First State Public Health Plan released

5 November 2013

SA Health has released two reports outlining the current status of public health in South Australia and future directions for improvement.

The state’s first Public Health Plan, South Australia: A Better Place to Live, will help State Government and local councils prepare for the public health challenges of the 21st century.

Dr Stephen Christley, Chief Public Health Officer, SA Health, said the plan focuses on the prevention of illness and disease by looking for underlying causes of good or bad health and taking action to address them.

“The new State Public Health Plan looks at how we can improve the health of all South Australians through a collaborative approach between state and local government and the community,” Dr Christley said.

“The Plan recognises that public health concerns have expanded beyond simply protecting the public from health risks through clean water, sanitation, hygiene and safe environments to prevent sickness and disease.

“While these areas remain an essential part of public health, increasing rates of chronic disease, associated with how we live today, have meant that public health must now include providing opportunities for South Australians to lead healthier lives.

“Local councils play a significant role by making sure the environments we live, work and socialise in encourage regular exercise, healthy eating habits and community engagement.

“It is encouraging that many councils have already begun this process by examining how existing infrastructure such as footpaths, bike paths, street lighting and parks, can help people lead more active lives.”

The Plan was developed in consultation with Local Government, other State Government agencies, non-government organisations and public submissions.

SA Health also released the Chief Public Health Officer’s Report The State of Public Health for South Australia 2012, which provides an overview of current public health trends, activities and indicators.

Key public health trends highlighted in the report show:

  • Cancer and cardiovascular disease continue to account for the highest numbers of deaths caused by disease, at 19 per cent and 17.5 per cent respectively.
  • Infectious diseases, which were once the biggest cause of death, now represent only 1.6 per cent of the total South Australian disease burden.
  • Smoking rates are declining, along with children’s asthma rates
  • The prevalence of diabetes is expected to double, if not triple, over the next 25 years due to increasing rates of obesity and other demographic changes.

South Australia: A Better Place to Live and The State of Public Health for South Australia 2012 have been developed in accordance with the South Australian Public Health Act 2011 and support the State Government’s priority for developing Safe Communities Healthy Neighbourhoods.

To view the State Public Health Plan or the Chief Public Health Officer’s Report visit

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