Health, including mental and general well-being, encompasses a broad spectrum of issues. From the air we breathe to the water we drink, from the accessibility of parks and recreation to the care we receive as we age, ensuring good health touches upon most facets of our communities, including the buildings we make our homes in, and the transport we use to get around.
In a just society, good health is for everyone rather than those who can afford it. And as we have seen in the Latrobe Valley, the health of residents depends on the form the local economy takes, which means changes in work, industry, energy production and even town and rural planning are key considerations when thinking about the wellbeing of South Gippslanders.
As COVID has only exacerbated, mental health, particularly in rural communities, is its own pandemic, one that requires a whole of life approach. If we are to transition to a low-carbon economy, not only will this entail significant change from what we are used to, it will also offer the chance to reorient towards low-carbon sectors such as health and care giving, which can become large employers in the region.
What would a healthy South Gippsland look like? How can we make sure people have access to the medical and mental health supports they may need? And what types of jobs, community programs and environment will assist in creating a healthy South Gippsland?
South Gippsland spans Bunurong and Gunai-Kurnai country. We acknowledge that this land is unceded and pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging. A just transition is one that allows for First Nations' sovereignty.
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