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An autonomous, prosperous and sustainable community and council

Priority Area Six - Community Health & Wellbeing







What is the issue?

As the cost of health care is increasing, greater priority needs to be given to preventative health to keep people well and to reduce the burden on the hospital and primary care system. Additional costs are also faced by regional and remote communities for clean drinking water provision and sewage infrastructure, causing further strain to Council’s operational expenditure, due to the mobilisation of emergency plant and equipment.


Why is this important for our communities? 

Residents of regional and remote communities face numerous barriers to accessing certain health services and can also lack access to preventative information and programs, having further impact on health and wellbeing inequalities, and poorer quality of life outcomes. There are also a range of other concerns, ie. social isolation and affordability, for community members required to travel for health care away from the region.




What we are seeking:

- Support the delivery of a Regional Health Symposium to evolve policies and programs aimed at meeting the existing and preventative needs of outer island communities, including;

a. Increased service reach, through the upgrading of associated facilities/infrastructure, connectivity and smart tech, to drive further access for communities.

b. Development of new and sustainable funding arrangements in Torres Strait communities to ensure that services, including preventative programs, are meeting the needs of communities and that there has not been a downstream effect of responsibilities and costs onto local government.

c. Advocate and support an outer island model and solutions for elderly and disabled resident respite care and safe housing for domestic violence or abuse.

- Bi-partisan State and Federal commitment to introduce a cross-border healthcare and essential services solution, reducing the strain on Torres Strait community infrastructure. Including the realisation of previously committed funding provision for emergency desalinisation equipment required to meet the cross-border reliance during Dec 2019 - Jan 2020 period.


What we know:

Water and sewerage infrastructure provision has not kept to pace with population growth in Torres Strait communities. Analysis of the 12-month period from Feb 2018 to Feb 2019, revealed approximate costs directly attributed to the running of 11 mobile desalination units within Torres Strait communities was $2.1m. This figure also includes having to procure emergency desalination plant equipment which was $230k, with an additional $85k in freight and mobilisation costs.

View the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australians

Family health and well-being is supported by local governments in Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal communities and is a major focus of municipal service and infrastructure delivery. To achieve the best outcomes for communities, appropriate and sustainable resources must be provided for these service delivery functions.


It was estimated, prior to the recent global pandemic, that the proportion of Australia’s health expenditure to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 9.6%.

Download Australia’s health expenditure: an international comparison (2019) report





















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