The Victoria Central Goldfields town of Tarnagulla has been announced as the first recipient of the Victorian government's Climate Change Innovation Partnerships grant scheme.
Under the name of the Tarnagulla Alternative Energy Group, community members have received a $50,000 grant to help protect the community from the impacts of climate change.
The grant will fund a detailed investigation into local climate impacts, such as extreme weather, and resiliency measures.
"The study will give us a very clear picture of how climate change impacts people as a community and as individuals," said Linda Kennedy, Tarnagulla resident and initiator of the grant application.
"I would like to walk away from the project with a strongly connected and resilient community and a firm plan of future actions for our town."
Minister for Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio launched the $4.7 million Climate Change Innovation Partnerships grant scheme in Maryborough last year to help Victoria reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.
Linda Kennedy was inspired by the positive climate initiative and decided to put Tarnagulla's hat in the ring for a grant.
"I was inspired to apply for the grant because I believe people can do most things they put their minds to if they work together," said Linda.
"I'm passionate about addressing climate change so this was the perfect opportunity to use the energy of our community to make a meaningful contribution."
Linda took the lead by organising an community brainstorming session, building consensus on a project, and being part of the team that spearheaded the successful application.
"People across the Central Goldfields region can be proud of Tarnagulla for securing a $50,000 grant to rollout local climate solutions," said Leigh Ewbank, Act on Climate coordinator.
"Climate change exposes communities in the Central Goldfields to intensifying impacts such as bushfire risk, droughts, heatwaves, and extreme weather,"added Ewbank.
"The Tarnagulla project will demonstrate how communities can prepare for climate impacts that are unavoidable."
Victorian Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford congratulated the Tarnagulla group.
"We know how important this work is and that’s why we’re working together with groups like Tarnagulla Alternative Energy to provide real solutions to combat climate change," she said.
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The Turnbull government's 'do-nothing' approach on climate change means we need to see greater leadership from Victoria.
With a state election on the horizon, many in the community are looking to the Labor government and Liberal party opposition to release their plans to rein in emissions and deal with climate impacts.
"It's time for politicians treating climate change as an urgent priority... I'd like all political parties to create environmental policies which are clear and easy for the layperson to access. Environmental policy is one of the most important issues for me at election time."
The state's climate change laws strengthened in 2017, Friends of the Earth have been making the case for Victoria's first climate-focused state budget. Investing in climate change solutions is something that all political parties can support.
"The Andrews government's climate change grant scheme is already benefitting the Central Goldfields, just imagine what could be accomplished with greater investment," said Leigh Ewbank - Friends of the Earth Melbourne's Act on Climate spokesperson.
"It's time for Victoria's first climate budget."
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