Strategy Day at ACF Prom Area Climate Action
It was Strategy Day for Australian Conservation Foundation Community group Prom Area Climate Action
Prom Area Climate Action (PACA) had its annual Strategy Day on Saturday 26th March. Twenty of us gathered at the Fish Creek hotel for 3 hours of plotting and planning our work for the rest of the year. Amy Northwood, ACF Community organiser, travelled from King Valley to lead us through the day.
2022 is a Federal Election year, with the election due before May. Victoria’s State election is in November this year. Amy introduced us to the ACF election strategy, influenced by the new Political Campaigners Act passed last year and supported by both the Liberal Coalition, and Labor. This Act places onerous responsibilities on non-government organisations which are registered charities, which ACF is, if they want to take part in political advocacy. The stand out restriction is that we must avoid advising a vote for one party or candidate above another, or spending funds intended to influence the outcome of the election.
Together We Can
The ACF main project for the election is the Together We Can campaign. The campaign is supported by 30 national organisations. It aims to collect the voices of more than 1 million people saying why the climate emergency requires urgent action and why we love places and creatures in nature. We are all encouraged to sign on to this, so please tell your story at. It will take less than ten minutes and is a simple step you can take to let our members of parliament know climate and nature matters to us.
ACF employed YouGov to poll 15,000 voters from all 151 electorates. The national results show that 69% of voters believe action on climate is good for the economy; 65% that action on climate is good for their health; 67% believe benefits of action outweigh costs, and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and batteries is the best solution available this decade.
The response in our electorate, Monash, is similar to the national response, with the number one priority solution being to replace gas and coal power with renewable energy and battery storage. Sixty four percent of Monash electors believe the benefits they receive from greater action on climate change outweigh any costs; 66% believe greater action on climate change will strengthen the Australian economy and 63% believe greater action on climate change by the federal government would be good for their health.
Prior to the election PACA members will take the results of the ACF’s Climate Poll to the main candidates in the electorate of Monash. Our four main candidates are Jessica O’Donnell, Labor; Russell Broadbent, Liberal; Matt Morgan, Greens and Deb Leonard, Voices 4 Monash.
After the election, local ACF groups will take the statements made by people in their electorate to their elected member, and we will take the results for Monash to our elected MHR.
We have Climate Action and Together We Can corflutes and some bumper stickers. We plan to distribute these in small towns in South Gippsland and PACA members are encouraged to put them on their fences/businesses.
PACA members will explore making a video for screening on YouTube showing young people the importance of enrolling to vote and the process of casting a valid vote.
Engage young people
Discussion turned to how to engage young people in a way which meets their concerns about the changing climate. It was suggested we can work with the South Gippsland Shire Council to hold a youth summit (Bass Coast Shire has a Youth Advisory Council); we can hold a Climate Picnic with Gippsland members of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and include the GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation if they would agree to be part of this.
A youth summit is planned at Federation University in Churchill for primary school years 5-6 and secondary school years 7-10 in June. Prom Area Climate Action would like to part of this. Their website Here Comes the Future is: https://herecomesthefuture.com.au/youth-summit/
It is being organised by the Gippsland arm of Regional Centres of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development (RCE). It is one of 170 RCEs worldwide, working with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The RCE Gippsland mission is to promote the best possible future for Gippsland’s ecology and economy and its diverse communities. RCE is supported by the Gippsland Climate Change Network.
PACA members who are scientists will volunteer to talk about the changing climate and biodiversity at local schools. Climate change is in the curriculum yet many teachers struggle to find time to include it.
PACA will encourage the South Gippsland Shire Council and Bass Coast Shire to set up spaces for young people to gather.
ACF Nature Outreach programme is being piloted at PACA. We have a project with the Foster Cemetery to regenerate land for koala habitat. This might be a project which would engage nearby schools.
PACA will continue to hold monthly planning meetings on the first Tuesday of the month, webinars about climate and nature on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, and to use social media to stay in touch with our members.