18 October 2018


Community leaders from across the Ovens and Murray region have issued a joint call for better accessibility for

Upper Hume Primary Care Partnership (UHPCP) Executive Officer Jenny Donnelly and North East Local Learning
and Employment Network (NELLEN) CEO Bev Hoffmann said the two organisations were uniting to provide clear
direction for policymakers.

Ms Donnelly said North East community members were entitled to be able to access the services and supports they
need to optimise their health and well-being.

“Accessibility includes reliable and affordable transport, whether it be getting to a medical appointment, to be socially
connected or to get to work,” she said.

“Governments and service providers must enable the voices of rural communities to be heard and then to share in
finding solutions with those communities.”

This was echoed by Ms Hoffmann, who said that people of all ages were impacted by poor accessibility around the
North East.

“Increasingly, young people require assistance to make a smooth transition between study and employment,” she

“NELLEN is one of 31 Victorian LLENs that supports the development of collaborative partnerships that increase
access to employment and further education options for young people.

“We are very pleased to have participated in the development of the Social Policy for Regional Victoria, by regional
Victoria and thrilled to join our colleagues as we collaboratively address the regional theme of accessibility.”

The joint release is part of the organisations’ membership of the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS), the
peak body for the state’s social and community sector.

VCOSS has been involved in a year-long Regional Engagement project, which has seen VCOSS supporting local
organisations to collect and distil the views of people across their own region.

VCOSS CEO Emma King said policymakers and political candidates must listen closely to the voices of regional

“People in local communities are best placed to identify local challenges and develop local solutions,” she said.
“We need to listen to leaders and service providers on the ground.”