Parks and Leisure Australia’s CALL to ACTION

Parks and Leisure Australia’s CALL to ACTION

Concerned about the poor health of our nation

Posted on 07.05.2019

We are the People behind the Places that encourage healthy and active communities. The planners, the architects and custodians of Australia’s parks, bushlands, gardens, sports facilities, leisure centres and trails.

We are concerned about the poor health of our nation:

  • Eight in ten Australian children do not meet national guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
  • More than a third (36%) of Australians aged 15 and over do very little or no exercise at all.
  • 70.8% of Australian men were overweight or obese in 2014-15, compared with 56.3% of women.
  • Physical inactivity costs the Australian economy $805 million annually – $640m in direct costs (healthcare expenditure) and $165m in indirect costs.
  • Physical inactivity causes an estimated 16,000 premature deaths a year.
  • Productivity loss due to physical inactivity is estimated at 1.8 working days per worker per year.
  • Adults who participate in sport are 20–40% less likely to die prematurely from all causes compared with non-participants.
  • Physical inactivity contributes to 19% of diabetes cases, 16% of bowel cancer cases, 16% of uterine cancer cases, 14% of dementia cases, 11% of breast cancer cases, 11% of coronary heart disease cases and 10% of strokes.

These statistics are damning and even more severe in rural and regional Australia and across disadvantaged groups.

This is a national crisis and we urgently call the Australian government to partner with state and local governments across Australia to reverse this trend!



To create a Healthy and Happy Australia, we need to plan and to invest in this critical infrastructure for health. Our green spaces, open spaces and active transport networks are the essential ingredient in making our cities liveable and providing a path to a healthier Australia.

Parks and Leisure Australia

PLA wants a healthier and happier future for Australia

This future requires investment in urban health infrastructure. This investment is now critical if we are to reverse the rising costs of physical and mental illness related to physical inactivity and lack of access to green spaces and social connection.

We have to make planning and funding urban health infrastructure a central priority for all levels of government in Australia. That priority also means that planning for our cities puts this infrastructure first and that we recognise it is not a cost, but an investment in our future.

Only then can we deliver truly liveable cities and towns.




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