Plans to prosper in the Latrobe Valley

From a supply network of backyard food-growers to a cooperative that gives exposure and skills development to emerging artists – there are plenty of ideas floating about to create jobs in the Latrobe Valley.

Four such ideas have been workshopped to the point they are now ready for market.

VicHealth launched its Latrobe Valley community challenge earlier this year to help locals drive jobs growth and improve health and wellbeing in the region.

Three groups are now vying for $20,000 in funding to progress their projects and are asking the broader community for its vote.

“These have really been well-thought through, well-researched ideas that can really have great potential to benefit the community of the Latrobe Valley,” VicHealth executive lead of the policy development office Kellie Horton said.

“I think it’s just a real example of local people taking local action of the things they know are important for their area.

“So we would encourage as many locals as they can to have a look at the ideas and have a think about how they think they could interact with them, how they would benefit them, their communities, their family, and also just understand the process.”

The challenge is a first for the health promotion organisation, which is keen to tap into the Valley’s resources and drive change and growth in the area.

Four groups were shortlisted to undergo intensive workshops and fine-tune their ideas, with three receiving $10,000 each.

Another $20,000 is up for grabs to further boost one idea, whether that be through feasibility studies or creating a website.

Ms Horton said the initiative came following the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry.

“The reason we did this in the first place is because we wanted to be here for the work that would happen after the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry,” Ms Horton said.

“And really this approach was a chance to try something different on a relatively small scale.

“I think what we’ll do is we’ll evaluate, we’ll reflect on it and then work out what we’re doing next. So we’re certainly not planning to go anywhere.”

The groups officially pitched their ideas on Friday and now the public has its chance to cast a vote.

Cast your vote by Sunday, 7 August and check out the ‘Latrobe Valley Challenge’ Facebook page to find out which idea has been given a boost by Wednesday, 10 August.

To find out more about the projects and how to vote, visit:

The recipient of the $20,000 boost will be determined based on its level of community support, as well as VicHealth’s assessment of the idea’s progress, sustainability and potential for community benefit.

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Art cooperative: exposing the emerging artist