Clean air and veggie patches taking the fight to heart disease

The Heart Foundation has applauded the City of Sydney for two major initiatives that are helping fight heart disease – the single biggest killer of Australians.

The City’s smoke-free trial in Martin Place and popular community gardens won a NSW Heart Foundation Local Government Award in the category for “Councils with populations greater than 25,000.”

The City’s CEO Monica Barone said the organisation was committed to creating a healthier and more liveable environment for the 1.2 million people that live, work or visit the area each day.

“The City is supporting the rights of residents and workers to live a healthy lifestyle. Our commitment to smoke-free public spaces and creating community gardens throughout the city will lower the collective chance of heart disease,” Ms Barone said.

“We spoke to thousands of residents, workers and businesses about the trial in Martin Place and received overwhelming support for the smoke-free zone.

“Thanks to this positive response – and the fact the trial has significantly reduced the number of people smoking in these areas – the smoke-free zone is now permanent and has been extended to Pitt Street Mall at the request of businesses and the community.

“Over the years, we’ve received frequent complaints about the impact of second-hand smoke in areas like Pitt Street Mall and Martin Place. These smoke-free initiatives will help improve public health and create an environment where smokers are encouraged to live a healthier lifestyle.”

Ms Barone said the 19 community gardens across the city had become hubs of social interaction and sustainable living that were encouraging more locals to connect with each other and keep healthy.

“Community gardens have proved to be very popular among our residents, providing them a space to get outdoors, meet their neighbours and be physically active,” said Ms Barone.

“As well as fostering a culture of sustainability, the community gardens encourage healthy eating options and bring neighbours together in an environment where they can mix and work together.”

NSW Heart Foundation CEO Kerry Doyle praised the City’s commitment to delivering initiatives that are backed by strong research.

“City of Sydney won this award due to their excellent initiatives that focus on smoke free environments and community gardens, both backed with policy support that was soundly developed. We congratulate all those involved,” Ms Doyle said.

“The awards are designed to recognise the outstanding achievements of local governments in the continuing fight against heart disease – the single biggest killer of Australians.”

“Local governments play a pivotal role in introducing structural change, implementing policies and creating supportive environments which allow people to be more physically active, stop smoking and improve their nutrition.”

For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Advisor Alex Cauchi on 02 9265 9582 or [email protected]