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Parks and Leisure Australia report focuses on health and wellbeing challenges 

Parks and Leisure Australia report focuses on health and wellbeing challenges 
May 15, 2019

Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) has released a Health and Wellbeing position paper outlining what it sees as the key health and wellbeing challenges facing the industry.

The position paper was developed by PLA to identify key issues and priorities for the parks and leisure industry relating to community health and wellbeing.

It specifically outlines: 

• The key health and wellbeing challenges facing the industry 
• The value of parks and leisure to community health and wellbeing 
• An overview of the parks and leisure industry’s role in community health and wellbeing

In the report PLA state that "the parks and leisure industry plays an important role in contributing to the health and wellbeing of the community through the design, management and maintenance of public spaces and community places. 

“Along with the development of programs and initiatives, our industry provides the critical urban infrastructure that allows people to be physically active, connect with nature, interact with their community and maintain physical and mental health. 

“PLA believes that this provision of healthy urban infrastructure, i.e. parks, reserves, sport and recreation facilities, pathways and public spaces is fundamental to sustaining our neighbourhoods and cities and that it should be placed as the priority in the urban planning agenda. 

“Our industry works in collaboration with Federal, State and Local Government bodies; the not-for-profit sector; and the private sector to ensure that planning policy, urban development and infrastructure investment is informed by contemporary knowledge of social, health, environmental and economic benefits of the spaces and places that positively contribute to the development of liveable, active and engaged communities.”

PLA acknowledges that “they have an obligation to assist with improving community health and wellbeing outcomes by acting to preserve the right to recreate for current and future generations."

It suggests that protection of the right to recreate may best be achieved through: 

  • Provision of places for physical activity, social interaction, relaxation and contact with nature;
  • Development of programs and activities that promote participation in physical activity and encourage social interaction; 
  • Actively promoting good practice; 
  • Promotion of parks and leisure industry professional development to enable members to understand and address community health and wellbeing issues; 
  • Encouraging partnerships with other organisations to achieve common goals. 

To achieve these outcomes, PLA consider that a comprehensive approach to community health and wellbeing will be required with multiple concurrent strategies involving a range of stakeholders. There is a need for professionals within different sectors and organisations to work collaboratively with communities to address often complex social, economic and environmental factors. 

Key health and wellbeing priorities for the parks and leisure industry include: 

  • Develop a solid understanding of community health and wellbeing and a strong evidence base;
  • Develop a clear agenda for policy and advocacy;
  • Focus on health promotion and disease prevention; 
  • Enhance social and environmental conditions that facilitate good health and wellbeing and reduce ill health risk factors; 
  • Take a whole of lifestyle approach to planned intervention; 
  • Address social inequity when developing health promotion initiatives. 

Click here to view the full report.

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27th October 2016 - Research project to investigate how green spaces impact health

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22nd September 2015 - City of Sydney to install new fitness stations across its park network

7th July 2014 - Parks and Leisure Australia chief calls for urgent facility funding

16th October 2013 - Parks and Leisure Australia launches 50-point advocacy plan for parks and recreation

16th September 2012 - Green Flag Award launched in Australia and New Zealand

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