The system of public health in Western Australia, and in all jurisdictions in Australia, is based on a partnership of interlocked responsibilities between Local, State and Commonwealth governments. At an international level, this partnership also includes World Health Organization.
Local Government provides an extensive range of public and environmental health services, including food safety, school and community immunisation programs, human waste and waste water control, business inspections and health risk assessments.
New Public Health Act
Currently the WA State Government is introducing a new Public Health Act for Western Australia which will require Local Governments to develop local public health plans. Local Government works with partners to ensure better health outcomes for their communities. This is through legislation such as the Public Health Act, Food Act 2001, Tobacco Control Act 2006 or the Caravan and Camping Grounds Act 1997, Emergency Management Act 2005 and their accompanying responsibilities for hygiene and safety.
Local Government also support the delivery of the National Partnership Agreements established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) which is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia. The members of COAG are the Prime Minister, State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).
More generally, Councils also provide a significant but often unrecognised contribution to public health and mental wellbeing by providing public and social infrastructure such as roads and recreational facilities. This also includes community services such as playgrounds, sporting facilities, parks and lighting and public services such as home and community care, libraries and support following an emergency like a bushfire or flood. All of these contribute to the health and wellbeing of individuals and their communities.