Mornington Peninsula Shire Council's community engagement programs

Snapshot 

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council's Sustainable Peninsula Initiative in 2001 provided a framework and key drivers for community action on adaptation to reduce vulnerability to the potential effects of a changing climate, in tandem with actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Early actions included addressing issues such as water and energy efficiency, renewable energy, land sustainability and protection of the Green wedge.

In 2006 the Shire commenced a serious discussion with the community about Climate Change at a forum Your Community Your Future. This was followed in 2008 by a series of climate change ‘Community Conversations’ supported by an information kit titled “Climate Change: what are we doing about it” which presented scientific evidence from a study of the climate change impacts on the Western Port Region, and gave credibility to the Conversations.

The Conversations motivated residents and local community groups to contribute to the Shire’s climate change adaptation agenda. The latest stage of the community engagement journey includes behaviour change programs based on resolving barriers identified by residents, as well as other actions around managing key climate change risks.

Some of the Shire's actions to respond to the risks and opportunities associated with climate change include committing $30 million to develop and implement an Integrated Drainage Strategy focused on managing increased rain intensity and sea level rise; doubling its Fire Management budget; and achieving a 60% reduction in potable water use.

Risks and Impacts Addressed 

·         Average annual temperatures will increase by up to 1.3 degrees in 2030 and 3.5 degrees in 2070

·         Increasing frequency and severity of intense rainfall events, heat waves, droughts and bushfires

·         Sea level could rise up to 170 mm by 2030 and 490 mm in 2070, putting coastal communities and infrastructure at risk of inundation and flooding.

Drivers for Adaptation Action 

In 2006, following strong leadership from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) the Shire had its first serious discussion with the community about climate change.

Outcomes Achieved 

·         Tailored communication strategies and engagement activities that are socially inclusive

·         Community action around climate change mitigation and adaptation

·         Climate Change adaptation opportunities built into Council processes

·         Adaptation actions on the ground.