Monday, 24 August 2015 16:07

Planning an active Western Sydney

Auburn residents participating in exercise class as part of the council's Healthy Communities Initiative Auburn residents participating in exercise class as part of the council's Healthy Communities Initiative Auburn City Council

WSROC has joined forces with the Premier’s Council for Active Living (PCAL) and the three Western Sydney Local Health Districts to explore how local planning can encourage better health outcomes for Western Sydney residents.

The Planning an Active Western Sydney forum on October 29th will bring together key experts in the fields of planning, active living and health; bridging the gaps between these sectors.

The health of Western Sydney is in a parlous state. Compared to the national average, the region suffers much higher rates of lifestyle-related chronic diseases such as diabetes; a condition that is two to three times more prevalent in Western Sydney than the Sydney CBD[i].

WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti said “Western Sydney’s pressing health problems call for interdisciplinary approach from all levels of government, and we see a strong interlinking between the goals of planning better communities, and improving the health of Western Sydney residents.”

“Health is generally a state-managed issue, however local councils can do their part by creating safe and aesthetically pleasing environments that make it as easy as possible for our residents to get out and be physically active,” he said.

“We are already seeing some fantastic active living programs from our councils, but there is still much more we want to achieve,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“The positive effects of walking are well documented: every additional kilometre walked translates to a 4.8 percent reduction in the likelihood of being obese, and by extension, a reduction in the likelihood of associated lifestyle diseases[ii].

“Furthermore, research has shown that the distance individuals are willing to walk increases in line with the ‘walkability’ of their environment, he said.

“This forum seeks to equip council staff with active living principles that can be integrated into local planning projects, we hope to gradually improve the walkability of our cities, and in turn, encourage healthier, happier communities,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

[i] Colvin, M. & Lavoipierre, A. (2015, July). Food deserts’: Grocery dead zones have serious health impacts for residents, experts say, ABC News. Available from:

[ii] C3 Collaborating for Health. (2012, September). The benefits of regular walking for health, well-being and the environment. Retrieved from:

Last modified on Monday, 31 August 2015 13:49