Policies for a healthy lifestyle

The City of Cockburn developed several Healthy Lifestyle plans and policies from 2007 until an expanded focus on Healthy Communities was initiated through the Strategic Community Plan (SCP) 2012-2022 and the Public Health Plan (PHP) 2013-2018.

The SCP includes the goal to promote active and healthy communities and the action to provide and promote activities, services and recreational facilities that encourage our community towards an active and healthy lifestyle.

Cockburn has several policies embedded as core business for the Health Promotion team and for a number of key service managers such as Community Services, Parks Development, Traffic and Town Planning. Cockburn’s policies and direction are guided by the State Government Health Promotion Strategic Framework and the COAG National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health. Cockburn has developed and implemented a PHP which establishes a range of initiatives that should be recognised as a best practice Preventive Health program for Local Government in Australia.

Plans(1) that include Healthy Lifestyle related actions include:

  • Sustainability strategy
  • Travelsmart action plan
  • Age friendly strategic plan
  • Childrens services plan
  • Sport and recreation strategic plan
  • Youth services strategic plan
  • Public open space plan
  • Liquor licence policy and position statement
  • Uninhabitable premises position statement


How  these strategies influence and guide the council’s work to improve the health of the community:

Healthy Lifestyle programs at Cockburn commenced in 2008, including WA’s first local Tobacco Action Plan and Smoke Free policy, the first Heart Foundation Walking groups, and a focus upon our vulnerable groups from a public health perspective.

The focus on Physical Activity prompted the conversion of the Health Promotion Officer (HPO) into the City’s first Travelsmart (active travel) Officer (TSO) in 2010. The City has arguably had the best Travelsmart Programme in WA since then with major Travelsmart Awards to the Mayor in 2011 and the TSO in 2014. The $4 million Your Move program ran as a partnership between the City of Cockburn, Department of Transport and the Department of Sport and Recreation in the 2013/2014 financial year.

In 2012 the City obtained $703,607 from the Commonwealth Healthy Communities fund to implement the ambitious Co-Health program for three years. Ten of the twenty separate initiatives have been maintained after the funding ceased. This project alone establishes the City as the leader in Preventive Health in local government in WA.

After helping to develop the WALGA “Pathway to a Healthy Community” model we used this in 2013 to adopt our first PHP and became one of the first Councils in WA to appoint a permanent full time HPO. Some key elements of the PHP are:

  • Baseline data from the WA Dept of Health Health and Wellbeing Report for Cockburn
  • Adoption of the health targets in the COAG National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health (obesity, nutrition, physical activity, smoking and alcohol).
  • Established a wide range of partnerships including Heart Foundation, Cancer Council, Cockburn Integrated Health and Curtin University.
  • Established policies around smoking and alcohol and focussed on obesity due to Cockburn’s statistics (73.8% adults overweight or obese (2)).
  • Obtained a grant from the HF Healthy Workers program to commence programs in the workplace. These programs and a dedicated Wellness Committee have continued post funding
  • Liquor licence policy has discouraged liquor outlets near schools.
  • Fitness tracks/equipment installed in 7 parks


  1. Available at: http://www.cockburn.wa.gov.au/Your_Council/Corporate_Strategic_Plans/
  2. South Metropolitan Population Health Unit (2013). City of Cockburn Health and Wellbeing Profile. Fremantle: SMPHU, Department of Health WA.

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