Cobaw’s 30th Anniversary Event video

Sky Images Australia generously produced a video of Cobaw’s 30th Anniversary event on 17 June 2017. The event featured guest speaker Sally Warhaft, a jazz band, and the launch of our corporate video.

School Focused Youth Service digital story

New Thunderstorm Asthma Forecasting System

A new world-leading thunderstorm asthma monitoring, prediction and alert system is now up and running, giving Victorians an early warning of possible epidemic thunderstorm asthma events this grass pollen season.

Marking the start of the grass pollen season, Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today launched the Andrews Labor Government’s new epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasting system to better predict and respond to large-scale emergencies such as thunderstorm asthma.

People with asthma or hay fever are particularly at risk of thunderstorm asthma, and for many it can be sudden, serious and life threatening.

The Labor Government invested $15 million into Victoria’s thunderstorm asthma response, and partnered with the Bureau of Meteorology, the University of Melbourne, Deakin University and other research organisations to develop the state-of-the-art epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasting system – one of the first in the world.

Not every thunderstorm causes thunderstorm asthma. The new forecasting system will forecast the risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma which is triggered by high grass pollen levels and a certain type of thunderstorm.

The forecasting system considers grass pollen forecasts, weather observations and data including wind changes, temperature, rainfall and grass coverage. It will then identify the risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma using a traffic light scale of: green for low, orange for moderate, and red for high – and trigger warnings if required.

To support the system, the Government expanded pollen data collection sites with new pollen traps in Hamilton, Creswick, Bendigo, Dookie and Churchill, in addition to existing traps in Parkville, Burwood and Geelong.

Last month we also rolled out a new public health information and education campaign to better prepare Victorians for thunderstorm asthma. At risk Victorians are being urged to protect themselves this pollen season by speaking to their GP or pharmacist to put in place their asthma plan.

The forecasting system will run from 1 October until the end of December, the typical Victorian grass pollen season. To access the forecasts, Victorians should download the Vic Emergency App or visit

LGBTIQ+ Support and Information sessions

Upcoming Positive Parenting Course

Group Triple P
Takes the guesswork out of parenting
New positive parenting course starts soon

Presented by Cobaw Community Health for parents and carers of children 0-12.

DATE Four Friday sessions: 20 October- 10 November 2017
TIME 10am-12noon
VENUE Cobaw Community Health: 47 High Street, Kyneton
PRESENTER Deanne Brogan.

Course is free for participants. A book fee of $23.00 per participant is required. Participants must be able to attend all sessions and are required to complete assessments before and after program. Weekly phone consultations for 3 weeks post-training are provided as part of this program.

Expressions of interest accepted by Deanne Brogan on 5421 1666 or Expressions of interest close 11 October 2017 however places fill quickly so please make contact before this date to secure a place.

See attached flyer for more information on this evidence based parenting program or visit

For further information on the Triple P program please see the attached flyer here.

Marriage Equality – Victorian Community Health Sector Joint Statement of Support

The recent decision of the Australian Government to conduct a survey to determine the level of support for the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people to marry, represents a significant risk to the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ Victorians.

As leaders within, and advocates for, the health of our communities we want our LGBTIQ clients, community, consumers, families and staff to know that we understand the sadness, anger and frustration this decision causes, and that we stand with you in our commitment to contribute constructively to this process. We believe the case for marriage equality has been accepted in Australia and the vast majority of like nations.¹

We consider that holding a popular vote on matters of equity is disrespectful and potentially divisive. For these reasons activists and advocates have worked strenuously to have this matter dealt with by the Parliament. Despite this, it seems possible that a postal survey may still proceed.

The benefits of equity to the health of communities are well established, as are the adverse impacts of discrimination.² As community and primary health organisations we will actively support individuals and communities to understand and participate in the survey process, and we will advocate for a YES vote in order to help achieve community equity.

We will promote the opportunity this debate presents to optimise the social inclusion of LGBTIQ people. We will share what we know about the vital role rights and participation play in supporting good health and health equity.

We will be alert and ready to address the potentially negative health impacts of stigmatisation, vilification and discrimination, particularly on young people, children, those without support and those with mental health support needs. Where we can, we will offer support to LGBTIQ organisations and individuals to manage any adverse impacts.

We are optimistic that this public discussion will amplify the voices of those seeking more equitable and healthier communities. We call on our colleagues, community partners, professional associations, families and friends to join us in making clear their support at this important time.


Download our joint statement of support

Merger between Cobaw and Castlemaine District Community Health not to proceed

The proposed merger between neighbouring community health services, Cobaw Community Health (Cobaw) and Castlemaine and District Community Health (CDCH) will no longer proceed following six months of discussions.

The two community health services announced plans to formally explore a merger in March 2017. Both organisations agreed from the start to make sure the proposed amalgamation would ensure positive outcomes for the services, employees and the Macedon Ranges and Mount Alexander Shire communities.

As the talks progressed a decision was made that, for now, both organisations would be best served continuing to operate as two entities. “The purpose of entering into formal Board merger discussions and beginning a due diligence process was to apply careful and thorough consideration to every aspect of the merger,” Cobaw CEO, Margaret McDonald said.

“We both reluctantly agreed that, despite our similarities, our strategies for the future in our respective communities were different,” said Ms McDonald.

The future is very bright for community health services and in the current climate, communities are best supported by a local place-based community health services focussed on the unique needs of communities.

CEO of CDCH, Anne Bates, said that there is a strong commitment from both organisations to ensure the continuation of locally-based, quality community health services. “We will continue to collaborate with Cobaw to serve the region and will draw upon the expertise in each of our organisations.”

Both organisations are optimistic about the future opportunities to work together. “Our already positive working relationship has been strengthened by this experience and we will continue to support each other to provide quality services”, Ms Bates said.

“Whilst it is disappointing that this proposed merger has not proven to be the solution we needed to meet our respective goals, we have made the right decision for the sustainability of community health services in our region,” Ms McDonald concluded.

Volunteering made easy

Have you ever considered volunteering in our community but don’t quite know where to start? Free advice and guidance on open volunteer roles across the Macedon Ranges is now available every first and third Monday of the month from 11.00am to 1.00pm at the Woodend library.

Hosted by Cobaw Community Health’s Central Victorian Volunteer Service, the space will enable interested community members to drop in and find out about various opportunities to volunteer across a wide range of community groups and organisations. The service will provide locals with no obligation information about volunteering, open roles and can assist people to apply for roles on the spot.

Volunteering in our community not only benefits the organisation you’re helping, but is a great way to make new friends, learn new skills and feel truly connected.

The service will launch on Monday 4 September and no appointments need to be made – just head in and someone will be there to answer any questions you may have.

Location: Goldfields Library Woodend, Cnr Forest Road & High Street Woodend, every 1st & 3rd Monday of the month.

For further information, call 5421 1666 or visit

2017 Macedon Ranges Business Excellence Awards

We’re thrilled to be finalists in two categories of this year’s Bendigo Bank Macedon Ranges Business Excellence Awards:

  • The Not For Profit/Public Sector award
  • Excellence in Health & Wellbeing.

Thanks to our local community for nominating us and to our fantastic staff for the amazing services they deliver everyday.

Winners will be announced at the awards gala dinner on Wednesday 20 September.

Homelessness Week 2017 Event