Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Senator Barnaby Joyce Sees the Sun Shine in Bendigo!

Posted on 19 April 2012 by e-news

19 April 2012

Today locals took the solar message to Barnaby Joyce [see next story] and there’s so much great stuff coming up in the next few weeks – you can follow the links from this summary:

  • Apple juicing – the Hub Plot, rear of 233 Barker St, Castlemaine, Saturday 21st April, from 1.30
  • Community Wind Forums – at six towns around the Shire starting 24th April
  • International Compost Week – 7th to 12th May


Lunch with Barnaby Joyce:   Members of MASG and the 100% Renewables Campaign questioned prominent National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce, about the Coalition’s lack of commitment to a renewable energy program. Touted as the next Nationals Leader, Mr Joyce was addressing a Rural Press Club lunch in Bendigo.

“Volunteers from our groups have polled nearly 1000 people in the Bendigo electorate over the last month asking them about solar. We haven’t finished polling yet but so far more than 80% want to see government support for big solar power” said MASG spokesperson Bernard Tonkin.  The Coalition wants to dismantle the Carbon Price and opposes the establishment and financing of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). It supports its own Direct Action Plan which would not see a single large scale solar PV or Thermal plant built in Australia.

“Dismantling the carbon tax and not supporting the CEFC is unwise and unsound. The CEFC could build 2000MW of big solar in the next 3 years yet the Coalition is opposed to it.  This is ludicrous considering we have the richest source of solar in the world. We cannot continue to rely on gas and coal for our energy needs and the argument that solar doesn’t provide baseload is pure poppycock because there are solar thermal plants operating around the world now that do just that.”

“We asked Mr Joyce as the shadow Minister for Regional Development to come out and support the great regional development opportunities that will come from building big solar in the bush.  To help curb electricity prices we need to be investing in solar.” Mr Tonkin added.

Photograph: Bernard Tonkin handing a framed solar thermal power station photograph to Senator Barnaby Joyce in Bendigo today

Would you help cover the cost of this action [around $250].  You can donate here.

Get your Solar PVs before the subsidy reduces

Purchase quality solar panels at a great price, get support from our team throughout the installation process, and be part of our virtual solar power station!  Goldfields SolarHub  aims to have 1,000 photovoltaic (PV) systems installed in the Bendigo and Mount Alexander region by September 2012.  Details and prices are available here, and remember that rebates reduce on 1st July.  You can get a 1.56kW system starting from $2,490 and a 4.9 KW system from $10,790.  A joint initiative of the Bendigo Sustainability Group and the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group,

Community Wind

Our six forums around the Shire start next Tuesday – please come along and bring your friends!

The Forums offer locals a chance to hear about the vision of the project and have input into the project principles and design.  Imagine what a welcomed and appropriate community-owned wind park would look like in our Shire.

We need at least 2 people per forum to help with set up, serving refreshments and packing up, from 6-9:30 on the nights of the forums.  If you can help out at Community Forums please email Jarra

All the Forum dates and venues are here

More on Wind

Getting the Wind Up: a new report by Neil Barrett.  This newly released looks at the difference in the level of concern about health effects from wind turbines in Australia and Europe. In Denmark and Germany where wind turbines are very common, there is hardly any debate, whilst in Australia the claims made by anti-wind groups threaten to bring the industry to a standstill. By providing evidence of the lack of concern about health effects in Europe, this report casts further doubt on the validity of ‘wind turbine syndrome’.  Available here.

Will you Phone or write to State Politicians in support of community wind projects?

We need to let state politicians know that there is strong community support for wind power and community wind power in particular.   So far they have mostly been hearing complaints about wind turbines, and we need to let them know that there are also people who support wind and are concerned about the impacts of their new and very restrictive Wind Guidelines.  For more info please email Jarra –

MEDIA WATCH – Social Networking

MASG is now on Facebook and LinkedIn – search either site for Mount Alex Sustainability-Group.  If you ‘friend’ us you’ll get updates in between e-news.   Tell us you Like us, too, if you do.   …

MASG in the News

The last two Midland Express have wind energy stories  and Jarra did some great interviews on local radio WMA fm 94.9.  Thanks to those who have written to the papers too.

Changing minds about climate change? This Documentary offers “a fresh and innovative approach to the climate change debate”  Thursday 26 April 8.30pm ABC1, and afterwards, Take the Climate Challenge.

Growing the Harvest

Congratulations to the Raffle winners: 1st prize: Katrina Mazurek of Castlemaine, 2nd prize: J. Trewartha of Golden Square, 3rd prize: Tim Sansom of Dromana

Well done all of the Growing the Harvest festival team.  It was a wonderful, educative, and splendid weekend of workshops, stalls, local food, bikes, demos, farmer’s forum, and juice, juice, juice (goodness there were a lot of apples to juice!).  It was a great event.  I was so impressed at the wonderful organization, good humour, and community spirit.  Thanks to all who helped, visited, joined in, and made the event remarkable!  As volunteers we:

  • cooked soup, washed dishes
  • swept floors
  • sold raffle tickets
  • gleaned apples, crushed apples
  • decorated the halls
  • publicised the event
  • presented the workshops
  • shared farming stories
  • sang songs
  • sat at the registration table
  • calculated the carbon emissions
  • cycled to produce power
  • demonstrated cooking
  • and much much more ……. but most of all we enjoyed contributing and sharing with others as we Grew the Harvest Festival.   Heather Barrett, Organiser;

photo:  Marie Murley, bee-keeper looks on as Max Blackmore tells what he finds rewarding about farming.
This session was kindly sponsored by the Mount Alexander Shire.  More photos.

Carbon Cops at the harvest festival were asked a few times how much a visitor would need to cycle on the electricity generating bikes to produce an equivalent amount of power to offset the fossil fuels used in their cars travelling to the festival.  So we asked Geoff, who supplied the bikes, to work it out for us.  And what a shock we got!  If a person drove 2km to the festival (4km round trip), in a smallish car (eg 10 litres/100km fuel efficiency), they would have to pedal energetically on the bikes for 48 hours!!  Don’t you wish now that you’d ridden or walked to the festival instead!  The take home message is that humans are very inefficient at using their own energy to create electricity, but very efficient when we move ourselves around on bikes or walking.  So if the tonne of metal in your car doesn’t need to come with you to the festival, you can save a lot of energy.  Susie Burke, co-chair, MASG

 Carbon Cops’ more detailed calculations



CAKE – Castlemaine Abundance Kitchen Enterprise – Autumn Produce Workshops  Come and be inspired, learn and share what to do with your backyard or local produce at one of

Solar cooked quince paste – 21st April;

Fruit Bottling 28th April

Sourdough Bread making – date TBC

Preserving Olives 27th May

For more details or to book click here, or contact Lucy Young, 54724842,

International Compost Awareness Week and the Compost Revolution.

Great schedule of events planned from 5-12 May, including Sunday 6 May at the Hub Plot.

For fabulous brochure call in to the MASG or Council office and see facebook and the next e-news for updates.  You can also do an on-line compost tutorial.

Food for Thought – Films & discussions on the theme of sustainable food, presented by the Growing Abundance

Magic Harvest (2011, 26 mins) Many suburbs are built on former farmland. In the suburbs of Adelaide, locals arm themselves with pitch forks and kitchen knives to put that land to good use, pioneering a backyard revolution one square metre at a time. It’s an idea as simple as it is radical as it is inspirational . . . and

Homegrown Revolution (2009, 16 mins) In the urban Pasadena, the Dervaes family has transformed their home into an urban homestead over 20 years. They harvest three tons of organic food annually from their 1/10 acre garden, incorporating back-to-basics practices, solar energy and biodiesel.  Both movies on Sunday 29 April, 4.30pm at the Ray Bradfield Room, Victory Park, Castlemaine

Energy assistance available for businesses to reduce their energy use, from Sustainable Regional Australia, at Central Victoria Solar City Project, Please have a look at the new website.

Free Solar Energy Workshop for Teachers and Educators

  • Teaching or working with young people?
  • Interested in a project-based learning program that instills a love of science and knowledge of solar energy technology in students?

Two units that teach solar energy concepts through project-based learning have been trialed at Castlemaine Secondary College and Swan Hill Primary School. Two highly qualified and passionate teachers helped design the units. The workshop they present will equip you to teach students about solar energy technology in a highly engaging and fun way.  Daylesford and Bendigo venues between 10am – 2pm.  Call 5479 1900 or email

Renowned UK Anthroposophist in Castlemaine: Terry Boardman, writer and lecturer, translator and researcher, from Britain is running workshops in NSW and lectures in Melbourne.  And he is coming to Castlemaine just for us to give a talk. ?His talk is titled – SOCIAL THREEFOLDING AND THE COLLAPSE OF CAPITALISM – Ideas for a reworking of the three aspects of modern social life – Cultural, Political and Economic (Freedom, Equality and Fraternity)  2.00 PM Sunday 22nd April -Castlemaine Secondary College Music Room, Etty Street, Castlemaine.   Entry by donation.  More info – Stephanie  Falconer 5472 4767

Michael Ableman talks about Urban Farming (with Q&A session to follow)

CERES Community Environment Park, Van Raay Centre, East Brunswick, Melbourne, 10am-4pm this Saturday

Price: Full $90 (was $120)/Conc $80 (was $100)

Light lunch included

Michael Ableman is the Muddy Waters of Urban Farming. He is the man whose small fruit & veg farm became totally enclosed by suburban housing. This is the man who turned hostile compost-phobic neighbours into passionate food lovers and his farm Fairview Gardens into the USA’s celebrated Center for Urban Agriculture. He has written books that have inspired a generation of urban food growers. Meryl Streep even narrated an award-winning film about him!

To book call the CERES reception on 03 9389 0100.

Other quirky news: Industrial PV, cooking oil fuels the jets, and Gippsland to become one big mine?

Kyocera and others Plan to Build Japan’s Largest PV Power Generation System AND Cooking oil powers Qantas aircraft – flight trial

Labor's Brown King Coal?

In contrast, the Latrobe Valley could be transformed into a mining export hub on the scale of the Pilbara or the Hunter Valley thanks to new brown-coal technology, says Federal Labor’s Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson.  He told an international energy conference in Melbourne this week that the valley had huge untapped potential to supply major offshore markets with brown coal.  His Victorian [Liberal/National] counterpart, Michael O’Brien, who also spoke at the conference, says China, Japan and India are particularly keen on gaining access to brown coal.

The Victorian Government has previously flagged unlocking a further 40 billion tonnes of brown coal from the Latrobe Valley and O’Brien says Victoria must exploit the opportunity.  But the secretary of the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council, John Parker, is highly sceptical.  He says brown coal is a highly volatile substance and the right technology has not yet been developed to lower emissions or make such a project financially viable.   Read more:

Earthquakes “linked to oil and natural gas drilling”:   A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) team has found that a sharp jump in earthquakes in America’s heartland appears to be linked to oil and natural gas drilling operations [fracking].


QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Leadership is taking responsibility for enabling others to achieve purpose in the face of uncertainty.   New Organising Institute



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