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Voices from the Future

Greater Bendigo

Liveable Productive Sustainable


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2 / 2Voices from the Future

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Liveable Productive SustainableThis document is designed for those undertaking future planning across the Greater Bendigo and Loddon Mallee areas. It provides advice from

community members. It is not a fixed or finite plan, but the content provides a resource that identifies important, future issues affecting Greater

Bendigo. This resource serves organisations, industry, all levels of government and sectors interested in the region’s planning prospects.

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December 2010

Report prepared by Dr. Lyn Talbot Corporate and Community Planner, City of Greater Bendigo Strategy Unit on behalf of the Greater Bendigo +25 Community Plan, Community Reference Group.

Appointed Community Reference Group members

Patricia Cotton (Chair)

Fabian Reid (Vice Chair)

David Pugh

Julie Rivendell

Tom Seddon

Craig Clifton

Nicole Hayes

Robert Jamieson

Don Erskine (until Feb 2010)

Action Group Chairs

Arts & Culture - Erin Smith

Education - Darren McGregor

Governance- Peter Davies

Healthy Living - Jeanette Grant

Industry & Innovation - Kevin de Vries

Bendigo Sustainability Group - Ian McBurney

Transport - Laurie Whelan

Water - Dr Dharma Dharmabalan

Welcoming Place - Michael Toman

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As the future unfolds so do our many challenges. Successfully embracing our changing environment, developing a strong economy and encouraging healthy lifestyles is the pathway we choose to shape a positive outlook.

We present our vision of Greater Bendigo. Its content is not about stopgap solutions that won’t stand the test of time. Instead, this vision is about harnessing our gifted community with our future prosperity in mind, while focusing on people, both individually and collectively.

It is the product of one of the most comprehensive, focussed and broad consultation processes ever undertaken in the region. Over a thousand local people from all walks of life, created it by taking part in various forums: from small meetings, surveys, on-line discussions, through to a 120 strong visioning session for year nine’s at the Town Hall.

Drawing from our community’s own views and aspirations, Greater Bendigo 2036 introduces the themes of Liveability, Productivity and Sustainability. And instead of a fixed plan or exclusive Council document, this document presents a collective Vision. Its success will be measured by how its content engages the people and is taken up by various agencies doing ’future planning’ for Greater Bendigo.

Future planning is a core function of community organisations, education, business and government sectors. It also happens through the collective action of individuals towards a common future.

We need to constantly cradle new ideas. That is why Greater Bendigo 2036 illustrates future priorities along with the spoken words of those who created it.

Community leaders will welcome the ideas; they foster creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial expression, as they seek new directions to act on and evaluate these recommendations from the people of Greater Bendigo.

A catalyst for change, Greater Bendigo 2036, identifies a diverse range of opportunities for development and future collaboration, while at times, reinforcing existing future planning decisions and priorities.

New services, new products and outstanding resources are the hallmark of Greater Bendigo’s employment opportunities, as it strives to be a ‘thinking community’ built on an excellent range of learning facilities. From preschool to university, a quality education is the key to the betterment of the Greater Bendigo community, as we encourage inquiring minds, high social values, cutting edge innovation and entrepreneurialism.

Our vision is to share a bountiful environment, where public spaces showcase beauty, innovation and valued heritage assets, while benefiting the community.

Sustainability has emerged as a key issue for people of all ages and walks of life. It is a theme transcending all other priorities and is in the minds of people of all ages and walks of life. We see them seeking leadership in sustainability, voicing a desire to use clean, green planet-friendly solutions.

With such great potential for community involvement in future planning, and with such a solid foundation for action in all Directions highlighted in our plan, we will enjoy strengthening partnerships, while looking forward to new innovation and appreciating and conserving our unique, built and natural setting.

This is the time for Vision, for taking the time to understand new ideas, and in moving forward, we’ll ensure these ideas deliver a bright, positive future for Greater Bendigo.

I commend this to you,

Patti Cotton

Chairperson, Greater Bendigo +25 Community Plan, Community Reference Group

We are very proud

to present the Greater Bendigo+25 Community

Plan: Greater

Bendigo 2036


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Contents Page

Living in Greater Bendigo Today 6

Creating Greater Bendigo 2036 7

About Greater Bendigo 2036 8

How to use Greater Bendigo 2036 8

Priorities and Key Directions

Theme Liveability 12-19

• Strengthen connections across our communities

• Foster the useability of open spaces

• Continue to create child-friendly places

Theme Productivity 20- 25

• Overcome the barriers preventing people’s full participation in employment and community life

• Foster the development of local expertise to meet our evolving needs

Theme Sustainability 26-31

• Be a leader in ‘sustainable industries’ development

• Be renowned for our sustainability practices


Appendix 1: 32-34

Additional suggestions: Liveability

Additional suggestions: Productivity

Additional suggestions: Sustainability

Appendix 2: List of Community Discussion Groups 35

Appendix 3: How this was done - Methodology 36-37

References 38

Acknowledgements 39

For the purposes of this report when ‘Greater Bendigo’ is used it refers to the Municipality of the City of Greater Bendigo

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Today, as the major regional centre for north central Victoria, with the third largest urban area in the state, Greater Bendigo is a vibrant and culturally enriched centre offering excellent lifestyle opportunities. With a population exceeding 103,000, the city is a major economic hub, boasting quality services and infrastructure. Its diversity is drawn from the municipality’s catchment areas, which include smaller towns, distinct districts and extensive rural areas.

Additional efforts are needed to understand and represent the views of these complex regional communities: non-metropolitan localities that have very different priorities from their city counterparts.

Greater Bendigo offers a broad range of employment opportunities, providing a solid foundation for continued growth and economic prosperity. Current population projections reveal that within 25 years, Greater Bendigo may experience a 50 per cent increase in population, adding a further 50,000 people to its thriving community [1, 2]. With the addition of interstate and national migration, this population boom goes hand in hand with the state’s natural growth. In the future too, Australia’s ageing community will present challenges for future planning. This, together with global and national factors, such as climate change and international migration mean that Local Government is forecasting unprecedented

demands on services for health, family, community and disability. The need for comprehensive planning processes during this period is also unmatched in our time.

These predictions emphasise the importance of strong strategic and community planning, intended to strike the right balance between safeguarding our existing heritage and natural features and local resources and providing a contemporary setting where new residents and businesses can settle.

Future planning is a core function of commercial enterprises, community organisations and government sectors.

Local Government plays a key role in planning, working in partnership with many other agencies for behalf of the wider community.

There is much to be gained by using planning processes such as this, that have engaged a broad cross-section of community members who will be affected by the future plans. It builds a strong sense of connection, ownership and support for adopting suitable recommendations.

We all know the value of being a voice that is heard, taking an opportunity to have our opinions realised and valued [3, 4].

Greater Bendigo 2036 specifically presents a range of topics relevant to the municipality’s future growth.

Living in

Greater Bendigo


Located in the

geographic heart of

Victoria, within

90-minute drive time of Melbourne,

Greater Bendigo is a municipality on the move.

Historically, its location is the traditional home to the Jaara people and the Dja Dja Wurrung language.

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Creating Greater Bendigo 2036

Renewing the Greater Bendigo +25 Community Plan 2005

The first Greater Bendigo +25 Community Plan was prepared in 2005 from outcomes of a ‘Future Search Conference’ where 100 participants were asked to develop a vision of what Greater Bendigo would be like 25 years into the future. A further 900 people were then engaged in this process through briefing sessions, online feedback, information sessions, action groups and district planning. The Greater Bendigo +25 Community Plan was launched in September 2005 by the then Premier, Steve Bracks.

The importance of community consultation, when planning changes that may affect that community, is now well recognised [3, 4, 5]. The philosophy underpinning the original +25 initiative was to enshrine the process of community consultation and ongoing community engagement in local planning activities.

The Bendigo +25 Community Reference Group (CRG) was created in 2006 and has been integral to the implementation of the actions in the plan. The CRG has worked to provide links between the nine +25 Community Action Groups and to ensure the objectives of the Greater Bendigo +25 Community Plan were met.

Given the current significant and rapid changes briefly outlined above, and according to the Greater Bendigo +25 Community Plan Terms of Reference, the 2005 Plan required a detailed review.

In November 2009, the Community Reference Group (CRG) convened a +25 Futures Thinking Forum involving 30 diverse stakeholders from Greater Bendigo. The participants were invited to begin building a vision for Greater Bendigo in 2036; they identified three main goal areas: Liveability, Productivity and Sustainability. The CRG identified key indicators to articulate these goals, and these ideas formed the basis for the development of resources for community surveys and discussions.

Over July and August 2010 one of the most comprehensive consultation programs ever undertaken in the region took place. Discussions were held with children, youth and adults from across the municipality using existing networks and groups as well as specially convened meetings.

All up over a thousand local people either responded to hardcopy and on-line surveys, took part in one of over 40 discussion sessions, attended a year-nine students’ forum in the Town Hall, or took part in a specially convened discussion session with around 60 year 5 and 6 primary school students.

Aiming to build a renewed vision, participants conveyed their ideas about developing medium and long-term strategies for the productivity, liveability and sustainability of Greater Bendigo.

The information gathered has been analysed and the accompanying document is designed to be accessible and useful for readers. This extensive document represents advice from community members, and is a resource for government, organisations and sectors involved in planning across the Greater Bendigo and Loddon Mallee areas.

In a consultation process such as this, the important themes to emerge and be reported are those that arise repeatedly, irrespective of the setting or the participant group; the aim is not to demonstrate statistical significance, as might be the case if a whole-of-community survey had been undertaken instead [6].

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About Greater Bendigo 2036

The new Greater Bendigo +25 Community Plan: Greater Bendigo 2036 is the result of the largest and most diverse form of community engagement undertaken across Greater Bendigo in 2010. We have a great deal to gain by drawing on its community wisdom and ideas.

It is only when the opinions of community members are valued as being of equal importance to that of other more powerful community members and organisations, that their true purpose and value are achieved [3, 4, 5].

‘State Government planning processes are riddled with examples of tokenistic consultation processes, which offer a perception that one’s input will be considered, but often there is no follow-through. (David Vorchheimer, Planning Institute of Australian, cited in The Age, 19 Nov, 2010).

The City of Greater Bendigo Council Plan 2009-2013 (updated 2010) gives an undertaking that future planning will be informed by the priorities and preferences of community members conveyed in the Greater Bendigo +25 Community Plan - Greater Bendigo 2036. It is anticipated the Greater Bendigo 2036 will also be used in a similar way by other sectors. This is a commitment that will further empower citizens and that involves working with the community to undertake long-term planning in consultation with community members to ensure Greater Bendigo continues to be a great place to live, and where future plans meet with people’s needs and expectations.

This document sets down the preferences and long-range aspirations of the citizens of Greater Bendigo. It is designed to bring forward their views into a range of future planning initiatives. Its true value will be realised when this outcome is achieved.

How to Use Greater Bendigo 2036

This is a strategic document of advice, designed as a resource for agencies when planning new initiatives across Greater Bendigo and the wider region, rather than a plan solely intended to be implemented at Council or community level.

Because of the breadth and depth of the consultation, Greater Bendigo 2036 can be used as a broadly representational view of community preferences and opinions.

“Our wellbeing is shaped by our genes, our upbringing, our personal circumstances and choices and the social conditions in which we live. Our collective wellbeing is improved if we live in a peaceful, flourishing, supportive society, so promoting wellbeing should be a public as well as a personal task.” (The Australian Institute for a Just Sustainable and Peaceful Future).

LiveabilityProductivity Sustainability

Three main ‘Themes’

underpin the document:

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These themes rose from the initial discussions at the Thinking Future workshop of November 2009. They are routinely used in other sectors as a logical base for organisation of planning and workload activities. Diagrammatic representation of the key elements essential for future community wellbeing. This diagram represents the interrelationship and inter-dependence of the concepts. They should not be considered separately or in isolation. Future planning will draw on a ‘Thinking Community” which considers the themes in unison

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At the start of the discussion around each Theme quantitative data from the survey responses is presented as it relates to that theme.

This is accompanied by a brief analysis of the findings and presentation of some direct quotes from survey respondents. Two or three Priorities are presented relating to each Theme. These priorities are the broad ideas that people talked about most commonly.

Each of these ideas is introduced with detail and analysis that relates to the issues around that theme. Importantly, in the first section of each theme, the words of the participants have been included: ‘Voices from the Community’. This gives a sense of their conviction about the issue. An account from sessions with youth and primary school children is also included. The details for each Priority are presented in a table format, with the key ideas listed along

with one or more preferred initiatives. Contributions from children and youth are incorporated throughout each section of the document.

In recognition of the diversity of participants and the large number of suggestions relating to each Priority, the recurring items are listed as an Appendix to this document as a guide for more detailed shorter-term local planning (see Appendix 1)

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Voices from the Future

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While there is no standardised definition of Liveability [7], it

can be broadly defined as “the wellbeing of a community and represents the characteristics

that make a place where people want to live now and in the

future” [8]. Research has linked the concept of liveability to a

range of factors such as quality of life, health, sense of safety,

access to services, cost of living, comfortable living standards,

mobility and transport, air quality and social participation


The Liveability discussion themes and survey included

items that relate to how it is to be a citizen of Greater Bendigo

in terms of the ability for people to get around, feel welcomed

and safe and to access the forms of entertainment they desire.

Priority 1: Strengthen connections across our communitiesStrong and connected communities are healthy for the community itself and for individuals.

The importance of a dense network of links and associations across each community has been recognised for some time and a number of national state and local initiatives have been implemented in order to foster connections across communities.

The importance of these initiatives was recognised by many people; they want to have positive links with other people living in their neighbourhood and to feel a sense of belonging and mutual support in the community. They consider these links would usually be informal in nature, but that more formal structural arrangements may be useful or necessary to support the processes over time.

To some extent there was a nostalgic longing for previous times, and this is a characteristic of community discussions around the themes of community connection and integration. In their minds, and perhaps in reality, many participants felt communities were safer and more supportive in times past. However it is not possible to ‘turn back the clock’.

Perceptions of danger in the community are now much greater than in the past, and greater also than the reality of risk. Children are protected by their parents and carers, and also by legislation, from perceived dangers that used to be seen as characteristics of daily life. Some participants felt that, as a result, children’s sense of discovery and adventure, especially in the outdoors, was held back.

Participants from the small towns and communities connected and integrated communities already exist within the municipality. Their contributions to the discussion were primarily around the desire to protect these characteristics from threats they perceived as arising from population loss or rapid urbanisation.

People considered forming and sustaining social connections to be generally the role of individual community members, but they did highlight the importance of having supportive and accessible infrastructure in place to make it easy to be connected and have pleasure in the company of others. Federal, state and local government, schools and workplaces all have a major role in accommodating these requirements.

Voices of the community

‘It’s about community attitudes; we need to build on the small town atmosphere that already exists.’

‘We need to get people out the front – because front gardens are liveable and there could be prizes for edible front gardens’

‘Parents need to be educated about the importance of independence for their children – such as walking and cycling – and the myth of ‘stranger danger’.’

‘We need public officials who listen to the people , so people feel they are listened to and have a sense of control over planning matters that affect them, and the networks aren’t perceived as being corrupt.’

‘Make efforts to create and build a social conscience now – it will be the legacy we leave for the future.’

‘There should be compulsory community volunteerism; you have to participate but you get to choose from a range of options such as CFA, Landcare, Meals on Wheels, Lions, Rotary, SES, etc.’

‘In rural areas, many local people are not ‘schooled’ in the rules of rural life, and they don’t feel integrated into the community; reciprocity brings rewards and benefits both personally and for the community.’

‘Community development should be inclusive across Bendigo – cultural diversity, People with disabilities, older people, people with mental illnesses, young people; diversity needs to be encouraged and demonstrated.’

‘Many people want to support organisations and activities, but don’t want to have the pressure of high powered discussions & ongoing commitment.’

‘Some people have their commitments undermined by lack of services and support locally.’

‘Make sure volunteers are valued and not financially exploited.’

Theme: Liveability

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Directions1.1 Use a range of approaches, especially with Indigenous and minority groups, to foster community


Continue to build strategies which draw on the wisdom and culture of Indigenous Australians

Develop more ways to celebrate cultural diversity and promote acceptance of diversity

Advocate for continued promotion and financial support for strategies which encourage inclusiveness of groups that are often alienated or isolated

Continue to develop the range of strategies that embed newcomers into the life and community of Greater Bendigo, including arts and cultural events and celebrations

Find ways to support local champions; local people who work hard to encourage others to be active in their community

Support, recognise or reward organisations or businesses that foster the integration of diverse community members

Recognise that sustained change will be built from collective action at local community level

Workplaces provide important settings to role-model inclusiveness; efforts should be continued to foster strategies that work

1.2 Continue to use a range of approaches that support volunteerism

Encourage workplaces to provide reciprocal rewards for staff time spent volunteering

Publicise and recognise volunteers & the positive outcomes for community and volunteers

1.3 Plan strategically to foster community inclusiveness

Use partnership approaches in the refinement of local planning guidelines which allow locale developments that facilitate community inclusiveness, including community gardens, housing diversity, clustering of housing types

Provide genuine opportunities for public input into locality plans before they are finalised, to overcome the perception of tokenism

Community members work in partnership with land developers to increase the attractiveness of mixed density housing

Maintain local service and commercial hubs; do not centralise support resources

1.4 Provide opportunities for people to come together and have fun

Encourage local government to ensure there is ongoing support for strategies designed to promote social inclusion through funding for infrastructure and personnel.

Encourage the use of schools as local learning hubs and community resource centres accessible for a range of learning opportunities to people of all ages.

Advocate for a broadening and extension of a “summer in parks” – style entertainment, and similar initiatives, to more communities, including the outlying communities

1.5 Take advantage of the wisdom of community members that can be accessed free of charge

Provide and support opportunities for skills transfer through structured programs, peer education and mentorship

Value contribution and wisdom of people of all ages and abilities .

Discover ways to engage people who are only able to commit to short and infrequent volunteer activities

Plan for high quality aged care that enables older people to be integrated and active

Priority 1: Strengthen connections

across our communities

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Priority 2: Foster the useability of open spaces There are many reasons why open spaces are a priority for people, such as recreational uses, and commuting to work.

In keeping with growing awareness about climate change issues, many people expressed a wish to take personal action to reduce their carbon footprint.

Many can or will make more use of facilities designed primarily for recreation as a part of their commuting, and for these reasons they argued for ongoing funding for improvements, especially for the inter-connection of cycle and walking paths, and to give greater priority for pedestrians and cyclists, instead of vehicles. A number of people acknowledged the action already taken. Some were conscious that this action area fits with wider statewide and national agendas. Actions to lobby more broadly than local planning are also important.

Voices from the community

‘Good town planning - built environment includes - path, parks, bike paths.’

‘Play areas should be family friendly and provide a range of facilities – they should be meeting places.’

‘Open space facilities of comparable quality should be available in all areas.’

‘Make a track and people will walk.’

‘Making sure that all residents have access to sporting and recreation facilities by frequent public transport.’

‘Make use of smaller-scale spaces within built-up areas for sports and cultural performances - need high quality urban design.’

‘Expansion of all types of recreational activities. Not just focus on footy and cricket.’ ‘Rejuvenate the foreshore of Eppalock; in the event that the water is not accessible re-invent that space.’

‘Create opportunities for people with disability to be included in activities; not have separate events eg. encourage people with disability to enter mainstream art events.’

‘To be happy we need to feel we are part of a community. That comes from less mobility, more interdependence. We need Bendigo to be a collection of small towns rather than a city.’

‘If they work for children, the aged, the disabled, then it will work for all.’

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Priority 2: Foster the

useability of open spaces

Directions2.1 Priority action for cycle and walking infrastructure

Encourage local government to continue strategies for the inter-connection of existing cycle/walking paths, to make road use unnecessary for cyclists and walkers

Advocate for high priority for development of more cycle and walking infrastructure- sealed paths, bridges & crossings

Preserve or extend the existing ‘walkability’ of Bendigo and the towns in the municipality

Give added priority for cyclists in traffic and parking places

2.2 Foster informal social activities in open spaces

Find a range of strategies to identify and support local champions for street games, recreational walking & cycling, community gardening & other informal outdoor activities

Use existing open spaces for a wider range of activities, such as planting fruit tress in streets.

2.3 Use evidence to ensure accurate perceptions of risk about open spaces

Encourage agencies to work in partnership with media outlets to report more positive stories about people having outdoor fun

Encourage lead agencies and media outlets to share information and use statistics to promote positive perceptions about casual use of open spaces

2.4 Work in partnership across agencies to foster the uptake and use of incidental physical activity

Walking School Bus programs provide an ideal model that can be adopted more broadly, or adapted for other settings

Encourage the development of workplace incidental activity strategies, to role model use of stairs, and walking or cycling as transport.

2.5 Encourage workplaces to support their staff to take part in walking and cycling

Encourage workplaces to offer incentives for their staff who walk or cycle to work

Encourage workplaces to provide relevant infrastructure, such as personal and cycle lockers and showers.

Promote recognition of the economic benefits for employers of a fit and healthy workforce

2.6 Develop recreational facilities that are in line with current usage trends

Retain and maximise the use of existing open spaces and precincts

Provide more suitable and safe venues for music, arts and non-team sports

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Priority 3: Continue to create child-friendly places

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From discussions, it was agreed that investments in the social, emotional and educational wellbeing of children have significant long term benefits for the entire society. Some participants recognised that making these items a priority may produce trade-offs with other social programs offered by various levels of government, but others argued that investments in attractive and accessible community infrastructure should be the direction of choice.

Information from the discussions that were conducted with grades 5 and 6 primary school students was also a significant addition here. The need for ongoing development of existing local recreational facilities, including local sports fields for team sports, with linking quality cycle and walking paths, perhaps with cycle and helmet access at the sites.

In each group there was a discussion about developments of major sports and recreational facilities in the future – children considered it important to have accessible local basic facilities, but were prepared to trade-off local access to some local recreational facilities against higher quality, more diverse facilities that are some travel distance away from their homes –for example they expressed a preference for centralised, specialist facilities, such as an aquatic or soccer centre with a range of facilities.

The children also raised a number of matters to do with personal and family wellbeing, including local job security so parents didn’t have to travel out of Bendigo for work, access to a range of health services, including medical specialists that are currently not available locally, and also suggestions about aspects of school design.

Voices from the community

‘Create a track record of listening to and acting on what people have to say.’

‘There should be ongoing funding for school gardens & cooking programs; there’s lots of wisdom and good programs. We need to draw on what is working well.’

‘We need to get away from the competitiveness of many sports and focus on physical activity for pleasure- such as bringing back folk-dancing- which teaches social skills as well.’

‘If we make the city work for children then it will work for all - this doesn’t mean wrapping kids in cotton wool, it means making them more resilient, more able to make decisions, more adventurous – I would like to see a city where every kid could confidently walk or ride their bike anywhere in the city by themselves - now that would be the envy of other places.’

‘Community involvement is encouraged - it takes a village to bring up a child; these children will not grow up to be aggressive adults.’

The primary school participants said…

‘We always need to have open playgrounds and space to run around …or there’d be mayhem out there.’

A number of children suggested that there would be greater integration between the outside environment and the activities of school, such as through having access to nature reserves or having animals at school ‘… and we could have chooks.’

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Priority 3: Continue to

create child-friendly places

Directions3.1 Enshrine child-friendly place development in planning requirements

New residential developments require adequate open spaces that link with other parks and spaces

Preserve the appeal and function of existing parks and open spaces

Residential developers need to consult with local government planners and community members at the design stage

Recognise the importance and consider resources needed to maintain open spaces, to encourage greater use from the community

3.2 Plan strategically for future schools developments

Ensure there are ongoing opportunities for children to take a partnership role in planning for developments in primary schools

Value the wisdom of children’s experience; engage them regularly in consultations for a range of purposes

Maintain a focus on small local primary schools, rather than creating schools that are large, centralised and some distance from home.

Continue to ensure that schools have adequate play space and good quality recreational facilities

In towns and urban areas, keep primary school locations within a reasonable and safe cycling and walking distance to where the school community resides

Provide opportunities for outside nature learning within and nearby schools

3.3 Foster connections between the generations

Advocate for support for activities that foster connections between children and older people that can be sustained over time, such as skills transfer, community gardening and urban Landcare

Develop initiatives which focus on peer education in building healthy nutrition skills for new mothers

Develop partnerships to plan for and support school holiday programs that get children out of the built environment

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Theme: Liveability - Quantitative survey data

The survey items used to gauge people’s opinions about future liveability of Greater Bendigo were:

1. In 2036, Greater Bendigo is a colourful, welcoming and exciting place for residents and visitors alike.

2. All residents have diverse opportunities for active participation and enjoyment of the sporting facilities, and the rich cultural and artistic life of the community

3. The Greater Bendigo region has the lowest incidence of obesity of any city in Australia..

4. Greater Bendigo has one of Australia’s highest Happiness indices

5. Greater Bendigo’s high safety rating is the envy of other Australian communities

6. New buildings, neighbourhoods and public spaces are accessible and designed to promote community interaction and activity.

7. Our child friendly city ensures every child has access to outside nature play, whether in the bush, the backyard or the local park.

8. Greater Bendigo has diverse, accessible and vibrant shopping opportunities for all residents and visitors

The responses to each question listed above are presented in the following graph.

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Responses to the items in the Liveability themes were fairly evenly spread, but respondents did tend to score higher on the items relating to having important social infrastructure in place to safeguard wellbeing, rather than on the items relating to individual behaviour and prevention of illness, such as item 3 about low obesity rates.

Written survey responses to this theme included:

‘We need to be rid of the “poor country cousin” attitude. Bendigo is a proud and independent city and the people who live here should feel that what is on offer is not second rate. Can’t wait for the Chinese Gardens to be completed. - I think they will be spectacular and we will be proud of spaces like this.’

‘Continuation and extension of the ‘Walk Bendigo’ plan to make the city a distinctive, unique and friendly place to live. It also has a fully connected, user friendly and integrated transport system.’

‘Vibrant arts centre that includes a new theatre, increased residential living in the CBD, shops open into the evenings all days.’

The average score for respondents to the

Liveability theme was 4.099 where 5 is the

highest possible score and 1 the lowest.

Livability Construct














01 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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Relating to innovation in business and education and opportunity in employment, this discussion encompassed topics such as how to retain young people locally and how to create the best access to well-paid employment in Greater Bendigo. People strongly identified with the need for creativity in new suburban developments, which also aligned with planet-friendly principles.

Theme: Productivity

This Priority brings forward a number of concerns raised relating to the need to have settings which support people’s activities of daily living and recreation.

One of the key issues to emerge as a barrier to full participation in community life was anxiety about health and wellbeing. To achieve positive community health and wellbeing, access to up-to-date health services is a prerequisite. The challenges of providing the range of services that meet community needs and expectations will increase, and one important aspect of this will be to convey local needs and so we are best placed to gain from national and statewide strategic health initiatives.

One topic to arise from discussion groups was the need for suitable, diverse, public and commercial transport infrastructure within and across Greater Bendigo, which also connects to metropolitan and other regional centres.

This is an issue that has been identified with government leaders across Victoria, and is fundamental to the success of a range of local developments. It is understood that high transport costs can be an impediment to new local commercial developments or university participation. People suggested diverse ‘solutions’ to transport needs, including development of a separate freight rail service, a larger airport to handle international freight transport, a ring road around Bendigo city, and a series of priority roads connecting local service and commercial hubs.

While there is a focus in some actions on people who encounter greater barriers to full participation than most, many of the items also facilitate the Sustainability Theme Priorities in this plan, by enabling easier, more environmentally sustainable and efficient access for all.

Voices from the Community

‘Highest human dignity = lowest rate of depression.’

‘Do not centralise services into less sites – make sure communities outside the centre still have services and facilities.’

‘We need support for kids at risk of leaving school early. Creating a range of learning environments and programs for young people - e.g.DOXA, NetSchool, etc. We need more of these and more programs for the other kids that drop out along the way. Consider offering families incentives for kids who finish year 12.’

‘Have plenty of training for our youth to choose from, also further on the job training for older citizens, with funding made available to help pay for education, Create more interaction with the Public, We all need to support our town Bendigo.’

Priority 4: Overcome the barriers preventing people’s full participation in employment & community life

They should direct highways around Bendigo using existing highways such as the Midland & McIvor.’

‘Use train freight instead of trucks.’

‘We need a plan that engages the people and embraces their wisdom, and then suspend democracy for 20 years so the changes can be accomplished within the political cycle.’

‘To be happy one needs to feel secure.’

‘Schools and other public buildings should be open at all times to groups from the community. There is a need to re-brand all of these facilities so they do not appear as the eg South Bendigo Football Club Rooms. All spaces should be called “community spaces”. There needs to be a change in attitude on who can use the facilities. We may need to rationalise the number of facilities, as many are under-used and falling into disrepair. As part of community facility agreements, there must be clauses to ensure the co-ordination of all users. Resources from Council may be required to ensure this is happening. There needs to be a greater awareness of access inclusion and participation.’

‘Perhaps a goal of having the highest rate of job satisfaction/ fulfilment/ enjoyment would be a more beneficial goal and would assist with achieving other goals as this would mean people have less reason to consume more (to make up for a boring work life), less waste to dispose of, are happier and have more energy!’

‘Numbers of older residents is rapidly increasing - they need more help/support to remain at home independently and safely (eg. 1 hour fortnight is not sufficient for many). They also need contact with people as well as assistance with household tasks.’

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Priority 4: Overcome

the barriers preventing

people’s full participation

in employment & community


Directions4.1 Structural Barriers: Continue to reduce the barriers to full participation in employment and

social life for Indigenous Australians and cultural minority groups

Encourage workplaces to use mentorship and peer support to facilitate the transition for new employees who may experience barriers to integration or acceptance at work

Advocate for additional structural support to create more employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians and cultural minority groups

Continue to build on strategies which celebrate cultural diversity in sporting and social life

4.2 Transport: Develop and use appropriate evidence to inform future transport infrastructure needs across Greater Bendigo and in connections to external areas and markets

Support Bendigo’s role as a regional hub by planning strategically for inter-regional, interstate and international freight transport.

Use evidence in planning for future transport needs which encompasses non-road transport options

Advocate for a transport by-pass for intra-state through transport

Advocate for well developed road infrastructure that facilitates travel and transport between the local commercial hubs

4.3 Continually upgrade public transport infrastructure to make it the easiest option and accessible to all

Increase public transport infrastructure with more options for times and route services in order to generate increased patronage.

Increase public transport infrastructure in developing residential areas

4.4 Communication: Foster a range of approaches that facilitate communication for commercial and social purposes

Continue to support and facilitate access to cheap, rapid, internet access in all localities of the municipality and for all residents

Develop mentor roles and proven ‘integration ambassador’ programs to welcome new colleagues and residents who settle in Greater Bendigo

4.5 Valuing the wisdom of elders: Develop and support strategies that give recognition to the wisdom and value of older people in our communities, and plan for their continued vitality

Use demographic projections of the age profile of residents as a basis for residential planning , including planning for a higher proportion of well and active older people

Support the development of housing options suitable for older people, without isolating them from active community participation

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Priority 5: Foster the

development of local

expertise to meet our

evolving needs

Attracting suitable workforce to the region to meet new commercial and industry is a challenge to be addressed. People recognised the need for continued developments in education and transport, to support those seeking secure employment throughout the municipality.

Due to the predicted population boom in a 25-year time frame, concerns were raised about the level of infrastructure needed to match the level of community growth. Building attractive, well-designed residential services will be a positive step forward as this growth occurs.

Being able to live and work locally is also important to build social connections, and therefore helps achieve Priorities within the Liveability Theme.

A greater challenge for small towns is how to encourage young people to stay in their region, instead of seeking education and employment elsewhere. This trend presents a significant loss to the community and concerns were

raised about how to attract youth back to work in rural areas.

A key area for improvement, to attract the expertise and vitality of this part of local community back to the region, is accessible, diverse, quality education. A number of participants across the age range identified the loss of potential and vitality that occurs when young people and minority groups fail to engage with the education systems, or they face barriers, including racism, to entering the workforce.

Many felt additional deliberate strategies to overcoming this loss of potential are needed. This would ensure those who have difficulty engaging with current educational options are catered for and the need for tertiary students to go elsewhere for education is minimised.

‘ Make every home, every shack, every rickety structure a centre of learning’ (Nelson Mandela, 1953)

Voices from the community

‘Training institutions work hand in hand with local businesses to provide trained employees.’

‘Become known as a centre of knowledge - focus on innovation, knowledge and technology in planning future direction - as well as ”working smart”.’

‘Our booming renewable energy sector provides opportunities for training and export.’

‘If we provide excellent quality education Bendigo will attract students - wherever it is.’

‘Provide incentives and support to new and existing businesses in this field.’

‘Investment in our own population through a range of training and education programs that start in primary school so that we have the people with the right skills and ‘mind set’ to assist us in this goal. We cannot reach this goal when so much of our current population is not involved in the labour force or education.‘

‘We need to capture key industry areas, such as renewable energy, and then support their needs from an education perspective.’

‘Bendigo should be seen as a regional connection centre in Victoria. If the Capital was developed into a convention centre, there would be a lot of spin-off benefits in employment & education.’

‘If development in the local tertiary education sector could make it the first choice for students as a preference, there would be opportunity to grow students into professionals from within the country rather than importing experts from overseas.’

‘We need consideration of a P-12 school in Elmore. One day we could have a biodesiel research lab in Elmore that is state of the art.’

‘Industry and business will improve employment and will allow more people to gain self worth instead of wandering the streets without purpose.’

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Priority 5: Foster the

development of local

expertise to meet our

evolving needs

Directions5.1 Facilitate access to education for all potential students

Encourage philanthropy for regional scholarship initiatives

Encourage and support education providers to develop niche courses that meet the specific needs of local /regional developments/industries/agencies

5.2 Value and celebrate lifelong learning

Use advocacy as one means to encourage increased flexibility in school and university hours and styles

Provide a range of options for people to change careers of they wish (pathways)

Provide for and support opportunities for peer education and life skills development

Continue to support various forums for ideas to be expressed and debated

Foster innovative strategies to engage disengaged youth in learning opportunities

5.3 Maintain strong links between education and employment sectors

Encourage further collaborations between tertiary education programs and specific workplace sectors

Recognise, and use strategically, the wisdom and resources of the small towns and rural areas of the municipality

5.4 Use a range of approaches to foster innovation and development locally, without harbouring dependence

Use marketing to publicise strong industry and employment profiles in order to generate employer demand and stimulate wage growth.

Foster industries which value-add

Celebrate entrepreneurs and their innovations

Consider a local ‘thinker in residence’, or ‘thinking ambassador’ program

Use partnership approaches to provide incentives for companies, including overseas companies, to set up here as a preferred location

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Theme: Productivity - Quantitative survey data

The survey items used to gauge people’s opinions about future Productivity of Greater Bendigo were:

1. In 2036, the City of Greater Bendigo a work participation rate of 68% and an unemployment rate in the lowest 10 percent of any towns.

2. Fresh ideas and new businesses that add to the vitality and sustainability of our economy are actively sought and fostered.

3. Residents can access a diverse range of educational choices locally; 40% of our community over 20 years of age have a Bachelor degree or higher, and 92% of people over 20 years have completed year 12 or above.

4. Bendigo has an international reputation for training health professional.s

5. The personnel needs of local commerce and industry are matched by skills availability, educational options and employment opportunities. - Greater Bendigo has the highest rate of (well paid) employment in Australia.

6. Greater Bendigo is a strategically important centre in the region and the state.

7. Greater Bendigo is at the forefront of the new global green economy, increasing productivity through new jobs and new and improved industries, including renewable energy production, food production, transport systems and goods and services.

The responses to each question listed above are presented in the following graph.

Written responses to this theme included:

‘Plan for it and make some of the hard choices now (not always the most popular ones).’

‘Start advertising advantages of Bendigo to manufacturing and other businesses and give them incentives, available land and show that there is a surplus

of available labour available in Bendigo that can be drawn on. Work with the government job providers to channel unemployed people into to these new job opportunities.’

‘Look outside of the box. Keep in mind the amount of young families looking at moving to small towns like Heathcote.’

‘Nurture young people. Access for all regardless of socio-economic boundaries to education, sporting and entertainment. Keep young people busy and positive.’

Productivity Construct













3.81 2 3 4 5 6 7

The average score for respondents to the

productivity theme was 4.092, where 5 is the

highest possible score and 1 the lowest.

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In 2005 the World Health Organization acknowledged

that potentially, human-induced changes to the

climate will threaten ecological sustainability, economic development and social

and political stability, and consequently human health

[5]. ‘Sustaining’ is understood to mean protection and

enhancement of natural environmental components or

ecosystems including air, water, biodiversity and energy in a way that ensures ongoing viability of

natural systems in a balanced relationship with human

life(Bendigo Sustainability Group). Therefore, we

understand sustainability to be measures taken to ensure

the future viability of these systems.

‘Climate change threatens our future prosperity, environment

and development. Without strong action globally, and at home, the projected impacts

and costs of future climate change are significant.’ …

The costs of tackling climate change, while significant, will be

lower if the world acts now.

(Taking Action for Victoria’s Future- Victorian Climate

Change White Paper - The Action Plan , July 2010).

The Sustainability discussion themes and survey included

items that relate to reducing the consumption of resources,

especially carbon fuels, reducing waste and generating and celebrating new industries

which create positive outcomes from climate change


Theme: Sustainability

Priority 6: Be a leader ‘sustainable industries’ development People believe more can be done by community and government to manage the environmental challenges arising from climate change.

From discussion, we discovered that the subject of sustainability is a very important issue to participants of all ages.

In response to the sustainability challenges we face as a community, participants accepted change and felt the need for urgent action. Their options for change were stronger than expressed by current state and national government policy.

It was anticipated that Council would (continue to) play a key role in developing and supporting new industry that meets sustainability criteria, and new business that show leadership in curbing climate change.

People identified trusted, local, and emerging leaders regarding sustainability to provide leadership regarding what services and policies could be implemented to assist sustainable causes.

Voices from the Community

‘People understand sustainability principles and how to achieve them- we need to create a culture of valuing sustainability.’

‘The community needs to attract the very best teachers’

‘We need to demonstrate world’s best practice with regards new industry development – exceeding legislative requirements.’

‘We are leading the nation in opening the first of a chain of 150 healthy eating fast food franchises.’

‘Get in early. People were willing to take some risks. Most ‘green’ initiatives ultimately lead to a reduction in costs as well. This reduction in costs needs to be advertised more prominently.’

‘Encouraging the growth of design, innovation and concept industries as well as niche manufacturing including those which utilise goods sourced from the local area (for example focussing on ‘low food miles’ - an important concept when considering a low carbon economy.’

‘Bendigo could host the ‘Festival of dangerous ideas’- a meeting of extremist thinkers pushing the boundaries.’

‘We should use the triple bottom line accounting method. …. Use independent review to help establish baselines. There could be rewards for businesses that meet the minimum criteria. … Businesses need to understand the monetary gains; the sustainability industry creates business. Legislative measures need to encompass the triple bottom line.’

‘Global warming is not a problem. We will run out of oil before it becomes an issue; we need to focus on sustainable alternative resources. Hydrogen is the way that we need to go; it’s cleaner than coal and doesn’t have radioactive waste.’

‘A study into household and commercial waste to find out which currently discarded materials are plentiful and can be turned into new recycling enterprises.’

‘Energy consumption and supply is considered at the planning stage and linked to the scheme. Our rates are staggered to reflect the carbon offsets have been incorporated into energy innovations in our homes and businesses.’

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Priority 6: Be a leader ‘sustainable

industries’ development

Directions6.1 Local Government has a strategic role in fostering sustainable industry development

Advocate to Local Government to continue to undertake market and other research to identify suitable industries to attract

Continue to foster multicultural and infrastructure migration in areas of local need

Continue to sponsor and broaden the ‘Inventor Awards’

Advocate for the development of transport infrastructure that meets projected industry and population growth needs.

6.2 Foster a range of approaches that match regional educational offerings with employment needs

Support the tertiary education sector to offer programs that match with identified industry needs

Advocate for strategies which encourage tertiary education providers to collaborate in research and development on topics of regional relevance/concern

Niche courses with defined need will attract students irrespective of location

6.3 Make better use of the natural assets of Greater Bendigo

Selectively target successful businesses and assist them to build competitive advantages

Provide incentives and rewards that highlight the social importance of supporting sustainable industry initiatives and build public enthusiasm

Raise the profile of local ‘champions’ for those excelling in innovative, sustainable industry developments

Safeguard the best agricultural land for food productivity; planning amendments may be necessary

Develop strategies to promote local food producers and retailers

Develop strategies to support and sustain local primary producers and assist their transition to sustainability and value-adding, where necessary

Continue to support research and development of ways in which industry waste, including heat energy, can be used for commercial or public benefit.

Promote information exchange about locally produced raw materials and expertise, so manufacturing industries can use them

6.4 Advocate for stronger local planning guidelines that enshrine sustainability principles in new residential and commercial development

Support proven innovative water conservation practices

Support the implementation of measures which substitute more sustainable energy options for the high carbon alternative. Encourage and support the use of alternative energy

6.5 Showcase local expertise

Use various means to publicise local innovation and success

Create strategies through marketing to encourage the ‘buy local’ ethos

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Priority 7: Be renowned for our sustainability practicesDiscussion revealed that residents could see how Greater Bendigo could lead the way in sustainability practices.

Results have highlighted how Local Government should continue to be an important role model to community as it embarks on its own sustainability drive. With the appropriate infrastructure, Local Government could be instrumental in providing sustainable policy and practices across the whole municipality.

Voices from the community

‘The community focus has changed towards the natural environment.’

‘We should promote community belief in our identity as a national leader in sustainable community.’

‘We should improve the value of local habitats with works in natural reserves, such as nest boxes, protecting fallen timber and pest plant and feral animal control.’

‘Any small acreage development should have the requirement for planting of box iron-bark two years prior to any building being commenced.’

‘The nature of the industry has to be ecologically sound & suitable for the limitations of the area - eg. Water - our ability to adapt to these limitations will make us leaders in new developments.’

Words from the Student’s forum

‘By 2015 all new housing will be required to be built for sustainable living. Old housing will be adapted to new technologies for sustainable living beginning around 2030.’

‘There will be TAFE courses developed for training relevant personal in implementation, installation and servicing of new sustainable technologies.’

‘Start small; (we need a local law that requires…) To rent, build or buy a house it has to have a solar panel.’

‘Bendigo has become a world leader in the production and use of alternative energies (improving on solar and wind energy) and in 2035 it hosts the world expo on alternative energies (Table 7).

‘Water; make this a plastic water bottle-free town’

‘Weigh rubbish bins and charge people according to the weight.’

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Priority 7: Be renowned

for our sustainability


Directions7.1 Local Government has a key role in community education and role-modelling sustainability practices

Use the research and evidence from other localities to inform local initiatives

In partnership with other sectors and agencies provide accurate, local information about our environmental footprint.

Ensure sustainability principles underpin strategic documents such as the Council Plan and the MSS

Incorporate ‘triple bottom line’ accounting process, that describe the social, economic and environmental impacts of proposed activities as criteria for decision-making by Local Government.

Continue to strongly encourage residents to plant native flora species

Advocate for public acquisition of property in strategic positions along existing lineal creek reserves to ensure their preservation

Support Local Government leaders to play an advocacy role in seeking support from State Government for local sustainability initiatives

Be an educator and a role model with regards local ‘green’action for global change

7.2 Protect existing environmental assets

Continue to preserve Greater Bendigo National Parks

Advocate to ensure the preservation of Native Forests through Legislation & Council acquisition of private forested property.

As a priority protect biodiversity in naturally vegetated corridors to encourage and protect native fauna habitat

Ensure that buildings and natural assets are maintained to the highest level, by working with appropriate authorities

Encourage farmers to plant trees and create ‘green’ corridors to protect wildlife

Protect the interface between urban areas & natural environment from feral animals and environmental weeds through public education and enforcement of suitable legislation

Focus on healthy waterways and storm water flows to reduce and minimise pollution

Create ‘Linking’ Bushland reserves along cycle and walking paths and creeks

7.3 Reduce waste to landfill

Promote ways in which individuals can make small changes to reduce their environmental impact

Promote ways in which industries and commercial businesses can reduce their environmental impact

Advocate for stronger legislative and local policy support for the reduction and management of waste, to achieve environmental benefits

Advocate for stronger legislative support to reducing unnecessary packaging

7.4 Promote the use of alternative technology to reduce resource consumption

Advocate, as a priority, for fast broadband access in all locations

Encourage businesses to support alternative telecommunications upgrades in order to reduce travel for face-to-face meetings and other resource intensive expenditure

Promote the development and uptake of renewable energy sources

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Ecological Sustainability Construct














3.41 2 3 4 5 6

Theme: Sustainability- Quantitative survey data

The survey items used to gauge people’s opinions about future Productivity of Greater Bendigo were:

1. The City of Greater Bendigo has moved beyond the use of fossil fuels and exports solar energy.

2. The city is leading the way in designing and implementing technology and processes that protect and improve our environment.

3. Good planning has catered for our increasing and ageing population whilst allowing the biodiversity of the region to increase and thrive

4. Effective planning over the years has meant there is a balance between meeting the needs of more and older residents and keeping the rich environmental biodiversity and cultural history of the region for future generations.

5. Our population and has grown to 150,000 in size and has become much more diverse under a framework that ensures the liveability, sustainability and productivity of our local region.

6. Despite not exporting waste, Greater Bendigo no longer needs a landfill.

The responses to each question listed above are presented in the following graph.

Written responses to this theme included:

‘Encourage (through incentives and other support) local and regional businesses to make their products more recyclable - to use less packaging - to encourage re-use of their products (e.g. cafes have bring your own mug discounts). Have a blanket ban on plastic bags.’

‘Focus on business/commercial enterprises; the one’s who produce the most waste.’

’Get the required messages to ALL members of the community.’

‘We stopped development in sensitive areas including those zones around bushland. Building up, or cleverly working with small designs, and sustainable building practises has been enforced.

People live in close knit communities where events are regular and groups are active and supported by Council.’ ‘Stormwater is treated through a network of wetlands and reused wherever possible. Bio fresh water is used in the toilets of Bendigo.’

‘More outside investment into sustainable manufacturing industry in Bendigo.’

The average score for respondents to the

sustainability theme was 4.116, where 5 is the highest

possible score and 1 the lowest.

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Appendix: 1Additional suggestions related to each goal areaLiveability

Plant fruit tress in median strips and community members can look after them.

Draw on the wisdom of local horticulturalists

Promote local street parties, and support equipment available to communities and by assisting where appropriate

Redesigning suburbs around central recreation hubs which are child friendly.

Continue to focus of pathways and crossings and intersections to make them safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

Volunteers: Find ways to engage students in local projects.

Support Community Centres – provide local people with help to attain grants. Make the range of funded projects interesting, so participants can have fun (first), learn, be creative, & include music.

Encourage people to join a community garden or share their excess produce.

Focus on fire-safety in the whipstick.

Publicise the successes so everyone wants to join in.

Support local peer learning opportunities for language and cultural awareness.

We need strategies, including public awareness campaigns, to help people overcome their fears about engaging with people who are ‘different’- such as those who are disabled.

Continue to build on strategies which celebrate cultural diversity and promote acceptance of diversity.

Offer incentives for community participation.

Use personal approaches to encourage community engagement; face to face communication and requests for specific activity. Make the expectations realistic.

New housing for older people complies with best standards for universal housing.

More Community Arts and Cultural events which are supported by Council and local government.

An arts and/or crafts incubator… combined studios/gallery/retail outlet which a number artists can use their practise for minimal rent and utilities.

Display ‘promo boards’ for adds for bands gigs in the CBD, music will help bring out the best in Bendigo.

A complete blanket ban on junk food in our school canteens.

Reduce opportunities for junk food companies to sponsor community & sporting events.

Conduct regular festivals that embrace not only multiculturalism, but multiple lifestyle choices as well, and become the glbti (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans gender and intersex) provincial capital of Australia.

Supply Heathcote with a day care centre, this will enable parents to gain employment.

Heathcote needs be able to ensure there is enough fun activities for the children to partake in.

The best safety mechanism is the power of the people; encourage more activity in the CBD to increase civil surveillance.

Regulating alcohol sales better than we do now.

Get rid of the blue stone cobbles that make mobility an absolute nightmare.

An annual ‘made in Bendigo’ publication or booklet listing all locally made products and outlets.

A monthly artists market for high quality crafts, which is in a prime location and well marketed.

Sun shades in all parks, water fountains for drinking from, BBQ’s so that people can inexpensively BYO food, Shelters so that people can be covered in rain and strong sun. Free concerts and outdoor cinemas so that people can take children and young people to age appropriate activities.


Set the local benchmarks about our carbon footprint, water etc and publicise our progress towards achieving them.

Bring the bush into the city; retain and expand green corridors & biolinks - use them for travel, play, education.

Make this a plastic bag- free city.

Use strategies to reduce the use of plastic disposable drink bottles.

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Weigh rubbish bins and charge people according to the weight of rubbish to landfill.

Advocate for stronger State and National legislation in environmental sustainability areas.

Use conceptual images to help engage people in discussion about new developments on challenging topics.

Promote inner-city (higher density) living.

‘Go upwards, not outwards’ – extend the height limits, not the urban boundaries.

Develop local laws/guidelines about reducing excess packaging.

Provide inducements for people to consider refusing excess packaging in their purchasing decisions.

Encourage people to buy locally produced items in local shops, reducing the need for transport and pre-packaging.

Encourage a higher recycling rate by deposit and return on drink containers.

Find more innovative, environmentally responsible ways to package.

Introduce green bins for a community composting facility.

Use market-driven incentives:-

- Manufactures (of toxic substances) should be responsible for the cost of safe environmental disposal;

- Make it profitable to recycle the product;

- Sub-contract for clean-up of building sites to reduce waste of useable materials;

- Support development and adoption of more products that are biodegradable;

- Tax companies according to the amount, biodegradability and sustainability of the packaging they use.

Develop a local high temperature incinerator powered by methane generated from the tip.

Introduce a compulsory unit of study into the primary and secondary school curriculum on environmental sustainability- ‘thinking globally, acting locally’.

Provide local, accessible compulsory disposal streams for toxic items, such as batteries (such as in supermarkets).

Provide for sorted waste at public events and facilities.

Publicise the positives of higher density living, including co-tenanted housing options.


Make good use of community committees and other community engagement events as a source of wisdom.

Recognise local entrepreneurs & leaders, publicise them & award them - even small operators.

Identify and build on the common links between local people and new residents (eg sport) and use this as a basis for promoting integration.

Identify central (prime) locations that should not be under-developed in the future.

Develop infrastructure around the local nodes or commercial ‘suburban’ hubs for day-to-day shopping needs.

Foster the development of entertainment, recreational, artistic and dining options in the central city area.

Develop full library services outside the city centre, especially in the new growth corridors.


Develop safe and effective road links between the local commercial nodes.

Consider use of existing rail infrastructure for a light–rail system linking commercial hubs.

Consider development of a fast rail from airport to airport, especially in relation to developing freight markets.

Ring roads could bypass Bendigo by using the existing Midland and McIvor highways, rather than a new closer network.

CoGB incorporates an environmental charter/sustainable transport as part of their plan.

Consider ‘park and ride’ from outer commercial hubs to city centre, with parcel pick-up.

Support, promote and extend ‘Walk Bendigo’ through continuing education.

Promote a positive media perception of a car-free CBD.

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Further reduce water loss through the existing channels network.

Provide incentives for use of tank water for domestic purposes, rather than just garden use.

Make even more use of our recycled water, such as for domestic use in new residential areas.

Provide incentives for people to feed solar energy back into the grid; make it a positive economic decision.

Further develop ‘public’ or commercial renewable energy sources that feed into the grid.

Include rural residents/areas in strategies to enable people to be self-sufficient in meeting energy needs.

Local Government has a lead role- having demonstration projects in water conservation, low water gardening, low energy housing, mixed density housing etc.


Extend the ‘bush tender’ program in the municipality, where appropriate.

Prefer non-agriculturally viable land for residential developments.

Make water security a priority for agriculturally viable land.

Use a range of ongoing strategies to promote tree planting on agricultural land.

Encourage farmers and rural communities to plant and protect bush corridors to protect biodiversity.


Continue education and strategies which further reduce waste to landfill.

Flora and Fauna

Use existing linear corridors to facilitate wildlife movement.

Continue to improve the habitat value with works in natural reserves, eg. nest boxes, protecting fallen timber, pest plant & animal control.

Modify (if necessary) the Local Government tree replacement policy to use of drought-resistant species.

Safeguard, and extend (where strategic) the integrity of linear creek reserves.

Support establishment and ongoing maintenance of urban and rural Landcare groups.

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Local Representative Groups

‘Thinking Futures’ participants re-convened

Bendigo Young Professionals Network

Bendigo Trust and Bendigo Discovery Centre Advisory Boards

Monash University Community Advisory Board

Loddon-Bendigo Rural Women’s Network

Sandhurst Rotary Club

Bendigo South Rotary Club

Bendigo Sustainability Group

Goldfields Local Learning

La Trobe University Community Advisory Board

Primary Care Partnerships Executive group

Peter Harcourt Disability Services Board

Community House groups – Bendigo, Eaglehawk, Long Gully (adults and youth2)

Public Meetings

Central Bendigo x3




Workplace Discussions

City of Greater Bendigo Staff x 4

St Lukes

Loddon Mallee Housing Services

SASI Marketing

Small Town and Community Groups

Marong Community Action Group

Woodvale Progress Association

Maiden Gully Progress Association

Raywood, Neilborough and Sebastian +25 Community groups

Elmore Progress Association

Councillor Forums

Strathdale ,Eaglehawk

Student Sessions

La Trobe University Community Planning and development students (Plan B)

Secondary Schools Forum (Year 9 students- 9 schools)

Primary Schools (Year 5&6 students- 3 schools)

Appendix: 2Community and Workplace Group Discussions

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Varied modes of communication were used to engage community members in the review process; each is described separately.

The review process commenced in November 2009 when a group of leaders from a range of organisations and sectors across Greater Bendigo were brought together for a Thinking Futures workshop.

Participants were asked to begin to build a vision for Bendigo 2036, to develop parameters for an approach that would engage the wider population in the process and to create some directions statements

The outcome of this workshop was the expression of three aspirational Themes of Livability, Productivity and Ecological Sustainability. For each of these the participants identified a number of key indicators, which set out their view of the parameters of each goal area, and an ideal vision of what could occur in Greater Bendigo in 25years time.

This process was also conducted in parallel with the review of the Municipal Strategic Statement – a key strategic document within the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme.

Thus, after the draft documents were prepared they were audited by the Senior Strategic Planner to ensure that the data gathered would also meet the needs of this parallel process.

The key indicators were then refined and broadened by the Community Reference Group, and expressed in more uniform style. These then formed the basis for the items in the survey and development of the ’scenarios’ used to guide discussion with community groups.

Three project bulletins were prepared at the outset of the process, at the commencement of the community engagement activities and then also when the draft document became available. The Project Bulletin outlined the process so far, next steps, and options for participation.

These were made available electronically and in hard copy where the survey was available. They were a useful means making people who may not have seen other publicity, aware of the process. Because we used a ‘graphic’ style of presentation, the bulletin could also be used as a poster to advertise availability of the survey or as an accompaniment to a meeting notice.

The survey was derived from the 3 Aspirational Goals areas and Key Indicators.

The survey consisted of 6-8 ideal statements that could be seen as indicators of each of the three goal areas for Greater Bendigo in 2036. The items were presented as Likert scales and respondents were asked to rate, in terms of importance to them individually, the items exploring each theme, with the highest score, 5, if they regarded the item as very important and 1 if they felt the possible outcome was least important. At the end of these items, respondents were asked to nominate and discuss the item of greatest importance to them, and to suggest shorter-term actions that would contribute to the desired long-term action. The draft survey was pilot tested for readability and clarity, adjustments were made where indicated and the survey was formatted to enhance visual appeal and clarity.

The survey was made available in hard copy, with a reply-paid envelope attached and on-line through a direct link from the CoGB and Youth Bendigo websites, and from a number of other local agency websites. Hard copies were available at CoGB offices and facilities and also at various locations in a number of the smaller towns across the municipality.

They were also made available for people who attended any other the discussions sessions to take away for other people who may have been interested in responding.

Appendix: 3How this was done - Methodology

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Community discussions were conducted using a series of short scenarios derived from the ‘Thinking Futures’ workshop discussion described above. Around five scenarios were developed to explore each of the three themes, Livability, Productivity and Ecological Sustainability. Some of these scenarios were the same as the items used in the survey, and some others were developed specifically to facilitate discussion. In a number of cases the scenario related to more than one of the themes, for example, a scenario about successful business development that also met sustainability criteria.

The discussion sessions followed a similar format, in that there was a very brief overview of the history of the +25 Community Planning processes, the original plan and the factors prompting a need to review the plan. The review process was outlined and an overview of the next steps and timelines was provided to participants. They were invited to share their ideas, and advised that all contributions were valued and would be used. A running sheet was prepared to assist the members of the Community Reference Group if they were conducting a session. In addition a ‘fact sheet’ was prepared for each of the scenarios, which contained background material and projections of the implications of an increase in population of 50,000 in Greater Bendigo in 25 years time on that topic.

Discussions were scheduled with groups of community members whenever and wherever the opportunity arose. This included specially convened Public Meetings across the whole municipality, sessions with workplace staff, some sessions arranged or convened by Community

Reference Group members with networks and service clubs they are a part of, or in their workplaces. In addition shorter sessions were conducted as part of other meetings, such as the small towns and districts regular local community planning meetings and two Councillors’ ward meetings. Four sessions were conducted with CoGB staff. In order to engage young people in the process a year 9 secondary students’ forum was convened which included an invitation to each of the secondary schools in Greater Bendigo. One hundred and twenty students took part. The half-day forum involved detailed group discussions and completion of a survey. Four cohorts of primary students from years five and six took part in sessions which were specially modified for their age group and conducted by a specialist paediatric Occupational Therapist. In addition a cohort of tertiary community planning students took part in a separate session.

A selection of the different scenarios was used in each discussion session. An effort was made to use each scenario an approximately even number of times, and also to try to match the scenario with the perceived interests of the group. Each topic was presented on a large A3 sheet of paper, and a series of rhetorical questions used to prompt discussion and ground the responses, such as: How did we achieve this outcome? or What did we do to make this happen? Ideally a group of around 5 took part in each discussion and the groups were divided accordingly. Depending on the group, participants were asked to briefly introduce themselves if necessary and to choose a person to ‘scribe’ the responses. If the numbers were very small

the project staff undertook the scribing role. Groups had around 15 minutes to discuss the topic, and usually they were provided with another scenario, from a different theme area to repeat the process. The nature of the discussions varied; factors influencing this included whether one person was allowed to dominate the conversation and whether there was some enquiry or challenge to the ideas that were put forward. This is always one of the risks when the discussion is not managed by an experienced focus-group facilitator with a strong knowledge of the project.

The quality and detail of the information that was recorded on the sheet was also somewhat affected by the experience and skill of the person who undertook to be the scribe.

Data management

Survey responses

A total of 1523 surveys in hard-copy were distributed to community members, including the year 9 students who attended the forum and the on-line survey was available from the CoGB and YoBendigo websites and as a link from three other organisational web pages. A total of 234 surveys were returned completed, including 78 from participants in the youth forum, giving a response rate of less than 10% from the other sources.

Online survey responses were entered directly into the ‘Survey Monkey’ software and data management programs by the respondents.

Hard copy survey responses were also added directly into ‘Survey Monkey’ by the project administrative assistant. In this way the survey data from

members of the public were all in the same place and could be analysed together.

Year 9 students’ survey data were entered in a separate file, on SPSS, for analysis initially. This was because it could then be used as a basis for comparison with the results from the broader (older) community respondents and also because an undertaking was given that the students would get the results from their participation in the session. However the responses are included in the overall quantitative results here in order to increase the significance of the response and because there was so little variation between the groups.

Discussion data

The information sheets with contributions from each discussion were transcribed verbatim. The data were organised according to the discussion topic, and the responses from each group discussing that topic were separately identified [4].

From this database the information was re-read a number of times and the main themes emerging from the data within each of the main topic areas were identified, and are presented as the ‘Priorities, ‘Directions’ and ‘Key Strategies’ in the plan.

The practical and short-term suggestions made by participants, which contributed to each main theme, were also listed according to the frequency of their suggestion [4].

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1. Henry,K. The Shape of Things to Come: Long Run Forces Affecting the Australian Economy in Coming Decades. Address to the Queensland University of Technology Business Leaders’ Forum, 22 October 2009. Available from:

2. Department of Planning and Community Development. Victoria in Future,2008- Population Projections. Available from:

3. Ministerial Advisory Committee for Victorian Communities. Strong Communities: Ways Forward, Report to the Minister for Victorian Communities, Melbourne: Department for Victorian Communities, August 2006. available from:

4. Department of Planning and Community Development. Planning Together. Lessons from Local Government Community Planning in Victoria, Final Report, 2007. Available from:

5. Talbot, L and Verrinder, G. Promoting Health. A Primary Health Care Approach, 4th Edition. Sydney :Elsevier, 2009.

6. Creswell, J. Research design : qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. John W. Creswell, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 2003.

7. Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission. Measures of liveability and sustainability: staff discussion paper. [cited 1 May 2009]; Available from:

8. Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission. State of Liveability: An inquiry into enhancing Victoria’s liveability. 2008 [cited 1 May 2009]; Available from: VCECLiveabilityReport-FINALFULLREPORT/.

9. Bishop, B.J. and G.J. Syme, The social costs and benefits of urban consolidation: a time budget/contingent valuation approach. Journal of Economic Psychology, 1995. 16: p. 223-245.

10. Howley, P., M. Scott, and D. Redmond, Sustainability versus liveability: an investigation of neighbourhood satisfaction. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2009. 52(6): p. 847-864

11. Department of premier and cabinet. Taking Action for Victoria’s Future Victorian Climate Change White Paper - The Action Plan, July 2010


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We acknowledge all of the people and organisations who took part, for their contributions to the development of the revised Community Plan. We are especially grateful to the members of the public, young people and children who took part in the discussions and shared their wisdom from the past and their aspirations for the future.

Action Group Chairs

Arts & Culture - Erin Smith

Education - Darren Mcgregor

Governance- Peter Davies

Healthy Living - Jeanette Grant

Industry & Innovation - Kevin De Vries

Bendigo Sustainability Group - Ian Mcburney

Transport - Laurie Whelan

Water - Dr. Dharma Dharmabalan

Welcoming Place - Michael Toman


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Liveable Productive Sustainable

Supported by the


Voices from the Future

Main Office: 195-229 Lyttleton Terrace, Bendigo Postal Address: PO Box 733, Bendigo 3552 Telephone: 03 5434 6000 Web: