Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Weekly News Digest, 27th June 2008

Posted on 27 June 2008 by e-news

For more information call 5470 6978

MASG News and Events

Changes at MASG

MASG has been undergoing a review and restructure in recent times. This was undertaken to ensure that our structure better reflects the organisation’s needs in terms of new project work, staff capacity, the rather onerous time commitments for the committee, and tighter budgetary constraints.  

Two things have resulted.  The first is that the organisation will have a new position of Executive Officer, taking over some of the tasks of the committee in the management of the organisation and its activities as a whole.  

This Executive Officer position is currently being advertised.   

The second is that a staff-proposed scenario, for the projects area, offering all staff reduced hours to reflect our funding situation, was largely accepted by the committee.   Since that time, the LoCo2 Project, under Jane Knight’s management, has been completed and Jane has decided not to move into another project area but to focus primarily on her studies.  Ian Lillington, who is currently working mostly on the Solar Display Home project has also decided to move on in a few weeks.   

Dean Bridgfoot will continue as a project officer for three days a week applying his talents to the high profile Wind and Maines Power (CSIRO) projects and we understand house-building activities are a priority for the balance of his time.  Carolyn Neilson is also departing but hopes to continue her association with MASG via future special projects.

Jayson Burhop will continue as a project officer working on renewable energy projects, including Green Power promotion.  New projects to be funded by Sustainability Victoria will come on line over the next few months.  This has been a time of much reflection and change which has been difficult for both committee and staff but we are confident that the new arrangements will help us to achieve all of the outcomes planned for the next financial year. We are sure you join us in thanking departing staff members Jane, Carolyn and Ian for their contributions to MASG. For more information contact Neil Barrett, MASG President on 54 70 6978 or email

MASG Tarrangower Branch – Maldon Taste of Gold Wine and Food Festival Sunday 29 June 11 am – 4pm.  Check the MASG, Solar Hot Water, and GreenPower information stand.  See Barry Murfett’s retrofit electric car (a work in progress!)

Find a Name for the MASG Solar Display Home: the MASG solar home is nearing lock-up and in the next few weeks we will design the display material that will be set up around the house. The project needs a name: get inspired and send your submissions to; you could win 6 compact fluorescent light globes! Keep these factors in kind: the major partners with MASG are local builder, Trevor Butcher, Director of Maine Design and Construction, and Castlemaine-based designers, Lifehouse Design. The house is constructed using conventional methods, properly oriented and insulated, and includes grey water, rainwater and solar hot water systems and appropriate water re-use and landscaping. The house was recently described by an independent designer as “Clean, fresh and contemporary.”

Solar house trainees needed: once the house is open to the public [planned for September 08], we will need a team of volunteers to be part of a roster to greet people and explain the house to visitors. This would include some weekend work. There will be orientation sessions for volunteers in August. A commitment of a few hours per month for a few months would be ideal. You would learn much about solar house design and meet interesting people. For more info, call Ian: 5470 6891.

Climate Emergency Rally: Saturday 5th July from 1-4pm, City Square.  Calling on all MASG members to help send a wake-up call to State and Federal governments re our use of and reliance on fossil fuels. Wear something red to symbolise emergency and meet at Castlemaine station in time to catch the 10:54am train to Melbourne.  Further information

Thanks Jane Knight, our Low CO2 Project Officer finishing up at MASG this week after her year long pilot project.  After a busy year, Jane and her team have assessed nearly 70 businesses and organisations, supporting them to reduce their energy use and take steps towards tackling climate change.  She says: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at MASG and want to thank the team and community for their friendship, support and enthusiasm. Mt. Alexander Shire is a wonderful community, so active and involved – it has been an inspiration to work with you all.”   Always busy, Jane will still be working in sustainability, running a series of workshops for the Footprints to Sustainability program offered through Mt. Alexander Shire, whilst she completes her MA studies. She hopes that you all continue to make good use of the energy assessors. All enquiries can be directed to Dean on Ph: 5470 6978 or

Transport working group: a reminder that the next meeting is 3 July at 5.45pm at MASG office.  We are organising a Slow Transport Forum for three hours on Thursday evening, 21st Aug. 

Local Food Production Group Our water tanks are at last holding about 14 000 litres, thanks to the run-off from the Baptist Church and hall. So it is time to get going again.  There is plenty to do in our Demonstration Garden at the rear of 233 Barker Street.  This is advance notice of our first working bee on Saturday 12th July between 8.30am and 12.  If you are able to come, or would like more information, please contact Peter Sansom on 5474 2403 or .  More details in next week’s eNews.

MASG Ethical Investment Seminar: To be held in the Ray Bradfield Room on Tuesday 29th July.  The aim is to provide the community with an opportunity to learn about Ethical Investment.  The keynote speaker for the night will be Peter Thompson from the Ethical Investment fund – UCA funds management (a Uniting Church organization) who will outline what the fund does and then answer any questions about the fund and ethical investment in general.  For further information check this link:

Festival of the Wheel – A Call for Help: This keynote MASG event to be held on 25th and 26th October has hit a  snag: higher than expected costs of mounting it. The latest budget item to be confirmed is insurance. In order to conduct bike rides on the Saturday, a duathlon (riding and running around the Gardens), breakfast on the Sunday morning and a Family Day with all sorts of attractions in the afternoon, the insurance will come to at least $1800.  Insurance costs are making it very difficult to hold major community events these days and we’re not really in a position to go it alone.  If anyone out there amongst MASG’s supporters could help with this, we would be very grateful. It could be done with a tax deductible donation to the Mount Alexander Sustainability Fund (which is MASG’S public fund) PO Box 1043, Castlemaine 3450.   

The Gap: MASG is currently writing a response to the Shire Council’s Greenhouse Action Plan which can be found on the Council’s website ( We encourage Individual submissions by our members as well. Please forward us a copy if you do manage to put pen to paper. Next week’s enews will contain a brief summary of the MASG submission.

Know of anyone who commutes to Ballarat?  If so, contact MASG member Vanessa on 0418 302 944 for car share possibilities.

Events organized by other organizations

Gardening can save us! Christchurch Anglican Church 4th July at 6pm.  This is a talk about the vital role of gardening in our lives and its importance for our own future and the future of the planet! For further information contact the Rev Gordon Bannon on 5470 6007

Make your own music at Instramental, 12 Templeton St., Castlemaine: Friday 4 July 2pm (kids) and 5pm (youth/adults), West African Drumming with Brendan Houldcroft; Saturday 5 July 2pm, North American Drum making with Michael Coles; Thursday 10 July 3pm, Bodhran for beginners to intermediate with Saul Roche; Friday 11 July 2pm, percussion with Carl Pannuzzo.   Bookings: 5470 5913

Have you seen an odd bike recently?  There are many more unusual human powered vehicles appearing around town.  Do you fancy a go on a tandem, or want to try out a tag-along for your toddler?  Bring yourself [with or without unusual and useful bikes] to Victory Park on Sunday 6 July at 10.30 to 11.30 and have a test ride.  [The farmers’ market is also on at this time.]  More info from Jo on 0458 547 241

Footprints to Sustainability: free training in July and August on offer from Continuing Education with support from Mount Alexander Shire Council.  Sessions include running carbon neutral events, becoming a ‘low-carbon’ business, botanical drawing, responsible landscaping, composting, permaculture, etc.  Flyers will appear at usual outlets around the shire or call Continuing Education on 5472 3299.

Studio One: for young people (age 14-24) who are disengaging from mainstream education and who may benefit from the opportunity to learn skills in music and film, in a new environment.  Sponsored by Vic Health.  Have a go at song writing, recording and documentary and story telling film making.  Include a climate change theme?  From 17th July – 18th September.   Info: Gabrielle Brauer, 5472 3299 or

Interesting Information and Links

Climate Change Summit – Following the Premier’s Climate Change Summit on 4th April a White Paper is being prepared and there is an opportunity for community input. There are 10 questions to answer. Here’s your chance to tell the State government what you think and why! Submissions due July 3.

Watching fuel prices go up and up…? See the following link for a “Chasers War” style analysis:
Two free energy saving light globes are available if you go to the address below. Just type in your details and the globes will be sent to you.  Only one set per household, Australia-wide initiative, spread the word.  It’s free and it’s green!  Government funded green goodness:  

2008 Ashden Awards for sustainable energy.

Interesting graph re petrol use in relation to population density

A House of Commons committee suggested last week that the U.K. Parliament create a personal carbon-trading scheme for all citizens of the United Kingdom. It was the strongest statement yet by any government in favor of an individual cap-and-trade system for buying and selling greenhouse gas emissions.  Personal carbon trading would provide a set “carbon emissions allowance” to each citizen and establish a national carbon budget. Individuals would then be able to trade their carbon credits with one another on a designated carbon market if they chose to purchase additional energy or to partake in activities that would exceed the allowed emissions limit, such as using a plane.

Green tips: Adjust your thermostat:  Did you know that a difference of one degree on the thermostat of your heater or air conditioner can reduce your energy consumption by 10%?

Quote of the week:
Money can’t buy friends but you can get a better class of enemy”
Spike Milligan


MASG is partially funded by the Victorian Government Sustainability Fund, which supports innovative projects that foster sustainable resource use and have economic and social benefits for Victorians. The Sustainability Fund is administered by the Victorian Treasurer and the Minister for Environment and Climate Change and managed on behalf of the Government by Sustainability Victoria.

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