Winners at the 2016 VicHealth Awards

Victoria’s greatest health promotion projects have been recognised for their dedication to creating and supporting healthier and happier communities across the state at VicHealth’s annual awards night. 

Winners of the 2016 VicHealth Awards were announced at a ceremony at Federation Square last night (1 December) by Health Minister Jill Hennessey, Shadow Health Minister Mary Wooldridge, Leader of the Victorian Greens Greg Barber, VicHealth Chair Fiona McCormack and VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter.

This year’s awards marked the countdown to VicHealth’s 30th anniversary in November next year, celebrating the historic occasion that took place in 1987 when VicHealth was established as the world’s first health promotion foundation, and the unprecedented cross-political support it took to make it happen.

Highlights of the night included a special presentation from Dr Vivian Lin from the World Health Organization, attendance by delegates from across the Asia Pacific who were in Melbourne for the 16th Annual International Network of Health Promotion Foundations General Meeting, hosted by VicHealth, and a special kid’s choice award, selected under the guidance of the Hon. Linda Dessau AM, Governor of Victoria and VicHealth Patron-in-Chief, at a special campout at Government House earlier this week.

Awards winners included a program to reduce availability of unhealthier food items in supermarkets in Bendigo, an initiative to go smoke-free in junior league sporting clubs in the Mornington Peninsula, and a project to enable respect and gender equity in primary schools.

The new category of ‘improving health equity’ shortlisted projects targeting a diverse range of disadvantaged groups, with the winner, Voices of the Valley, recognised for their work in Latrobe Valley following the Hazelwood Mine Fire which had a devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of local residents.

Ms Rechter said the VicHealth Awards display the huge range, value and influence of health promotion programs and projects in Victoria.

“We want to congratulate our award winners and acknowledge everyone who was shortlisted in 2016, which was a bumper year for health promotion not only in Victoria but across Australia and internationally too,” Ms Rechter said.

“This year we received our highest ever number of nominations and the standard of entries this year was exceptional.

“Health promotion continues to play an important role in ensuring a healthy future for our communities. VicHealth and other health promotion agencies, including those who have been recognised here tonight, are empowering communities to take control of their health, preventing chronic disease and keeping Victorians healthier and happier.

“We’re fortunate to have so many organisations across Victoria with huge passion for preventing chronic disease. The results from all of the nominations in this year’s awards shine a light on how health promotion activities are returning great results in improving the health and wellbeing of Victorians.

“Congratulations to all the inspiring winners and dedicated finalists for their achievements.” 

2016 VicHealth Awards winners

Promoting healthy eating

Creating Healthy Supermarkets for Victorians City of Greater Bendigo with Deakin University, Champions IGA, and VicHealth

This project tested a range of low cost, scalable changes to supermarket store environments that aimed to increase healthy purchasing and maintain profit for the retailer.


Encouraging physical activity

Active Travel @ Alfred Health Alfred Health with Bicycle Network

This project involved converting 19 existing car parks at The Alfred Hospital site into a new, secure staff facility providing 300 secure bike parks, 237 lockers, nine showers, toilets and change rooms.

Preventing tobacco use

Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League Goes Smoke Free Peninsula Health, with the Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League, Good Sports, Quit Victoria, and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

Acknowledging the higher than average smoking rates in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula catchment, this project worked to make the Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League smoke-free from round one of 2016.

Preventing harm from alcohol

Alcohol Diversion ProgramVictoria Police with Magistrates Court Dandenong, Department of Justice, Australian Community Support Organisation, Monash Health, Windana, and Afri-Auscare

This program aimed to break the cycle of alcohol-related crimes, by addressing the underlying causes and diverting offenders into treatment and support.


Improving mental wellbeing

Reach Out for Respect: Gender Equity Primary School Program – City of Port Phillip with Launch Housing Homeless Children’s Specialist Support Service

This program was developed to address a gap in respectful relationship education in the primary years through developing a program that specifically targets primary-aged children in a school setting (traditional programs were being delivered in secondary schools).


Communications in health promotion

Drama DownunderVictorian AIDS Council

The Drama Downunder is an HIV and sexual health social marketing campaign that aims to improve the health outcomes of gay and other men who have sex with men.

Building health through sports

Aerobase Program and Online Grand ChampionshipGymnastics Victoria

The aim of Aerobase was to create an accessible, engaging and innovative way for students to learn Aerobics at school. Aerobic Gymnastics was chosen as the basis for Aerobase due to being based on fundamental movement skills, with limited barriers to participation.

Building health through arts

Next Wave Festival 2016 Access and Inclusivity Next Wave Festival

In May 2016, Next Wave delivered the most inclusive and accessible Festival in its 32-year history, and in doing so became an industry leader in best practice artist and audience accessibility.

Research into action

IMPACT ProjectThe University of Melbourne with the National Health and Medical Research Council

This project evaluated the effectiveness and acceptability of using the internet to deliver specialist exercise and education treatments for adults with knee osteoarthritis across Australia.

Outstanding journalism on health promotion issues

Adam HolmesBendigo Advertiser

Nomination focus – Race-based discrimination; mental wellbeing (sport and homelessness); euthanasia


Wendy TuohyHerald Sun

Nomination focus – Family violence; reducing women’s alcohol consumption; mental wellbeing (Safe Schools program)

Promoting health equity

Health Equity in the Latrobe Valley Voices of the Valley

Voices of the Valley was formed to draw attention to the Latrobe Valley due to the Hazelwood Mine Fire, to advocate on the community’s behalf and to try to gain resources for local people.

Healthy Happy Heroes Award (kids’ choice)

The Food Justice Truck – Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

The Food Justice Truck is a social enterprise initiative from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre that aims to create health equity by combating the high level of food insecurity experienced by people seeking asylum.

Further information

Call VicHealth on (03) 9667 1315 or email

Download: 2015 VicHealth Awards Nomination Brochure (PDF, 363KB)
Download: 2015 VicHealth Award Finalists Brochure (PDF, 264KB)