The Happiness Index survey, a powerful global tool that asks communities about their quality of life, is helping put the region’s communities front and centre in tourism planning for the Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage bid.

The survey was launched on March 20, International Day of Happiness, across the thirteen local government areas that make up the Central Victorian Goldfields region.

Deployment of the survey is a partnership between the World Heritage bid’s thirteen local government partners, Planet Happiness and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).

Co-patron for the World Heritage bid, The Hon. John Brumby AO, said the survey is an insightful way of finding out about how our communities are doing. “We know that the Goldfields communities are strong communities, but we also know that many have faced unprecedented challenges due to the impacts of COVID-19. Tourism plays a critical role in supporting this region’s local economies. Governments at all levels have recognised that we need to invest and invest quickly to help the visitor economy recover.”

Another co-patron for the World Heritage bid, the Hon. Denis Napthine AO, said it’s important that as many local people as possible take the survey to make sure investment priorities for the World Heritage bid target the areas of greatest need. “In deploying the Happiness Index Survey, decision makers will have the data needed to understand where investment in tourism can have the biggest impact on the community’s quality of life. This is great opportunity for regional Victorian communities to lead the way”.

“People who complete the Happiness Index Survey will enable us to better understand what contributes to our well-being and focus investment to improve our quality of life,” said Hepburn Shire Mayor, Cr Lesley Hewitt. “The Central Highlands region is a great place to live, work and visit. We are very excited about the World Heritage Bid for the Goldfields, an important part of the Hepburn Shire’s history.

Laura Musikanski is an author, lawyer and co-founder of Planet Happiness, a non-profit organisation with ten years’ experience in happiness and well-being measurements. “Planet Happiness is pleased to be supporting the Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage bid, by partnering to deploy what is perhaps the best, most progressive, adaptable and easy to use Happiness Index survey on the planet,” she said.

Community members are being encouraged to complete the survey online.

Survey takers can access their personal happiness scorecard and see how they compare to others. The survey opened last weekend and will be open for one month. It takes most people around 12-14 minutes to complete and is available in over twenty languages .

The Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage bid Local Government partners are: Ararat Rural City, Campaspe Shire, Central Goldfields Shire, City of Ballarat, City of Greater Bendigo, Golden Plains Shire, Hepburn Shire, Loddon Shire, Macedon Ranges Shire, Moorabool Shire, Mount Alexander Shire, Northern Grampians Shire and Pyrenees Shire Councils.