Safety first at the City of Palmerston

Article image - Safety first at the City of Palmerston Above: Council’s market garden provides low cost fruit and vegetables for the local store (pictured right).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has named Palmerston as the Northern Territory’s first International Safe Community, following its safety and injury prevention work with the community.

The City of Palmerston is a key partner in the Safer Communities Program, which is a community based approach to injury prevention and safety promotion. Other partners include local businesses and community organisations, the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Community Services.

Modelled on the WHO community based approach to safe communities, Council has achieved significant results through the project in areas such as health promotion and accident prevention. It is even tackling alcohol related issues in the community.

There are currently ten designated Safe Communities in Australia, with a further 14 preparing for designation. The number of Safer Communities across the world has grown to more than
130 since the concept originated in Sweden more than 20 years ago.

Palmerston’s Safe Communities Program incorporates five working groups, which target a range of community safety issues. These include the Child Safety Network, Personal and Social Safety Work Group, Data and Evaluation Work Group, Alcohol Management Reference Group, and Palmlesstonnes Organising Committee.

One of the most visible elements of the program is the annual Palmlesstonnes weight loss, healthy lifestyle challenge. Now in its third year, Palmlesstonnes has proven to be an example of the Safer Communities process, with local businesses, agencies and the community joining forces to promote better health and foster a real sense of community. Palmlesstonnes is also a surveillance program, with walkers keeping an active eye on what’s going on in the community. It offers a great way for them to meet new people and explore the city.

A child safety campaign, ‘Look at Me – Look at Me’, was also developed to highlight the dangers that result in common injuries to Northern Territory children, such as burns and scalds, correctly wearing a child safety harness in cars, water safety and keeping medications away from children. The campaign delivers a range of educational material, including high impact posters and advertising that has been promoted widely at childcare centres and other community facilities.

The high level of community involvement in the campaign’s development has been a positive factor in the uptake of the messages and education material in the Palmerston community.

Another project undertaken by the Palmerston Safer Communities Project is an Alcohol Management Plan, which aims to reduce the level of alcohol related harm for individuals and the Palmerston community.

For further information contact Palmerston’s Safer Communities Coordinator on (08) 8935 9976.