Mike Gaffney, Member for Mersey

Every now and again an opportunity arises that may realise positive consequences for communities.

In my previous roles as an athlete, teacher, coach and mayor I would always look for those opportunities for improvement and where possible, do all I could to support promising initiatives.

Now, as the Member for Mersey and representative of the North-West Coast I am supporting a very important forum occurring at Ulverstone on Tuesday January 22, between 10am-12.30pm. It is the Trauma Awareness Network Australia (TANA) forum.

It is well known that the North-West and West coasts of Tasmania have some of the poorest health statistics and socio-economic standards in Australia. While we tend to continually look elsewhere to governments (local, state and federal) to provide leadership and seek extra funding to address the inequities; unfortunately that does not always result in effective action plans and nor does it provide improved outcomes.

TANA is a grassroots organisation based on the Coast, formed to collect data and disseminate information about the root causes of ill health.

There needs to be a strategic local community approach to identify the issues and develop an implementation plan to address areas of mental, social, physical and emotional weakness.

As a region we are frequently playing catch up or are following others and we are not leading the way. We have the natural assets, strong community networks and caring people.

Indeed, we live in a most beautiful part of the state, country and the world and yet we should and could be doing better.

Our children and their children need to be nurtured in a positive, secure, safe, innovative and exciting environment; one in which each person feels, valued, connected and respected.

I believe that the TANA forum will provide a valuable pathway, improved outcomes and a way forward for us, as “Coasters” to become involved. To put “some skin” in the game so that we are all working together. The forum is suitable for individuals, service and community groups, businesses and representatives of local, state and federal governments and organisations. I do hope you can attend the forum to get a better understanding about TANA: its goals and objectives and ultimately the benefits it will have for the region.