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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 1464

Senator CAROL BROWN (TasmaniaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (18:49): Tonight I rise as part of the adjournment debate to talk about a number of government funded initiatives that are improving the lives of people in the electorate of Denison and southern Tasmania.

As members of the chamber will be aware, mental illness has a significant impact on our community. One in six Australians experience mental health issues in any year and one in three will experience mental illness at some time throughout their lives. The statistics for our youth are even worse. Alarmingly, mental illness affects one in four young people in Australia. I am well aware of the significance of this issue, as my home state of Tasmania has the highest suicide rate amongst young women and the second highest amongst young men.

The government is committed to addressing mental health in Australia. Prevention and effective early intervention are essential in diagnosing and addressing mental illness. This is especially important as most mental health issues become apparent by early adulthood. It is also essential that young people are able to access services that are designed for them. Organisations such as Headspace are playing a vital role in tackling mental health issues in our young people. Headspace is a youth mental health service that provides a range of support in the areas of general health, mental health and counselling, education, employment and alcohol and drug services. As part of the government's $2.2 billion Delivering Mental Health Reform package, $197.3 million was given over five years to increase Headspace sites to 90. This will see 90 sustainable Headspace centres established across Australia by 2014 to 2015.

In Hobart, the Link Youth Health Service has received $300,000 as well as ongoing funding to set up a Headspace service. This new Headspace location builds on the fantastic work of the existing Headspace site in Launceston. The Hobart Headspace site is now operational and supporting young people between 12 and 25, and I was delighted to be able to attend the official opening, along with Senator Singh, last Friday. The Headspace service was opened by the Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, and Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins. Young people and their families now have a helping hand in Hobart and southern Tasmania when they are dealing with difficult issues, including access to specialist health workers. Most importantly, Headspace provides a welcoming environment where young people can discuss their problems.

Earlier on that same day, Minister Butler and I were able to officially open a $5.3 million social housing development in Glenorchy. This fantastic new development has 18 two-bedroom apartments for seniors. We were invited to go into one of the apartments—which is beautifully styled, I might add—by the tenant who graciously allowed us to see her home. We could see that the apartments are very well designed. They incorporate six-star energy ratings and are class C adaptable, which means they are easily modified for older tenants and people with disabilities.

They are fully funded by the federal government through the social housing initiative, as we have committed to helping to give all Australians a roof over their heads and a stable place to live. We know that finding an affordable and safe place to live is very important for older Australians. It gives them peace of mind and a feeling of safety. These apartments also mean that they can be connected to and be part of a great community like Glenorchy. I am delighted that in Tasmania the federal government is spending $134.8 million under the social housing initiative to deliver 530 new homes. We have already delivered 480 of these and are on track to deliver the rest. This is the greatest supply of social housing in Tasmania for decades and it really is changing lives. Of course, this investment is happening alongside our investment in repairing existing housing stock.

The Gillard government has also given Glenorchy residents fantastic places to enjoy themselves with the recently announced $8.7 million redevelopment of King George V Park. I was able to join the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Simon Crean, in making this exciting announcement. The minister joined the Mayor of Glenorchy, Alderman Stuart Slade, to announce the funding investment. Senators Catryna Bilyk and Lisa Singh were able to attend as well. This will be a major boost for the area. I know that the people involved, particularly the Glenorchy Football Club, are excited about the funding that has been made available to make the KGV precinct a reality.

The redevelopment will include new facilities for the Glenorchy Football Club; a health and welfare centre, including a hydrotherapy pool; a new synthetic soccer pitch; function rooms, including a bar and bistro; change rooms; and refurbished cricket nets. To add to these, the redevelopment will enable the Migrant Research Centre to combine their offices in one of the locations to continue their important work. As you can see, there really will be something there for everyone.

We know strong communities are ones where people have a high level of connection to each other. This is why centres like this are so important. People will be able to get together with friends and get involved in sporting and cultural activities to participate in a healthy, vibrant community life. As a strong supporter of the Glenorchy Magpies, I am really looking forward to seeing a game of footy at the redeveloped ground. Not only are we committed to giving people in Glenorchy places to live and for recreation, but we want to ensure that they are fit and healthy.

Glenorchy on the Go is a program which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Glenorchy through increased participation in physical activity and by promoting healthy eating. The Glenorchy City Council received $700,000 for the Glenorchy on the Go program from the federal government's $72 million healthy communities initiative. The healthy communities initiative partners with local councils around Australia to implement projects to help reduce obesity in the community. The Glenorchy on the Go project will help reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and promote healthier lifestyles in Hobart's northern suburbs by encouraging participants to be physically active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The program works with a wide range of people, including the unemployed, people at risk of weight-related chronic disease, older people, people with a disability, migrants, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those who are isolated or socially disengaged from the community. Through this project the Glenorchy City Council will offer a range of national and local programs at different levels to address the multiple interests, needs and capacities of the local community.

I have had a longstanding interest in the Glenorchy on the Go project, providing support at the initial stages, and in May 2011, on behalf of the federal government, I was able to announce the funding with the former mayor of Glenorchy City Council to run the Glenorchy on the Go project. The initiative not only helps promote healthy lifestyles and reduce obesity but is a mechanism from which we can build a stronger community. It gave me great pleasure to join the Mayor of the Glenorchy City Council, Alderman Stuart Slade, recently for the official launch of the Glenorchy on the Go project. I also acknowledge the officers of the Glenorchy City Council, Len Yeats and Elisa Ryan, who do a magnificent job of running the Glenorchy on the Go project.

Senator Bilyk: Hear, hear!

Senator CAROL BROWN: I acknowledge Senator Bilyk's interjection. I will take a moment to read from the local newspaper, the Glenorchy Gazette:

Glenorchy on the Go was developed in 2009 through the Council's Sport and Recreation Advisory Committee, a special committee of Council supported by the Sport and Recreation Development Officer Len Yeats. "Up until now, due to resources, Council has only been able to offer limited activities for a small number of older adults in Glenorchy," Mr Yeats said.

Elisa Ryan was appointed Healthy Communities Coordinator to work with Council's Sport and Recreation Officer Len Yeats to coordinate the Healthy Communities initiative.

The funding boost will enable the Council to build upon the current programs Growing Old and Living Dangerously, Heart Foundation Walking Groups and Heartmoves.

Both those officers have done a wonderful job, and Glenorchy on the Go is supported quite significantly by the mayor. As you can see, this is another example of federal and local governments partnering together to deliver vital community projects which have real benefits for local people. I look forward to watching this successful program grow in the future.