Thursday 24 June 2010
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) ¬†God helps those who help themselves, that is what an old friend used to say.  It may or may not be the case but you could transfer and modify the quote and say that our health services have to help those who do not help themselves.  I have referred recently to the unsustainable increases in health service costs in reply to the Budget to the Treasurer and also I have talked about the need for people to take more responsibility for their own health and lifestyle.

People do need some help as well to help themselves and local government comes into this.  Local government decisions on planning, infrastructure and public amenities should aim to provide infrastructure that people of all ages can use to keep fit and healthy.  I speak of facilities like the West Tamar Trail, which I have spoken about ad nauseam  over the eight years that I have been in Parliament.  We are a little closer, but not close enough, with a cycleway, pathway, walkway between Beauty Point and Beaconsfield as there is nothing there and it is very dangerous to walk on the road to traverse that area; it is very dangerous for kids who live in Beauty Point who want to go to Beaconsfield to the skate park. 

Parks can also be used by people with disabilities, those who are old and frail; in fact that trail could even be used by them.  A good example of this kind of forethought is the Dove Lake circuit at Cradle Mountain.  Although it is far from wheelchair friendly, the carefully designed boardwalk with its quite magnificent scenic backdrop is used by many elderly and infirm walkers.  It is not unusual to see somebody there with a walking stick as well.  The pathway and the walkway and the opportunity are quite outstanding.

Another example would be Launceston's Cataract Gorge, sections of which are used by people of varying abilities; in fact we have recently installed an inclinator which will take people with disabilities in wheelchairs from the top level down to a bottom level - I am not sure of the distance but it travels something like 30 metres  - which gives people a good opportunity to feel included in the opportunities that the Gorge presents.

Another good example in the Launceston municipality is the North Esk Trail from Hoblers Bridge to Henry Street; you only have to look at the car park at Hoblers Bridge to realise how many people are using the area, especially at weekends, and look at the growing network of cycling facilities.  We are talking about it more and more, especially in places like Melbourne where they have hard-edged the Yarra River and brought that back to life.

I bring up this subject of health and fitness, Madam President, because the West Tamar Council in my electorate is constructing a $12 million, multipurpose community leisure and wellbeing facility and it should be completed at the Windsor Park site in November.  In recent years the West Tamar Council has encouraged the growth in physical activity participation, community interaction and wellbeing by being attentive and forward thinking in upgrading its existing community facilities, including the skate park at Beaconsfield I mentioned and also the Riverside Aquatic Centre, which has had a lot of work done on it, and continuing to improve its passive recreation areas.

I will quote the Mayor, Barry Easther:

'The West Tamar catchment is rich in both professional and amateur sportspeople - ranging from champion AFL football players, professional cyclists, right through to our weekly seniors yoga class, and Council are serious about being attentive to the needs and wants of our active community.'

The council also,  Madam President, is aware of the needs of less active and older residents.  The council's successful application to the regional and local community infrastructure program - Strategic Projects - provided the council with the funds to go ahead and design, construct and provide that multipurpose centre at Windsor Park.  I will quote the council's General Manager, Ian Pearce, here:

'Windsor Park has been developed for the purpose of meeting social, community needs and activities. 

Windsor Park incorporates a plethora of facilities including health and fitness, indoor training, medical and other potential allied health tenancies.  This centre of resource is being purpose built around extensive research and consultation with our community, and we are looking forward to its pivotal integration into our active and thriving municipality, and its subsequent health and lifestyle benefits'. 

 Here is an example of local government taking on community health and fitness with this fabulous initiative at Windsor Park.  We are only at the beginning of this sort of support for community health and fitness.  There is a massive amount of work to be done.  The member for Elwick - congratulations on your speech - has noted that baby boomers, such as us, have played an important part in changing Australian society and its way of life.  More and more, we will be using facilities like this.  If health and fitness are taken into account in planning and infrastructure decisions, Tasmanians will be on their way to a better lifestyle.