Why is this important?
There are many and varying factors that have contributed to the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. Local government has a particularly important role in the maintenance and improvement of the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people and communities.
Many local councils provide and/or fund services that support improved wellbeing, including Home and Community Care, maternal and child health, child care, kindergarten and immunisation.
In addition, councils are required, through the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, to protect, improve and promote public health and wellbeing within their municipality, and to produce a Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan every four years (see the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan).
Councils also prepare more targeted plans such as Municipal Early Years Plans that can support the development of Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plans. (Read more here).
Local governments are therefore well placed to positively influence the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in Victoria.
What can your council do?
The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that more than half of councils include Aboriginal specific strategies, commitments or initiatives in one or more key documents such as Council Plans and Municipal Public Health Plans.
- Work with the local Aboriginal community to identify actions for inclusion in Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plans that support improved outcomes in Aboriginal health and wellbeing
- Develop partnerships with local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations in delivering health and wellbeing services.
- Develop targeted actions for creating healthier communities as part of Healthy Together Victoria initiative in partnership with Aboriginal and community health organisations and other community groups.