Climate change is exacerbating existing social and health inequities and disproportionately impacting people experiencing marginalisation and disadvantage. Community service and health organisations play a critical role in building resilience, but without the resources to plan and adapt the sector itself is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, posing a risk of flow-on-effects for the Victorians these organisations support.
In recognition of the urgent need to adapt and the crucial role of the community sector, Jesuit Social Services’ Centre for Just Places established the Resilience Community of Practice with seed funding from the Greater Melbourne Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
The Community of Practice, which the Centre for Just Places coordinates, brings together over 20 metropolitan and rural organisations and 40 active members from across community health, community services, and local government, established to support strong partnerships and cross-collaborations between organisations, and re-orient systems towards climate equity.
This Victorian State Election, the Resilience Community of Practice has put forward an election platform, calling for strong climate action and urging the incoming Victorian Government to resource a range of measures to strengthen place-based climate adaptation and resilience.
Summary of our key recommendations
- Establish a Community Sector and Community Health Climate Adaptation Fund and corresponding Action Plan to support community service and health organisations (CSHOs) to trial, implement and embed into services and programs climate change adaptation and mitigation activities.
- Provide opportunities for professional development for CSHO staff and leadership, across climate change literacy, organisational resilience planning, and understanding the critical role that CSHOs can and do play in building community resilience.
- Resource the establishment of a portal for sharing knowledge, practices, and lessons learned to inform best practice adaptation, including information on vulnerability (who is vulnerable, why, where, when, and how) and guidance on overcoming barriers and undertaking equitable and just action.
- Centralise and enable public access to data and information that help CSHOs and communities to better plan for climate change, including information about social and health inequities, heat hotspots, climate risks, social infrastructure and health services.
- Consult with CSHOs to define and strengthen pathways to inform government decision making and resource CSHOs to utilise their community connections and enable inclusion of diverse stakeholders in the development of both state and local government adaptation and health and wellbeing planning. Invest in capacity building so CSHOs are aware of these pathways for effective advocacy.