Climate action bringing success at Bellarine Community Health

Wednesday 29 November, 2023


Bellarine Community Health (BCH) has been recognised for its progress in Climate and Health Action as part of the Achievement Program.


They have previously met all other benchmarks and are “thrilled” to receive their newest recognition.


BCH CEO Garry Ellis explained the service has already seen the effect of climate change on their community, putting more stress on physical health, mental health, and safety.


“That’s why we are prioritising the need to adapt to climate change and take action to reduce our carbon footprint,” he said.


BCH is the largest provider of health and wellbeing services on the Bellarine peninsula across five locations, covering early intervention, chronic disease management, nursing and palliative care, oral health, mental and allied health, and community outreach.


Their most recent actions include:

  • An energy audit of BCH sites
  • Establishing an Environmental Sustainability Advisory Group
  • Replacing individual staff bins with a centralised bin system to separate waste and improve recycling
  • Fitting timers to hydronic heaters
  • Decommissioning a high energy using cool room
  • Installing an electric vehicle charger for free community use
  • Supporting local primary schools with active transport activities
  • Providing opportunities for young people to learn about sustainable food practices through the Youth Guerrilla Garden and Farm My School

As part of the Achievement Program, they have also implemented several key health and wellbeing actions covering active ways of working, healthy eating and drinking policies, and an updated smoking and vaping policy.


Staff are now getting involved in regular yoga classes, stretching classes, and step challenges, which have produced some hot competition.


And the results speak for themselves: 90 per cent of participating staff in their 2022 People Matter survey said they can be themselves at work, with 93 per cent expressing their intention to stay.


BCH initially joined the Achievement Program after recognising a need to address action on staff health and wellbeing.


Mr Ellis explained the program’s framework not only helped them identify areas to make improvements, but also provided tools to progress their goals.


“It has been great to see our staff involved over the years to help create a positive workplace with a focus on health and wellbeing,” he said.


As for the future, BCH plans to continually improve their current actions, aiming to mitigate climate change impacts and create a healthier community, both for the present and future.


They also recommend other services who want to get involved or are looking for fresh ways to progress to engage staff in improvement and outcomes, as well as in launch and anniversary events to keep everyone engaged.


"We will continue to look for ways to improve the physical enviro

nment, policies, practices and health and wellbeing culture at all BCH sites,” Mr Ellis said.


For more information about the Achievement Program or to get involved, visit Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program.