The Rudd Government announced today $4.9 Million for 12 Healthy Communities grants across Australia to tackle overweight and obesity in local communities.

Part of the Healthy Communities pilot program, these communities will receive funding to run initiatives to get their communities active or participating in exercise.

The Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon made the announcement today in regional Victoria, where $410,000 will be provided to the Central Goldfields Council to see walking groups and community kitchen programs expanded.

Other programs funded today will see Whitsunday Regional Council introduce a mobile health check which will visit local communities, the City of Wanneroo to assist residents with a 12 week physical activity and dietary education program and the City of Palmerston to introduce an eating and physical activity program to target new and young mothers, young men and seniors.

The successful applicants represent a mix of metropolitan, regional and rural Local Government Areas, and include some with significant Indigenous populations and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

These initiatives are a down payment on the Government's efforts to tackle the rising prevalence of lifestyle-related chronic diseases by laying the foundations for healthy behaviours in the daily lives of Australians.

The Healthy Communities initiative will also encourage partnerships between local governments, local businesses and other organisations to develop and deliver locally appropriate responses to promote healthy lifestyles.

The Healthy Communities program is funded from the Rudd Government's $872 Million record investment in preventative heath. Further applications from the $72 Million Healthy Communities initiative will be invited later in 2010, with a further round in 2011.

In addition to the Local Government Area Grants, the Healthy Communities initiative will provide National Program Grants to not-for-profit organisations to support proven and sustainable programs aimed at improving adults' physical activity levels, healthy eating behaviours and/or weight.