Local government plays a key role in creating the environment for communities to prosper and enjoy improved health and wellbeing.
Since 2013, councils have been required to prepare a four-year municipal health and wellbeing plan or include health and wellbeing matters in their council plans.
Health & wellbeing resources
The Department of Health published a new Guide to municipal public health and wellbeing planning to assist local government planners in meeting the requirements under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, including consideration of the Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2011–2015.
Supplementary resources are available that provide specific advice about particular legislative and planning requirements of councils.
These resources include:
A practical guide to conducting annual reviews of municipal public health and wellbeing plans which provides a step-by-step guide to conducting an annual review of plans as required by s. 26(4) of the Act.
Including public health and wellbeing matters in the council plan or strategic plan which assists councils in considering the legislative and operational implications of including public health and wellbeing matters in their council plan (as allowed by s. 27 of the Act)
Municipal public health and wellbeing planning: having regard to climate change which assists councils in meeting their obligations under s.14 of the Climate Change Act 2010. This section of the Act identifies local government as one of the decision-makers that must consider climate change during the preparation of a plan.
There are two main data sources available to support Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Planning. They are:
When combined these two data sets enable local government planners to gain a comprehensive picture of health and wellbeing in Victoria, including specific results for each local government area.
VicHealth also has a series of local government action guides that councils may consider when preparing their MPHWPs and other strategies.
The guides outline recent research and ideas for local action on ten public health topics. The proposed strategies are consistent with national and state health promotion priorities and prevention frameworks.
The Heart Foundation has developed a local government resource Creating heart healthy communities with programs and policies that address risk factors for heart disease.
Included in this document are actions councils may consider when preparing Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plans, Municipal Strategic Statements and Council Plans. The resource outlines three Heart Foundation priority areas for local government including food and nutrition, active living and smoke-free outdoor areas
The key role of city design, infrastruction and transportation in addressing health, a presentation made by Dr Karen Lee from New York City at the MAV in 2013, highlighted the increased sophistication and understanding of the impact of the built form and civic promotion on population health and wellbeing.
The Environments for Health project provided a framework for municipal public health planning and is still relevant as a way of understanding the impact of built, social, economic and natural environment factors on health and wellbeing.
An evaluation of the Environment for Health Framework by Deakin and Melbourne Universities found the framework has had a significant impact on local government policy and practice.
A complementary resource, Leading the way: councils creating healthier communities, is being revised to assist councils in understanding the effects of social issues upon health.