Latrobe Health Innovation Zone Charter (DHHS-VIC)

Project Status
Current

Chief Investigator
Evelyne de Leeuw

Project Rationale

Early 2015 a bushfire spotted into the Hazelwood Mine adjacent to the town of Morwell in Gippsland, Victoria. The fire raged for nearly six weeks, covering the region in smoke and soot. The economic, social and health consequences of the incident were considered enormous. A Parliamentary Inquiry was established to investigate the situation and recommend courses of action. After tabling its findings, the Parliament established a second Inquiry that was required to formulate recommendations in the area of population health and community development, health services organisation and delivery, and mine rehabilitation.
CPHCE (Professors Evelyne de Leeuw and Marilyn Wise) were contracted to compile the evidence for population health development and resilience in a background study into the evidence on health development in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria: http://hazelwoodinquiry.vic.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/TOR-7-Health-Improvment-Report-of-E-de-Leeuw-M-Wise.pdf

Over 2015 and 2016 they engaged substantially with the Inquiry Board’s community consultation processes in the Latrobe Valley. In its final report the Board adopted virtually all recommendations of the De Leeuw & Wise Report – including the establishment of a long term, sustainable health zone with a health advocate, aiming for deliberative and participatory engagement processes that would reduce health inequity and generally improve the health of all people in the Latrobe Valley: http://hazelwoodinquiry.vic.gov.au/201516-report/

The relevant research in this space consisted of a systematic review of the health and resilient community decision-making evidence, consultation and validation meetings with communities and stakeholders in Gippsland and beyond, and engagement in policy recommendation formulation practices.
After tabling the recommendations, the Victoria Parliament integrally adopted the recommendations of the report and provided substantial $50 million funding, drawing comprehensively on the evidence compiled by De Leeuw and Wise: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-15/vic-pledges-$50m-after-hazelwood-mine-fire-inquiry/7328682.

As a result of this engagement CHETRE colleagues (Hirono, Jaques, De Leeuw and Haigh) are now assisting the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation in capacity building (Learning by Doing training, and staff development) in the area of Health Equity. De Leeuw is on the VicHealth Equity Advisory Committee, Haigh coordinates the on-going Equity Focused Health Impact Assessment (EFHIA) programme. De Leeuw has been contracted by the Victoria Department of Health and Human Services to advise on the development and implementation of the Latrobe Valley Health Innovation Zone, the Health Advocate, and Charter. This programme will continue into 2018.

Project Aim/s

To advise local stakeholders on health promotion and equity approaches

Project Design and Method

Workshops, consultation, meeting attendance, presentations

Publications

Leeuw, E. D., & Wise, M. (2015). Population Health Development in the Latrobe Valley: A Literature Review of World Best Practice in Building Healthy Communities and Health Systems. Glocal Health Consultants, Geelong