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Community Wellbeing Strategy

We’re developing a Community Wellbeing Strategy to help create a more inclusive and healthy community.

This is our commitment to making Port Stephens a place where wellbeing is prioritised, and people can lead happy, healthy and connected lives. It also incorporates our Disability Inclusion Action Plan, so we have a holistic view of the wellbeing of our whole community.

We started talking about the Strategy with you in 2021 and we received great feedback that has guided the draft Strategy and are currently reviewing submissions made during the public exhibition phase. The finalised Community Wellbeing Strategy will be presented to Council for adoption in May 2024.


We recognise that wellbeing means different things to different people. We think wellbeing is about feeling safe, included and able to participate in your community. Wellbeing is something we want for everyone in Port Stephens.

Our Community Wellbeing Strategy outlines actions to improve liveability for everyone across Port Stephens. Informed by community data and engagement, we have developed four key themes including

  • accessibility
  • security and safety
  • participation and inclusion
  • resilience

Each theme has a suite of associated actions that translate our strategy into action. These actions will make it really easy for us to demonstrate how the Strategy is being implemented once it is finalised.

As a number of our plans and policies are currently under review — the Community Wellbeing Strategy will streamline and remove duplication to create one easy to read document.

The Strategy includes actions from the Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2021 to 2024, as part of our commitment to removing barriers and improving the lives for people with a disability.

Over 400 people shared their experiences and priorities for improving inclusivity, wellbeing and access in Port Stephens. We heard people want better connections to access facilities, services and for recreation and wellbeing, including expanding and improving upon footpath networks, making our public spaces like beaches, libraries and parks accessible and inclusive, and improving public transport links.

The biggest barriers for people with disability were;

  • accessibility to public and private spaces
  • lack of or poor condition of footpaths and ramps
  • discrimination and stigma

It is clear that people with a disability value inclusivity, and want to be able to access the same spaces and facilities than those without a disability.

Access or lack of was the main barrier identified that made people feel welcome or unwelcome in spaces.

Discrimination was a common theme across all engagement activities, with participants highlighting how unwelcoming both private spaces like cafes and shopping centres, and private spaces like parks and car parking areas can be for people with a disability.

All Councils in NSW are required under legislation to have a Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), to outline how Councils are removing barriers and improving the lives of people with a disability. A DIAP is reviewed every four years and Port Stephens Council's DIAP is due for renewal at the end of 2021.

For our next DIAP we are taking a more holistic view of inclusion and are incorporating the DIAP into a broader plan - the Wellbeing Strategy. We think inclusion is for everyone and if we support and lead initiatives that improve access and inclusion for our everyone in our diverse population, we will have a more connected and healthy community.

We also recognise that people with a disability have unique barriers and challenges in participating in community life. Our Wellbeing Strategy will incorporate the DIAP which will have specific actions Council commits to improve the lives of people with a disability.

The plan will involve all areas of Council.