Healthy Communities


Showcasing Mt Alexander Shire to Emerging Community Leaders


Participants from the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program were treated to a crisp but stunning morning at Harcourt’s La Larr Ba Gauwa Mountain Bike Park, when they visited the Mt Alexander Shire in May, to be inspired by local leaders around the topic of healthy communities.


Each year LEAD Loddon Murray facilitates LMCLP participants to visit various towns throughout the Loddon Murray region, as part of a ten month program, which aims to develop personal leadership skills and sustainable future communities.


This years’ participants took in the magical views from the side of Mt Alexander at La Larr Ba Gauwa, Harcourt’s newly finished Mountain Bike Park, while Brendan Smith from Parks Victoria, shared his knowledge about the geological history, the impact of mining, pest plant and animals, and about the significant Aboriginal heritage. Peter Skilbeck, a key figure in the development of the park, spoke to the lengthy process involved in the development of the park project, its challenges, successes, and its potential for the community of Harcourt.


Back in the township of Harcourt, Jacqueline Brodie Hans, LMCLP 2010, spoke passionately about the Harcourt Progress Association and shared her insights into engaging volunteers, an integral part of all community projects.


In Castlemaine Nicki Renfrey, Central Victorian Primary Care Partnership and 2017 LMCLP graduatespoke about gender equality and sport. Jon Anstey from Coliban Water and Greater Bendigo Health Promotion Platform asked the group to think about what our region could achieve by 2030, if we focus our resources on health prevention, and Jeremy Forbes passionately shared the story of HALT – Hope Assistant Local Tradies, supported by Lauren Randle (LMCLP 2107) and local GP Richard Mayes.


The day was finished listening to the inspiring Kathryn Coff, Nalderun Upper Loddon Indigenous

Elder and Castlemaine District Community Health, speak about the important services Nalderun offer to support Aboriginal people and families.


The participants, who represent ten shires from across central and north-west Victoria include three Mt Alexander Shire residents, Kathryn Hall and Carli Springate from Castlemaine, and Harcourt resident Veronica Budnikas.


“The day provided a great opportunity to showcase some of the amazing health and wellbeing initiatives happening within the Mt Alexander Shire. It is such a wonderful community to live in, and it was nice to share some of its magic with other leaders from all over the region,” said Kathryn Hall from Castlemaine.


The group is now looking forward to the next program days which include Macedon and Melbourne, followed in August by a trip to Canberra for a chance to meet and question some of our politicians.



Written by 2018 participants Kathryn Hall, Rebecca McHutchison and Veronica Budnikas

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