Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Baillieu Government takes a wrecking ball to renewable energy

Posted on 1 September 2011 by e-news

Government bans Wind Farms from Eastern half of Mt Alexander Shire

On Monday the State Government announced a blanket ban on wind farms in half of our shire and today axed the Premium Feed in Tariff for household Solar PV.

It seems as if this State Government is taking a wrecking ball to the renewable energy industry in our state.

The Wind exlusion is a  blow to our plans for a Community Wind farm. The Planning Amendment VC82 will ban wind farms from the Eastern half of the Mt Alexander Shire, from the Calder east to the Hume Highway. This will make our plans for a community owned wind farm much harder. 
The planning amendment is deeply flawed for example:

  • it will be illegal to build a wind farm within 5km of Morwell, but you can build a new  coal fired power station within 2km of the town (the proposed HRL plant recently approved by the EPA).
  • It will be illegal to build a wind farm along much of the windy coastal areas of Victoria, but you can expand the coal mine and power station in Angleasea to within 800m of the local Primary School and hundreds of local houses (proposed expansion of the Alcoa open cut mine and power station)
  • If a single person within 2km of a wind farm objects then the project can’t proceed, but you can start a new open cut coal mine on the outskirts of Baccus Marsh over the wishes of hundreds of nearby residents.

It seems to us that its full steam ahead for the coal industry in Victoria and cut backs and bans for renewable energy.

Send a message to the Premier Ted Baillieu and let him know how you feel  9651 5000 or and ring or email  Damien Drum, 5443-6277  our Upper House member and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development.

Tell them you want a wind industry in Victoria, that the wind industry is good for regional economies, farmers and Councils  and the environment and you support a Community wind farm in the Mt Alexander Shire and want the blanket ban reversed.

 Download my email to the Premier if you want some ideas of what to say (50 Kb )MASG email text talking points to Ballieue etc sept 2011

We understand that these proposals may be difficult to overcome in the short term, but we know that we owe it to our kids and the environment to make sure that the government can’t shut down our renewable energy industry, so stick with us as we work to get these decisions overturned.

“Why attack renewable energy when our community wants it?
This week the State Government unilaterally banned wind farms from half of our shire, banned them outright in the Macedon Ranges Shire and dramatically cut back the support for solar panels on homes.

Both decisions will hurt rural economies and will only make climate change worse. Wind and solar are viable alternatives to burning coal or gas to supply our electricity needs and both of these clean power sources bring valuable benefits to regional areas. The community owned wind farm at Daylesford contributed over $7M to regional Victoria during its construction and employs 4 people. It also supplies all the power for over 2,000 houses, safely, reliably and cleanly. The wind farm is owned and managed as a cooperative, with local people having a say about its operation, and importantly, any profits made are returned to those local owners.

Imagine how it must feel to know that you own your own clean power station, that you doing something positive about climate change and that the money from the sale of the wind generated electricity stays in your town…” Read the full media release here (28Kb) Why attack renewable energy when our community wants it MR sept 2011 .


After the wonderful success of the joint tours between MASG AND ATA in 2010 we are going to run another round of tours.
Here is your opportunity to get together with other MASG members and share your interest and knowledge of sustainable living with the broader community. We need you to make it a successful day and help us celebrate the wealth of knowledge we have about sustainable living. Team up with a friend and help host a house for a few hours, or if chatting with people is not your thing, join some of us in setting up and helping make good foundations for another great house tour.
If you are interested in helping download the volunteer form (here 97Kb)SUSTAINABLE HOUSE TOUR Volunteer roster and send back to and we will be back in contact.

If you want to know more ring Carolyn on 54 706325 or visit the House tours webpage. 
The Sustainable House Tour is a joint MASG & Mount Alexander Shire Council project.


Friday Set Up-If you love cleaning or are handy with a vacuum cleaner , this is the job for you. Some house owners may need support with getting their house sorted for the Saturday tour.
If you are only available later in the day, expect to be doing quite a bit of lifting a lugging when we start moving trestle tables about

Sat Pack Up-This is a job if you like lifting weights, be prepared for some lifting work here.

The Registration Desk – you will be based at the Uniting Church hall
Love dealing with people and have a head for organisation. Then this is the job for you!.

Houses – you will be based at one of the 4 houses that will be on the tour.
This is a great job to do with a friend or partner, if you have a keen interest and love talking about sustainable housing ( the latter not essential) , happy to meet and greet people ( and perhaps wrangle a child or two) this is the job for you ( and a friend)!.

Minibus drivers-help our guests move around between the houses by driving an 11 seater minibus. Normal drivers licence is ok, bring your sense of direction !

Comfy Homes – need a plumber?

Plumbers are pretty busy folk, so even at MASG we’ve had to be patient gathering information about who’s who in the zoo! Regardless, check out the Comfy Homes link and cruise your way through ‘Plumbing’ for information and advice on grey water, solar hot water supply and installation, poly pipe, water tanks, aquaponics and more.
AND talking plumbing- Jayson from Tonks has a special deal on grey water diverters $149, were over $1000.  He has only 30 left.  Apparently there is still a government rebate in place of $500. 
 For each purchase made and MASG is mentioned as the reference Tonks will donate  $30 to MASG.

Kerry and Mark Perry from Machinery & Irrigation Supplies, Castlemaine, suppliers of many things plumbing and aquaponics

Wash Against Waste Working Group

MASG is seeking those interested in becoming part of a WAW Working Group.  The intention is to actively promote the WAW Trailer in the Shire so that this marvellous resource becomes an integral part of any and every event in the Shire!  It this appeals to you please contact
Kerry 54706978

New MASG Energy group to start up

Are you passionate about seeing more solar PV and energy efficiency in our shire? Do you have energy and skills to offer?
The MASG Solar and Energy Efficiency Energy Working Group invites interested MASG members to become involved in projects and events that support the uptake of solar PV and energy efficiency in our area.
Already hundreds of people in Central Victoria have taken up PV through programs like the Goldfields Solar Hub and many have taken an interest in their energy use as a result.
There are also people who cannot install PV for a variety of reasons who might like to use locally generated green energy. The model of community-based energy generation is well established for wind, and could also be applied to solar energy generation and is offered as a option for people to consider in this group.
The generally very small uptake of solar hot water systems is also an area that the group could look at. Is it too hard, too expensive – why doesn’t everyone have one? With up to 25% of household energy going into heating water, surely this must be relevant.
You don’t need to be a ‘technical’ person – just interested and prepared to contribute something.
Interested people can contact Mike on 0439 500 050 or email

Congratulations to MASG members for winning the INAUGURAL 10 Star design STATE AWARD

Award winning Lifehouse Design

MASG members  Lifehouse Design, and energy rater (and Wind working group chair) Mick Lewin from  Lewin Consulting, along with Crosby Architects have won an inaugural design competition – the Building Designers Association of Victoria’s (BDAV) ‘10 Star Challenge’. The design was selected from 23 entries in the BDAV Inaugural 10 Star Challenge. Lifehouse will be talking at lunchtime of the House tour about the design, and Mick’s house will be one of those on display.

Jottings from the Hub Plot

This week has been very busy in the vegetable garden as the group prepared  to be part of the Budafest. Over 20 people attended Peter’s presentation on “How to Establish an Organic Garden”.

Kat and Catherine hard at work!

We have also been putting in a new garden bed for espaliering some fruit trees on the west fence.

Healthy Soil Workshop

Katie Finlay, organic orchardist of Mount Alexander Fruit Gardens, 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.
Date: Sat. 10th September ; 12 noon for registration and a cup of tea, for a 12.30pm start.
Cost: $5 donation;  The Hub Plot, MASG’s demonstration food garden, rear 233 Barker St, Castlemaine. For more information ring Heather 0409 327791

And don’t forget the Produce exchange at the Farmers Market this Sunday the 4th Sept at 11:00am in Victory Park.


Sustainable transport: launch of the Victoria Walks toolkit map.

Friday 16 Sept  3:30pm @ the Market building steps, Mostyn St Castlemaine. This is the launch of the toolkit and “no excuses zone” in Victorian towns – which was piloted in Castlemaine in May! While on the subject of sustainable transport VICTORIA is the nation’s top bicycle state, with almost 1.1 million people riding their bikes each week, a participation survey reveals in this Herald Sun story.

Growing Abundance Grafting Workshop

 This Sunday September 4th, 10am- 2pm
For more information and bookings contact Sas at Castlemaine Community House on or 5472 4842.

Mobile phone recycle opportunity

The Etty Street campus of the secondary college is the place for Foneraiser – which turns old mobile phones into funds. Mobile handsets contain toxic substances which, if they are dumped in landfill, can leak into the surrounding soil and pollute the earth. The funds raised will be used for Students of Shizuoka Prefecture (our sister schools in

No kidding this photo is all thrown away mobiles !

Japan).  Please make sure your SIM card is removed

Japan Approves National Feed-in Tariff for renewable energy 

Japan positioned itself as the next large growth market for renewable energy Friday as the upper chamber of parliament approved legislation that will create a national feed-in tariff. While our state governments are cutting back on renewable other nations are not so short sighted. Read more in this Renewable Energy industry article.

Climate debate fails to sway public: Majority want action.

New surveys suggest Australians have largely maintained the same attitudes about climate change in the past year, despite efforts by vested interests and short sighted politicians to create controversy over the science and politics. Over 90% of people believe Climate Change is happening .Read more from the ABC.


MORE than two-thirds of Australians – or 68 per cent – support a moratorium on coal seam gas mining until more is known about its environmental impacts, a national poll shows, with 18 per cent opposed, as rep0rted in the Sydney Morning Herald.

BHP posts biggest profit in corporate history

BHP Billiton has unveiled the biggest profit in Australian corporate history.
The world’s largest miner produced a net profit of $22.5 billion for the 12 months to June 30.
It said the result would have been stronger if not for weather-related disruptions in the supply of coal and iron ore. From the ABC network once again!

World’s largest gas company posts huge profit

The Age reports this story about super profits in the Russian Gas giant Gazprom, and in an “unrelated” manner  it also reports how the Federal Government says more than 19 million hectares of WA’s Kimberley region will be heritage listed but the controversial gas hub site has been excluded.

Actress Daryl Hannah and NASA’s James Hansen Arrested at Tar Sands Pipeline Protest

NASA climate scientist arrested trying to stop Tar Oil pipeline

Actress Daryl Hannah and NASA’s Chief Climate Scientist were both arrested outside the White House while protesting the Keystone XL oil pipeline expansion project.
read more in the Herald Sun  or about the Pipeline and its consequences in the Pipline protest blog

River Otters Bounce Back in England

The otter population in the England was dealt a serious blow in the 20th century. Around mid-century, environmentalists noticed the otter was disappearing from its natural river habitats. A study in the 1970s found that they could only be found in five percent of the sites where they once lived. The banning of certain pesticides and river cleanup programs turned around the otter’s decline. A recent survey now shows the otter is back, inhabiting 60 percent of the roughly 3,000 locations they were once found. Read more about the otters comeback here, and I bet they like wind farms too !

Non-degradable plastics to be banned in PNG

Non-degradable plastic bags that are causing environmental problems will be banned in PNG reports the Post Courier in Port Moresby.

 “Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.”

James Hansen, NASA Chief Scientist commenting on why he was arrested trying to stop the Tar Oil pipeline project.

“We want to be free from the horrible death and destruction that fossil fuels cause, and have a clean energy future” Daryl Hannah upon her arrest at the same protest.

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