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Loddon Campaspe priority to leave no one behind


Despite the strong growth happening across the Loddon Campaspe, and Bendigo’s standing as the happiest marginal seat in Australia*, the region will not reach its full potential unless social disadvantage is addressed and reduced.

“Creating the best start for our children” emerged as a key priority for the Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership after its very first community assembly last year.

The region’s second assembly will be held next week, and we will be looking forward to hearing the community’s ideas on how to give our children a better start to life.

The **latest data shows an increase in the number of children starting school in the Loddon Campaspe region who are “developmentally vulnerable” (7.5%), that is behind in language, maths and communication skills and general knowledge.

This then impacts on a child’s future quality of life, such as whether they stay at school, have genuine job opportunities or turn to crime.

Partnership chair Nigel McGuckian said getting all children ready for school and to learn had come through as one of the most important needs in the region.

“Many organisations have known this for years; local government, libraries, kindergartens, community houses, schools and local businesses are all having a go and doing their best, but they need more support to keep their efforts going,” Mr McGuckian said.

“We hope to help every local government area in the Loddon Campaspe region develop ways to make sure these critical literacy and numeracy skills are in place before these children get to school,” he said.

The current six priorities of the Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership, include;

  • Creating the best start for our children
  • Being connected through better transport systems and digital technology
  • Promoting better health outcomes for our people
  • Connecting people and the natural environment
  • Growing our economy
  • Sustainable communities and renewable energy

If you are passionate about any of these topics, you can participate in the online conversation through the Loddon Campaspe engagement page, or register to attend the next assembly in Bendigo on 17 August.

* Australian Unity Wellbeing Index survey – 150 marginal seats – highest personal wellbeing ranking

** AEDC Language and cognitive skills (school-based)
In 2015 7.5% of children across Loddon Campaspe were assessed as being developmentally vulnerable in regards to school based language and cognitive skills in their first year of school.  This has increased from 6.5% in 2009.  This means they  ”experience a number of challenges in reading/writing and with numbers; unable to read and write simple words and will be uninterested in trying, and often unable to attach sounds to letters.  Children will have difficulty remembering things, counting to 20, and recognising and comparing numbers; and usually not interested in numbers.”

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