The conversation

Every four years, we develop a Health and Wellbeing Plan to protect, improve and promote public health.

To inform our planning, we compiled a Health and Wellbeing Profile 2020, which identifies and analyses the health and wellbeing data of our municipality. The profile helped us identify 10 hot topics, which were open for public consultation from 2 March to 26 March.

They included:

  • Climate action
  • Food security
  • Housing
  • Inclusion
  • Lifestyle
  • Livelihood
  • Local living
  • Mental Health
  • Preventing crime, violence and injury
  • Public Health

Gathering insights

Through our consultation we asked the community to:

  • Rate the preliminary health and wellbeing hot topics according to what mattered most to them.
  • Identify gaps in community health and wellbeing that may have been missed.

This was achieved through an online survey, focus groups with key stakeholders and telephone surveys.

Who we reached

Online surveys

188 responses from community members

Including residents, workers, students, visitors, property owners, business operators, local community support services.

Focus groups

Engaging our communities

We spoke to Aboriginal Community members, Aboriginal Custodians, parents, young people and people with a disability.

Telephone surveys

Speaking to 677 community members

Including residents, workers, visitors, students, men, women, LGBTIQ, CALD and various age groups from 18-55+.

What we heard

The top five hot topics chosen by the community include:

52% of respondents ranked it within their top three priority areas.

What we heard:

Safety is the key to a more liveable city –people won’t want to visit the city or live there if it doesn’t feel safe.

“People deserve to go about their lives and business without having to worry about being abused” - Visitor

“Because as a female who is often travelling in and around the city by myself it is my top concern” - Worker

“Despite being a great place to live (just next to QVM), I am increasingly feeling unsafe around this area as well as the broader CBD area at almost all hours, & questioning whether this area is suitable to raise a young family.” - Resident

45% of respondents rated this topic as one of their top three priorities.

What we heard:

“We can take the spread of COVID-19 as a good example of how important Public Health is to maintain and develop a healthy life in the city.” - Student

“Important that everyone has access to facilities that allow them to maintain a healthy life.” - Worker

“Without equitable access to public health to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the other concerns seem less important. (E.g. if you aren't healthy or don't have access to appropriate management of your health conditions you probably care less about longer term issues like the climate).” - Worker

43% of respondents reported Housing as one of their top three priorities.

What we heard:

Housing affects other issues, such as local living and mental health.

Homelessness is becoming an increasingly noticeable problem in the CBD, and brings with it health and safety issues.

“Appropriate accommodation for citizens is critical for the health & wellbeing of the people. Without it, morale drops sharply alongside their physical and mental health.” - Student

“With safe and secure housing, many other issues are helped; there’s no point having nice parks or inclusive activities without a decent place to live.” - Worker

39% of respondents reported mental health as one of their top three priorities.

What we heard:

Mental health affects people’s ability to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

“COVID has shown that mental health is vital for all aspects of life, and COVID had a significantly negative impact on mental health for many Australians.” - Student

“Because it involves all aspects of health and wellbeing.” - Worker

“It’s a big problem that doesn’t get enough funding.” - Worker

27% of respondents reported that livelihood is considered to be to be an important issue.

What we heard:

Income and job security are essential to survival –without money, community can’t provide for themselves or others.

“Equitable living is so important. It should be a number one priority to ensure people’s basic needs are met.” - Visitor

“People have to earn to live.” - Visitor

“Issues with livelihood are often the cause for housing and food insecurity, which feeds into mental and physical health as well as community engagement.” - Student.


This feedback helped us to develop and determine our six health and wellbeing focus areas for our Health and Wellbeing Plan. The six areas include:

All people feel safe and included when participating in community life, with a zero tolerance of violence in our community including family violence, violence against women and discrimination in all forms.

Melbourne’s diverse community is celebrated, with our Aboriginal community and history central to our city.

Bonds and social connections are strengthened, and all people have equal access to employment, arts, culture, nature and physical activity in the city and core services such as mental healthcare, lifelong learning and the internet.

People are supported and encouraged to make healthy and sustainable lifestyle decisions, including healthy eating, active living and reducing alcohol and other drug related harm.

Fair, appropriate, accessible and affordable housing for people of all backgrounds is available, with special focus on people experiencing homelessness.

Access to nutritious, safe, fair and culturally appropriate food for everyone, especially the most vulnerable.

Resilient and safe communities that are adapting to the public health impacts of climate change.

These focus areas form the basis of our draft Health and Wellbeing Plan and set our strategic approach over four years. This includes their integration and alignment to 20 priorities and 30 major initiatives within the draft Council Plan 2021–25.

Our work within these focus areas will be guided by the following three planning lenses:

  • the health and social inequalities through a people and place-based approach
  • city recovery and resilience
  • working together for co-benefits.

Implementation of our activities will be measured over the next four years and we will share experiences and the results of our progress with our community.

Next steps

From 25 May to 15 June 2021 we asked for feedback on the draft Council Plan 2021–25 prior to its finalisation. The Council Plan will be implemented through annual reporting commitments and managed through a health and wellbeing action plan.

The Council Plan 2021–25 was adopted by Council on Tuesday 29 June 2021.

Health and Wellbeing Plan