The Liveable Communities Program was aimed at promoting health and wellbeing and reducing health inequity by influencing the planning of neighbourhoods, towns and cities. The Program Team worked with Local Government, NSW Department of Planning, Local Aboriginal Land Councils.
Working with local government
This project involved the Hunter Regional Managers Network working with Lower Hunter councils to promote the creation of more 'liveable' communities through strategic assessment and planning of future development. As part of the Lower Hunter Regional Strategy, various sites throughout the Lower Hunter Region have been earmarked for future development. A number of liveable communities assessments were undertaken to inform the proposed developments within selected sites. Each assessment involved the collection of data via community telephone survey, along with publicly available data sources (Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2006 Household Census and information held by Local Council), and targeted consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Key results and recommendations from each of these assessments can be found as follows:
A liveable communities assessment was also undertaken in a rural setting, in partnership with Gunnedah Shire Council. Key results and recommendations from this assessment can be found as follows:
Two key resources were also developed as part of the project:
- Model for working with local government to create liveable communities: the model sets out a process for building effective partnerships with local government to investigate and promote the development of healthy built environments and aims to assist commonwealth or state government agencies to develop and sustain partnerships with local government to achieve liveable communities. Please see the Model for working with local government to create liveable communities.
- Liveability assessment tool: the Liveability assessment tool provides a framework against which local governments and their partners can assess liveability within a particular geographical area. Based on the information collected by a Liveability Assessment, local governments and their partners may formulate recommendations which will guide the development of more liveable communities through strategic planning of regional and local development. The tool includes a set of liveability indicators, quantitative measures for measuring the indicators, and data sources for each of the measures. Please see the Liveability assessment tool for details.
Hunter Liveability Forum
In February, 2012 Hunter New England Population Health hosted a Liveability Forum focussing on ways to create liveable communities in the Hunter region. Healthy Built Environments Program (HBEP) Director Susan Thompson gave a presentation on Healthy Built Environments, and two key resources were launched at the Forum: Model for Working with Local Government to Create Liveable Communities and a Liveability Assessment Tool.
Working with Aboriginal organisations
In order to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives were included in the above Liveable Communities Assessments, we developed and tested a model for engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to investigate the effect of the built environment on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
In order to achieve this, we worked in partnership with the Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council, Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Co-Op, Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council, Min Min Aboriginal Corporation, Gunida Gunyah Aboriginal Corporation and Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council. The Liveable Communities Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultations were conducted in the Local Government Areas of Maitland, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and Gunnedah.
The model for engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the summary report produced from the consultation conducted in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas, was awarded the Planning Institute Australia Public Engagement and Community Planning Award. This award recognises "initiatives in best practice public engagement which achieve an outstanding and innovative contribution to social planning practice and outcomes."
The Planning Institute Australia noted that high-quality community participation is integral to sound planning and contributes to improved outcomes. The partnership between Hunter New England Population Health, the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, the Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Co-Op, the City of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie City Council ensured a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the task of planning for a healthy built environment.
The report 'Healthy Country Healthy Mob' summarises the results of the Awabakal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consultation.
Healthy Country Healthy Mob - Part 1
Healthy Country Healthy Mob - Part 2
Key results and recommendations for the Gunnedah Aboriginal Assessment can be found here:
Gunnedah Aboriginal Assessment Final Report (pdf) 4160 KB
Other key outcomes
Other useful links