ARARAT’s mayor will ask the state government for funding to ensure the city’s mission to improve the health of residents continues.
Ararat Rural City mayor Paul Hooper said a recent funding change in the federal budget meant the city would ask the state government to help fund preventative health measures in the city.
“Cultural change is incredibly difficult, our community has done an outstanding job,” he said.
“But if we are serious about improving our health outcomes, the journey has only just started, we can’t pull the pin now and not do anything.
“We are committed to do it, we are going to continue to innovate, continue to work hard and continue to enthuse people and get everyone involved, and we need help to do that, to do it properly.”
Figures provided by the council showed rapid changes to the region’s average body mass index.
For the first time the results for the region were better than the national average.
The figures also showed more than 5 per cent of Ararat’s population signed up for the Victorian Government’s Active April program, more than double the number of other regional cities.
“There is a lot happening in this space and we just think it is crazy to not persist, the government should be using Ararat as a success story for smaller communities, saying ‘hey if they can do it here, you can do it anywhere’,” he said.
“If you had said to me when this first started that we would get these results I would have found it very hard to believe.
“It is all the more reason, a large portion of our community is telling us to keep this going.
“If we didn’t we would be letting them down.”
Mr Hooper said he planned to meet with the Victorian Minister for Health David Davis this week to discuss the issue.