Local Governments and Public Health Planning

Local Government is the closest level of Government to the community and provides a significant contribution to public health and mental wellbeing of the community. The WA State Government introduced the Public Health Act 2016  for Western Australia which requires Local Governments to develop local public health plans. The Public Health Act 2016 is being delivered in stages, with full implementation expected by 2021. All regulations from the previous Act are currently under review and will be repealed and replaced.

WALGA Public Health Advocacy

Local Government has requested for WALGA to continue to advocate for funding, support and resources from State and Commonwealth Government to assist with their transition to the new obligations under the Public Health Act 2016 and support for improved health outcomes for their communities. In response to the request of advocacy by Local Governments, WALGA established the Health and Wellbeing Advocacy Group, to provide advice and support to inform WALGA submissions and advocacy on behalf of member Local Governments. 

WALGA's Public Health Advocacy Plan has been developed in conjunction with this group. WALGA is also a member of the Metropolitan Environmental Health Managers Group and the Local Government Health and Wellbeing Group to ensure all Local Governments are receiving relevant information and have opportunities to provide feedback and comment.

State Public Health Plan for Western Australia 2019-2024

The Department of Health has released the State Public Health Plan for Western Australia 2019-2024. The Plan provides high level strategic directions focusing on prevention, health promotion and health protection strategies that aim to prevent disease, illness, injury, disability and premature death in Western Australia.

The State Public Health Plan establishes a vision for Western Australians, where we aspire for the people of WA to experience the best possible health, wellbeing and quality of life. This vision is supported by three objectives:

Objective 1 - Empower and enable people to live healthy lives.
Objective 2 - Provide health protection for the community.
Objective 3 - Improve Aboriginal health and wellbeing.

This is the first state public health plan produced for WA to support the future requirements of Part 5 of the Public Health Act 2016, requiring each Local Government to publish a local public health plan that is consistent with the State Public Health Plan. The plan is intended to support Local Governments commencing or continuing the public health planning process. Local Governments can consider the Plan’s priorities and adapt them as necessary.

A simple and effective overview of the Plan can be viewed in the following resources:

Information Session on the Public Health Act 2016 and Local Government Public Health Planning

WALGA has previously hosted an event to provide information to Local Government Elected Members and CEOs on their obligations under the Public Health Act 2016, particularly the requirement for Local Governments to provide local Public Health Plans.

Video Download - To download the webinar video for offline playback click here  (Note the file size is 2GB).


Sustainable Health Review

In June 2017, the Government of Western Australia announced the Sustainable Health Review to prioritise the delivery of patient-centred, high quality and financially sustainable healthcare across the State. Following extensive consultation and engagement with stakeholders across Western Australia, the Sustainable Health Review Panel published the Final Report.

The Final Report has 8 Enduring Strategies and 30 Recommendations which seek to drive a cultural and behavioural shift across the health system. Priority 1 in the Sustainable Health Review is most relevant to public health as it seeks to 'Increase and sustain focus and investment in public health, with prevention rising to at least five per cent of total health expenditure by July 2029'.  The Department of Health has established an Implementation Unit to implement these 30 recommendations, with the Oversight Committee appointed to oversee and monitor all actions.

Climate Health Inquiry

 In March 2019, the State Government announced a Chief Health Officer Inquiry to investigate the implications of climate change, including more frequent and intense weather events, on health. The final report is expected by March 2020. The findings will form the basis of a new, coordinated health and climate change framework for WA, reflecting changes in climate science and national policy. WALGA's submission to this inquiry is available here.