Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Welcome to the first e-news of spring: sun and wind!

Posted on 5 September 2012 by e-news

Welcome to the first e-news of spring! Please send your contributions for the next e-news to by 11am on Wednesday, 19 September.

While the take-up of domestic solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels in Australia has been phenomenal, the current State Government seems to be hell-bent on discouraging its further growth.

Call to solar action!

The Baillieu Government has just announced it is cutting the feed-in tariff on solar power by over 60 per cent, from 25c to just 8c. And what’s more, the Government will let electricity retailers buy their electricity – produced from solar panels – at peak time for 8c, and then sell it back to the public for 30c. It would appear that Mr Baillieu is using electricity from PV owners to prop up the profit margins for electricity retailers.

See the MASG press release on this important issue

Write to:

The Hon Michael O’Brien, MP
Minister for Energy and Resources,
Level 22
1 Spring Street
Victoria, 3000

or email

and to the Premier, Ted Baillieu,
Office of the Premier
1 Treasury Place Melbourne,
Victoria, 3002
or email

and to the local papers. Let’s make some noise!


Something in the wind

Over 50 people attended last week’s successful wind night, and they were engaged and interested. The presentations were excellent. Cam Walker summed up what the carefully collected data meant, and in short residents in this shire are overwhelmingly positive about the prospects of generating our own wind power here.

Jarra’s presentation on her visit to European wind farms was inspirational, especially seeing the way communities have integrated wind into everyday aspects of life. It’s normal there to generate power from wind, and people love investing in it.

The meeting explored where we go from here, which is about finding the right site and starting to measure the wind speeds we have here.

There was also some discussion of people pledging money – the opportunity to put money in, but if the project doesn’t go ahead the money will be returned. Watch this space for more on this exciting project.


Who’s afraid of solar PV?

The take-up of domestic solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels in Australia has been phenomenal. In 2010 and 2011, the installed capacity increased seven-fold to about 1.4 gigawatts, doubling every nine months.

By the end of this year Australia will probably have more than two gigawatts of solar PV capacity installed. This is enough to produce about eight per cent of the average daytime electricity demand.

Read the full story


Hepburn Sustainable House Day

On Saturday, 9 September five houses in Hepburn shire will open to the public to share their tips on sustainable living. They will showcase what they have done in their own homes to reduce energy use, bills, and environmental impact.

Every home will be open throughout the day, so why not make a day of it? More information


The Hub Plot Jottings

The Hub Plot garden group: Monday mornings from 9am. With cuppa and produce exchange at 11am. All welcome.

Some of the things we’ve been up to in the garden lately:

  • potting up strawberry runners and giving them a big dose of compost
  • planting beetroot, spinach and salad greens
  • harvesting our rocket, carrots, tatsoi and bok choy.
  • keeping up production of our wonderful rich compost

Our next job will be planting our new spiral herb garden.

A couple of us are interested in weaving small fences to stop the blackbirds making such a mess so will be collecting materials this week.


Healthy Soil workshop

It will cover 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, 2012
Time: 12 noon for a cuppa and a 12.30pm start.
Cost: $5
Place:  The Hub Plot, MASG’s demonstration food garden, rear 233 Barker St,
Castlemaine, info: Heather 0409 327791

For more info about The Hub Plot have a look at or call Heather on 0409 327791 or Peter at or simply drop in on Monday mornings.

Workshop on Edible Weeds

Discover the wonderful world of weeds, a valuable source of food and nutrition. The workshop will include a walk and a discussion, followed by a delicious weed feast.

Sunday 9 September, 9am-2pm, with Sam Downing, inspired permaculture teacher, and Nikki Valentini, our local fine feast maker.

Town Hall kitchen, Frederick Street
Cost: $50, $30 (concession)
Active Growing Abundance volunteers are eligible for a further discount
Book now at Castlemaine Community House: 5472 4842

Council Community Grant Scheme

Information Sessions:

  • Maldon Neighbourhood Centre, at the corner Edward and Church Streets,  11 September 2012,  12noon – 1pm
  • Ray Bradfield Room, Victory Park Castlemaine, 13 September 2012, 1pm – 2pm
  • Ray Bradfield Room, Victory Park Castlemaine, 13 September 2012, 6.30pm – 7.30pm

Applications close 12 October 2012
Application forms and Guidelines available from:


Barriers to effective climate change adaptation

Public lecture videocast in Bendigo. What are the major barriers? How will climate change affect rural and regional Australia? Come to a public lecture by Dr Wendy Craik, from the Productivity Commission, on this major topic.

When: Thursday 6 September, 6-7.30pm
Where: Videoconference at McKay Lecture Theatre, La Trobe University Bendigo campus
Information: Associate Professor Katherine Legge,, 03 5444 7393


Sign up for ‘Solar Citizens’

The 2013 Federal Election is getting closer. 100% is conducting a spring parliamentary briefing on how renewables are the best way to contain rising energy costs… and successfully pushed for the Australian Energy Market Operator to model the national grid for 100% renewable energy! Just for fun watch the funky video on the campaign. Enquiries to Bernard.


Support South Australia’s Salt March

A two-week-long 300km march from Port Augusta will end in Adelaide with a huge rally on 30 September, demanding two coal fired power stations in Port Augusta be replaced with large scale solar stations. Grasp this historical moment. Momentum is building. Please sign the petition and consider donating to the walk.


Landcare Bushdance

Mount Alexander Landcare Bushdance at Castlemaine Town Hall, Saturday 8 September, 6-10pm. Free for Landcare members, small cover charge for others. Live music by Jane Thompson, James Rigby and friends.  Food, tea, coffee, and water available.  BYO alcohol.  RSVP to Max Schlachter email:


Afternoon Tea with Dinosaurs

Talk on Victoria’s ‘Polar Dinosaurs’ by world renowned palaeontologists Patricia and Tom Rich on Sunday, 9 September. Watch Connecting Country’s website: at for session details. Phone Max on 5472 1594 or email:


Price on carbon explained


It’s jump time!

Jean Houston offers her Keynote Speech at the 2009/10 Integral Spiritual Experience conference, inviting us all to take the next evolutionary JUMP into greater consciousness, complexity, and love.


Bill McKibben’s thought bubble

Bill McKibben shares this call to action for what could not only be the biggest fight of our time, but of all time. The fossil fuel industry is destroying the planet, and making the fight to protect our future increasingly challenging as industry lobbying and unabated growth continues.

We need to come together and rally behind leaders like Bill McKibben,, and countless others, to save this planet. How? With passion, spirit, and creativity, and as Bill says, sometimes putting our bodies on the line. Will you join in? Go to and join in. Info:


Last word

“There is a tendency at every important but difficult crossroad to pretend that it’s not really there.”

Bill McKibben, The End of Nature







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