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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    New health centres officially open in Torres Strait

    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    New health centres officially open in Torres Strait

    Health services in the Torres Strait received a major boost this morning with the official opening of primary health centres on both Warraber and Erub Islands.

    Health Minister Stephen Robertson visited both islands, meeting with local communities and officially opening the centres.

    Mr Robertson said the new health centres were designed to meet the demands of the health challenges faced by the Torres Strait communities.

    “There has been a rapid escalation in the incidence of type 2 diabetes, renal disease, and other chronic diseases worldwide,” Mr Robertson said.

    “This part of Queensland is not immune to these problems.
    “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to provide them with a health care system, and an attitude to preventative health care, that offers them a brighter future.

    “That’s precisely what these facilities will do – they’ll provide locals with more holistic health services.

    “By investing in community health services, we’re aiming to ensure that hospital admission becomes the last, rather than the first, option.”

    Mr Robertson said the $6.84 million Erub Island facility included:

    • a three-bedroom doctor’s residence
    • two, two-bedroom staff accommodation units
    • expanded clinical areas, including a dental chair, a morgue, and a conference room for video conferencing.

    He said the $4.45 million Warraber Island facility included:

    • two, two-bedroom staff accommodation units
    • expanded clinical areas
    • a dental chair
    • a conference room.

    Both centres have secure accommodation units to ensure the safety of local health staff.

    Mr Robertson said the Bligh Government was committed to tackling the 17-year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians.

    “The Torres Strait Model of Primary Health Care we’ve developed is about addressing the social, economic and health disparities between local communities and other Australians,” he said.

    “It means an emphasis on screening and prevention activities to bring about the changes in behaviour that can help preventable illness occurring in the first place.

    “But we need to recognise that all government efforts will fail if they are not supported at the community and family level.

    “These preventative health care services here in the Torres Strait are essential, but ultimately they will only be effective if individuals take more responsibility for their own health.

    “Formal education is essential but lifestyle education and lifestyle choices are also very important.

    “Health facilities like these can help ensure our children are given the best possible chance to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.”

    MEDIA: Kate Van Poelgeest 3234 1185 or 0458 449 267 or Catherine Goldie 3234 1190 or 0417 728 676.