Council has been presented with an opportunity to join the Eastern Health Authority.
The Eastern Health Authority is body set up by a group of eastern councils and includes the Cities of Prospect, Campbelltown, Walkerville, Norwood-Payneham-St Peters and Burnside.
There are advantages to joining this group and these were debated at our recent City Strategy & Policy Meeting. They have been identified as follows:
ü An opportunity to provide shared services whereby the City of Unley would be included in EHA’s Regional Environmental Health Management Plan as required under the South Australian Public Health Act 2
ü Environmental Health Services would be provided by a larger operator ensuring business continuity.
ü Consolidation of environmental health officer skill and expertise in an employment market where a shortage of Environmental Health Professionals has been experienced.
ü Alignment with the principals of the Eastern Region Alliance agreement.
ü The cost analysis indicates an ongoing budget saving for the City of Unley of $7 966.
During the debate we also acknowledged the following disadvantages:
ü Residents of the City of Unley may associate environmental services with EHA, and not the City of Unley.
ü Loss of direct control over services, however, the City of Unley would be required to appoint two elected members to be EHA Board Members and would therefore contribute to decision making processes.
We voted to hold off on a decision pending more research from our administration including considering if other more appropriate partnerships can be formed that would be of benefit to us.
I believe we should consider this very carefully and in so doing be very mindful of the need for any public health plan developed in concert with other councils truly reflects our own unique public health issues, not shared by any group we may consider joining.