Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham announced in Parliament last week that the Palaszczuk Government was delivering on its $3.6 million election commitment to roll-out renewable energy. The extension of an existing solar farm in Doomadgee is already underway, with Mapoon being next cab off the rank.
“These communities rely heavily on expensive, non-renewable diesel fuel to generate power,” Dr Lynham said.“Switching to renewables, such as solar, directly benefits local communities by creating jobs and power savings, as well as bringing the environmental benefits of reduced emissions.”
The Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council is installing rooftop solar this year, delivering a technical management solution for combined solar and diesel power generation.The Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network (ICAN) and Wei’Num Arts are working together in Mapoon to help families save money on power as part of the project.
Wei’Num Artist, Margaret Mara, discussed what attracted her to the Energy Communications/Education partnership. “I like that we could use our artwork for something important, like energy saving, a message that would help the community,” said Margaret. “I also appreciated the process; our partners ICAN came to the community to work with us and learn about our energy issues, first hand.”
Speaking on the creative process, Wei’Num Artist, Sandra Ase, said, “It reminded me of my old local housing officer role, it’s really about communicating important messages to the community.”
“I thought it would be great if Ergon created an app that could communicate rebate times, important contacts and monthly usage data,” said Sandra. “We have an app for housing, and it has made a huge difference in Mapoon.”
Wei’Num Artist, Daphne Dejersey explained why the community partnership approach to the project is so important. “Being involved in the art and messaging creates real meaning for our community,” said Daphne. “We appreciate that the government has embraced this community development approach and didn’t just impose something on us from down south. I think there is a real opportunity for art groups all over Cape York to be involved in communication and education projects like this.”
ICAN Project Coordinator, Sharon Edwards, reflected on the first week of the Mapoon collaboration. “I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the project, said Sharon. The Wei’Num Arts team pulled out all the stops. Over our first week, we’d completed the community consultation, artwork and developed messaging to educate community members on energy efficiency and rebates.”
ICAN and Wei’Num Arts will distribute educational and promotional resources produced through the partnership at a Community Energy event in Mapoon, this coming October.