Hindmarsh Shire Council commits to health, well-being improvement

HINDMARSH Shire Council has committed to improving its residents’ access to health and well-being services.

The goal was a late addition to its municipal public health and well-being plan.

Strategies include advocating for improved public transport connecting rural communities.

Council will also lobby for innovative service delivery models, to make it easier for shire residents to access services.

Examples include promoting tele and video health services.

Committed volunteers already provide community transport options to those who would otherwise struggle to access health providers.

Cr Tony Schneider said the goal was inspired by Volunteering Western Victoria’s November annual meeting.

“It stressed we should be doing as much as we can to involve public transport in our communities,” he said.

Corporate and community services director Anne Champness believed a goal to support education and employment opportunities for the shire’s youth was also worth highlighting.

“One of the things we are working on at the moment is establishing a youth council,” she said.

Council applied for about $30,000 of the State Government’s Local Government Youth Inclusion Grants to establish the program.

“The youth council will really look at what the priorities are for young people in the shire,” Ms Champness said.

“It will report to council and let us know what those priorities are.”

She believed the next generation’s input into council would be invaluable.

The plan will be effective until 2017.

In addition to council’s goals, the document provides an insight into Hindmarsh Shire’s health profile.

The typical Hindmarsh Shire resident is about 47 years old.

They are likely to be involved in voluntary work, with more than 40 per cent of the population in volunteer roles.

A large portion of the population needs assistance with core activities and are on disability support pensions.

About 47 per cent of individuals live on less than $400 a week, well above the state average of 40 per cent.

The shire also has high percentages of overweight residents and people who do not meet fruit or vegetable intake, or physical activity guidelines.

About 35 per cent of Hindmarsh men are overweight; almost 22 per cent are considered obese.

Almost a quarter of women are overweight, with about 20 per cent classified as obese.

Roughly 33 per cent of Hindmarsh residents are meeting their physical activity guidelines.

Just less than a quarter of Hindmarsh Shire residents smoke, compared with 20 per cent of Victorians.

More than 13 per cent of the population are being treated for a mental health issue.

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