Australian local government policies on creating a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system: analysis in New South Wales and Victoria

Publication Name

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health


Objective: To analyse local government (LG) policies concerned with creating a healthy, sustainable and equitable food system. Methods: All relevant policies on LG websites were identified and analysed against a framework of 34 recommendations for LG action on food system issues. Results: A total of 13 of 207 (New South Wales 128, Victoria 79) LGs had dedicated food system policies. Most actions on food system issues were in general (non-food specific) policies. Most LGs acted on food safety, sustainable local food production, food waste, drinking water access and food system-related education. Few used economic measures to support the consumption of healthier foods, restricted unhealthy food advertising, developed and implemented dietary guidelines in LG-managed settings or influenced the opening of unhealthy/healthy retail food outlets. Conclusions: LGs undertook a range of actions relevant to creating a healthy, sustainable and equitable food system. Strategic opportunities for LGs include regulating the sale and marketing of unhealthy food and ensuring policy coherence. Implications for public health: LGs can be supported to act further on food system issues, including through ‘joined-up’ state and federal policies. Further research should address how relevant LG policies can be developed, implemented and monitored effectively to address the complex challenges created by contemporary food systems.

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