Public health planning for local government

Part 5 of the Public Health Act 2016 requires the preparation of two types of public health plans:

  1. State Public Health Plan prepared by the Chief Health Officer and
  2. Local public health plans prepared by each local government district

Part 5 of the Public Health Act came into effect on 4 June 2024. As a result the Chief Health Officer must prepare and publish the State Public Health Plan within 12 months, and local governments must prepare and publish their local public health plans within 24 months (2 years).

Draft objectives and priorities for the upcoming State Public Health Plan

Work has begun on the new State Public Health Plan, which must be finalised and published by 4 June 2025. The Department of Health is on track to have this completed.

To assist local governments with developing their local public health plans, the Chief Health Officer has released the draft objectives and priorities for the upcoming State Public Health Plan (PDF 521KB). The draft objectives and policy priorities serve as a strategic framework and public health plans should be tailored to reflect the public health needs of your area and the community you serve. As State Public Health Plan objective and priorities are still in draft format, they may change in the coming months based on community feedback.

How to provide feedback on draft objectives and policy priorities

The objectives and priorities have been endorsed by the Chief Health Officer, but are subject to modification based on the community feedback received.

The Department of Health invites all stakeholders to comment on the draft objectives and priorities.

Send your feedback to

Guidance on how to use the draft objectives and policy priorities

The State Public Health Plan will identify the objectives and policy priorities for the whole of the State and provide a framework for local government to consider and adapt as necessary. This framework should be tailored to reflect the specific public health needs and priorities of individual Local Government Areas. It is not expected that all priorities identified in the State Public Health Plan will be relevant for local public health plans.

When deciding which on what policy priorities are applicable to a local government area, information collected on the health status and health determinants of the local government area, as well as informaiton from community consultation, will be important

The Public health planning guide for local government (PDF 3MB) is currently being updated and will be released in October 2024. The guide will provide a suggested planning process and links to available resources

Information and resources:

Public health planning resources

WA Health has produced two guidelines that are available to assist local governments to understand their role in helping to influence the determinants of health and to help get started in developing a local public health plan. 

Public health planning guide

  1. Public Health Planning Guide for Local Government - Public and Aboriginal Health Division: March 2018 (PDF 3MB) summarises key provisions of the Public Health Act 2016 related to Part 5 (public health planning), and aims to provide practical advice to support people who are responsible for commencing the development of a local public health plan.
  2. The Pathway to a Healthy Community – A Guide for Councillors and Local Government, South Metropolitan Public Health Planning Guide: Second Edition (PDF 1.86MB) aims to assist Councillors and local government staff to understand their role in influencing the determinants of health and preparing a local public health planning that results in healthier communities. 

Local government funding opportunities

Local government resources 

Overweight, obesity, smoking, alcohol, skin cancer


Mental health, wellbeing and alcohol use

Community evaluation framework

Partner agencies - list of non-government organisations, programs and support services

Partner with your Health Service Provider

Local governments are encouraged to contact your local Population Health Unit, of the relevant Health Service Provider, for support and guidance with the public health planning process.

The Roles and responsibilities for the provision of public health planning support to local government (PDF 234kB) document formally outlines the roles and responsibilities of each Health Service Provider:
  • North
  • South
  • East
  • WA Country Health Service
as well as the Department of Health when supporting and guiding local governments who initiate their public health plan in accordance with Part 5 of the Public Health Act 2016.
Health Service Local government map Email
North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) NMHS map (PDF 500KB)
South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) SMHS map (PDF 500KB)
East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) EMHS map (PDF 500KB)
WA Country Health Services (WACHS) WACHS map (PDF 500KB) South West
Great Southern

Population Health Units work closely with local government in the primary prevention of chronic disease through education, community improvement and development with a focus on healthy eating, healthy weight, a more active WA, making smoking history and reducing harmful alcohol use.

Population Health Units help build the capacity of local government with a focus on organisational development, workforce development, resource allocation, leadership and partnerships to enable local government to effectively improve health and address the determinants of health through an integrated health promotion approach.

Examples of local government capacity building by Population Health Units include:

  • health and wellbeing policy development
  • public health planning including support in obtaining health status data to inform population scanning and community needs analysis 
  • local government health and wellbeing profile development
  • creating and advocating for environments that support healthy lifestyle choices
  • health grant and funding application support
  • community engagement, with a focus on vulnerable populations
  • health and wellbeing programs - planning and evaluation support.

Alternatively email

List of WA local government public health plans

The Public Health Act requires all Public Health Plans to be made publicly available. 

Refer to individual local government websites to view their public health plans. 

Intergrated planning and reporting

All local governments are required to produce a plan for the future under section 5.56(1) of the Local Government Act 1995. The minimum requirement to meet the intent of the plan for the future is the development of a:

  1. Strategic Community Plan and a 
  2. Corporate Business Plan. 

To minimise the number of separate strategic planning processes required by local government, section 45(3) of the Public Health Act allows for a Local Public Health Plan to be integrated within the existing planning process required under the Local Government Act 1995 and Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996.

The Department of Health encourages local governments to incorporate public health planning into the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework (external site) as an informing strategy. Informing strategies (including financial, asset management and workforce) inform the local government of how capable it is to deliver the services and assets required by the community. Informing strategies allow a local government to set its priorities within its resourcing capability and deliver short term, medium term and long term community priorities and aspirations.

Integrated Planning and Reporting - Department of Local Government and Communities

Public health and wellbeing policies and programmes

Listed below are links to resources that may assist local government align with the objectives of the State Public Health Plan.  

Local government will have particular priorities and areas of interest, based on the needs of their communities.

Objective 1: Empowering and enabling people to make healthy lifestyle choices

Objective 2: Providing health protection for the community

Objective 3: Improving Aboriginal health

Health Promotion Directory for preventing chronic diseases and injury

Search the WA Health Promotion Directory for health promotion agencies and programs in your area that may be able to support your planning priorities.

Funding and grants

The Public Health Act does not require any mandatory spending by local government. Therefore the delivery of any public health initiative, project or programs will be at the discretion of the local government, based on the public health needs and expectations of their local community.

There are a range of external grants and funding available to support local government to plan and implement specific projects that help to improve the health of West Australians. These grants are managed by various external agencies detailed below.


Healthway (external site) operates under the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation Act 2016.  Healthway’s role defined in the Act, is to “promote and facilitate in Western Australia good health and activities which encourage healthy lifestyles.” Healthway’s role is:

  • to fund activities related to the promotion of good health in general with particular emphasis on young people
  • to support sporting and arts activities which encourage healthy lifestyles and advance health promotion programmes
  • to provide grants to organisations engaged in health promotion programs
  • to fund research relevant to health promotion; and
  • to evaluate and report on the effectiveness of the performance of the Foundation in achieving health promotion activities.

Local governments are encouraged to check out the Healthway website (external site) and subscribe to the newsletter.

Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries

The Department of Local Government and Communities (external site) (DLGC) provides one-off grants to community sector organisations and local governments to plan and implement projects, events and initiatives that help to improve the lives of West Australians programs. This includes sporting and recreational grants (external site).


Applications for a Lotterywest grant (external site) can be made throughout the year. Generally it takes 3 months for applications submitted with all required information to go through the Lotterywest assessment and approval process. The process can take longer for applications which require additional information or further development from what’s been submitted. Please factor in the time needed for assessment and a decision when planning your event or project. There are a range of grant types which can be viewed on the Lotterywest website.

GrantsConnect - Federal government

GrantConnect (external site) provides centralised publication of forecast and current Australian Government grant opportunities and grants awarded.

Last reviewed: 04-06-2024
Produced by

Environmental Health Directorate