Jamestown Regional Hydrotherapy Pool

22 Oct 2003 archivespeech

A speech about the Jamestown Regional Hydrotherapy Pool, which was commissioned on 5 October.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Today, I wish to speak about the Jamestown Regional Hydrotherapy Pool, which was commissioned on 5 October. A number of our colleagues attended, including the Leader of the Democrats (Hon. Sandra Kanck), Mr Sneath and a couple of members of the House of Assembly, the Hon. Dorothy Kotz and Ms Vickie Chapman. Other notable people in attendance included representatives from the Northern Areas Council—Mr Jeff Burgess, the chairman, and Mr Paul McInerney, who I understand is the CEO.

The most notable person in attendance that day was a local by the name of Mr Robert Stacey who is the chairman of the management committee. Several years ago, Mr Stacey underwent two total knee replacements at the same time—which I, as a physiotherapist, would have to say is rather a brave move. During his rehabilitation phase, he had hydro¬therapy treatment, which highlighted to him the need for a pool in that particular area. The nearest location from the district of Jamestown is at Port Pirie, so, as a local who understood the benefits, he determined that he would attempt to get one in the region, and he is to be strongly commended for that.

If I could just highlight to the chamber the benefits of hydrotherapy. It is particularly useful for all sorts of condi¬tions, including orthopaedic rehabilitation (such as total knee replacements) and also for people who have suffered strokes and other neurological disorders. It is a benefit for people of all ages who need to exercise in a non weight bearing environment and with the resistance of water. The warmth of the water can also provide great pain relieving benefits at the same time. So, it is a unique form of exercise, and one in which I was involved in my time as a practising physiothera¬pist, and I would commend it to the council. I particularly recommend to the health minister to look into it and the ways in which it can be of benefit to the people of South Australia in more detail.

Mr Stacey is such a keen advocate of hydrotherapy that he has driven the local community. He has obviously been very successful in having his dream come to fruition after several years. In 1999, the Mid North Regional Development Board provided a grant for a feasibility study to assist, based on 45 physiotherapy clients a week, and a steering committee was established in late 1999. The first public meeting was held at Jamestown Medical Centre five years ago. Along the way, a number of people have been generous, particularly Malcolm and Margaret Sparkes, who donated land adjacent to the medical centre (which has turned out to be very good location). The pool that was used for rehabilitation at the Sydney Olympics (a brand known as `Swimex') was purchased and has been installed.

In relation to the funding, I commend the local community for having raised significant funds. I would like to point out to the government that it should be more conscientious in assisting people in regional communities. I think that, a lot of the time, the assumption is made that country people have a lot of resources and, therefore, can afford to be neglected. The cost of the hydrotherapy pool and building has been estimated at $450 000. The community has now raised $230 000. On the Friday night before the commissioning, it had raised $10 000 from a local fundraiser. This is a very significant amount, and I think it demonstrates the community's commitment to this program.

The federal government has also been signifi¬cant, and I acknowledge the work of Mr Barry Wakelin, the member for Grey, who successfully obtained $135 000 towards the project from the Regional Solutions program. So, approxi¬mately $70 000 is outstanding, and I urge the government to take the bona fides of the local community on board. The government is potentially missing a great opportunity to provide goodwill to the community and to demonstrate its commitment not only to the frail aged but also to others who are in need of these sorts of services. I con¬gratulate the community for its work.