Informed, engaged communities for health

Filter by Categories
Aged care
Budgets
Federal Budget 2023-2024
Federal Budget October 2022
Federal Budget 2022-23
Federal Budget 2021-22
Budget2020Health
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2019-20
Climate and health
Climate emergency
Heatwaves
Healthcare sustainability
#CoveringClimateNow
#HealthyCOP27
#HealthyCOP26
COVID collection
Long COVID
COVID-19
COVIDwrap
COVID SNAPS
#JusticeCOVID
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey Conference News Service
#ASMIRT2023
#NSPC23
Our Democracy Forum
#AskMSF
#16nrhc
#GreenHealthForum22
#Heal2022
#ICEM22
#NAISA22
#NNF2022
#RANZCP2022
#RethinkAddiction
#RTP22
Choosing Wisely National Meeting 2022
Equally Well 2022 Symposium
GiantSteps22
Croakey Professional Services
NHLF series
#KidneyCareTogether
ACSQHC series
ACSQHC series 2022
ACSQHC series 2021
ACSQHC series 2020
ACSQHC series 2019
CATSINaM 25 Years
Croakey projects
The Health Wrap
ICYMI
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2023
#CroakeyVOICES
#SpeakingOurMinds
Croakey longreads
#CroakeyREAD
CroakeyEXPLORE
#PHAAThinkTank 2022
Summer reading 2022-2023
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
Determinants of health
Environmental determinants of health
Social determinants of health
Discrimination
Racism
Justice and policing
Poverty
Newstart/JobSeeker
Education
Housing
Internet access
Justice Reinvestment
Social policy
Commercial determinants of health
Alcohol
Digital platforms
Food and beverages
Sugar tax
Tobacco
Vaping
Plain packaging
Gambling
Pharmaceutical industry
Arms industry
Disasters and extreme weather events
Disasters
Extreme weather events
Bushfires
Bushfire-emergency 2019-2020
Floods 2023
Floods 2022
Floods 2021
Floods 2011
Donor-funded journalism
Donor-funded journalism – 2023
Donor-funded journalism – 2022
Donor-funded journalism – 2021
Donor-funded journalism – 2020
Elections
#NSWvotesHealth2023
Victorian election 2022
Federal Election 2022
The Election Wrap 2022
#QldVotesHealth
SA election 2022
WA election 2021
Tasmanian election 2021
First Nations
Indigenous health
Uluru Statement
The Voice
Community controlled sector
Cultural determinants of health
Cultural safety
Social and emotional wellbeing
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
WA community closures
Acknowledgement
#CTG10
#NTRC
#RCIADIC30Years
General health matters
Consumer health matters
Cancer
Cardiovascular disease
Chronic conditions
Non communicable diseases
Diabetes
Oral health
Disabilities
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
Genetics
Medical marijuana
Mental health
Suicide
Trauma
LGBTQIA+
HIV/AIDS
Women's health
HRT
Abortion
Men's health
Youth health
Child health
Pregnancy and childbirth
Organ transplants
Pain
Sexual health
Infectious diseases
Influenza
Mpox
Swine flu
Death and dying
Euthanasia
Global health matters
Global health
WHO
Conflict and war
Asylum seeker and refugee health
#WorldInTurmoil
Ebola
NHS
Health policy and systems
Health reform
Workforce matters
Health financing and costs
Health regulation
Strengthening Medicare Taskforce 2022
Co-design
TGA
Royal Commissions
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
Private health insurance
Healthcare
Primary healthcare
cohealth
Social prescribing
Rural and remote health
General practice
International medical graduates
Primary Health Networks
NDIS
Nursing and midwifery
Australian Medical Association
Allied healthcare
Pharmacy
Paramedics
Pathology
Naturopathy
Hospitals
Emergency departments and care
Palliative care
Safety and quality of healthcare
Adverse events
Choosing Wisely
Co-payments
Out of pocket costs
Complementary medicines
Conflicts of interest
Health ethics
Digital technology
Telehealth
E-health
Equally Well
Health Care Homes
Medicare Locals
MyHospitals website
Screening
Surgery
Tests
Media and health
Media-related issues
Public interest journalism
Misinformation and disinformation
Social media and healthcare
Health & medical marketing
The Conversation
Media Doctor Australia
News about Croakey
Public health and population health
Artificial intelligence
Public health
Prevention
Health inequalities
Human rights
Health in All Policies
Health impact assessment
Legal issues
Australian Centre for Disease Control
VicHealth
Health literacy
Health communications
Vaccination
Air pollution
Physical activity
Sport
Obesity
Road safety
Transport
Gun control
Illicit drugs
Injuries
Marriage equality
Occupational health
Violence
Weight loss products
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
Government 2.0
Web 2.0
Nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
Research matters
Health and medical research
#MRFFtransparency
Evidence-based issues
Cochrane Collaboration
Health and medical education
NHMRC
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2021
2021 conferences
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#FoodGovernance2021
#GiantSteps21
#GreenHealthForum21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#NNF2021
#RANZCP2021
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
2020 conferences
#2020ResearchExcellence
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#SAHeapsUnfair
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
Croakey Professional Services archive
#CommunityControl
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
#COVIDthinktank21
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects archive
#CommunityMatters
#CroakeyFundingDrive 2022
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyLIVE Federal election 2022
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HousingJusticeAus
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
#LookingLocal
#OutOfPocket
#OutOfTheBox
#RuralHealthJustice
#TalkingTeeth
@WePublicHealth2022
@WePublicHealth2021
@WePublicHealth2020
AroundTheTraps
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer reading 2021-2022
Summer reading 2020-2021
Summer Reading 2019-2020
Summer Reading 2017-2018
Summer Reading 2016-2017
The Koori Woman
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2019
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2019
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Budget 2017/18
NZ Election 2017
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Election 2016
#HealthElection16
NT Election 2016
Federal Budget 2015-16
Qld Election 2015
NSW Election 2015
Federal Budget 2014-15
Victorian Election 2014
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Election 2013
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Election 2010
Federal Budget 2009-2010
Support non-profit public interest journalism
Filter by Categories
Aged care
Budgets
Federal Budget 2023-2024
Federal Budget October 2022
Federal Budget 2022-23
Federal Budget 2021-22
Budget2020Health
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2019-20
Climate and health
Climate emergency
Heatwaves
Healthcare sustainability
#CoveringClimateNow
#HealthyCOP27
#HealthyCOP26
COVID collection
Long COVID
COVID-19
COVIDwrap
COVID SNAPS
#JusticeCOVID
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey Conference News Service
#ASMIRT2023
#NSPC23
Our Democracy Forum
#AskMSF
#16nrhc
#GreenHealthForum22
#Heal2022
#ICEM22
#NAISA22
#NNF2022
#RANZCP2022
#RethinkAddiction
#RTP22
Choosing Wisely National Meeting 2022
Equally Well 2022 Symposium
GiantSteps22
Croakey Professional Services
NHLF series
#KidneyCareTogether
ACSQHC series
ACSQHC series 2022
ACSQHC series 2021
ACSQHC series 2020
ACSQHC series 2019
CATSINaM 25 Years
Croakey projects
The Health Wrap
ICYMI
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2023
#CroakeyVOICES
#SpeakingOurMinds
Croakey longreads
#CroakeyREAD
CroakeyEXPLORE
#PHAAThinkTank 2022
Summer reading 2022-2023
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
Determinants of health
Environmental determinants of health
Social determinants of health
Discrimination
Racism
Justice and policing
Poverty
Newstart/JobSeeker
Education
Housing
Internet access
Justice Reinvestment
Social policy
Commercial determinants of health
Alcohol
Digital platforms
Food and beverages
Sugar tax
Tobacco
Vaping
Plain packaging
Gambling
Pharmaceutical industry
Arms industry
Disasters and extreme weather events
Disasters
Extreme weather events
Bushfires
Bushfire-emergency 2019-2020
Floods 2023
Floods 2022
Floods 2021
Floods 2011
Donor-funded journalism
Donor-funded journalism – 2023
Donor-funded journalism – 2022
Donor-funded journalism – 2021
Donor-funded journalism – 2020
Elections
#NSWvotesHealth2023
Victorian election 2022
Federal Election 2022
The Election Wrap 2022
#QldVotesHealth
SA election 2022
WA election 2021
Tasmanian election 2021
First Nations
Indigenous health
Uluru Statement
The Voice
Community controlled sector
Cultural determinants of health
Cultural safety
Social and emotional wellbeing
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
WA community closures
Acknowledgement
#CTG10
#NTRC
#RCIADIC30Years
General health matters
Consumer health matters
Cancer
Cardiovascular disease
Chronic conditions
Non communicable diseases
Diabetes
Oral health
Disabilities
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
Genetics
Medical marijuana
Mental health
Suicide
Trauma
LGBTQIA+
HIV/AIDS
Women's health
HRT
Abortion
Men's health
Youth health
Child health
Pregnancy and childbirth
Organ transplants
Pain
Sexual health
Infectious diseases
Influenza
Mpox
Swine flu
Death and dying
Euthanasia
Global health matters
Global health
WHO
Conflict and war
Asylum seeker and refugee health
#WorldInTurmoil
Ebola
NHS
Health policy and systems
Health reform
Workforce matters
Health financing and costs
Health regulation
Strengthening Medicare Taskforce 2022
Co-design
TGA
Royal Commissions
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
Private health insurance
Healthcare
Primary healthcare
cohealth
Social prescribing
Rural and remote health
General practice
International medical graduates
Primary Health Networks
NDIS
Nursing and midwifery
Australian Medical Association
Allied healthcare
Pharmacy
Paramedics
Pathology
Naturopathy
Hospitals
Emergency departments and care
Palliative care
Safety and quality of healthcare
Adverse events
Choosing Wisely
Co-payments
Out of pocket costs
Complementary medicines
Conflicts of interest
Health ethics
Digital technology
Telehealth
E-health
Equally Well
Health Care Homes
Medicare Locals
MyHospitals website
Screening
Surgery
Tests
Media and health
Media-related issues
Public interest journalism
Misinformation and disinformation
Social media and healthcare
Health & medical marketing
The Conversation
Media Doctor Australia
News about Croakey
Public health and population health
Artificial intelligence
Public health
Prevention
Health inequalities
Human rights
Health in All Policies
Health impact assessment
Legal issues
Australian Centre for Disease Control
VicHealth
Health literacy
Health communications
Vaccination
Air pollution
Physical activity
Sport
Obesity
Road safety
Transport
Gun control
Illicit drugs
Injuries
Marriage equality
Occupational health
Violence
Weight loss products
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
Government 2.0
Web 2.0
Nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
Research matters
Health and medical research
#MRFFtransparency
Evidence-based issues
Cochrane Collaboration
Health and medical education
NHMRC
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2021
2021 conferences
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#FoodGovernance2021
#GiantSteps21
#GreenHealthForum21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#NNF2021
#RANZCP2021
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
2020 conferences
#2020ResearchExcellence
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#SAHeapsUnfair
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
Croakey Professional Services archive
#CommunityControl
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
#COVIDthinktank21
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects archive
#CommunityMatters
#CroakeyFundingDrive 2022
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyLIVE Federal election 2022
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HousingJusticeAus
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
#LookingLocal
#OutOfPocket
#OutOfTheBox
#RuralHealthJustice
#TalkingTeeth
@WePublicHealth2022
@WePublicHealth2021
@WePublicHealth2020
AroundTheTraps
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer reading 2021-2022
Summer reading 2020-2021
Summer Reading 2019-2020
Summer Reading 2017-2018
Summer Reading 2016-2017
The Koori Woman
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2019
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2019
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Budget 2017/18
NZ Election 2017
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Election 2016
#HealthElection16
NT Election 2016
Federal Budget 2015-16
Qld Election 2015
NSW Election 2015
Federal Budget 2014-15
Victorian Election 2014
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Election 2013
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Election 2010
Federal Budget 2009-2010

Drinking fountains in every town won’t fix all our water issues – but it’s a healthy start

Introduction by Croakey: Aboriginal elders in western New South Wales were reported today as saying they will provide free filtered drinking water for their remote community after repeated failures by the state and local government to do so.

Lack of access to clean and safe drinking water is a big issue in Australia, and one that is disproportionately borne.

Macquarie University’s Dr John Charles Skinner and Dr Kylie Gwynne and University of Canberra Chancellor Professor Tom Calma report below on their study that found towns of lower socioeconomic status were less likely to have access to community drinking water and more likely to have a high Aboriginal population. Often the cheapest drink that communities can access is soft drink.

They have been working with NSW communities to install refrigerated water fountains in rural and remote places, collaborating with local Aboriginal land councils, traditional owners, and local government using co-design principles and estimate it could cost a modest $5 million to install such fountains across Australia – “a small investment in the prevention of chronic disease”.

Their article was originally published at The Conversation.


John Charles Skinner, Kylie Gwynne and Tom Calma write:

Water plays a significant role in Aboriginal culture. The Fish Traps in Brewarrina, Baiame’s Ngunnhu, for example, were built by eight clan groups and continue to sustainably fish the Barwon River.

Respect for and understanding of water has enabled Aboriginal people to thrive for millennia in very hot and remote places. The impacts of colonisation including introduced species of plants and animals, farming and overuse of rivers and ground water, compounded by global warming, has dramatically reduced water access and quality, and in some places threatened the water supply.

Recent coverage of the quality of drinking water in Walgett in New South Wales again highlights that clean, safe drinking water is not a right in Australia. Walgett residents say the water is unsafe to drink and they’re backed by scientists from the George Institute who report an urgent need to address drinking water quality.

Supply is only half the issue

The reasons for poor or limited water supply vary. They include river flows and environmental health issues, infrastructure, and insufficient skilled, credentialed staff available to conduct water quality checks. But understanding the causes is one thing. Taking active steps to address them is another.

When clean, safe water doesn’t flow to communities, they are more likely to drink sugar-sweetened beverages.

Our 2020 study visited three remote schools with high proportions of Aboriginal students. Our initial results, gathered in 2014, found 64 percent of children regularly drank sugary drinks.

Some five percent thought drinking water was “unhealthy”. In some places in Australia that’s true at least some of the time.

The availability of safe drinking water impacts tooth decay, obesity and diseases like diabetes.

Australia has drinking water quality guidelines but they are not mandatory.

We installed cold, filtered water fountains through a structured, collaborative process and, as a result, found in 2018 that 84 percent of children at those same schools drank water every day. The percentage who regularly drank sugary drinks shrank to 33 percent in the intervening four-year period.

Our follow up study found towns of lower socioeconomic status were less likely to have access to community drinking water and more likely to have a high Aboriginal population.

So, Aboriginal people are particularly disadvantaged by this issue. It also found that in many towns the cheapest drink is soft drink.

Making a difference through co-design

We have been working with NSW communities to install refrigerated water fountains in rural and remote places. We collaborate with local Aboriginal land councils, traditional owners, and local government using co-design principles.

Together we confirm the need, identify a suitable location and then select the right model of water fountain. We also negotiate local responsibility for ongoing maintenance and provide water bottles, education resources and spare filters.

In most cases we work with schools and preschools to embed positive health messages and reinforce water as the best drink.

As Kim Cooke, Director Little Yuin Preschool in Wallaga Lake says,

The water fountain is a wonderful asset to the preschool outdoor learning environment.

For us, as educators, it is central to the children’s health to be able to hydrate their bodies ready for learning; and having access to fresh water to drink everyday has led to an increase in their independence and learning about the importance of drinking water throughout the day.”

Meeting local need

We recently conducted a survey of towns across Australia with a population of fewer than 5,000 people and Aboriginal population greater than three percent. We estimated that 222 places out of 612 small towns nationally do not have community drinking water.

Providing drinking water to every Australian town requires a place-by-place approach so that communities get a say about how and where fountains are installed and they meet local needs. Schools and preschools can participate in health promotion too.

A national approach that overcomes the policy “ping pong” of responsibility for water safety, quality and infrastructure between local, state and the federal governments is also required.

A national approach would enable:

  • high quality infrastructure to be purchased at reasonable price
  • professional and timely installation
  • local responsibility for maintenance
  • co-design so that each town gets the infrastructure they need, where it’s needed.

We estimate it would cost $5 million to solve this problem nationally, based on our installation costs in NSW communities to date – a small investment in the prevention of chronic disease.

Water fountains in every town won’t solve all of our water issues. But they could ensure everyone can access free, cold drinks and reduce sugar consumption.

As community member, Brewarrina and Brewarrina Shire Councillor Aunty Trish says:

Having cold water available after you finish your sports or on our hot days will mean a lot for the community, fresh water helps with the health and wellbeing of the community.”

The authors wish to acknowledge Uncle Boe Rambaldini and Professor Chris Bourke, our project ambassadors. Aboriginal communities and local government authorities that have participated in our research and the implementation of water fountains. Our partners at the Alliance for a Cavity Free Future, Australian Dental Association NSW Branch, NSW Council of Social Service, Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Australian Red Cross.

Dr John Charles Skinner, is Senior Research Fellow, Indigenous Health, Macquarie University

Dr Kylie Gwynne is a Senior Lecturer, Health Leadership, Macquarie University

Professor Tom Calma is Chancellor, University of Canberra


See Croakey’s archive of articles on water and health

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search by: Categories or tags

Filter by Categories
Aged care
Budgets
Federal Budget 2023-2024
Federal Budget October 2022
Federal Budget 2022-23
Federal Budget 2021-22
Budget2020Health
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2019-20
Climate and health
Climate emergency
Heatwaves
Healthcare sustainability
#CoveringClimateNow
#HealthyCOP27
#HealthyCOP26
COVID collection
Long COVID
COVID-19
COVIDwrap