Our Partnership has a range of priorities it is championing. Some of these have led to new initiatives in our region.
Read about some of these projects below.
Following the Central Highlands’ first Assembly in 2016, health, and improving the long-term health outcomes of those living in the Central Highlands, became a top priority for the Partnership.
The Partnership took that message to the Victorian Government, and in Budget 2017/18, the Partnership was allocated $150,000 for the development of a business case for an innovative 'Prevention Lab.'
For 12 months, the Regional Partnership’s Health Working Group then worked with Government and local agencies to identify key opportunities.
What is the Prevention Lab and what impacts will it have?
The idea of the Prevention Lab is to bring together a diverse group of influential stakeholders to design, and then conduct health prevention initiatives that they can then learn from together, and then apply across the region.
The lab will provide a creative, innovative and safe environment to explore and develop a range of significant actions, all focused on forcing systemic change, prevention at scale, community activation and collective effort.
It will build and leverage off existing health and wellbeing work and momentum in the region and aims to change culture from within, in the communities of the Central Highlands.
The Lab will aim to produce:
- Improved practice – for example, we may take existing success and work out how to do it even better, for longer periods, with more people and at scale;
- Improved local policy design;
- New or improved prevention initiatives;
- New investment and models for sustainable investment in health prevention;
- Stronger community engagement, leadership and ownership.
To learn more about the Prevention Lab, watch the Central Highlands Priority Update video.
The Central Highlands Regional Partnership, working together with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Regional Development Victoria (RDV) and Ballarat Community Health, has engaged consultants, Health Futures Australia (HFA), to design and support the implementation of the Prevention Lab. The initiative was awarded an additional $500,000 in Budget 2018/19.
HFA – working with the community – is now exploring understandings of the current system influencing physical activity and diet in Central Highlands, and the potential for change.
Community leaders and members of the wider community have been engaged through a series of interviews, workshops, and a synthesis, feedback and reflection process, to make sense of the local system influencing health and identify leverage points, to allow maximum impact moving forward.
Understanding and addressing homelessness in the Central Highlands is one of the Partnership’s key priorities and something we heard about from the community at our Regional Assemblies. It was a major focus of our 2018 Assembly.
A working group is now in place including the Partnership, DHHS (the Department of Health and Human Services), RDV, DEWLP (the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning), Salvo Connect and Uniting Care.
The intention is to create an accurate picture of homelessness in our region, and to better connect those at risk and those currently experiencing issues with the services they need, with a goal to reduce homelessness in the Central Highlands.
A three-phased approach has been agreed which features:
- Data collection;
- A workshop based on data;
- An agreed pilot (based on the outcomes of 1 & 2).
The Housing First Response pilot Feasibility Study received $0.3 million in Budget 2018/19.
The Central Highlands Regional Partnership has taken a lead role in bringing together a council of multiple organisations and State Government Departments to focus on our new energy future.
Grampians New Energy Taskforce (GNET) includes all 11 Grampians Local Government Areas, the Central Highlands and Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnerships, RDA Grampians, Wimmera Development Association and the Committee for Ballarat. DELWP (the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) is providing the secretariat for the GNET working group.
GNET is developing an accord between all parties to authorise and empower the group to represent the Grampians in future energy discussions. Project groups are actively working on a structure to maximise the economic and community benefits of investment and innovation in new and renewable energy initiatives for the region.
From a Central Highlands Partnership perspective, energy advocacy to government, and support for LGAs, continues on key regional projects including Hepburn Shire Council’s Waste to Energy, Ballarat Renewable Energy Training Centre and City of Ballarat BWEZ New Energy Future Package projects.
The Central Highlands Digital Plan is an evidence-based, place-based analysis of the supply of and demand for digital services and skills in the region.
The Plan identifies gaps in the region’s current digital infrastructure and makes recommendations on how these gaps can be addressed. Among the key issues identified is inadequate mobile coverage in the region, with users recently registering 268 blackspots across the Central Highlands. Also of concern is the lack of availability of adequate, affordable business-grade telecommunications and digital connectivity services for regional businesses and the low take-up of Internet of Things applications in the region.
The Plan was developed after regional communities across the state told all nine Regional Partnerships that regional digital connectivity needed to be improved. Each Partnership took this message to the Victorian Government, which responded by supporting the development of nine Digital Plans as part of the $45 million Connecting Regional Communities program. This is part of the state’s broader Connecting Victoria initiatives.
This is the first time government has undertaken such a consistent and coordinated survey of the digital connectivity landscape in close collaboration with regional stakeholders, recognising local challenges and priorities.
The Central Highlands Regional Partnership and other stakeholders in the region can now use the Digital Plan to advocate to all levels of government and industry for improvements to the region’s digital infrastructure.