A new poll has found the majority of surveyed Wannon voters want stronger action on climate change, saying the benefits of taking action outweigh the costs.
The result came in the largest ever survey of Australians' opinions about climate change, and found similar results across the nation, calling into question the idea voters view climate action as bad for the economy.
It also came as organisers gear up for what they hope will be a significant climate rally in Warrnambool on Saturday, April 2.
Climate Action South West Victoria spokesman Bruce Campbell said he anticipated well over 1000 people at the event, and he had been encouraged by the survey results.
"The times are changing rapidly, and so is public opinion," he said.
The new survey was conducted by polling company YouGov for the Australian Conservation Foundation, interviewing more than 15,000 people across Australia.
In Wannon, 63 per cent of respondents said the benefits they would receive from greater action on climate change outweigh any costs involved.
It also found 64 per cent of people believed greater action on climate change would strengthen the Australian economy, while 60 per cent believed greater action on climate change by the federal government would be good for their health.
While the results were four or five points below the nationwide average, they appear to show attitudes in the traditionally conservative safe Liberal seat have shifted markedly towards an acceptance of climate science and a demand for action.
They also reinforce the results of February's pre-election reader survey, where the issues of environment and climate change emerged as by far the biggest concern for The Standard's readers.
Nearly half of the readers surveyed listed climate change as one of their top three election issues.
Mr Campbell said the theme for the upcoming climate rally was "The sea is rising and so are we", adding that the catastrophic flooding in NSW and Queensland were a reminder of how climate change was changing the risk of freak weather events.
"The NSW and Queensland floods show what could happen around here. The army was brought into the south-west during the 2010 floods, so there's already a precedent for that kind of action to be necessary here," he said.
"It was only in 2020 that Port Fairy flooded."
Mr Campbell said the climate rally would start at Lake Pertobe and proceed up to Warrnambool's Civic Green, where the federal candidates for Wannon would talk about what they would do to address climate change if elected.
He said world renowned Extinction Rebellion performance artists the Red Rebels would be attending the event. They most recently appeared at the 12 Apostles in July 2021 to protest gas exploration next to the iconic site.
The march will also feature an enormous "bushfire koala" puppet that Mr Campbell said provided a harrowing reminder of the ravages of bushfires, which have increased in frequency and intensity in recent years.
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