Overview and Aims

The Healthy Communities Program recognises the importance of meeting basic living standards as well as having healthy people in our communities. It is difficult to embark on development initiatives when people are in poor health or living in poor conditions. The poor health of our people and prevalence of chronic diseases in the region require concerted action.

The TSRA will have a monitoring and strategic policy role: monitoring the delivery of health initiatives in the Torres Strait, and providing strategic policy advice to the Torres Strait Health Partnership and Integrated Service Delivery Framework partners, to ensure that advances are being made in primary and preventive health care. The TSRA will play a more direct role through the provision of funding and support to preventive health initiatives that will promote healthy lifestyles and improve the health of our people. It will link with the Environmental Management Program to support local fresh food production and engage with food suppliers to explore improved healthy food options.

Additionally, the TSRA will be directly involved in making housing more affordable for Indigenous people, and engaging with Traditional Owners on land tenure and availability of land for housing in order to reduce overcrowding and improve housing and living conditions to an acceptable level.

The program aims are 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 (this will be undertaken under the broad umbrella of Integrated Service Delivery)
  • 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 and other specific housing initiatives when linked to economic development, including small enterprise and trade skills development and/or environmental management in terms of water management and renewable energies
  • engage with Traditional Owners regarding negotiations for land release for housing development, where appropriate.

Regional Goal

  • Enhance both healthy communities and our living environment (Health).
  • Achieve the provision of adequate, appropriate and affordable housing (Housing).

Regional Issues

  • Lower than average health and life expectancy outcomes.
  • Higher than average prevalence of chronic diseases.
  • High cost of living.
  • Limited access to fresh produce and food security.
  • Lack of suitable housing and overcrowding (there were 55 operational aged care places as at 30 June 2012; 5.5 per cent of the population (551 people) are aged 65 or above.
  • Insufficient land for houses (only two new houses were approved in the region in the 12 months ending 30 September 2013).
  • Lower levels of home ownership by Indigenous people, with only 5.5 per cent of homes fully owed and 2.1 per cent owned with a mortgage (86.2 per cent of families in the region are in rented accommodation and 6.2 per cent have not recorded their housing status).
  • Inappropriate housing and infrastructure policies and service provision.

The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, which is due for release by the Australian bureau of Statistics in June 2014, will be used as base line data for the Development Plan.

Program Outcomes

  • [HC-1] Secure whole-of-government investment for infrastructure to support healthy homes and healthy living environments.
  • [HC-2] Policies support community managed delivery of primary and public health care services and are based on regional needs and priorities.
  • [HC-3] Improved access to affordable fresh and healthy foods.
  • [HC-4] More active and healthy communities.
  • [HC-5] Affordable home ownership available across the region.

Benefits

2014 – 2018

  • Affordable fresh produce available for communities.
  • Communities have essential services and infrastructure to support healthy living environments.
  • Community and individual participation in healthy activities.
  • Increased government investment in housing and affordable home ownership options.

Future Development Plans

  • Reduced prevalence of disease resulting from poor environmental health infrastructure.
  • Reduced chronic disease levels.
  • Reduced overcrowding.
  • Increased home ownership by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal residents.

Performance Measures

  • Increased investment into new and existing regional environmental health infrastructure.
  • Increased access to fresh and affordable foods in Torres Strait communities.
  • Increase in participation in structured sport, recreation and healthy lifestyle activities.
  • Increase in serviced land and infrastructure to support housing for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.

Projects and Initiatives

The Healthy Communities Program has a mandate from the TSRA Board to undertake the following Project and initiatives:

  • support community market garden and horticulture initiatives (in conjunction with the Environmental Management Program)
  • engage with food suppliers/retailers to increase supply and variety of healthy food options
  • support health education initiatives including physical education, nutrition, obesity, diabetes programs, motivation, substance abuse
  • 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.

Contribution to the Closing the Gap Targets

The Healthy Communities Program will contribute to the following Closing the Gap targets:

  • Target #1: close the gap in life expectancy within a generation
  • Target #2: halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade.

Contribution to COAG National Partnership Agreement Indigenous-specific Outcomes

The Healthy Communities Program will contribute towards the achievement of the following National Partnership Agreement Indigenous-specific outcomes:

  • Indigenous Australians and those living in rural and remote areas or on low incomes achieve health outcomes comparable to the broader population.
  • Indigenous people remain healthy and free of preventable disease.
  • Indigenous children are born and remain healthy.
  • Indigenous children have the same health outcomes as other Australian children
  • Children benefit from better social inclusion and reduced disadvantage
  • Indigenous children’s living environments are healthy.
  • Indigenous families live in appropriate housing with access to all basic utilities.
  • Indigenous people have improved housing amenity and reduced overcrowding
  • Indigenous people have the same housing opportunities as other people.

Annex G-1 Program Map – Healthy Communities

A chart illustrating Program Map - Healthy Communities

Annex G-2 Healthy Communities Program – Overview

Annex G-2 Healthy Communities Program – Overview

Overview and aims Outcomes Benefits Performance measures Initiatives

The Healthy Communities Program will undertake projects and activities which fulfil the regional goals to enhance both healthy communities and our living environment (Health), and to achieve the provision of adequate, appropriate and affordable housing (Housing).

The program aims are 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 (this will be undertaken under the broad umbrella of Integrated Service Delivery)
  • 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 and other specific housing initiatives when linked to economic development, including small enterprise and trade skills development and/or environmental management in terms of water management and renewable energies
  • engage with Traditional Owners regarding negotiations for land release for housing development, where appropriate.
  • [HC-1] Secure whole-of-government investment for infrastructure to support healthy homes and healthy living environments.
  • [HC-2] Policies support community managed delivery of primary and public health care services and are based on regional needs and priorities.
  • [HC-3] Improved access to affordable fresh and healthy foods.
  • [HC-4] More active and healthy communities.
  • [HC-5] Affordable home ownership available across the region.
2014 – 2018
  • Affordable fresh produce available for communities.
  • Communities have essential services and infrastructure to support healthy living environments.
  • Community and individual participation in healthy activities.
  • Increased government investment in housing and affordable home ownership options.
Future Development Plans
  • Reduced prevalence of disease resulting from poor environmental health infrastructure.
  • Reduced chronic disease levels.
    Reduced overcrowding.
  • Increased home ownership by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal residents.
  • Increased investment into new and existing regional environmental health infrastructure.
  • Increased access to fresh and affordable foods in Torres Strait communities.
  • Increase in participation in structured sport, recreation and healthy lifestyle activities.
  • Increase in serviced land and infrastructure to support housing for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.
The Healthy Communities Program has a mandate to undertake the following initiatives:
  • support community market garden and horticulture initiatives
  • engage with food suppliers/retailers to increase supply and variety of healthy food options
  • support health education initiatives, including physical education, nutrition, obesity, diabetes programs, motivation, substance abuse and sport and recreation activities
  • 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.

Annex G-3 Healthy Communities Program – Benefits

Annex G-3 Healthy Communities Program – Benefits

Benefits Performance measures Targets Target groups
Communities have essential services and infrastructure to support healthy living environments. Increased investment into new and existing regional environmental health infrastructure. At least 90 per cent of environmental health infrastructure projects delivered under the Torres Strait Major Infrastructure Program Stage-5 (MIP-5).
Ten per cent increase per annum in funding directed to maintaining existing environmental Health Infrastructure.
Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people and communities.
Affordable fresh produce available for communities. Increased access to fresh and affordable foods in Torres Strait communities. Twelve communities supported to establish sustainable horticulture systems by 2018 (measured by the Environmental Management Program). Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people and communities.
Community and individual participation in healthy activities. Increase in participation in structured sport, recreation and healthy lifestyle activities. a) Five per cent increase per annum in the number of people participating in structured sport and recreation activities.
b) Support provided for at least five regional healthy lifestyle initiatives per annum.
Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people and communities.
Increased government investment in housing and affordable home ownership options. Increase in serviced land and infrastructure to support housing for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people. Five per cent increase per annum in serviced land to support housing. Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people and communities.