2017 to ensure services are adequately maintained for outer island communities. TSRA provided funding to TSIRC to enable the purchase of 5 emergency desalination units to mitigate critical water shortages in Torres Strait communities due to a poor wet season. The desalination units have been purchased and are used to supplement regional water supply.
Case Study - Ensuring Safe Drinking Water Supply for the Torres Strait region
The Healthy Communities programme recognises the importance of meeting basic living standards as well as having healthy people in our communities. TSRA partners with the local Government Councils to ensure the delivery of fresh drinkable water to Torres Strait region. Over the past several years, the TSRA has provided a total investment of over $16 million dollars through various infrastructure projects, contributing significantly to the delivery of safe drinking water throughout the region. TSRA’s assistance and key contributions to the local councils have supported a wide range of activities from water operations and infrastructure to investigations for sustainable water supplies and emergency responses to critical water shortages.
Recently Torres Strait communities experienced severe drought conditions which saw many outer island water supplies at a critical lows. TSRA provided grant support to TSIRC to enable the purchase of 5 emergency desalination units to mitigate critical water shortages in Torres Strait communities due to a poor wet season. The desalination units have been purchased and are used to supplement regional water supply.
The fresh water source in the Torres Strait is typically rain water and desalination, so larger communities like Thursday Island, Horn Island and St Pauls Community have large reservoirs for water storage, whilst smaller islands are restricted. Rainfall is very sporadic and extended dry seasons are common as the region has experienced low rain fall in recent years which has resulted in this critically low levels of available potable fresh water throughout the region.
The new Major Infrastructure Programme (MIP) Stage 6 will provide additional infrastructure investment to support water in the region. MIP is jointly funded by the TSRA, Australian Government and Queensland Government to deliver environmental health infrastructure to communities in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area region. MIP has helped communities in improving quality of life through building water treatment and desalination plants, sewerage treatment plants and waste management facilities.
Mobile Desalination Unit
MIP Trust and Other Infrastructure Projects
The TSRA have continued to work with the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) to identify infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions to allow for all tide safe access to Ugar Community. TSRA provided funding for an Ugar infrastructure, environmental assessment, fuel bowser and helicopter pad upgrade.
Waste and Landfill Projects
The Healthy Communities Programme continues to work with key stakeholders in Local, State and Australian government agencies to address waste management issues in the region. Under the TSRA’s community minor infrastructure fund, Torres Shire Council received funding for the Thursday Island Waste Transfer Station Recycling Facility Cover which will enable the commencement of Phase 1 of the Torres Shire Council recycling initiative in 2017/18.
Horn Island Affordable Housing Project
The TSRA continues to support Torres Shire Council (TSC) to deliver a subdivision on Horn Island. The TSRA has contributed funding to establish the subdivision and in-ground services for 24 housing lots. Issues with Native Title have previously delayed this project, however works are now expected to commence later in 2017.