Mayoral Column 3 September 2018

Published on 03 September 2018

Loddon Healthy Minds conference thank you

I would like to acknowledge the Loddon Healthy Minds Network for all its work in organising the Suicide Prevention conference, held on 30 August at the Inglewood Town Hall.

Suicide Prevention – it’s everyone’s business was opened by the Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum, and brought together health professionals, volunteers and community members with an interest in community mental health. The aim of the conference was to focus on suicide prevention and mental health in our rural areas, as well as raising awareness and starting conversations in communities.

The conference was very well attended, with practitioners from a number of regional areas. A range of speakers on the day also shared important insights for participants to take back to their communities.

I’d like to thank all those involved in helping organise this important forum, including the Loddon Healthy Minds Network and Council. I’d also like to thank all the speakers (including keynote speaker Wayne Schwass) who provided their time and passed on valuable knowledge and skills to those in attendance.

The conference was made possible thanks to funding from the Building Better Regions Fund and support received from the Murray phn, Lifeline, Boort Hospital, SalvoCare Northern Victoria, Bendigo Health Carers Support Service, Northern District Community Health and Strong Families Strong Children Loddon.

Naturally Loddon Spring Festival is on now

Sunday 2 September marked the official launch of the 2018 Naturally Loddon Spring Festival, which includes 14 family-friendly events between now and Melbourne Cup weekend across the Loddon Valley.

The Father’s Day launch, held at John and Sonia Piccoli’s sculpture gardens at Barraport, gave visitors the chance to explore this amazing property and see John’s famed sculptures up close.

This year’s Naturally Loddon Spring festival program includes the ever-popular Kooyoora Wildflower Show, family weekends at Terrick Terrick National Park and Little Lake Boort, and nature walks at Bridgewater-On-Loddon.

The festival also includes the Wedderburn Vintage Machinery Rally, town festivals at Inglewood and Tarnagulla, stand-up paddle-boarding on the Serpentine Creek, a spring dance and Boort’s annual metal sculpture competition.

For more information on all events, visit  or call the Loddon Visitor Information Centre on (03) 5494 3489.

2019 Australia Day Awards nominations now open

Council is now receiving nominations for the 2019 Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Community Group/Event of the Year awards.

If you know of someone or a group in our community who have made a significant contribution or have an outstanding achievement, please put their names forward for nomination.

Criteria and eligibility for the awards includes contribution towards values such as a fair go, concern for the environment, shared prosperity, sport, cultural diversity, community values and support systems.

Nominations are also open for the 2019 Community Service Awards. These awards recognise the outstanding contribution to the local community during 2018 or noteworthy service to the local community over a number of years. An award is given for each ward (Boort, Inglewood, Tarnagulla, Terrick and Wedderburn).

In submitting your nominations, please ensure to provide as much supporting information as possible, this is to help the Australia Day Committee evaluate nominees.

Nominations for the awards close Friday 12 October 2018. 

As part of its 2019 Australia Day celebrations, Loddon Shire Council will also hold competitions for colouring (Prep to Grade 2), a photographic competition (Junior, Senior and Open categories) and a Literature Competition (for school-aged children). The competitions are free to enter.

If you would like more information regarding the Australia Day awards and colouring competitions, or for nomination forms and competition entry forms, visit

Forms and information is also available from the Wedderburn Shire office on 5494 1200, or by contacting Shannon Brown on 0429 380 465 or email

Council welcomes volunteer strategy funding announcement

Council has welcomed an announcement by the Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan MP of $75,000 of funding to help with the implementation of the Loddon Shire volunteer strategy, including funding for volunteer development and training.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census data, almost 32 per cent of our Loddon Shire population are volunteers. This is a higher rate of volunteerism in comparison to regional Victoria (which is around 24 per cent).

One of the challenges identified during consultation with our community for the Council Plan 2017-2021, was an ageing population (the median age of people in the Shire of 51). Additionally, among the key points to emerge during consultation for the volunteer strategy in May this year was the recognition that there is an ageing volunteer base and therefore a need to encourage young volunteers.

We also heard that volunteers are “burning out” as they are involved in multiple volunteer activities, have heavy commitments within each volunteer activity and struggle with increased expectations in relation to compliance.

The Loddon Shire Volunteer Strategy and Volunteer Management Plan, both of which are in development, aim to address these issues, and will have a particular focus on youth volunteer engagement, mobilisation and retention.

The draft volunteer strategy is anticipated to be released for public comment later this month.

Did you know?

As well as a higher rate of volunteerism, Loddon Shire has a higher rate of people doing more than 30 hours of unpaid domestic work per week (13.4 per cent versus 10.7 per cent for regional Victoria).

People living in Loddon also have a higher rate of providing assistance to a person with a disability, long term illness or old age (13.5 per cent versus 12.5 per cent for regional Victoria).

Around 21 per cent of the population aged 15 years and over provide unpaid childcare.

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