Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Council asks for ban on wind farms to be lifted

Posted on 15 September 2011 by e-news


Shire  Council to write to Premier to lift ban on wind farms in shire

On Tuesday night the Mount Alexander Council agreed to write to the Premier to ask that the ban on community wind farms in the eastern half of the shire be lifted. MASG Community Wind Working Group chair Mick Lewin spoke to the Councillors and the motion was passed 4 to 2.
On the back of this support there has been strong media interest in how unfair and illogical the policy is (read more about the MASG thoughts about the policy here and the ABC comment on the Council motion here  and the Weekly times reporting on the issue .

MASG representatives will be meeting with Damian Drum, Upper House National Party MHR for

Damian Drum: is he strong enough to stand up for renewable energy ?

Northern Victoria and Secretary for Regional Development this  Tuesday the 20th and will be asking him to intercede to have the blanket ban in Central Victoria lifted on behalf of community wind and to do more to support renewable energy.

The Hub Plot Jottings

Katie Finlay, organic orchardist of the Mount Alexander Fruit Garden, presented a fantastic workshop on Saturday to the 35 people who, not withstanding very cold weather, came to hear her talk about Healthy Soil.
We heard about the biology of the soil and how we can make it healthy. Katie’s passion for healthy soil was infectious! After lots of questions many of the participants stayed to see some of the features of our garden in action making healthy soil.  Heather showed the 3 types of worm farms and our composting system & Peter gave an impromptu demonstration of the wicking bed system.   Thanks to the volunteers who made the day successful – Pam, Catherine, Peter, Heather, Annie and especially Katie.

Katie Finlay lovingly treating all those millions of soil microorganisms

Jobs we’ve been doing in the garden lately include : digging in the green manure crop of lupins, preparing a new bed under the large peach tree, building a new espalier trellis for the plumcot trees.

Don’t forget if you want to share your interest in gardening come along to our garden working session on Monday mornings from 9 a.m. 

Forthcoming workshop: How to make a wicking bed; The practice and principles.
Come to our workshop to find out about garden wicking beds.  They are designed to draw water up from a reservoir below, hence “wicking”, through the soil directly to the roots.
Come at 10.30 for a cuppa for an 11 a.m. start  Saturday 22nd October $5 donation
The Hub Plot garden  Rear 233 Barker St Castlemaine: Bookings and enquiries: Heather on 0409 327 791Re-visiting our Carbon Heroes

If you haven’t seen the Carbon Heroes photos lately or are new to MASG, you might like to drop into the Castlemaine Market Building in Mostyn Street where they are currently on display. ‘Our Carbon Heroes’ is a collection of photos and stories of inspiration about people in our Shire making a difference in the way they are trying to live more sustainably. Thanks to Mount Alexander Shire Council for providing hanging space.

Comfy Homes – Expo

Soon we will be organising our next Tradies’ Expo to coincide with the launch of the new Comfy Homes website. Imagine the increasing capacity for shared information across our community where local businesses, tradies and residents inform, recommend and uptake information about making our homes more energy efficient and sustainable. Meanwhile, check out Comfy Homes on our website for information on local products, services and tradies.

Goldfields Solar Hub

Want to know more about solar panels on your home, understand what system size might be best for you, how much greenhouse gas emissions  or $ you might save then come along to one of Mike Reeve’s Sunny Sessions at Ray Bradfield Rooms Saturday September 17th 2-4pm and September 23rd 12-2pm. Bring your electricity bills and questions on all things solar PV. For more details on the bulk buy solar panel program for households, community buildings and businesses visit the Goldfields Solar Hub website Email: or phone: 03 5443 5244


Thank you to the 20 people who have put themselves down to volunteer for this major MASG event. But don’t despair  there is still an  opportunity to volunteer and 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 !

MASG CoG meetings

The main decision making body of MASG is the CoG, or committee of management, staff and working group meetings. These meetings are focussed on making decisions and taking action and all are welcome. The next CoG meetings are being held at The Old Forge in Barker Street opposite She Sells Seafood on the following dates:
Sept 29th at 7pm ; Oct 27th at noon; Nov 24th at 7pm

Walking and Cycling Maps launch

MASG member Andrew Butts has been busy getting the Castlemaine Walking and Cycling Zone Maps  ready for their launch this Friday 16 September 3:30-4:30 on the Market Building Steps – Mostyn Street.
Castlemaine is the demonstration town for the toolkit available for other towns to make their own walking and cycling maps. Check out the toolkit online and see the Castlemaine maps and the video which includes  shots of Castlemaine identities and local folk out mapping!


Usethings workshops: Knots

Local sustainability gurus Deb Taylor and Tim Preston of Usethings are running this workshop on Knots on Saturday the 24th September at 2pm. A fathom of cord and a cup of tea provided during the workshop and they will  cover a few key knots, how to learn & remember them, some knot principles, and load tying.For more information contact Tim Preston : 0405 564 206 or e: or watch the magic hands tying knots on YouTube

 Get your energy from the community owned Hepburn Wind farm

The Premier’s Sustainability Award winning Hepburn Wind has sold 100% of the electricity they generate to Red Energy and together they have created an exciting renewable energy retail offering. For every customer introduced to the Community Saver, Red Energy will make a contribution of up to $50 each year to the Hepburn Wind Community Fund. Support Hepburn Wind and locally owned renewable energy see the Red Energy website  for more details.

Petition to switch Government funding from coal fired HRL station to renewable energy

Yallourn power station....$100M of your taxpayers cash to build a new coal power station?

Environment Victoria (EV) is coordinating a MONSTER petition to the Federal Government to call on them to withdraw their $100 million grant to the proposed new coal-fired power station HRL, and to put it into renewable energy instead. The petition is to be tabled in Parliament, which means all signatures have to written in hard copy. This is why we’re asking for your help! Please, download the petition here today, print it off and ask your family, friends and colleagues to sign it.  Then, pop it in the mail back to EV.

Impact of climate change on the pacific

Australian Geographic is featuring a multimedia documentary called Land is Life about the impacts of climate change in the South Pacific.It features interviews with the President of Kiribati and the Environment Minister of Tuvalu. Watch the AG video here.


 The (US) Climate Communication organisation (link below) has just relased a very good report explaining the changes in extreme weather events in the US.  It’s a very good educational tool for people anywhere in the world. Read more in this blog on Think Progress.

Earth Matters Radio

A weekly radio program covering local, national and international environmental issues with a strong social justice bent. Bringing fresh environmental news to the people, Earth Matters reports on environmental campaigns and critical ecological issues. Interviewees range from environmental activists, commentators and scientists.  Produced at Radio 3CR in Melbourne and distributed around Australia on the Community Radio Network. 

New Japanese Wind Turbine Triples Power Output Without Increasing Size

Researchers at Kyushu University, which houses the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research have

Concentrating the power of the wind

designed a lens to focus the wind energy that triples wind turbine output. Read more about it in this wind power blog .

Debt-choked Greece seeks solar bonanza.

Sun-baked and debt-choked Greece presented on Monday a plan to become Europe’s solar energy powerhouse, attracting up to €20 billion in investments in the decades to come to lift its economy out of the doldrums Reuters reports.

Dramatic shrinking of Greenland glacier & Summer Arctic sea ice melt at or near record


Greenland glacier on July 24th 2009 (Left) and July 24th 2011 (Right)

A Welsh scientist has taken alarming photos of a Greenland glacier that has melted meanwhile further north the summer arctic sea ice  melted to a record low extent or will come a close second confirming a trend which could yield an ice-free summer within a decade. The five biggest melts in a 32-year satellite record have all happened in the past five years and the area covered by Arctic sea ice reached its lowest point this week since the start of satellite observations in 1972, German researchers announced.

Read more in the Sydney Morning Herald sea Ice story.


CSG mine’s mountain of unwanted salt in QLD and Friends of the Earth circulate a petition to ban it CSG in Victoria

Coal seam gas (CSG) mining at just one Queensland site will produce three million tonnes of salt – enough to raise a pile 10 metres high and 11 kilometres long, senators have been told in this Brisbane Times Story.
Meanwhile FOE are circulating  an online petition to ban fracking for gas in Victoria.

Clean Up Australia blasts Coke

The founder of Clean Up Australia Ian Kernan and independent NT MP Gerry Wood are calling for a boycott of Coke products over Coca-Cola Amatil’s  legal challenge the Northern Territory’s recycling laws as reported in this  ABC TV news. Coca Cola will not change the labels on its cans to say “10c deposit in SA and NT” and instead is mounting a legal challenge to try and block the proposed NT container deposit legislation.


“To tackle climate change we must search our soul for what we consider to be our human values, there has to be sacrifice, there has to be committment.”

Anote Tons: President of the Republic of Kiribati

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