What is the purpose of this engagement?

The purpose of this engagement is to seek your comments to assist in the development of a Regional Public Health and Wellbeing Plan for the Cities of Unley and Mitcham.

Community engagement is a critical step in this project and your comments will be taken into consideration to inform Council's decision making.

Why is the Regional Public Health and Wellbeing Plan being prepared?

The Regional Public Health and Wellbeing Plan for the Cities of Unley and Mitcham is being prepared in response to the new requirements for local Councils under the South Australian Public Health Act 2011.

The Plan will identify regional public health issues and set priorities for the next five years having regard to the themes of the State Public Health Plan, as follows:

  • Stronger and Healthier Communities and Neighbourhoods for All Generations
  • Increasing Opportunities for Healthy Living, Healthy Eating and Being Active
  • Preparing for Climate Change
  • Sustaining and Improving Public and Environmental Health Protection

The Plan will also provide a foundation for on-going regional collaboration and partnerships with other relevant Government agencies and the community.

What are the Councils already doing in this area?

The Cities of Unley and Mitcham already undertake a range of initiatives, which support community health and wellbeing.

Both Councils provide various direct community services which are important to promoting health, including: community transport, Home and Community Care (HACC) services, community centre-based programs, youth development, library services and support programs for residents in Supported Residential Facilities (SRFs). Community programs are also supported through access to the use of Council facilities and the provision of community grants.

Both Councils support events, which contribute to promoting vibrant communities. Safe and accessible infrastructure is a high priority in planning physical environments for health and mobility. To adequately Plan for an ageing community, the Unley and Mitcham Councils have embraced ‘active ageing’ principles.

The Cities of Unley and Mitcham also share resources and processes for undertaking environmental health protection functions in the areas of food hygiene and disease control.

Council staff already have close working relationships with a number of schools, aged care providers and community agencies. There is also an extensive range of health providers in the region.  The Plan therefore seeks to build upon existing Council achievements and the initiatives of other agencies.

What regional issues have been identified to date?

Both Unley and Mitcham Councils have a higher percentage of residents aged 85 years and above than metropolitan Adelaide as a whole. There is also an increasing proportion of ‘soon to be ageing’ adults in the region, highlighting the importance of encouraging and supporting these age groups to remain healthy, active and independent as they age. The proportion of young people and young adults is also significant.

Consistent with the State, there is a need to address chronic disease risk factors in the community such as smoking, obesity and physical inactivity.

There is also a need to plan for the potential public health risks, which may arise from emergency events and climate change impacts on the region. Older residents have been identified as being at particular risk of heat-related health problems.

Other issues which have been identified include: 

  • The need to increase housing diversity and choice for changing family structures and to improve housing affordability in the area.
  • The need to plan for east-west traffic movement and preserving the amenity of key precincts along corridors.
  • Regional variations in social disadvantage, the use of services and broadband access.
  • Limited access to open space in some areas.

What key directions are proposed for improving Health and Wellbeing?

The following directions for the Regional Public Health and Wellbeing Plan are proposed:

  • Promoting vibrant community places through urban and cultural planning.
  • Planning environments for physical activity and accessibility for all.
  • Preparing for the public health impacts of emergencies: bushfire and flood management.
  • Preparing for the public health impacts of climate change.
  • Planning for intergenerational mix.
  • Engaging business in community health and promoting healthy lifestyle initiatives.
  • Addressing engagement methods for full-time workers (a high percentage in the region).
  • Opportunities for planning and partnerships with community agencies, the aged care and education sectors.
  • Strengthening the role of community centres and libraries in education and capacity building programs for health and wellbeing.
  • Promoting community ownership of the heath agenda including healthy eating environments, a clean and green environment and reduced greenhouse emissions.
  • Exploring shared service opportunities for environmental health protection.

What will happen with my feedback?

Your feedback will be recorded and considered by the project team in the development of the Regional Health and Wellbeing Plan for the Cities of Unley and Mitcham.

This information is proposed to be presented to both Councils for a final decision in mid 2014.

Where can I get more information?

This plan is being developed by health planning consultants, Healthy Environs, in conjunction with key staff from both the Cities of Unley and Mitcham.

For further information please contact Sally Modystach, Director Healthy Environs on sally@healthyenvirons.com.au

Alternatively, you can contact either the City of Unley's General Manager Community, Megan Berghuis, on 83725450 or mberghuis@unley.sa.gov.au or the City of Mitcham's Manager Environmental Health, Jack Darzanos on jdarzanos@mitchamcouncil.sa.gov.au