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Health professionals

Angry residents within the City of Cockburn have joined forces with Cancer Council WA in a bid to stop a proposed commercial development located directly opposite a primary school, which will include three fast food outlets and a service station.

Cancer Council WA Cancer Prevention and Research Director, Melissa Ledger,  said the WA Government urgently needs to update planning regulations so community health is a priority when designing communities.

“Planning and land-use decisions impact our health. In this case, exposure to high numbers of fast-food outlets close to homes and schools impacts what we eat, ” Ms Ledger said.

“The proposed fast-food outlets include a drive-through McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks, and a 7 Eleven which will be open 24 hours a day.

“In addition, in December 2023, an application was approved for a Neighbourhood Centre that includes two drive-through outlets just one kilometre away.

Approving this application would mean five new drive-through fast food outlets would be within a one kilometre radius in a residential area that includes three primary schools and one secondary school.

Ms Ledger said there is urgent need to make community health a priority objective of the way we plan and design our suburbs. Fast food outlets next to and near schools undermines children’s health and families’ efforts to role model healthy behaviour.

Fast food outlets next to schools is completely opposite of community expectations. These outlets sell highly processed, heavily marketed convenience foods that are often sold in large sizes, are nutrient poor, and high in cheap ingredients including salt and sugar, which are bad for our health

“Amending the Planning Regulations to add public health as a mandatory relevant consideration would provide a basis for planning authorities to incorporate health interests in planning decisions” she said.

Public submissions regarding the $14.5 million Mixed Use Commercial Development close on 22 February 2024.