LGNSW improves local communities' health and wellbeing by:

  • Promoting the profile of public health
  • Building councils' capacity in this area
  • Encouraging that health impacts are considered to improve NSW communities' quality of life.

Public Health - Role of Local Government

Local government has statutory responsibilities for public health protection under the Public Health Act 2010 and Food Act 2003 by regulating environmental health premises and food businesses.

Councils undertake a range of other activities intended to protect and promote the health of communities, such as:

  • The provision of food services
  • Sporting and recreational facilities and open space
  • Sun protection through shade provision
  • Water fluoridation
  • Promoting mental health
  • Promoting physical activity
  • Addressing overweight and obesity
  • Promoting safety and preventing injury
  • Preventing harm associated with alcohol and other drugs. 

Councils also have a role in considering how planning the built environment can be undertaken in a way that promotes health.

A growing focus for councils is considering the social determinants of health and health inequity in communities. 

In late 2004, we conducted a Local Government Public Health Survey (PDF, 1.23MB) to determine the activity at the Local Government level in health promotion and protection.

Public Health Act Review

The Public Health Act 2010 contains a range of legislative provisions relating to the protection of public health in NSW. Local Government has an important role in the Public Health Act regulating environmental health premises (cooling towers, public swimming pools, spa pools, and premises carrying out skin penetration procedures). The Public Health Act also impacts on Councils that provide immunization, child care, water utilities, or cemeteries.
In April 2016 NSW Health released the Public Health Act Statutory Review Discussion Paper (the Discussion Paper) with 34 issues for consideration. LGNSW wrote a submission (PDF, 321KB) to the Discussion Paper on the 13 issues that impact on local government’s role in regulating environmental health premises; council child care; water utilities, and cemetery services. The submission also provides comment on other issues of significance to councils which were not addressed in the discussion paper, including NSW Health support for local government, cost recovery, offences, registers, and Public Health Officers’ powers over local government.