CAMPASPE Shire will not reach its full potential unless social disadvantage is addressed and reduced, according to the Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership group.
Latest data shows increasing numbers of children starting school in the region who are ‘‘developmentally vulnerable’’ — behind in language, maths and communication skills and general knowledge.
Which group chair Nigel McGuckian believes then impacts on a child’s future quality of life, including whether they stay at school, have genuine job opportunities or instead turn to crime.
Creating the best start to a child’s life emerged as a priority for the group after its first community assembly last year.
The second assembly was last month and Mr McGuckian said he was looking forward to hearing the community’s ideas on how to make that happen.
He said getting children ready for school was one of the region’s most important needs.
“Many organisations have known this for years; local government, libraries, kindergartens, community houses, schools and local business are all having a go and doing their best, but need more support to keep their efforts going,” Mr McGuckian said.
“We hope to help every local government area in the Loddon Campaspe region develop ways to make sure these critical literacy and numeracy skills are in place before these children get to school.’’
The six priorities of the Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership include:
■ creating the best start for our children;
■ being connected through better transport systems and digital technology;
■ promoting better health outcomes for our people;
■ connecting people and the natural environment;
■ growing our economy; and
■ sustainable communities and renewable energy.
For details, go to engage.vic.gov.au/loddon-campaspe