Mitchell community gets behind Federal mental health and freeway campaign
Mitchell Shire Council today (3 April) launched a Federal election campaign calling for funding for local mental health services and to construct a full diamond freeway interchange in Wallan.
As part of the campaign, community members are being asked to send an email or postcard to Federal candidates in McEwen, Nicholls and Bendigo.
People can send an email online with a simple click at www.fightformitchellshire.com.au, share the campaign on Facebook and Instagram or keep an eye out for postcards at local businesses, service providers and events.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Councillor Bill Chisholm encouraged all community members to work together to let all candidates in the seats of McEwen, Nicholls and Bendigo know that something must be done now.
“We are already experiencing rapid population growth and expect 270,000 people to call Mitchell home in the next 20 to 30 years,” he said.
“In Wallan alone, our current population of 13,000 is expected to grow to more than 50,000 people not to mention the growth happening further south and in our other towns.
“Our roads are already at capacity. And assistance in providing mental health prevention is a crucial element to our future. We need the funding and we need the services within this Shire. We cannot wait until the next election cycle before something is done.”
Mitchell Shire Mayor Councillor Bill Chisholm said the community still dealt with long wait times – something funding would alleviate.
“Our community is dealing with long and frustrating commute times and difficulty going about their daily lives on our local roads,” he said.
“We have major safety concerns with traffic banking up on a national freight corridor. Large trucks and cars need to come to a stop on the freeway with no warning at 110 kilometres per hour where the off ramp joins the freeway.
“The business case for the interchange ramps is complete. It is ready to construct. We need a commitment to stage one funding from the Federal Government now so our community can get on with their lives safely and so we can keep our national freeway and freight corridor moving.”
Mitchell Shire Mayor Councillor Bill Chisholm said people cannot access local mental health services and need to go to Melbourne or Shepparton instead – if they can get there.
“The lack of access to local crisis and support services is already forcing vulnerable people to endure significant wait times for help,” he said.
“Our Youth Mayor Ebony Layley is a strong advocate for Mental Health and has had her own battles as well.”
Mitchell Shire Youth Mayor Ebony Layley said the topic was important to her and the Youth Council.
“On top of the wait times, people seeking help need to travel long distances to access services and with the lack of transport options, this can become an ordeal,” she said.
“We are just at the start of our rapid population growth and this is a problem affecting our whole community, but our young people are particularly vulnerable.
“Without intervention, this problem is only going to get worse. We need Federal support for local services to support our community now.”
The traffic congestion, social isolation and difficulty going about daily life makes these issues a top priority for our community.
Mitchell Shire is calling on all candidates to get behind our community and show they care.
Federal funding for these services and upgrades would help ease our shire’s growing pains while also improving day to day life for those already here.
Mitchell Shire will highlight these priority issues in Mitchell Shire through this campaign. It is important that the candidates for all three electorates are aware of the issues we face which have a substantial impact on people’s lives.