Targets set Bendigo on way

BOOST: Council hopes to increase healthy eating as part of a new plan, with Quin's Bluebird's Alicia Taylor one of many to get involved. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

BOOST: Council hopes to increase healthy eating as part of a new plan, with Quin's Bluebird's Alicia Taylor one of many to get involved. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

Council plan focuses on health, crime, housing, education

AN AMBITIOUS Council Plan will set Bendigo on track to become "the most liveable city in regional Australia", the City of Greater Bendigo says. 

The updated draft Council Plan 2013-2017, released to the public on Wednesday night, details future plans for the region across the next four years. It includes several specific outcomes council will aim to meet. 

The council hopes to boost exercise rates, decrease the proportion of residents who do not meet fruit and vegetable dietary guidelines, increase child immunisation rates to be better than the state average, decrease the number of people over 60 who live alone on a low income and decrease unemployment and recorded offences of crimes against the person. 

It also outlines plans to increase the amount of people taking part in public discussion, increase the volunteer population, and boost education rates for those under 17 years-old, among other targets. 

Mayor Barry Lyons said it was easy for regional cities to make claims about liveability, but the City of Greater Bendigo had developed a number of key indicators that would be measured over time. 

Chief executive Craig Niemann said while the plan was ambitious, the council would put a number of actions in place to meet targets. 

"While some of these things are beyond our sphere of influence, we have the ability to put things in place to put Bendigo on the right track," he said. 

"We don't have a direct responsibility for things like crime but we can work on prevention and putting in street lights and opening up public spaces and creating opportunities for health activities - those things will all make our city more liveable."

We have the ability to put things in place to put Bendigo on the right track. - Craig Niemann

He said the plan was released in conjuction with the council budget, in order to fund strategic objectives. 

Two more special meetings will be held to finalise the draft, before it is adopted. 

Planning and development director Prue Mansfield said the plan was updated annually to ensure it remained current and relevant. The council has encouraged  public comment on the draft. 

Copies can be obtained at City Of Greater Bendigo offices, online at www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/councilplan  or by contacting the strategy unit on 5434 6148. 

Formal submissions must be in writing and can be emailed to strategyunit@bendigo.vic.gov.au or posted to: Strategy Unit, City of Greater Bendigo, PO Box 733, Bendigo VIC 3552.  Formal submissions must be received no later than 9am on Friday, May 30.

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