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Incorporating healthy food into the IP&R process; Illawarra Regional Food Strategy

Introduction 
Background
Community Engagement Strategy
Community Strategic Plan
Resourcing Strategy
Delivery Program and Operational Plan
Project Participants
Gallery 

Locally grown produce at the Kiama farmers' market. Photo credit: Illawarra Biodiversity and Local Food Strategy Project.

Introduction 

The Illawarra Regional Food Strategy is an example of how local Councils can address the issue of healthy eating within the NSW Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework for Local Government.

 

A summary brochure of this case study is available here.


ABOUT THE IP&R FRAMEWORK

The IP&R framework provides guidance to local councils about how to undertake their planning and reporting activities in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993 and the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005. The framework provides a coherent and integrated structure for the planning and reporting cycle within each council. It enables NSW councils to draw their various plans together and ensure they interact effectively to enable holistic planning and delivery of maximum leverage for councils’ efforts. The framework also ensures that councils work closely and effectively with their communities and partners, recognising that while most communities share similar aspirations, there are differences in how each community articulates its needs and priorities.

The IP&R process comprises a number of essential and integrated elements.  The overall process is driven by the Community Strategic Plan, which is informed through engagement with the community and identifies the community’s ten-year vision and priorities. The Resourcing Strategy identifies the resources available to address these priorities, and sets out the responsibilities of the council in this regard. The Delivery Program is prepared by each newly-elected council and states how the community’s strategic goals will be translated into actions during the four-year term of that council.  All plans, projects, activities and funding allocations made by a council must be directly linked to this Delivery Program.  An annual Operational Plan details the projects and activities that will be undertaken each year in order to achieve the commitments of the Delivery Program.  Annual and other reporting measures provide  reports to the community on the council's implementation of the Delivery Program and Operational Plan, and progress towards the achievement of the Community Strategic Plan.


BACKGROUND: THE ILLAWARRA REGIONAL FOOD STRATEGY

The Illawarra Regional Food Strategy is a collaborative initiative involving Kiama Municipal Council, Shellharbour City Council and Wollongong City Council.  It identifies specific ways in which these partner councils can recognise and enhance the important role that food plays in the community and in the future of the region.

The Food Strategy provides the policy position and overall framework for progressing food security and sustainability in the Illawarra region. It describes how, in partnership with their communities and local agencies, businesses and organisations, the three Illawarra councils will work together towards their shared vision for a vibrant, sustainable local food system that is resilient, prosperous, fair and secure. It describes a number of objectives and strategies relating to four key focus areas: community capacity, food production and consumption, planning, infrastructure and regulation, and leadership, governance and advocacy. 

The Food Strategy includes a framework to inform decision-making and action across a range of areas over which local government has the most immediate influence and control.  It is accompanied by a detailed Action Plan that identifies a suite of 114 possible actions and projects that could be implemented by the participating councils, including a number of initiatives to be undertaken as regional priorities.  The Action Plan benchmarks the current status of activity in each local government area, describes the role of the participating councils against each action, and enables partner councils to progress those actions that are most relevant to their area. It also identifies timeframes and required resources for each action.

While the Illawarra Regional Food Strategy and Action Plan articulate a shared vision and approach as well as a number of regional priorities for the Illawarra, they also recognise that differences in population, community assets, demographics, land use, economic structure, community priorities, revenue base and resource levels between the three councils will determine progress in each local government area. However, because the Food Strategy is integrated with the IP&R process at each council, and its goals and objectives are broadly compatible with those in the each local government area's Community Strategic Plan, it is helping to guide, legitimise and support a range of actions at each council that are aimed at improving the local food system.

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