ICAN was excited to support the “Decarbonising Remote Communities” project recently, an initiative of the Queensland Government. ICAN’s role in the larger project was to deliver energy education to the remote community of Mapoon, located in Far North Qld, around 860km north of Cairns.
Our task was to consult with the residents to identify energy-related issues specific to Mapoon that would allow us to create relevant energy education resources to help families save money on power by using energy more efficiently at home.
To understand the unique energy challenges within Mapoon, ICAN consulted directly with residents and community stakeholders, such as Wei’Num Arts, Mapoon Council, elderly and healthcare providers, and other partners such as Ergon Energy.
ICAN Project Coordinator, Sharon Edwards said, “The opportunity to visit and speak with the residents of Mapoon on several occasions during this project was extremely helpful to begin to understand the ‘story of electricity’ in the community. It also helped us to ensure that the information we were providing back to community was going to be useful and relevant.”
The project provided a platform for local indigenous artists from Mapoon’s Wei’Num Arts to interpret the theme of ‘Energy’ from a unique cultural and artistic perspective, resulting in the creation of stunning original artworks. The artists were integral in developing the educational resources that served their community and were the heart of the project. Their beautiful designs featured in brochures, posters, videos, stickers, and tote bags.
Mapoon residents were proud of the fact that the work of a local artist featured on the tote bags, with one local remarking “these bags are just for us, in Mapoon”, while others took home posters. Mapoon Council also liked the idea of having stickers to remind tenants, visitors and contractors, to be mindful of power usage.
The culmination of ICAN’s project deliverable occurred in October when ICAN visited Mapoon for four days to promote and facilitate the “Energy Market Day” and to provide outreach services to Mapoon’s Home and Community Care (HACC).
The Energy Market Day was a big success with 50-60 residents coming to yarn with ICAN and other stallholders including Ergon Energy, Weipa Community Care, and Wei’Num Arts. Residents were able to find out about getting replacement pre-paid power cards, power rebates for people with specific healthcare needs, and how the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) can be used to replace broken electrical goods.
One elderly resident said he had been travelling around taking his washing to the family for the last six months as his washing machine had broken due to a power surge. “I’ve seen a lot of country while doing my laundry,” he said.
This story triggered discussions amongst project stakeholders about better protection of electrical items, and the need to stock the community store with quality surge protectors.
Sharon said, “I think the Energy Market Day was a great success, which was due to the collaboration of all stakeholders including Mapoon Council and Ergon Energy, and especially from the residents themselves, who all contributed to this community education development project.”
We would like to thank ICAN for their hard work and dedication towards making the market such a success. There has been a lot of discussion in the community about the market.” said Naseem Chetty, CEO of Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council.
Chris Samuelsson, Customer Inclusion Manager for Ergon Energy, summed it up well, “Thank you for the invite to participate in the Energy Market day in Mapoon; this was a fabulous opportunity to spend time with our customers talking energy and power cards. Beautiful community and beautiful people.”
ICAN would like especially thank:
The Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy, for providing us with the opportunity to be involved in such a unique project; and Wei’Num Arts, who were our key advisors for the whole process, their local knowledge was invaluable.
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