Community awareness

Community participation is vital to successfully achieve net zero emissions. Climate change affects everyone, and the solutions will rely on the whole community’s participation. There are already a lot of positive community projects and initiatives happening in the ACT that are an important part of the solution.

The ACT Government will continue to work with the community as we make the journey to net zero emissions and build resilience to climate change impacts.

Climate projections for the ACT indicate warmer and drier conditions with more frequent droughts and bushfires. Extreme weather events are projected to become more severe. These will have the biggest impact on the most vulnerable in our community, the very young and old, the disadvantaged and those with ill-health.

The ACT Government Community Engagement Strategy on Climate Change builds on the important climate change engagement work already underway in the Territory. It sets out how the ACT Government will communicate with the community about climate change, including by making sustainability and climate change information readily available to households, schools, businesses and community groups.

Community surveys on climate change

In 2018 the Government commissioned University of Canberra to undertake a survey on community resilience to the impacts of climate change. 2671 people over 18 years old and living in the ACT region (including Queanbeyan and Googong) completed the survey.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • 95.7% of people have high support for government action
  • 89.7% of people felt climate change is a genuine problem for the future
  • 86.9% of people felt it is important to act now to reduce the effects of climate change
  • 66.9% of people have moderate to high resilience to the expected effects of climate change
  • 34.9% of people had low resilience to extreme weather events
  • 35.9% of people lived in homes that perform poorly in heatwaves, and 32% of people cannot readily afford to cool their home in heatwaves
  • 31.5% of people felt confident they could readily adapt to any climate change occurring in their lifetime

It is intended that this survey be repeated every five years (longitudinal survey) to track changes in how resilient ACT residents are to the changing climate.

2018 survey findings

For further information on the survey data and findings please contact climatechange@act.gov.au.

Previous surveys

The 2018 survey built upon previous surveys conducted by the Government in 2013 and 2016.

The 2013 and 2016 snapshot surveys sought to understand the community’s views and understanding of climate change in the ACT. In these earlier surveys, questions were kept the same apart from a new question relating to electric vehicles, which enabled comparison between the surveys.

Highlights of the 2016 survey include:

  • 90% of respondents agreed that climate change is a genuine problem for the future
  • 71% of respondents believe they will be seriously affected by climate change, as opposed to 63% in 2013
  • 51% of respondents believe that the ACT Government needs to act urgently on climate change, compared to 43% in 2013
  • the willingness of residents to pay to cover the extra cost incurred by climate action increased from $1.60 to $2.70 per day, and from $399 to $659 on an annual basis
  • the awareness of ACT Government policies increased from 40% to 58%.

A new question was asked in 2016 regarding electric vehicles, the barriers and investment factors. The three factors most likely to influence a person’s decision to buy an electric vehicle are:

  • cost of electric vehicles (58%)
  • fast charging locations in the city (52%)
  • increased driving range (32%).

Previous survey reports