Cunningham Electorate Health Services

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (16:03): I want to report to the House today on an important announcement made in my electorate last Wednesday by me, the member for Throsby and Mr David Farmer, the General Manager of Wollongong City Council. This was an announcement around the Healthy Communities Initiative. It is a particularly important one in terms of the government's agenda on preventative health measures.

The Commonwealth government announced that we will be providing $703,000 to Wollongong City Council. This funding was for a range of programs that the council was running in order to put in place health and lifestyle programs for local residents, particularly those who are least likely to be targeted by the general run-of-the-mill type of delivery—that is, those that are delivered through fee-for-service or where people actually buy particular diet or exercise programs. Many people miss out on that sort of access and these programs are particularly targeted at those who are the most at risk and the least likely to seek out such programs.

We met not only with the council but with a range of people from the community the council is partnering with in order to provide this program. Some of those included the Illawarra Area Health Service, the Illawarra Division of General Practice, Healthy Cities Illawarra, the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra, the National Heart Foundation and the Australian Diabetes Council. The council has put together partnerships with these organisations. They will employ a healthy communities coordinator whose job it will be to manage the program overall. One of the projects they are doing in partnership with these organisations involves purchasing outdoor fitness equipment, which we placed in some of our less wellto- do southern suburbs in the member for Throsby's area to enable people in those areas to participate in outdoor fitness activities. Another program will purchase books and DVD resources on healthy living.

These will be made available in the local libraries.

There is also an important program conducting healthy eating and physical activity seminars that will be run in local libraries and community centres by the Illawarra Division of General Practice, a welcomed partnership program. The council will also co-fund and establish a community health development program called Stir It Up, which is facilitated by the Illawarra Area Health Service and Healthy Cities Illawarra. I met some fabulous local mums who volunteer and who have been trained to teach others how to cook healthy food and prepare healthy lunch boxes. One of the things they make is healthy shakes to encourage young women to eat healthily. So there is a great range of initiatives in conjunction with the council. It is a really important combination of government, council and partners. (Time expired)