Hansard of the Legislative
17th March 2011
Windsor Park Precinct
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Madam President, I am also going to
talk on health today. I think we all know the vital economic
statistic; if the Tasmanian health budget continues to increase
at the present annual rate in a decade or two it will devour
the entire State budget. What follows is that more has to
be done to keep people out of hospitals. That is the responsibility
not only of individuals, but also of all levels of government.
It is obvious that local government has a big responsibility
in this area. The health of communities depends on a wide
range of local council decisions; decisions about their medical
centres, recreation areas, sporting facilities, parks, cycle
and pedestrian tracks. Councils need to bring community health
into planning decisions. People of all ages need to be given
incentives and the means to exercise in the course of their
daily lives. This action is exemplified by our member for
Mersey. He is one of those figures of fitness who leads his
community of Latrobe, particularly, and the municipality of
Mersey by example.
I want to talk about the West Tamar Council. That is in my
constituency, of course, and it is well aware of its obligations.
Among other things it has been working on a multipurpose community
leisure and wellbeing centre. It is virtually completed and
currently operating. This community services hub concept was
outlined in a council strategic directions plan in 2006. Since
then the council commissioned a wellbeing project report that
was released last year. I would like to summarise some of
the key features because I think it really represents the
way of the future and it might be an idea for your own municipalities.
The population area has an increasing and ageing population
that will require an increasing reliance on community and
health services. There is a high and increasing incidence
of chronic diseases, although a significant percentage of
the community disease burden has the potential to be prevented,
as we have heard from the honourable member for Western Tiers,
with the support given to diabetes sufferers. There is a shortage
of general practitioners and health service providers. A safe
and welcoming built environment conducive to physical activity
and exercise is seen as important. Young people have specific
health needs and issues, including the risk of health problems
related to smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Support programs
and activities are seen as essential to combat their risk-taking
behaviours and the chestnuts - obesity, nutrition and limited
infrastructure - are of concern in helping to support physical
activity. They are some of the health and wellbeing worries
in the centre of my constituency and I am sure that they are
reflected in most Tasmanian communities. The West Tamar Council
sees its multipurpose Community, Leisure and Wellbeing Centre
as part of the solution. I can tell you it is a most impressive
development. If ever you are in my area at Riverside, turn
off into the football ground at Windsor Park and you will
see that they are situated on the other side of the ground.
You might even be able to have a kick while you are there.
The facility at Windsor Park offers a diverse range of indoor
and outdoor leisure, sporting, community, social, health and
education programs for a regional community. The building
area totals almost 5 000 square metres. It comprises a community
service wellbeing central hub, a multifunctional space for
a number of user groups to develop skills and training in
an indoor training area, another space is a gymnasium, there
are change rooms for the footy, a professional food service
site, a medical centre and pathology service, and a site for
a potential childcare centre and a pharmacy. There are large
spaces for flexible use. There are 112 car-parking spaces.
It is a very big project and it will take time to fully evolve,
but it is certainly an impressive start.
The West Tamar Council successfully applied to the Regional
and Local Community Infrastructure Program's Strategic Projects
in 2008-09 to enable it to design, construct and supply this
multipurpose facility. It will be a fully functioning integrated
venue highly accessible to the majority of the West Tamar
and Launceston council populations and it is also going to
be easily accessible to many residents living in the Meander
Valley area, so the honourable member for Western Tiers will
be able to avail himself of the services as well.
Not only will this community-focus centre help people to be
fitter and healthier, and hopefully to stay out of hospitals,
but it is already a very important community focus in the
electorate of Rosevears and beyond.