HIA Reports

Integrating Health Considerations into Wollondilly Shire Council Planning Processes

CHETRE has been working with Population Health Unit South Western Sydney Local Health District and Wollondilly Shire Council (WSC) to identify ways of integrating health considerations into Council policy and planning processes. This work began with WSC’s involvement in the 2013/14 Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Learning by Doing Training in which they completed an HIA on a large new housing development. In November 2015, a joint Planning and Health Forum was held to discuss potential ways of progressing this work. As an outcome of the forum it was decided that CHETRE, in partnership with SWSLHD Population Health and WSC, would conduct a research study to identify strategies to integrate health into planning processes within Council.

In May 2016, WSC and SWSLHD formed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). As part of this, CHETRE was funded by SWSLHD to lead a research project to identify strategies to integrate health into planning processes within Council. Additionally, the MOU established a reference group, comprised of one key staff from each organisation, and a steering committee comprised of additional relevant staff from across the three participating organisations.

The aims of this research were:

  • To develop a shared understanding of Wollondilly Shire Council planning processes and opportunities for the consideration of health within those processes;
  • To identify and appraise various tools, processes, and assessment strategies that may be used to integrate health considerations into the planning process; and
  • To appraise the applicability and appropriateness of various tools, approaches, or assessment strategies to both the Wollondilly Shire context and other planning contexts.

The project identified a need to implement actions or approaches that can develop buy-in from staff, Council, community, and developers; increase capacity through improving understanding and skill building to assess health impacts; and to develop a high-level health policy that can influence all other levels of planning.

Key actions were recommended in order to achieve these goals:

  1. Create a high-level health policy
  2. Create a health assessment policy
  3. Establish a joint staff position with SWSLHD, and
  4. Develop an overarching strategy that will guide this work moving into the future.


Health Planning Tool Audit