Just 180km from Perth are Western Australia’s last informal shack communities.
There are up to 350 of these simple structures in two separate communities at Wedge and Grey, constructed over many decades from recycled and upcycled materials.
The shacks are owned by a diverse group of individuals scattered across Perth and regional areas. In some cases, generations of the same family have regularly travelled to their second home to enjoy the relaxed lifestyle and strong sense of community amongst fellow ‘shackies’.
The community operates under an agreement with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, but the future of communities is uncertain and during eight years in power the former Liberal Government made little progress or commitment to resolving this issue.
The Associations representing the shack owners want to preserve Wedge and Grey long-term and gradually turn them into unique tourism destinations where visitors can come and share the outdoors lifestyle and environment. In this way the communities will ultimately make a unique contribution to the regional economy and WA’s tourism offering.
With the WA election looming, the Wedge Island Protection Association and Grey Conservation and Community Association approached Clarity to develop a strategy to convey their messages during the campaign, grow their supporter base, and encourage people to make their views known to politicians.
The goal was to establish the position of all political parties in the WA election about preserving Wedge and Grey so that supporters could then decide which way to vote in the election.
In the whirlwind of an upcoming election, gaining traction and attention for the Wedge and Grey cause was never going to be simple.
While protecting the community and 70 years of history was of utmost importance to the shack owners, for the average West Australian (many of whom who had little to no knowledge of its existence) the cause didn’t top their agenda.
We needed to educate and show politicians from all parties that this was an issue they needed to take notice of. We needed to demonstrate that Wedge and Grey mattered to a lot of people.
Our first step was to utilise Facebook to bring together existing Wedge and Grey supporters to encourage their engagement.
Facebook’s instant and accessible communication was ideal for giving them a platform to discuss their concerns, show their support and share why the cause was important to them.
The next step was to use Facebook to reach more people who might be interested in the issue and encourage them to join the online group. By creating engaging content, identifying and targeting various audiences, and using social advertising, we were able to increase the online community more than 10-fold in just two months, which then enabled us to reach a substantial proportion of the WA community.
Individuals in the group were then encouraged to approach their local Member of Parliament and other local candidates to establish their position on Wedge and Grey.
These responses were shared on Facebook, generating more conversation and more contact with politicians to clearly establish their position or that of their parties.
By election day, all parties and candidates, except for the Liberals, had demonstrated, or committed, their support for preserving Wedge and Grey. This information was promoted to the Facebook community and online to voters in key electorates across WA to help inform their vote in the election.
Growing the Facebook community was a key KPI for the campaign and Clarity grew the page grew from 600 to nearly 8,000 likes in approximately two months. Posts on the page were regularly generating hundreds of comment and shares.
The reach from the Facebook page and activities was 194,624 while social advertising was used to promote the position of political parties on Wedge and Grey to over 118,000 voters in key electorates, particularly in the northern Perth metropolitan region.
The end result is the new government and minor parties are publicly committed to resolving the future of Wedge and Grey once and for all.