Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Weekly News Digest, Thursday 8th May 2008

Posted on 9 May 2008 by e-news

For more information call 5470 6978

MASG News and Events

MASG Congratulates all its Wonderful Volunteers! It’s Volunteer Week next week, but MASG will be celebrating your support and hard work on Thursday 5 June which is World Environment Day. Make sure you put this date in your diary and check enews during the coming weeks for further details. The Castlemaine Community House is offering a free lunch to all volunteers Tuesday 13 May at 12;30pm. Our wonderful Wash against Waste trailer will be there under the supervision of Rex Odgers who would really appreciate the help of 3 volunteers – after they have had lunch! If you can help, please email Rex on

Challenge to Change began this week. We were delighted to have John Landy, our 600th MASG member, launch the project at Subway. MASG and C500 members are invited to complete a questionnaire by 26th May, and receive a free CFL light globe, kindly donated by Sustainability Victoria. The questionnaire is at myhomemyplanet .

MASG Bulk Solar PV Offer – Places are going quickly! An opportunity to register interest in a MASG solar photovoltaic bulk purchasing & installation program. This is a pilot that we will trial with 50 MASG households in which successful applicants will have a quality 1Kw solar PV system installed at a very reasonable cost. After receiving the federal Government PVRP rebate the estimated cost of the 1Kw system will be $1600. There are additional installation costs for connection to Grid by Powercor (currently $480) and some houses may need to pay to update old meters or meter boards. At this stage only MASG members may apply and we reserve the right to select the 50 most suitable households for solar PV. MASG will continue the program of installations to more households in the future if we can. If you need further information please contact Jayson at MASG on 5470 6978 or Remember that registrations close Monday 12th May.

STOP PRESS: An announcement on Victorian Feed In Tariffs was made in this week’s state budget. This decision has no direct impact on the MASG program or the the current Federal Government Photovoltaic Rebate Program. [more info in “Interesting Information” below]

Transport Working Group: MASG is establishing a Transport Working Group to support the work of MASG staff and volunteers in promoting alternatives to car transport within the Shire and in journeys beyond the Shire; especially commuting and shopping journeys [which are not typically addressed by many campaigns that focus on recreational alternatives]. If you are interested, please contact Ian on 5470 6891 or and we will convene a meeting at a time that suits you. Also check the masg Commuter Cycling page.


Workspace Australia: The audit of the Workspace Australia site at Halford St. Castlemaine, got underway with the launch on Tuesday morning. The MASG energy assessors have been out in force during the week, visiting the 40 businesses and council staff in the building. Jane Knight, the co-ordinator of the project said: “It’s always a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic crew, and the tenants have been very generous with their time and co-operation as were the Workspace Australia Board and the Mount Alexander Shire Council”. Our thanks also go to Coffee Basics and Sprout Bakery for providing us with a delicious breakfast.

Don’t Forget To Detox your home! Mount Alexander Shire Council is having a free household chemical disposal service on Saturday 10th May. Drop off unwanted aerosol cans, insect spray, paint cans, weed killer etc at the Landfill site, Sluicers Rd, Vic Roads 628 C9. For further information, pick up a leaflet at the MASG office or ring 1800 353 233 or contact Council on: 5471 1700

Events organized by other organizations

The Strengthening Volunteerism in the Mount Alexander Community Project is collaborating with numerous local community groups to assist them celebrate and thank the wonderful work of volunteers. Free training sessions being made available during Volunteer Week on Professional Development for Coordinators, how to empower yourself as a volunteer and Recruiting in the Sports area. For bookings ph: 54711 802 or email For more information on what’s happening across the Shire visit the council website

Volunteer yoga session tutor wanted to lead some yoga sessions for MASG staff and volunteers. Possible time on some Wednesdays at 8.30am at MASG (not every week), other times negotiable. Please contact Jill on 5470 6987.

Permaculture Design Course (PDC) held over 6 weekends: from 7, June; to August 2008 – at a variety of Central Victorian venues. The only PDC in this bio-region. An excellent range of experienced and enthusiastic tutors including co-originator of the permaculture concept David Holmgren. Also features at least one field trip each weekend, allowing participants to see permaculture ‘in action’ in a variety of settings.
This PDC may also be undertaken as part of a Nationally Accredited Certificate III in Permaculture. For further details, including a timetable, please see the website or call (03) 5433 4094

Interesting Information and Links

Victorian Budget news: Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor announced that for the first time Victorian households will qualify for a bonus for installing solar power systems and providing excess electricity into the State electricity grid. The new Feed-in Tariff Scheme will offer householders a premium rate for excess power and is designed to increase the number of private households in Victoria generating renewable energy. Households will be paid 60 cents for every unused kilowatt hour of power fed back into the State electricity grid which is an excellent price. “The system will encourage more households to install solar photovoltaic systems and encourage solar powered households to be energy efficient and maximise the amount of power fed into the State’s electricity grid for other customers to use,” he said. This premium tariff means that payback time could be less than 10 years. The scheme will be introduced in 2009. For more information:

The Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab has just released its first policy research report and it’s all about food! The report, Sustainable and Secure Food Systems for Victoria: What do we know? What do we need to know? The report discusses the environmental challenges relating to the food system and food security in Victoria see:

Interesting report on Climate of the Nation: [pdf download]

Does a desert eco-city have relevance for Melbourne? On 15th February, we reported on a so called ‘green city’ for Abu Dhabi. Now The Age has picked up the story.

Carbon farming: organic farmers store more and cost less: Queensland’s peak conservation group, Queensland Conservation (QCC) has aligned with Australia’s largest organic representative body, Biological Farmers of Australia, to re-instate claims organic farm methods can contribute to lowering Australia’s greenhouse emissions by locking up more carbon in soil. They also say organic production will become more competitive as oil and fertiliser prices climb. As part of its Climate Change Campaign, Queensland Conservation has referred to an extensive thirty year scientific trial by the Rodale Institute in the US which found that organic practices can remove around 7845kg of carbon from the air for each hectare farmed per annum by sequestering it in the soil.

Trees versus food debate: We have already covered the bio-fuels versus food debate. Here is another angle: Soil carbon has now gained prominence as the other major alternative for carbon sequestration, but the research community and bureaucracies are only now belatedly preparing for serious investigation of its possibilities. As a result of this delay, Australian farmers will have to wait for the Kyoto II round of talks in 2012 to argue a place for their soil carbon in international emissions trading. Trees, on the other hand, are already a known quantity.

Energy saving tip of the week: Switch off your appliances at the wall .

Quote of the week: [inspired by the breadth of different organisations, businesses, schools and households taking the Challenge to Change]

They were nothing more than people, by themselves. Even paired, any pairing, they would have been nothing more than people by themselves. But altogether, they had become the heart and muscles and mind of something new… something growing and great. Together, all together, they were instruments of change.
Keri Hulme

Newspaper transport

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