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The environments in which we live, work, play, and learn can both encourage and facilitate healthy behaviours and promote health. Local governments are well placed to create environments that support their residents to be the healthiest versions of themselves.

Implementing healthy public policy can reduce the risk of a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, and must be a shared responsibility among all levels of government in Australia. Local Governments are the level of government closest to the community and so are well placed to implement policies, plans, and strategies that help enable West Australians to lead healthy, active lifestyles.

Many Local Governments in WA are already doing a lot of important work to reduce community risk of cancer and other serious diseases. The development of local government public health plans to complement the State Public Health Plan for Western Australia 2019 – 2024 as required under the Public Health Act 2016 offers further opportunities for Local Governments to contribute to the ongoing efforts to reduce cancer in WA.

SunSmart are available to work with, and provide support to, Local Governments in WA working to create a future free from cancer and other chronic diseases. We are able to provide advice and support when Local Governments are planning or revising their local public health plans.

Local governments, public health and cancer prevention: Actions that will make a difference to your community.

The local government sector is well placed to support efforts to reduce exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the community. For example, it has an integral role in the town planning process, is responsible for planning and development approvals, controls and operates a range of recreational and community facilities and organises and sponsors outdoor events. For more information on outdoor events visit our Hosting a SunSmart outdoor event page.

Cancer Council WA, with the support of the Department of Health WA, works with local governments throughout Western Australia to support the development and implementation of effective sun protection policies and practices including shade design.

See our Sun Protection Policy Template (word, 20kb) to help you develop your own policy.

Shade development

Shade provides good protection from the sun, and it can be easy for people to use. When used in conjunction with other protective measures, such as sun-protective clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen, shade can be a particularly effective method to protect against UV radiation. The provision of shade has also been identified as an important component in the design and creation of safe and healthy communities.

‘The Shade Handbook: a practical guide for shade development in Western Australia’, outlines points to consider when planning shade for new facilities or outdoor areas and includes practical information and guidelines on developing shade for a range of environments. This resource is available on our publications page.

Outdoor workers

Many Local Government employees work outdoors maintaining parks, reserves, schools, street scapes and recreational facilities. Cancer Council WA’s SunSmart program produces a range of resources specifically developed for outdoor workers and provides education sessions for employees. For more information visit working safely in the sun. An excellent online training course on UV and heat awareness for outdoor workers is also available from Aveling (developed in partnership with Cancer Council WA).