Initiative 7: Promote healthier communities

what is the issue?

The cost of health care is increasing; greater priority needs to be given to preventative health to keep people well and to reduce the burden on the hospital and primary care system.

why is this important for communities?

Residents of communities experiencing health and wellbeing inequalities risk poorer quality of life.

What do we know?

  • It is estimated that around 10% of Gross Domestic Product is spent on health care.
  • Nationally, local government has been a partner in preventative health measures as they relate to planning, environment and infrastructure, and in delivering Commonwealth preventative health initiatives such as Healthy Communities.
  • In the past, councils have undertaken a range of preventative health programs and activities, including National Heart Foundation Walking Groups, community gardens, creating a network of paths and tracks for cycling and walking, outdoor gyms, sports carnivals, walking school bus, and a myriad of other initiatives to reduce obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Local government proposes:

Promote healthier communities by investing in a Local Government Place-Based Preventative Health and Activity Program of $100 million over four years.

The program could utilise local government’s capacity and existing resources. It could be aimed at improving health outcomes through healthier eating and increased physical activity via programs delivered in or with men’s sheds, sport and recreation facilities, and community groups.

ECONOMIC BENEFIT: ALGA’s analysis indicates that this investment would have a cumulative Gross Domestic Product benefit of $292 million by the third year and create up to 1,600 new jobs.

Councils across Australia have banded together to support ALGA’s call for ‘1% + Partnership Programs’. This calls for the next Federal Government to restore core local government funding of Financial Assistance Grants to at least 1% of Commonwealth taxation revenue and add funding for partnership programs where agreed.

Here's how councils would spend the additional funding to help their communities:

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