VHA response to planning framework inquiry
February 18, 2022
The VHA recently provided a response to the Victorian Government’s Environmental and Planning Committee’s invitation to present a written submission addressing issues within the Inquiry into the protections within Victorian planning framework that may be of relevance to the VHA membership.
The premise of this inquiry (which was referred to the Committee by the Victorian senate in October 2021) focuses on heritage protections, cost of housing, environmental sustainability and planning processes within the framework. However, through our submission, we urged the committee to consider the strong role planning regulations play in protecting and promoting population health.
With policy recommendations building on a past VHA submission to the 2009 Inquiry for Environmental Design and Public Health, this submission examines a two-pronged approach to considering population health needs through Victoria’s planning framework:
- Integrated healthcare service planning: Population growth and changes in disease patterns are reflected in Victoria’s public healthcare system planning: To maintain Victoria’s high-quality standard of care, the public healthcare service system must reflect population and disease pattern changes with service planning considered from inception and not as an adjunct to growth and demand
- A systems approach to health: Health impact assessment: Lessons from the pandemic reinforce the whole-of-system approach required to prevent, protect, and promote the collective health of the state. Public health frameworks such as the social determinants of health and planning principle of liveability demonstrate how the urban environment is a strong facilitator for population health and wellbeing, and protective factor against poor health outcomes.
Victoria’s Planning Framework offers an opportunity to support the health and wellbeing of the state through acute and preventative health considerations. Planning of the public health service system must reflect projected demands using an integrated planning approach that ensures service availability consistently meets population growing needs whilst recognising how the urban environment can promote and protect health and wellbeing.