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Central Highlands Prevention Lab takes shape


A locally-driven initiative to improve the long-term health of those living in the Central Highlands is taking shape with a business case now complete and work underway to embed a prevention culture across the region.

Following Regional Assemblies and extensive consultation with the community and stakeholders, the Central Highlands Regional Partnership made improving the health of those living in the Central Highlands one of its top priorities.

The Victorian Government listened and provided $650,000 of support over the past two years to build a business case and embed the idea of a Prevention Lab in the region.

Working with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Regional Development Victoria (RDV), a business case has now been developed by regional social enterprise Health Futures Australia (HFA).

Central Highlands Regional Partnership Chair George Fong explains that the Lab won’t be a physical place, it will instead activate a network of leaders to drive locally-appropriate initiatives aimed at getting the community moving and improving health outcomes. The objective is to achieve a five per cent reduction in obesity in the region by 2025.

Phase 2 of the project has now kicked off, led by HFA, aimed at developing the Prevention Lab brand and working with local leaders to design and embed prevention initiatives and thinking into business-as-usual for the region.

This second phase will continue to involve community and stakeholder engagement, and will include co-designing a proposition for investment with Central Highland communities.

“It’s great to be involved with a community driven priority such as this and be able to assist in making it a reality,” explains Mr Fong. “We want to make health and wellbeing absolutely a part of our culture and see it become business-as-usual in Central Highlands.

“Getting Phase 2 of the Prevention Lab up and running is the next step in continuing momentum towards achieving this.”

The Central Highlands Regional Partnership – one of nine across the state – was set up by the Victorian Government in 2016 recognising that local communities and stakeholders are in the best position to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by their region.

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