Council Services / Community

Huon Valley Council - Getting the Foundations Right for Planning Success

Huon Valley BCBC

Connecting people, place and knowledge and building on community strengths are key to the Huon Valley Council’s successful approach to working towards “wellbeing for all” in the Huon Valley Health and Wellbeing Strategy. These principles guide the document and the process of its development. The approach represents a shift from a council centred perspective for understanding and describing community health and wellbeing to a whole of community focus on what it means to “work towards wellness for all people in the Huon Valley”.

The Strategy consistently represents this whole community focus and the consultation process also models these principles. Ownership of the Strategy rests with all those individuals and organisations who contributed to its development over nine months. The consultation included five community forums in each of the main towns, key stakeholder forums with service providers, community groups, local school students, and online surveys and questionnaires.  The draft document was then released to the community for consultation prior to final adoption by Council. The priority areas for action emphasise “Connecting” - connecting people, connecting to place, and connecting knowledge and know-how.  Plain language describes what individuals and groups can do and what success looks like. People can see the links between what they want, what some of the data indicates and what practical things they can do to improve things.

Respect for local culture and skills is represented in descriptions about what people and groups already do well, with acknowledgement of community strengths an emphasise.  This strength based approach continues with practical examples and by the demonstrated importance of the consultation process in how it captures a shared public judgment about what people understand as important.  

The emphasis on making connections and building on strengths signals the importance of systems thinking. The Strategy additionally becomes a resource for groups and individuals to lead in designing ways for collective action. Council has a key role to play in the process of choosing actions consistent with the Strategy. Council will be leader, facilitator, advocate, regulator and provider.

  • As leader, Council will work towards wellness for all people in the Huon Valley;
  • As facilitator, it will connect people, knowledge, experience and skills to bring the Strategy to life;
  • As advocate, it will ensure it attracts the resources and expertise it needs to keep the Valley healthy;
  • As regulator, it will consider the issues for which it is legally responsible; and
  • As provider, it will deliver services where there is an identified need.

The creation of a community led Huon Valley Strategy, rather than a Council Strategy where Council is solely responsible for its implementation will help community organisations and businesses to take action and also seek grant funding to support this.  It is envisaged the Strategy will be a guiding document for future programs and activities in the Huon Valley for all organisations.

The Huon Valley Health and Wellbeing Strategy is available here.


*photo credit Copyright TassieEye, Flickr