The City of Cockburn has been named overall winner of the 2020 Local Government Policy Awards (Children, Environment and Health) for the fourth time in their 10-year history.
The City was named overall winner of the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia (PHAIWA) awards, and also took out its Smoke Free Environment and Shade in Public Places categories.
Cockburn was also Commended in the Aboriginal Child Health category, and shared an Environments Promoting Physical Activity category Commendation with the City of Kalamunda.
The City of Cockburn’s passionate Child Development Officer, Joan de Castro, was one of three people to receive an Outstanding Service award at the ceremony, where winners were announced by Local Government Minister David Templeman, and accepted by Mayor Logan Howlett and City staff.
Ms de Castro, who has been working with the City for 15 years and first became involved in the PHAIWA awards in 2013 when the City won its first accolade, said the awards helped the City showcase its work among children and youth, and be inspired by other local governments.
“The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing the increasing participation of children in having a voice, the focus on developing inspirational playgrounds and facilities for children and youth, and the increasing ability to put children forefront in City decision-making.”
Mayor Howlett congratulated Ms de Castro on her recognition as one of three local government officers to receive an inaugural Outstanding Service award.
“It is truly amazing to see the award being introduced for the first time and Joan’s name called out – richly deserved by someone so passionate about our young people,” Mayor Howlett said.
“Reading the City’s submission and hearing the various projects from local governments across the State kept me on the edge of my seat as it did most people at the forum.
“The City has performed consistently at these awards and it is testimony to the staff and their engagement across the community to remain competitive and inspiring in all they do for young people.
“A new category under the mental health umbrella will be introduced next year thus enabling local governments to respond to this important aspect of community life.
“As these awards were underway over 1,200 Year 6 students from across the Cockburn community were gathering for a Remembrance Service under the auspice of the City of Cockburn RSL Sub Branch – another reflection of the City’s reach into the community. Lest we Forget.”
The Smoke Free Environments category recognised the City’s Proud to Be Smoke Free initiative, which began as a pilot in 2018 and illustrates the City’s increased focus on policies and plans to prohibit smoking in public places and at events, especially near children.
The Proud to Be Smoke Free initiative was implemented by the City’s Health Promotion and Recreation Services team with the South Metropolitan Health Service to design positive signage promoting a smoke-free lifestyle at local sporting and community centres.
In 2019, the signage was rolled out to 16 other sporting clubs, eight community centres, four skate parks, the new bowling club and the new hockey stadium.
About 2,000 smoke-free stickers were installed at all new playgrounds, and where needed at established playgrounds, in 2019/20.
The Shade in Public Places award recognises the City’s various strategies and plans that prioritise the provision of shade, including the Playground Shade Sail Strategy 2013-2023.
In the 2020/21 financial year, shade sails will be installed at eight parks, two of these are due to public requests, with the aim to install before December.
The City also has a Tree and Street Reserve Management policy, and a street trees ‘subdivision and development’ policy to help increase the number of street trees in the City’s road reserves in new and infill areas, and provide a framework for their installation and management. Currently, the City manages 35,000 street trees.
The Urban Forest Plan 2018-2028 directs the management of streetscapes and public open space to improve liveability and wellbeing, with a proposed tree planting program of 1,500 trees per annum.
The Aboriginal Child Health commendation recognised the City’s Reconciliation Action Plan, Youth Strategy, Cultural Diversity Strategy and Strategic Community Plan focusing on providing positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders within the Cockburn community.
As part of the proposed Bibra Lake Aboriginal Cultural and Visitors Centre design, a multipurpose room would be used for a variety of child and family-related activities such as a crèche, playgroup and school/student activities and excursions.
Another room, plus cultural trails and bush tucker/medicine gardens, will be used for Aboriginal cultural cooking, dance and other cultural activities. A display area within the educational, interactive centre will be aimed at school groups, community members and families to learn about Aboriginal culture.
The City also holds various annual days, activities, workshops, educational programs and events to share Nyungar culture and language with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members of the Cockburn and wider community.
The Environments Promoting Physical Activity commendation recognises the City’s various plans and strategies that encourage physical activity and healthy eating, and particularly the encouragement of cycling as part of the Youth Services Strategy.
In 2019 the highest cycling participating rate for the City was among children aged 10 and under with 43 per cent having cycled in the previous week, compared to 35 per cent in Perth and 40 per cent in WA. The participation rate holds up during teenage years in Cockburn (36 per cent) to a greater extent than across Perth (13 per cent) and WA (26 per cent).
The Your Move program, which encourages children to become more active by increasing walking, scooting and riding to school, has experienced an increase in membership. Ten Cockburn schools are now signed up following its promotion by the City’s TravelSmart Officer.
The City has expanded its children/youth programs from free skateboarding and scooter clinics/competitions to include BMX and pump track competitions.
The hotly-contested PHAIWA awards showcase WA local government progress across 10 categories in creating environments that prioritise the health and wellbeing of children.
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