It is estimated that around 10% of Gross Domestic Product is spent on health care. With the cost of health care only increasing, greater priority needs to be given to preventative health to keep people well and to reduce the burden on the hospital and primary care system.
Nationally, local government has been a partner in preventative health measures as they relate to planning, environment and infrastructure, and in delivering Commonwealth preventative health initiatives such as Healthy Communities.
In the past, councils have undertaken a range of preventative health programs and activities, including National Heart Foundation Walking Groups, community gardens, creating a network of paths and tracks for cycling and walking, outdoor gyms, sports carnivals, walking school bus, and a myriad of other initiatives to reduce obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
ALGA has called for the federal government to promote healthier communities by investing in a Local Government Place-Based Preventative Health and Activity Program of $100 million over four years.
The program could utilise local government's capacity and existing resources. It could be aimed at improving health outcomes through healthier eating and increased physical activity via programs delivered in or with men's sheds, sport and recreation facilities, and community groups.
ALGA's analysis indicates that this investment would have a cumulative Gross Domestic Product benefit of $292 million by the third year and create up to 1,600 new jobs.
Find out more about this and other federal election initiatives from ALGA at www.allpoliticsislocal.com.au