Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Weekly News Digest, Thursday 1st May 2008

Posted on 1 May 2008 by e-news

For more information call 5470 6978

MASG News and Events

Challenge to Change (C2C) re-launched: the second round of Challenge to Change will sweep the Shire during the month of May.  The program assists schools, businesses, churches and households to step towards carbon neutrality and shows that together we can rapidly reduce greenhouse emissions, with the goal of carbon neutral before 2010.  You are welcome at the launch on Monday 5 May at 3pm, by John Landy former Governor of Victoria, at Subway, cnr Hargraves and Mostyn Sts. Castlemaine. 

We would also like all MASG members and friends to participate in C2C, by completing the home energy assessment and transport questionnaire that will be emailed out in next week’s e-news.

Over 70 businesses have signed up for the Challenge and all 18 Shire schools are involved, plus the Mount Alexander Shire Council, churches, and dozens of households.  Participants will have the opportunity to measure their energy usage, learn about ways to reduce it, implement some reduction measures, and then look at the difference!   C2C targets both stationary energy [electricity and gas] and transport.

Mez Woodward, the C2C Co-ordinator at MASG said “It’s very exciting to see so many people committed to reducing their energy use and taking action on climate change and great to see the involvement of our community leaders. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. And the emerging community partnerships are wonderful, such as students from Castlemaine Secondary College working with the local cafes and restaurants. You really get the feeling that the whole shire is pulling together.”

Workspace Australia taking up the Challenge to Change! MASG will be working in partnership with Workspace Australia at their Halford St. site to reduce their energy use. Workspace Australia is a small / start up business support provider, assisting over 75 associated businesses Victoria-wide.  Rebecca Dempsey, Manager for Workspace Australia said “It’s a change that the Workspace board and the 40 businesses in the Castlemaine site have encouraged. We believe that a more eco-friendly approach will provide the community with education, reduced environmental impact and no doubt cheaper bills”.

The joint project will be launched on Tuesday May 6th, at 8.30am, at Coffee Basics.  Come along to hear more about the project, or contact Jane Knight on 5470 6978 ( for more information.

MASG Bulk Solar PV Offer – Requesting Expressions of Interest:  MASG would like to offer our members the 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 1 Kw 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.  For further details please contact Jayson at MASG on 5470 6978 or Registrations close Monday 12th May.       

MASG Solar Display home goes up:  the walls and roof are going on the MASG display home at 17 Main Road, Campbells Creek.  Designed by Lifehouse and built by Maine Design and Construction, the house can be seen from the main (Daylesford) road, 2km south of Castlemaine.  Take a cycle down there, or see us in the Bendigo Advertiser and local press!  [More pics on the Solar house project page ].

Low CO2 Business Awards: MASG is launching its Low CO2 Awards as a celebration of the achievements of local businesses and organisations tackling the challenge of climate change.  There will be Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards available, and a Mayoral Award for “Commitment and Innovation in Energy Management”. The Low CO2 Awards are open to all businesses and organisations in the Mt. Alexander Shire, and everyone who is working towards a sustainable future is encouraged to enter.  Application forms can be picked up from Jill or Jane at the MASG office (233 Barker St. Castlemaine) or downloaded from the Low CO2 web page.  Applications close on May 23rd with the awards ceremony and celebration set for World Environment Day on Thursday June 5th.   More information from Jane on 5470 6978 or

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.

Australian Poetry Festival: The winner of the MASG poetry prize of $500 (prize money kindly donated by a MASG member) was won by Lucy Holt.  Congratulations to MASG member Lesley Ryall for her poem which gained an Honourable Mention.  These poems will soon be featured on the Australian Poetry Centre’s website and the MASG website.  A very special thank you to Peter from the Bike Vault who donated his time to overhaul 12 MASG bikes which available for Free Bike Hire during the Festival weekend.

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

Newstead’s own 2021 summit takes place on Sunday 4th May for 3 hours, starting 9.15am.  Details from Geoff Park 0418 138 632 or Karly Smith 0400 989 103. Open to all residents of Newstead and observers from elsewhere.

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. 

Castlemaine Steiner School: Opening of the new Solar Electricity Project, Monday 5th May at 9.00am, Cnr Rilens Road and Pyrenees Hwy, Muckleford.  RSVP: 5470 6235.  The project received funding assistance from the Federal Government through the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and The Arts and from the State Government via Sustainability Victoria. 

East Timor Friendship Photo Competition and Fundraiser:  Our Shire will be sending a delegation to the town of Lolotoe in East Timor in June to establish our friendship relationship.  We wish to present them with a book of photos showing the knowledge and skills of the people of our Shire. All entries will be part of a sound and light show at Theatre Royal on Sun. May 25th , from 3-6pm with of prizes, cultural presentations, music and storytelling.  Entries by May 16th.  Primary, secondary, open categories – entry forms at the Winters Flat school office, contact Bernard Tonkin 5472 4234.

Interesting Information and Links

Lord Stern has warned that the gloomy predictions of his high-profile review of the future effects of global warming underestimated the risks, and that climate change poses a bigger threat than he realised.  Stern said this week that new scientific findings showed greenhouse gas emissions were causing more damage than was understood in 2006, for the full article  

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:

Local food supply, US style:  from the Wall Street Journal,

also includes a video
(be patient its slow to start), “Green Acres II: When Neighbors Become Farmers”

Making A Killing From The Food Crisis: A new report by GRAIN.  The world food crisis is hurting a lot of people, but global agribusiness firms, traders and speculators are raking in huge profits. 

Energy saving tip of the week: When making a cup of coffee or tea only boil the amount of water you need. 

Quote of the week:

It is not clear, apart from inertia, ignorance and institutionalised complacency, what are the obstacles to energy efficiency.” Michael Jefferson from the World Energy Council.

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