Climate Reality 2 RGB1The bushfires of the devastating 2019-20 Black Summer, were already underway in regional NSW, when BREAZE Inc. in collaboration with BEN, DELWP, RSAB, Federation University and the City of Ballarat held the New Bushfire Reality Climate Adaptation Forum on 10th November 2019. According to Forum Convenor Joe Natoli’s calculations, about 120 people attended to hear the impressive panel of speakers:
• Michael Boatman – Operations Manager Ballarat Country Fire Authority (CFA),
Chair Grampians Fire Emergency Committee
• Adrian Whitehead – from Council Action in the Climate Emergency (CACE)
• Bill Cook – Municipal Emergency Manager, City of Ballarat and CFA volunteer.
• Tony Brady – CFA Vegetation Management Officer

Community members who attended also participated in discussion groups after the speakers’ presentations. Questions and comments from those discussions, plus post-forum feedback gathered by email, have been compiled into a report on the Forum which has been forwarded to the Ballarat Emergency Management Planning Committee. BREAZE Inc. thanks all those who attended for taking the time to engage with this very important topic.

pdfCopy of the Report


delwp treeThe Victorian Government wants to help regional communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.  Supporting our Regions to Adapt is a $9.3 million program funded by the Sustainability Fund.  Each DELWP region (Department of Environment, Land , Water and Planning) has completed a climate change adaptation gap analysis to find out about work that has already been done across the state.   To find out more about this program visit their website.

Climate Adaption Public Workshop

Tue 11th Feb, 10:00 am - 3pm Mercure Hotel

To register for a public workshop you need to register.   The day will consist of presentations in the morning from field experts, as well as looking at how local governments are tackling climate adaptation. Breakout sessions in the afternoon will be based on different themes (i.e. biodiversity, agriculture, water, health) to discuss adaptation needs in these areas.


Living on the edge of Buninyong on a rural residential property my wife Chrissy and I are so fortunate to be retired, have an abundant produce garden and ample room for our grandchildren and pets to enjoy an outdoor life. Our local environment is rich with wildlife, farm animals, stunning views and fresh air.
When Chrissy and I moved to our home twenty five years ago we had many carefree summer months enjoying the warmth, long days and ease of travel to the Great Ocean Road and Melbourne for relaxation and entertainment. Prior to that our experience of the Ash Wednesday fires when we lived in Melbourne’s sand belt more than ten years earlier had consisted of being inundated by smoke and ashes from the Anglesea and Lorne fires and subsequent horror of the extent of loss of life and property across South East Australia. Now living in Buninyong, we certainly were aware of potential fire risks, however it wasn’t until the Linton and Enfield bushfires in the 1990’s that we gave much consideration to planning for large scale fires in our region.
Fast forward 25 years and Chrissy and I now constantly plan ahead when considering our personal safety, our grandchildren, pets, garden and property.
Since developing our Fire Survival Plan using the resources and template provided by our local CFA five years ago, Chrissy and I have needed to activate the plan on multiple occasions each bushfire season. As we get older and often having grandchildren staying with us, our decisions on whether to stay to defend our home or go are becoming less straight forward as managing children and pets during a fire threat is all consuming leaving little capacity to take other preventative steps.
Travelling away from home on days likely to have high winds and temperatures now requires us to plan how our pets can be managed and we make sure we have personal protective apparel with us in case we encounter wild fires while travelling. Our basic kit bags contain cotton coveralls, goggles, cotton hats, face masks, gloves, socks and sturdy leather boots. We prepare bags with personal items that we would need if our home were to be lost including toiletries, legal documents scanned onto a data stick, phone chargers and changes of underclothes.
You might consider this overkill but last bushfire season, we enacted our Fire Survival Plan to defend our property four times between November and March for fire outbreaks in forests and plantations within four kilometres of our home. Being prepared for the event of fires that are more intense and spread over a longer season requires having personal plans that are communicated with your family and that have been rehearsed so that they can be effectively implemented when under the stress of a real emergency in which smoke, noise and heat can reduce your capacity to focus and make appropriate decisions.

1205 Winter St Scotsburn Fires


By now our ritual of preparing for ember attack is well rehearsed. This involves removing all flammable materials away from the house, blocking down pipes and filling spouts and our bath with water, strategically locating mops, filled buckets and knapsack sprayers around the house, moving cars and gas cylinders away from the house, turning off mains gas and connecting a garden hose internally to our laundry taps. We have an escape car ready as needed and we contact family and neighbours about our plans.
We are told the earth’s average temperature has risen around one degree Celsius and the carbon dioxide levels have reached over four hundred parts per million. Our climate will continue to deliver multiple extreme heat days and extreme wind storms most years.
Chrissy and I wish we could have our old climate back, but unfortunately it is widely accepted that even if the whole world stopped adding greenhouse gases to our atmosphere now there is probably going to be a lag period of decades before this might occur. In the meantime it is important for us to adapt to our new climate reality, while we still advocate for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. On the positive side our avocado trees, lemon scented gum trees and buffalo grass which we couldn’t grow in Buninyong 25 years ago are thriving!

Ian Rossiter


climate adaption poster fireBook Now!

This Forum has been promoted across markets in Creswick, Lake Wendouree, Brown Hill. We have sent it to schools, Councils, across many Facebook groups.  Almost everyone we have invited was impressed by the event, agree its an important initiative and say they will be coming.

So NOW is the time to book your place. This forum requires pre-registration. Next week we will be sending attendees a preparation package to offer some background on the subject and encourage you to pull together your thoughts, questions and ideas on the New Bushfire Reality.

We want strong, thoughtful input from the community on the day and afterwards.

Register now.  Invite a friend or neighbour.

Read more: The New Bushfire Reality Forum

Climate Reality LogoClimate Adaption Discussion

To help us formulate the upcoming Adaption forums BREAZE is holding a drop in session for you to come in and discuss your ideas regarding the purpose, strategy and topics that will be covered by these events.

Was Held on Saturday 31st August 10am - 12am

Where: Trades Hall Council Function Room,  24 Camp Street, Ballarat

If you would like to discuss it then ring Joe Natoli on 0411 568 523 or email Joe.

As part of BREAZEs Adapting to the New Climate Reality Project we are holding a Forum on our changing Bushfire reality. Bushfire are a fact of life in Australia but a rapidly warming climate has meant we have to prepare for more frequent and fiercer fires.   Whether you live in the bush, on the edge of Ballarat or in town bushfires will affect you and you need to know how to protect yourself.  

Read more: The New Bushfire Reality

In 2018/19 BREAZE and Ben in collaboration with Federation University and the Regional Sustainability Alliance Ballarat (RSAB) developed plans for two Climate Adaptation Forums - addressing the need for greater public awareness of the New Bushfire Reality and the challenges to Biodiversity.

ClimateRealityLogoThe New Bush Fire Reality Climate Adaptation Forum was held on 10 November 2019 at the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute.

The panel of speakers included:

      • Michael Boatman – Operations Manager Ballarat Country Fire Authority (CFA),
        Chair Grampians Fire Emergency Committee
      • Adrian Whitehead – from Council Action in the Climate Emergency (CACE)
      • Bill Cook – Municipal Emergency Manager, City of Ballarat and CFA volunteer.
      • Tony Brady – CFA Vegetation Management Officer

The Report of the Forum can be downloaded from the column links on the right.

The Biodiversity Climate Adaptation Forum will be held later in 2021 or in early 2022, depending on the Covid vaccine roll out and related restrictions.

If you are interested in being involved in the Biodiversity Forum please get in touch with BREAZE Inc. We have a forum sub-committee and would love to have more volunteers. 



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