Loddon Shire Mayoral Column 16 September 2019

Published on 16 September 2019

Understanding native vegetation

With the evidence of spring all around us, we need to be mindful of the role that native vegetation plays in providing habitat for plants and animals, as well as making the land more productive for humans and contributing to human wellbeing.

Native vegetation refers to plants that are indigenous to Victoria, including trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses, as well as large dead trees. People may not realise that a planning permit is usually required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation.

It is State planning policy that there will be no net loss of biodiversity through native vegetation removal, meaning land owners may be required to offset any vegetation removed.

Although there are some exemptions, significant fines may be imposed for clearing native vegetation without planning approval so it’s always best to check first. Call the planning department 5494 1200 for comprehensive information and advice.

Meals on Wheels at Pyramid Hill seeking volunteers

The Community Care Team is looking for new volunteers to join the enthusiastic group currently delivering Meals on Wheel in Pyramid Hill. Fresh meals are delivered into homes on weekdays by Meals on Wheels and the service provides not only a nutritious meal but also valuable social interaction.

New volunteers will receive support and training and find that being part of this team of volunteers will provide many rewards. Contact the Community Care Team on 5494 1201 for more information or to join.

Leadership Program open for applications

As a former participant in this program, I am pleased to urge current and emerging leaders to consider applying for the prestigious Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program (LMCLP).

Delivered over ten months, LMCLP is a transformational program designed to support participant’s personal and professional development. Participants will to be inspired, challenged and supported to develop skills and a deeper understanding of leadership. The program has a proud reputation for developing community-focused people into confident, capable leaders.

The program runs between February and November each year, showcasing different rural communities, towns and major regional centres, as well as a study tour to Canberra.

LEAD Loddon Murray will select 25 people from all walks of life to embark on this journey of growth and leadership development. Visit the website: https://www.leadlm.org.au/lmclp/ to download the brochure or to apply.

How youth can help with invasive species control

Young people are under-represented in invasive species management, yet they can be passionately committed to improving the landscape and being involved in environmental projects. It is important that diverse voices and interests are part of the conversation about how to address the challenge of invasive species.

The Weeds and Rabbits Project is keen to encourage more young people to connect with their local community and natural environment through invasive pest and weed management. Grants of up to $15,000 are available to support the engagement of young people in existing groups and initiatives, or to develop youth-focused enterprises.

Visit the website for more information https://weedsandrabbits.com/youth-engagement-grant-program/. The grants close on 30 September.

Walk, ride and scoot to school

Now is the time to start planning a new healthy approach to getting to school after the holidays. Every October, Walk to School encourages families to get active to and from school, to help kids build healthy habits for life.

For those families who live within range to walk, ride or scoot to school and work, the Walk to School program is a practical way to develop a plan that will benefit their health.

We are pleased to support VicHealth’s Walk to School program because it is a free and easy way to teach kids to be healthy and active. We know that kids are happier when they are healthy.

Outdoor fitness equipment launch

Another initiative designed to increase the health and wellbeing of our community is the outdoor fitness equipment that is being installed along the Nardoo trail in Wedderburn and at Nolens Park, Boort.

Outdoor fitness equipment is a great way to encourage people to improve their mental health and social connections, to take part in exercise without relying on the cost of a gym and to enjoy the fresh air.

This initiative is the first of its kind in Loddon and has been provided by Healthy Heart of Victoria in partnership with Loddon Shire Council. The equipment that will be officially launched on Tuesday 17 September is a way encouraging communities to be more active by providing accessible infrastructure.

Did you know?

We all know that walking is good for children’s physical health by building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints. But did you know that it is also good for their mental health?

Physical activity helps reduce levels of stress and anxiety and can also be a good social activity where children connect with their neighbours and become more familiar with their surroundings. Children who are active are more likely to continue healthy behaviours later in life.