THE birthrate among teenagers in Bendigo has fallen to be one of the lowest in country Victoria, statistics have revealed.
The number of births from 15 to 19 year olds in Bendigo fell from 17.1 per 1000 in 2013, to 13 per 1000 in 2015.
Mildura had the highest rate of teenage births in Victoria with 21.1 per 1000 in 2015, followed by Shepparton, Gippsland and Warrnambool.
Only Geelong and the Hume region had a lower teenage birthrate than Bendigo in country Victoria.
The federal government announced that its ParentsNext program, which gives one-on-one parenting courses and job training to young pregnant women, would be made compulsory in 51 welfare hot spots in Australia.
In Victoria, the program will be rolled out in Mildura, Shepparton and the Hume region, but not in Bendigo.
It could be rolled out in more regions in the future,.
Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull said the program was designed to reduce inter-generational poverty and support disadvantaged young mothers.
“Helping more parents of young children into work will support more families, reduce welfare dependency and decrease child poverty,” he said.
Rates of teenage births in country Queensland and rural Northern Territory were almost five-times greater than in Bendigo in 2015. The rate is far higher in Indigenous communities.
Yet the teenage birthrate in Melbourne remained significantly lower than in Bendigo, with 5.9 per 1000.
The data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that there were 1600 births in Bendigo in 2015.
Bendigo mothers were most likely to be aged between 30 and 34, followed by between 25 and 29, and the average age for having a baby was 30.4.
There was also one birth per 1000 mothers aged 45 to 49 in Bendigo – one of the highest rates for that age group in country Victoria.
Bendigo’s overall fertility rate was the third lowest in country Victoria. Shepparton had the highest birth rate in the state.