Zero Net Emissions by 2025

E-news, 8 August 2012

Posted on 8 August 2012 by e-news

If you want to get your item into the next e-news, you need to send it to by 11am on Wednesday 22 August. Or drop in and see us at the office, and we’ll be delighted to see you.

And we want to hear from you. How are you saving power or money or water in your home or neighbourhood? Are you pooling resources with neighbours? How are you saving food miles?

Besides our usual range of news, we’re calling this week for you to renew your membership if you haven’t already, and reminding you about a couple of great local events and opportunities.

Call us, email us or drop in to our new home, Office 7 on the first floor of George Clarke Place, opposite the Post Office in Barker St.

Andrew McKenna, Editor

A gentle poke in the ribs …

MASG has a strong focus on renewable energy projects. We are not-for-profit, membership-based, and our main resources are our members, staff and volunteers.

Like many non-profits we are under-resourced, so this is where you come in. This is just a gentle poke in the ribs: If you haven’t already renewed your membership, please go ahead and do so. And recommend us to a friend! If you have something you can contribute, such as administrative skills, time you could spend at market stalls, event coordination or assistance, or even skills in social media, we’d love to hear from you. We welcome volunteers, and you can volunteer at:

Music, and food, and … Megawatts!

Don’t forget the Megawatt Fair on Saturday, 11 August at the Big Hill Vineyard, 3 Belvoir Park, Big Hill, 10am-4pm. It will celebrate innovative and quirky new renewable energy technology, so come and help us make merry over innovators in electric vehicles, LED lighting, solar energy and much more. We’d love some volunteers to help out, so email Carolyn if you can.


Bringing it together on wind

The figures are coming in, the feedback is being collated from our recent forums and survey, and Jarra Hicks, MASG’s Community Wind worker is ready to present her findings from a recent study and speaking tour of Europe. You will be invited to a great evening on Thursday, 30 August in Castlemaine to hear where we are and where we will go with wind.

Keep the date free, the time and venue are still being sorted out, but we hope to get back to you within a week. This is one of our biggest projects, and we want you to be a part of it.

In the meantime if you have any queries, please email us on


Ian Lillington in the UK news

The former editor of this newsletter is making waves in the UK, as he recently (yesterday, in Hackney in London, in fact) spoke about his involvement with MASG, the Growing Abundance permaculture project in Castlemaine and his recent visit to Permaculture projects in Hong Kong.

Ian’s permaculture story is told in a chapter in the new book Permaculture Pioneers.


Reduce your home energy bills

The Sustainable Home Audit Kit

Mount Alexander Shire is making Sustainable Home Audit Kits available to residents to help you save money by reducing your energy and water use.

Portable electricity meters, light meters, non-contact thermometers, water flow measuring cups and energy saving thermometers are included in two kits which are now available to loan from Council’s Town Hall Customer Service Centre.

For more information, call Council on 5471 1700 or come into Council’s Town Hall Customer Service Centre.

AND … check out this great site if you haven’t already. Save money and reduce your carbon footprint.


Hub Plot Jottings

At work in the Hub Plot

The Garden Group meets on Monday mornings from 9am, with cuppa and produce exchange from 11am. Everyone is welcome.

Coming up at the Hub Plot:

Not much planting but plenty to keep us busy in the garden. Some of the jobs we’ve been up to:

  • harvesting broccoli, rocket, celery, spinach and carrots
  • applying lots of compost to the asparagus beds
  • keeping our chooks happy and collecting eggs
  • weeding
  • pruning
  • designing and starting work on our new spiral garden
  •  and planning our late winter / early spring seed planting for the solar hot-house.

A couple of members from the Hub Plot garden group have been getting their training in First Aid up to date, thanks to the Mount Alexander Volunteer Network.

We have some Monday morning events planned for the garden group:

  • a workshop on the principles of swales. We’ll see if we can come up with suitable ones for our fruit trees
  • Lisa Walton from Sustainable Gardens Australia will be visiting to see what we are up to and how SGA can help us

If you are keen to make an early start with your spring planting, direct into the soil, you could plant beetroot, peas, radish and spinach seeds and under glass, as well as celery, lettuce, onions, parsley, leeks, sliverbeet, kale and kohl rabi seeds. If you are adventurous you could start your tomatoes! This information taken from our soon to be published Grow What  … When planting guide for the Castlemaine area … watch this space!

Big thanks to Margaret for a wonderful supply of horse manure, which keeps our compost makers happy.

For more info about The Hub Plot go to

or call Heather on 0409 327791 or Peter at or simply drop in on Monday mornings.


And one for your diary:

Healthy Soil – covering the basics of building a healthy soil for your vegetable garden and fruit trees: the structure of soil, the importance of air, soil biology and other important contributors to a thriving garden.

Presenter: Katie Finlay, from the Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens

Date: Saturday, 15 September

Time: 12 noon for a cuppa and a 12.30pm start

Place: The Hub Plot, MASG’s demonstration food garden, rear 233 Barker St, Castlemaine

Information: Call Heather on 0409 327791


Two-day Biodynamics course at Bress

Australia Biodynamics-Victoria Inc is hosting a two-day Biodynamics course at Bress, an opportunity to find out more about Biodynamics.

Saturday 25 August: registration 9.30, 10am start to 5pm

Sunday 26 August: 9am to 4pm

Book with Biodynamics Victoria by 10 August on 03 5962 9349 or email:

Restoring the Moolort Wetlands

Newstead Landcare Group will host a presentation by Nick Layne from the NCCMA on “Restoring the Moolort Wetlands” 8-9pm Thursday, 16 August followed by supper. All welcome, gold coin donation. Info: Patrick 5476 2755.


No future for coal

Mining at Hazelwood

The Federal Government has withdrawn a $100 million grant from HRL’s proposed coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley, so $100 million less for coal polluters and $100 million more potentially available to renewable energy.

Two years ago around 60 MASG members submitted objections to the EPA, which still went ahead and granted a license to HRL. The HRL project was subject to a long campaign by Environment Victoria, Greenpeace, Quit Coal, the Environment Defenders Office and others including MASG members, and the Environment Victoria declared a major win with the Federal Government’s announcement.

The Victorian Government is still offering $50million in funding, but it’s high time for them to withdraw as well. With a price on carbon and the world heading towards renewable energy, HRL will find it difficult to find private investors. Coal has no future.

Instead we should invest $50 million in clean renewable energy. Send Mr Baillieu a message!

Unfortunately the State Government seems wedded to dinosaur technology, so your pressure is now more crucial than ever. Last week the federal and Victorian governments announced establishment of a $90 million fund for new brown coal projects in the Latrobe Valley. Read more here.


Holden Commodore Electric car in Melbourne breaks distance record

Who, other than the fossil fuel industry, says it can’t be done? The Australian-engineered and developed fully-electric Holden Commodore has unofficially broken the world distance record set by a production electric car, achieving 1,886km of pure electric driving over 24 hours.




Win an iPad

Fill out the Household Electricity Use survey and go into the draw to win an iPad. The Moreland Energy Foundation is undertaking a state-wide survey to investigate the impact of installing solar electricity on energy use. Go to Moreland Energy Foundation website.


New verb for old problem: ‘dooring’

Every cyclist feels the threat of being ‘doored’ when riding past parked cars. Too many have been doored, and some have died and been seriously injured. ‘Dooring’ is now the most common cause of cycling crashes, and the Greens have put forward a Dooring Bill (Road Safety Amendment (Car Doors) Bill 2012).

The government has announced that the on the spot fine for dooring has more than doubled to $352. Read more here:



Final word …

Tomatoes, London, Boris Johnson and the Olympics: an irresistible combination

Linking up currently unloved patches of land with people who want to discover the wonders of growing their own food….will make London a greener, more pleasant place to live while providing healthy and affordable food.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

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