Key messages

  • Councils are ideally placed to develop, lead and implement local policies to influence many determinants of health.
  • Climate change is a leading threat to public health and wellbeing.
  • Councils are required to ‘have regard to climate change’ when preparing municipal public health and wellbeing plans.
  • Guidance is available to support councils in addressing climate change and its impacts on health through their municipal public health and wellbeing plans.

Under the Climate Change Act 2017, councils are required to ‘have regard to climate change’ when preparing a municipal public health and wellbeing plan (MPHWP).

Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, councils are required to prepare a municipal public health and wellbeing plan within a period of 12 months after each general election of the council, and for councils to have regard to the state public health and wellbeing plan when preparing a MPHWP.

The Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019-2023 recognises that climate change is a leading threat to health and wellbeing and tackling climate change and its impact on health is included as one of four key focus areas in the plan.

Guidance for municipal public health and wellbeing planning

The department has developed guidance to support councils in this area, called Municipal public health and wellbeing planning: Having regard to climate change (2012). It describes their responsibilities under the Act and how climate change can be considered in their municipal public health and wellbeing plans. This guidance is a supplement to the department’s guidance on municipal public health and wellbeing planning and should be read in conjunction with such guidance.

Development of new guidance

The department is currently developing new guidance to support councils in tackling climate change and its impacts on health in their MPHWPs. The guidance will support councils in meeting their obligations under the Climate Change Act 2017 and in implementing actions under the climate change focus area in the Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019-2023. The guidance will replace Municipal public health and wellbeing planning: Having regard to climate change (2012).

Officers from many different areas across councils are encouraged to participate in this consultation process. This includes, but is not limited to, officers working in the areas of health planning, health promotion, environmental health, climate change, sustainability, emergency management, open space planning, community planning and services, and social planning.

The department invites all Victorian councils to contribute to the development of the new guidance.

To make a contribution, please download the discussion paper and submission template from the Downloads section on this page, complete the template and email your submission to environmental.healthunit@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

The submission period will open on Thursday 13 February 2020 and close on Friday 17 April 2020. Please work with your colleagues in different work areas across council to provide one written submission per council.

Councils can also attend face-to-face consultation forums, which will be held across Victoria in March 2020. If you are interested in attending one of these forums, please contact the Environmental Health Policy and Risk Management Unit by emailing environmental.healthunit@dhhs.vic.gov.au to receive registration information.

All councils are encouraged to provide a written submission and/or attend one of the face-to-face forums.

Feedback from the forums and written submissions will inform the development of the new guidance.

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