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Updated: 13 April 2012

Submission - Draft Wheatbelt Land Use Planning Strategy (August 2011)

Submission - Draft Wheatbelt Land Use Planning Strategy (August 2011)

This submission is written on behalf of the Physical Activity Taskforce (the Taskforce) to provide comment on the draft Wheatbelt Land Use Planning Strategy.

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Submission - Draft Wheatbelt Land Use Planning Strategy (August 2011) Adobe PDF 169 kB

Background

The Taskforce was established in 2001 and coordinates a cross government approach for the development and implementation of a whole of community physical activity strategy for Western Australia (WA).

Bringing together the expertise of a number of State government departments, local government entities, leading academics and community representatives, the Taskforce mission is to provide a strategic direction to improve and increase opportunities for physical activity in Western Australia through increased policy coordination and collaboration.

A fundamental part of this role is to influence the built environment and ensure physical activity is an integral part of any current and future planning process, hence this submission. The Taskforce recognises that the planning system is undergoing fundamental changes. Changes that can make a direct contribution across a range of policy areas, as well as influence the development of environments that are accessible and conducive to physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

The Taskforce is already committed to supporting the strategic priorities for planning reform through the integration and development of land use policies with other policies and programs that have significant potential to impact on physical activity.

The Taskforce sees this as an opportunity to achieve physical activity outcomes and contribute to the wider outcomes of partners across the sectors of health, transport, education, sport and recreation,
environment and community safety through increased levels of health, reduced levels of crime, improved quality of the built and natural environment and increased opportunities for participation in sport and recreation.

Key Areas for Consideration

The Taskforce is supportive of the intent to provide a land use planning strategy to guide the long term future of the Wheatbelt region. There are a number of comments for consideration by the WAPC in the strategy as follows.

General Comments

The Taskforce supports the approach to evidenced based planning for future population growth through consideration of economic development, land supply and identification of regional infrastructure needs contained in the strategy and background report.

Whilst health outcomes are referenced within the strategic documents, there needs to be some acknowledgement of the contribution of physical activity, sport and recreation to the development of a range of spatial planning outcomes which include health in addition to sustainable and cohesive communities.

Under the New Public Health Act, there is a proposal to introduce public health assessments which are a form of Health Impact Assessments (HIA). This is supported by the Taskforce as planning decisions are instrumental in determining physical and social characteristics of neighbourhoods which impact on walkability, access to transport, social contact and recreational facilities which impact on physical activity opportunities. HIA is advocated by the World Health Organisation as a means of providing decision makers with necessary information about how programs, policies, projects or proposals will impact on health and wellbeing matters.

Given the projected population change, it is crucial this is accompanied by a supporting network of high quality accessible and effective social infrastructure which includes provision for all aspects of physical activity across the Wheatbelt area.

It is critical to reference the challenge here regarding the allocation of suitable community infrastructure that meets the needs of an ageing population. All community infrastructure should be accessible, integrated and connected in accordance with design specifications.

In many circumstances, the land is incapable of being used for the desired community purposes which impacts on the service planning of recreation and sporting facilities, services and programs that encourage regular physical activity, such as:

  • Walking (footpaths, lighting, water fountains and signs);
  • Cycling (bike paths, bike lockers, signs and showers);
  • Public transport (safe shelter, lighting and signs);
  • Social interaction (seating, shade, shelter and toilets); and,
  • Sport and recreation (including play equipment).

There are considerable implications for local governments as they will need to be able to undertake needs analysis in order to be provided with some indication of expectations regarding requirements for infrastructure and ongoing management and maintenance.

Further comments are available to view by downloading the full submission.

 

Year published: 2011

 

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