Improving Health and Wellbeing Outcomes in Baw Baw Shire

Published on 03 December 2018

Baw Baw Shire Council and local supporting agencies have reflected on the achievements of the first year of the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan (MPHWP), titled ‘Being Healthy in Baw Baw 2017-2021’.

Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 all Victorian Councils are required to develop a MPHWP to strategically guide initiatives that improve health and wellbeing outcomes for a community. The plan is carried out in partnership with Council and other key local agencies.

Key achievements from the year-one action plan include:

  • Launch of ‘Communities That Care’: An evidence-based, community-change process for improving health and wellbeing outcomes for young people. This program is led by Berry Street with funding from Council and the Victorian Government.
  • Completion of ‘Drinking Fountain Project’: Installation of five new drinking fountains in local townships, and upgrades to two others. This program was led by West Gippsland Healthcare Group and supported by Gippsland Water.

At this week’s Council meeting, Council endorsed the year-two action plan which has been developed with support from Central West Gippsland Primary Care Partnership. Key focus areas of the year-two action plan include:

  • Developing safer cultures to reduce stigma of mental health.
  • Building resilience.
  • Improving access to recreation opportunities and places for healthy connections.
  • Promote resources and services that support mental health.
  • Build gender equity in organisations and the community.
  • Promote information that helps people to reduce family violence.
  • Support implementation of Child Safe Standards in organisations and the community.
  • Increase consumption of healthy and nutritious food.
  • Support a local food system that uses sustainable practices.
  • Build capacity to reduce harm from gambling, alcohol and drugs.
  • Support smoke-free living.
  • Maintain and improve the provision of public health services and infrastructure.
  • Raise awareness of priority health prevention messages.

Council also adopted a revision to the existing plan to integrate it with the health promotion plans of agencies funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. An integrated plan sharpens and aligns the focus of partner agencies, strengthens partnerships and streamlines reporting.

Baw Baw Shire is one of only a few regional municipalities to have formalised this innovative and preferred approach to health promotion. It is a demonstration of the strategic and collaborative qualities that are essential to working together to tackle complex issues that affect community health and wellbeing.  

For more information and copies of each document, please go to www.bawbawshire.vic.gov.au/Our-Community/Community-Health-and-Wellbeing

Quotes attributable to Mayor Cr Mikaela Power

“We’re on a continuing journey to improve health and wellbeing outcomes and opportunities for our community. This plan is a fantastic guide for how we can work with our local partners to progress important matters such as mental health awareness, promotion of healthy living or reducing harmful behaviours.”

“We live in a community that really cares about people – and that’s a powerful thing. I thank each partnering agency involved in the planning and delivery of these actions. Together we can work to make Baw Baw Shire a healthier and happier place to live, work and play.”

Quotes attributable to Cr Jessica O’Donnell

“The first year of the four-year Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan has seen many positive and tangible outcomes. We are working toward better health outcomes for young people through ‘Communities that Care’ initiative alongside Berry Street. We also have better access to fresh drinking water in many townships thanks to the installation of new drinking water fountains.”

“It’s really rewarding to partner with West Gippsland Healthcare Group, Central West Gippsland Primary Care Partnership and many other local agencies to deliver projects that improve health and wellbeing outcomes for our community. I look forward to continuing this journey and seeing more successes through the second-year action plan.”

Quotes attributable to Cr Keith Cook

“Supporting health and wellbeing programs is important for building a resilient, happy and healthy community. I strongly support this plan and look forward to seeing more progress, especially in areas such as mental health awareness and encouraging healthy connections through sports and recreation.”

Quotes attributable to Cr Tricia Jones

“We’re so fortunate to be able to partner with local organisations and share the load to deliver the many actions in the plan. Ultimately, the important thing is that we are continuing to make progress and that the community are finding opportunities to make choices to live in a more healthy way.”