Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Tea with Turnbull, Condensed milk with Katter and Action with Abbott

Posted on 31 May 2012 by e-news

Tea with Turnbull, Condensed milk with Katter and Action with Abbott

Thirty 100% Renewable Campaigners including MASG reps met senior MPs in Canberra on Monday and presented 12,000 poll results asking for Big Solar. This exceptional grass roots lobby event met with most of the Opposition front bench and Tony Abbott said that he’d support big solar “only when it could supply at night as well” [sic].  Our pollsters were able to tell him “that day has come”, and Mr Abbott and many other MPs are expecting a briefing later this year as the LNP’s Direct Action Plan is already out of date.   There are some amazing stories and pics from last Monday here.

Of almost 50 meetings with MPs, the biggest meeting was, of course with Tony Abbott:  Andrew writes: “despite her nervousness, Viktorija, from Tony Abbott’s electorate, sat calmly before the man who may become our next Prime Minister and told him how her daughter was the first child in the world to receive a cochlear ear implant, way back in the seventies. She explained to him how government support for this ground-breaking Australian innovation at the commercialisation stage helped create what is today a world-leading Australian company, creating thousands jobs around the globe.

Viktorija then pointed out how large scale solar – in particular solar thermal – is in the same position right now – and how we need governments to get behind it.

Viktorija then went on to do the Big Solar poll on Mr Abbott. His answers: yes, he knows about big solar “in broad terms”, yes, he thinks governments should support these projects ‘if they are economic” but no, at this stage the government would not be revising the Direct Action Plan, though nothing was ever set in stone. (Greg Hunt was on hand to help talk policy too).

After handing over the 12,000 voices report, Mr Abbott agreed to meet with us again in the next 12 months, we took a picture, shook hands, and we walked out pleased to know that there would now be no doubt in Mr Abbott’s mind that community members are looking for a bit less ‘No’ and a bit more hope and vision from this person who wants to be our next Prime Minister.”

Meanwhile, colourful North Queensland member, Bob Katter disappeared from his room without explanation,  to re-emerge with a packet of Vita-Weat biscuits and a can of condensed milk. He plonked them down on his desk, pulled out a Vita-Weat, dipped it in the condensed milk and asks the 100%ers, “Want one?”


MASG committee member Bernard Tonkin took part on Monday and reflects:

“It was the job of 30 Big Solar campaigners to carry the voices of the hundreds of supporters who had been out polling on weekends over the previous months.  What brought me hope was when the conservative member for Gippsland, Russell Broadbent said: “You’d be a pariah to build a coal fired power station today”. His electorate includes sections of the Latrobe Valley.

He also said that if necessary he would use brown coal to meet growing energy needs up to [at least] 2018. For him it all came down to the current comparative cost – economics only. We reminded him of the plummeting costs of solar and the no brainer that the fuel is free, unlike being tied to the already rising coal and gas prices.  He expressed immediate interest in doing more research when we showed him the photo of the large solar thermal plant in Spain.

Thick skinned and vulnerable at the same time, claiming to be driven by economic reality, yet clearly subject to community sentiment – my feeling is that our pollies are listening – its up to us to keep raising our voices… Go Big Solar !!!!”

MASG membership renewal and donations appeal:

We will shortly be writing to all members and supporters to ask you to renew or join up to MASG and/or give us a donation/subscription to help us continue our work.  You can direct your donation to a specific MASG project or simply support our work.   You can do it today here.  MASG Needs You!

Feed-in Tariffs Inquiry draft report out:

VCEC has produced a draft report (174 pages) for discussion, which appears on the website along with several other reports.  The key points are:

  • Moving to a ‘fully competitive’ FiT by December 2015,
  • A transition period up to then,
  • Customers on the TFiT would remain on this tariff until 31 December 2016.
  • Customers on the PFiT would remain on it until its expiry date in 2024,
  • The SFiT will be broadened to include all renewable and low-emission technologies up to December 2015, when it would be closed to new entrants.
  • The future of existing SFiT customers after 2015 has not been exactly defined at this stage

The meaning of ‘fully competitive’ in the VCEC view is the wholesale value of energy component of the electricity only – around 7 cents/kWh plus whatever the retailers chose to add to it. In effect, PV owners will be paid wholesale prices for their electricity and buy at retail prices.  More on our Facebook page.

LOCAL Events coming up:

World Environment Day – Celebrate this Sunday at the Community Fair – MASG and some of our projects will be there.  Alongside the Farmers’ market, in the Market Building central Castlemaine.  Come along and find out more about Mount Alexander Community Wind and 100% Renewables, and many other local eco-groups.  9am – 1pm Sunday, 3rd June.  Supported by Mount Alexander Shire Council and the Global WED

Over in Hepburn, our sister group Sustainable Hepburn Association (SHARE) is running the Good Life Festival 

Oxfam Bushdance this Saturday night 2nd June, at the Castlemaine Town Hall, 6pm – 10 pm.  A supper of home-made soup & local bread & fruit. $15 a single or $35 family. The Centenary band of local talent led by James Rigby & Jane Thompson will have you all up and dancing the night away.  Enquiries Judy Tregear 54 705747

Local Exchange Trading Scheme [LETS]: want to find out how this non-monetary exchange system works & how you can join;  or if you are already a member and would like to know ‘how to get the most value out of the system?’, then come along to afternoon tea at 3pm, Saturday 2nd June, at The Forge, 341 Barker St, Castlemaine.

Not a Climate Skeptic, Anna Rose (co-founder of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition) will be visiting Castlemaine Wednesday, 6th June from 6 – 7.30pm, at the Castlemaine Library.  Part of her National Tour following her newly launched book about climate change, ‘Madlands: A Journey to Change the Mind of a Climate Skeptic’.  The book is based on the recently aired documentary (ABC TV) called ‘I Can Change Your Mind on Climate’.   Facebook

Healthy Soil Healthy Plants Healthy Humans with Kay Baxter – legendary NZ seed saver, food gardener, author and permaculture educator.  6th June 6 at CERES .  More info:

Commercial Biogas Production and Use: 7th and 8th June.  A workshop aimed at current and future operators, managers and proprietors of biogas production plants in the agricultural sector, to provide them with an understanding of the principles and practices of anaerobic digestion.  Info – Liz Hamilton 0400 780 680, email:

Offers and Requests

Can you find a home for a good mountain bike.  Owner wants to donate to development project overseas.  SMS Ian 0488 724 176.

The Hub Plot Jottings:

Order fruit trees now for winter planting from Mount Alexander Food Gardens

COMPOST & WORM FARM WORKSHOP:   25 people enjoyed morning tea and our compost & worm farm workshop.  Apart from covering the basic principles of good composting we looked at different types of composts & worm farms & helped people troubleshoot any problems they might be having with theirs.  Some of us also attended the Newstead biodynamic compost workshop last Saturday & helped them build an enormous compost pile.  We also got tips on how to set up a smaller scale one for a backyard which we will demonstrate at the Hub Plot.

NATIONAL VOLUNTEERS WEEK:  Last week at The Hub Plot we celebrated National Volunteers Week at morning tea.  Thanks Ruth for the wonderful home-baked cake.  We also planned a series of field trips for the next 12 months….so watch this space if you are interested to join us on one of our field trips.

Instead of gardening this Monday we went on our first field trip for the year – to Cheryl’s permaculture farm in Maldon. Always a wonderfully inspiring place to visit.  Can you believe chokos growing in Central Victoria? Also macadamia trees covered in nuts? No matter the weather Cheryl always has fruit to harvest, such as the Buddha hand citrus – see photo at the new blog.

Back at the Hub Plot we’ve been:

  • heavily mulching the globe artichokes, asparagus & rhubarb with our lovely rich compost
  • cutting back broad bean plants to make them bushier.  This is a great tip from Jan who says hers never blow over in the wind & rain.
  • raking leaves for adding them to the compost
  • harvesting beetroot, carrots, silverbeet, radishes, jerusalem artichokes & spring onions
  • finished planting our garlic.

We are currently gauging interest in holding a workshop on basket making.  If you are interested please email Heather on

WHERE DID THE ‘NO GO’ ZONES COME FROM?   Despite a growing number of phone calls and emails from the community, Upper House MP for Northern Victoria is refusing to release any information on who she or her Party consulted in creating No Go zones across much of the best wind farming country in the state. Ms Petrovich has recently spoken in Parliament against a proposed moratorium on coal seam gas in Victoria and she is in favour of expanding the use of coal.  Please send Ms Petrovich a quick note.  {pic from The Age}  More info here:


Quote for the Week:  “Go to the people. Learn from them. Live with them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. The best of leaders when the job is done, when the task is accomplished, the people will say ‘we have done it ourselves’.”
Lao Tzu

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