Mayors and Chief Executive Officers from the City of Greater Bendigo and the Shires of Campaspe, Loddon, Mount Alexander, Macedon Ranges and Central Goldfields came together in Bendigo on Wednesday April 24 to launch the Healthy Heart of Victoria 2019 Active Living Census.
The census, which can be filled out online at www.srcentre.com.au/ALC from May 20 until June 16, will also be delivered to more than 117,000 homes in the Loddon Campaspe region in late May.
In 2014, the City of Greater Bendigo was the first Australian council to undertake an Active Living Census which was completed by an impressive 16% of the population. Importantly, it provided hard data that helped secure funding for a range of major recreational and health and wellbeing projects including local walking trails, water fountains and local health improvement programs. It also helped other agencies and organisations to make decisions based on what the community said it wanted.
City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke said the Loddon Campaspe region had some of the worst health outcomes in Victoria, with higher rates of smoking and poorer diet behaviours than other parts of the state.
“The aim of the census is to seek valid local and regional-level data on the community’s health behaviours, activity levels, preferences and needs,” Cr O’Rourke said.
“Our region has high levels of heart disease, obesity and cancers, which could be prevented by living a healthier lifestyle.
“People can be active in lots of different ways. It’s not just about those who participate in organised sport. Through the census we want to find out what people do to stay active, what stops them from being active and what would it take for them to become more active.
“The findings from the census will be used to produce an overarching report for the Loddon Campaspe Region and individual reports that are unique to each of the six local government areas.
“No other region in Australia will have this type of data, so it will put the Loddon Campaspe region in a powerful position to advocate for the region’s needs. It will be a powerful tool for supporting projects that provide better outcomes in the future and help drive ongoing change in our region.
“It’s an exciting initiative for our region because it will help local Councils, health agencies, sporting clubs and government departments to better plan, develop and enhance recreational facilities and health promotion services to improve the future health and wellbeing of our local communities.
“I encourage all residents to take the time to fill out the Healthy Heart of Victoria 2019 Active Living Census.”
The 2019 Census will be backed by an extensive marketing campaign. A total of $12,000 in prizes is up for grabs for those who complete the census and there are extra incentives provided for those who complete it online. Prizes include gift cards and sporting equipment.
The 2019 Census is being funded by Healthy Heart of Victoria, an initiative of the Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership that aims to improve health outcomes for residents living in central Victoria.