At the Special Council meeting held last Tuesday evening, Council endorsed the Community Vision and Council Plan – including a Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan – which is now open for public exhibition and community feedback.

Mayor, Cr Lesley Hewitt, said that over the last few months Council has been working on the draft Community Vision and Council Plan in partnership with a Community Deliberative Engagement Panel and the broader community.

“This is the culmination of a massive piece of work that has included significant community engagement and consultation with 9.1% of our community providing input. We’re very pleased to be able to present it to the community for review and feedback,” said Cr Hewitt.

Council developed these strategic documents following extensive community consultation as part of the Hepburn Together Project.

The draft Community Vision for feedback is ‘Hepburn Shire – a place where all people in our community are valued, partnerships are fostered, the environment is protected, diversity is supported, and innovation embraced.

“Councillors are very pleased that the Community Vision is aspirational and includes what we heard was really important to the community, that is partnerships, environment, community, diversity and innovation”, said Cr Hewitt.

The Council Plan details strategies, projects and actions that during this Council term will be undertaken to strive towards the Vision. The plan has resulted in 114 strategies, and is based on five key focus areas:

• A resilient and sustainable environment,
• A healthy, supported and empowered community,
• Embracing our past and planning our future,
• Diverse economy and opportunity, and
• A dynamic and responsive Council.

For the first time Council has incorporated the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan into the Council Plan, to demonstrate the importance of quality health and wellbeing. The plan identifies four priority areas to help work towards the aims of the Community Vision:

• Tackling climate change and its impact on health,
• Increasing healthy eating,
• Improving mental wellbeing, and
• Preventing all forms of violence.

This was Public Health and Wellbeing Plan developed in partnership between Council and Central Highlands Rural Health and involved extensive consultation with the community. While the Plan focuses on proactive measures to support health such as healthy eating and regular exercise, it also recognises the importance of access to health services.

“Our Council Plan is ambitious, but so is our community. Councillors and staff will be looking to partner with community, and other levels of government, to deliver on the important actions which were developed from significant community consultation,” said Cr Hewitt.

CEO, Bradley Thomas, said that he was proud of the vision and plan and very pleased with the amount of community input, with more than 1,460 people and different community groups involved.

“This really is a community-led project. We hope you can see how we have incorporated your ideas into our ambitions for our four-year Council Plan and the ten-year Community Vision,” said Mr Thomas.

Council will host community sessions where residents can come along (or join online, pending COVID-19 restrictions) to hear about the process to develop these documents, along with an overview of the outcomes.

A community session for Birch Ward will be held on Monday 16 August 2021 from 6pm – 7 pm at the Daylesford Town Hall, Vincent Street, Daylesford.
Review the documents at our Council Community Hubs, or online via our Participate Hepburn website at

Submissions can be made via the website by Tuesday 27 August 2021.