From the Executive Officer’s Desk: December 2021

What a rich month of achievements and a joy to participate in such diverse activities from AGMs to launches.

Regional Partners:

I begin by congratulating Peter Ruzyla, CEO of EACH for being awarded the Australian HR Institute CEO of the Year Award, recognising 32 successful years of leading EACH through its growth and development into a National health organisation – what an outstanding achievement.

Congratulations also to Eastern Community Legal Centre for its success in securing two new grants in the past month. One comes from the Victoria Law Foundation that will develop, implement and share a client-centred framework for improved services. The other is from Street Smart Australia and will enable the Deakin Student Legal Service team to develop an eviction prevention toolkit for local and international students at risk of homelessness, which we know has been a significant issue during pandemic lockdowns in this catchment.

It was also a terrific opportunity to attend the ECLC AGM and hear updates on the extensive range of work being achieved. It is always a privilege to listen to their patron the Hon. Jennifer Coate AO speaking on the theme of ‘growing hope’ and the new possibilities emerging after a tough couple of years. Equally, it was amazing to attend the Eastern Volunteers AGM, and appreciate not only the extent of change to the services achieved over this time, but their courage to expand into new frontiers. These include supporting the Early Years sector with an innovative suite of programs, and also as a new Local Jobs Program provider. We congratulate EV on their success with such a significant four-year federal grant in this space.

We congratulate Women’s Health East on their AGM and numerous achievements throughout the year and for their Together For Equality and Respect 2021-2025 Strategy launch and for the inspiring presentations including Emma Fulu from the Equality Institute. Emma discussed their influence at the United Nations, and their work in international development. Patty Kinnersly from Our Watch shared the advancements in the new national Change the Story framework. Also inspiring are the local Margins to Mainstream expert women leading the regional 16 Days of Activism campaign, drawing on their lived experience of disability discrimination and surviving family violence – check out their powerful resources and please support the campaign by sharing on social media.

I would also like to congratulate the Victorian Healthcare Association on their initiative to establish a Prevention and Health Promotion Network. It was exciting to attend the launch, contribute ideas, and listen to guest speaker Sandro Demaio from VicHealth. In response to my question about PCPs transitioning into the Local Public Health Units next year, Sandro discussed the opportunities that could be realised in a reform environment, and the importance of transitioning the LPHUs into a social determinants model that tackles the structural drivers of health inequality and strengthens capability of place-based partnerships. He also spoke of the health and wellbeing of young people as a rising political issue, which is certainly recognised amongst local partners and the IEPCP.

I was pleased to be invited by the City of Monash to attend their consultation on the Innovate RAP draft, discussing the Council’s commitment to reconciliation and the joint two-year action plan developed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to be endorsed by Reconciliation Australia – a fantastic achievement.

IEPCP:

I’d like to take the opportunity to promote our upcoming online forum on Tackling Climate Change – Promoting Youth Mental Health on 9 December. You can register here to hear from an inspirational lineup of speakers discussing activism in climate change mitigation and effective practical behaviour change strategies.

Speaking of activism, the IEPCP as a member of the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) wrote to the Australian Ambassador for the Environment Jamie Isbister, detailing our hopes for Health Impacts to be recognised in the Glasgow COP26 climate discussions and we were delighted to receive a response agreeing to raise “how we can support this issue and language” in the decisions. I would also like to recommend and share an excellent webinar from CAHA on Healthy minds, healthy climate: Managing your mental health in the climate crisis  View the recording here.

In other activity the IEPCP organised presentations from La Trobe Community Health, Monash Health, and West Gippsland Healthcare Service for a special CHHPSIG (Community Health – Health Promotion Special Interest Group) meeting, who inspired us with successful initiatives in improving Healthy Eating – the Healthy Supermarkets project; Monash Food Systems projects across the South East, and the Baw Baw Food Share Movement, providing terrific food for thought!

Finally, we had been scheduled to meet with East Division of the Department of Health during November to discuss transition details, however that has been rescheduled to 9 December. As this is the last regular e-bulletin for 2021, we will relay significant changes through a special e-bulletin item. Otherwise, see the latest responses to our frequently asked questions.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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