Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Guest Post from Matt Jackson - CEO Parks Victoria

Following on from the previous Jackson's guest post here is Matt Jackson.Over to you Matt...


"To me, a key part of Healthy Parks Healthy People is making sure that everyone can connect with and enjoy nature to get the health benefits that come from that.

I can only imagine the joy that David Stratton and others of limited mobility experience when the natural world is opened up to them through the TrailRider and they can see places they previously couldn’t get to. It’s a wonderful thing indeed and I’m really proud to be part of an organisation that has worked consistently over many years to see TrailRiders become available in more and more places.

At Parks Victoria, important work is being done to build the knowledge of the health benefits of parks. Our parks currently play a critical role in promoting healthy lifestyles. Our data shows Victoria’s parks attract more than 50 million visits each year, and there are more than 45 million visits to our piers and jetties for fishing, boating and relaxation.

We think the benefits of parks and nature for our health and wellbeing have been greatly under-recognised and undervalued. There are many opportunities to utilise the power of nature for public health. We believe being active in nature can be a highly cost effective contributor in helping to tackle many of our growing public health issues such as obesity, depression and anxiety, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.

Parks Victoria is increasingly working with many providers from the public health sector by connecting (or reconnecting) people with nature.  In turn more people become advocates for conserving our precious biodiversity and greenspace.

We have some great partnerships in place –  with researchers to review and build the evidence and fill knowledge gaps. We’re also working with our partners in other government departments to ensure that nature-based health and active living programs in parks are included in key government plans. We’re developing many different partnerships with the community and disability sectors for groups such as at risk teens, children, seniors and new migrants, and working with Traditional Owners to further enable cultural and spiritual connection and reconnection for health and wellbeing.

There are so many opportunities to utilise the power of nature for the health of the community. And this is being recognised more and more widely. It was great to see the link between a healthy environment and community health and wellbeing was formally recently recognised by the Victorian Government through a Memorandum on Health and Nature, jointly signed by the Minister for Health and the Minister for Energy, Environment and climate change.


David and Ros have provided a great role model for others with good ideas, passion and commitment to work with us and make great things happen. That openness and commitment to partnerships is a key aspect of our Healthy Parks Healthy People approach.

I encourage and welcome others to follow their example.

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