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Heart Foundation welcomes steps to walking-friendly neighbourhoods
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Heart Foundation welcomes steps to walking-friendly neighbourhoods

Media Release - 2 September 2020

The Heart Foundation has welcomed a Queensland Government push to make neighbourhoods in the Sunshine State more walking-friendly and keep Queenslanders moving.

The government has released a suite of resources to help developers, councils, and town planners create communities made for walking, including a Walkability Improvement Tool to audit how well local areas cater to pedestrians, alongside its updated model code for neighbourhood design.

Under the model code, new residential developments must be assessed against benchmarks such as providing footpaths on at least one side of residential roads, and both sides of main streets; trees every 15 metres on all streets; and parks within a short walk (400 metres) of houses. 

Heart Foundation Queensland CEO, Stephen Vines, commended the Queensland Government for prioritising healthy and active neighbourhoods.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, the walkability and liveability of local neighbourhoods matters for our health and wellbeing,” Mr Vines said.

“Many Queenslanders have embraced walking in their local areas during this time, and we are keen to keep this momentum going and get more people stepping towards better heart health.

“More than ever, it is important for residents to be able to get out into open spaces safely and easily to walk, ride and play, while maintaining social distancing when needed.

“This will be an excellent suite of resources to help built environment professionals address the walkability of existing areas, and make healthy street design the focus of future developments.

“We welcome this progress towards making walking the easy choice, and helping Queenslanders be more active, more often.”

Regular walking is one of the best choices to reduce your risk of heart disease, which remains Australia’s single biggest killer and claims 48 lives each day. In Queensland, heart disease kills 10 people, on average, each day and is the state’s single leading cause of death.

“Queenslanders can reduce their risk of heart disease by up to 35% simply by walking briskly for 30 minutes a day. Keeping active can also improve our mental wellbeing,” Mr Vines said.

“These incredible health benefits show why measures that encourage people to walk or cycle, such as more footpaths, street trees, and better access to local parks, are essential.

“Walking-friendly communities also gain social and economic benefits. When people walk, there are opportunities to socialise, support local businesses, and feel more connected along the way. 

“Creating these opportunities will be key as Queensland gets on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Visit the Healthy Active by Design website created by the Heart Foundation to highlight how best-practice planning and design of buildings, streets, towns and cities can improve Australians’ heart health.

Media enquiries

Brigid Simeoni, Media Advisor
M: 0427 619 589 E: brigid.simeoni@heartfoundation.org.au

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