In May 2020 the Victorian State Government announced a grant of $450,000 to install solar and battery generated power at eight community buildings and sites, to 'enhance the Ballarat community’s assets, create jobs, reduce energy costs, maximise savings and reIMG 0553duce emissions at a local level.' The eight projects were identified and developed by Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions Inc (BREAZE) through Ballarat’s Community Power Hub to benefit Ballarat and the wider region.

          • Child and Family Services (CAFS) received $30,000 to install solar systems to to reduce energy costs enabling savings to be directed into community programs. In addition
          • McCallum Disability Services received $70,000 to install solar on eight social housing sites for people with disabilities to reduce their energy costs.
          • Ballarat Regional Industries received $35,000 to install solar to offset energy costs for workshop site for disability services provider and enhance job opportunities.
          • Ballarat Cemetery Trust received $80,000 to install battery to provide power to crematorium during power outages.
          • Ballarat Table Tennis Association received $35,000 to install a solar system to offset costs and provide better facilities for members.
          • Ballarat Squash and Racquetball Club received $25,000 to install a 20 kW solar system to offset costs and provide better facilities for members.
          • The Old Colonists' Association received $75,000 to solar on twelve social housing sites for low socio-economic pensioners.
          • Uniting Cre Australia received $100,000 to install solar systems on UnitingCare social housing in Ballarat and Western Victoria to reduce energy costs for low-income households

PHOTO - BREAZE Board member and GRE Project Coordinator, Peter Reid with Noelene Collins, Housing Manager, McCallum

BREAZE members and supporters can now contribute to the Ballarat Housing Strategy. The City of Ballarat Draft Housing Strategy has been released and is open for online consultation until April 30th. With Ballarat anticipated to grow by 50,000 residents by 2040, this is a really important opportunity to try to ensure new housing development is environmental best practice. The Discussion Paper should provide an understanding of the Ballarat housing future. The Council advises that responses and feedback provided from community engagement will be considered in the draft Housing Strategy. Engagement on the discussion paper has been extended to 30 April 2021. Click here to have your say: Ballarat Housing Strategy | mySay - City of Ballarat

The spatial simulation of the energy efficient housing model


thumbnail new newAn evening with Fahimah

Come and hear Fahimah, committee member and the Sydney convenor for the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) and the Director of Fahimah Designs and co-president of Muslim Collective, a diverse and inclusive community for progressive thoughts and social action, talk about  climate justice and the need for a diverse climate movement and her own inspiring story.

It's on tonight at 7:30. 

MDBallarat Net Zero 2030!

At its 24 March meeting the City of Ballarat Council responded to a Council staff report on setting a community net zero target prepared by the Sustainability Officer, Ching Tiong Tan (Tan), unanimously endorsing a community net zero date of 2030 – as proposed by Cr Belinda Coates. It’s a decisive step in addressing the climate emergency, but one which will of course need to be matched with appropriate funding in the upcoming budget.

Thank you to all who wrote letters and made submissions to Council. Your voices were heard and your good work paid off. Now, of course we must keep reminding Council along with the rest of the community about what is at stake. We have only nine years left to slash emissions sufficiently to set the right trajectory for the Paris target of zero 2050.

'Decarbonising our Regional Cities' - A Ballarat Case Study’

We in Ballarat are relatively well placed to take the lead here, being in the Western Victorian Renewable Energy Zone, with some key industries – McCains and Mars – already showing the way. Interestingly on 20 April from 1-2 pm climate think tank, Beyond Zero Emissions, is holding a free webinar in collaboration with the Committee for Ballarat – Decarbonising our Regional Cities' - A Ballarat Case Study – So if you want to find out more about how local industry is responding to this challenge click the link above. 

Smart Living Ballarat

BREAZE welcomes the new Smart Living Ballarat coordinator/host - Sam Rodgers 

The next Smart Living Ballarat online talk on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 AT 12:30 PM is Meet Ballarat's EV Enthusiasts - an introduction to electric cars and includes interviews with Pat Hockey (Nissan Leaf), Sandra Hawkins (Tesla Model 3) and Sam Blanchard (Hyundai Kona) – about what it’s like having an electric car and where to purchase, maintain and charge an EV in Ballarat. Rob Law from Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance will also discuss the Charging our Regions Project. Log on via SLB Facebook

Ballarat Green Drinks - 'Facing the Future: Faith in Climate Action'

On Thursday 15 April at 7:30 pm Ballarat Green Drinks continues online. Our April presenter, Fahimah, is Sydney Convenor of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and Director of Fahimah Designs, an architecture practice that specialises in energy efficient, low carbon buildings. Fahimah will talk about justice, diversity and her own journey in the climate movement. Fahimah will be speaking on why she got involved in climate activism, and why she choose ARRCC as her activism home. She will also be discussing the role that people of faith can play to broaden and deepen the climate justice movement, and the opportunities coming up with 'Sacred People, Sacred Earth', a global multifaith year of climate action. Register for free via Ballarat Green Drinks Facebook  

BREAZE Talks to Brett McDonald on Ballarat Today – Radio 3BA

The next BREAZE talk on 3BA is on Friday 23 April at 10:15 AM. We hope that members will tune in to hear Board member Emily Lee, talk to Brett about ‘What you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.’ It’s a topic with renewed importance now that Ballarat has a community net zero target date.

JOIN US! - 18th April Get-together for BREAZE members and friends

The Board invites all BREAZE members and friends to join us for a get-together on Sunday 18th April from 3-5 pm in the Champagne Lounge at the Lake View Hotel - to celebrate COVID normal and the BallaratNetZero2030 target – and to just catch up with friends.

BREAZE Social Solar

BREAZE Social Solar will be getting a bit of media attention soon as the ten major projects, 9 of which are being administered under the Grampians Renewable Energy Program come to fruition. Many thanks to all who have worked on and donated to the program. Please consider supporting the work of BREAZE Social Solar with a donation to One Dollar, One Watt –- All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Board Vacancies

If you have a passion for climate action and are interested in working with us on the BREAZE Board send us an expression of interest. We are particularly looking for people with experience in: Project management; Media/communications; Marketing; Information technology; Event management; Fund raising; or Writing grant applications. Please also note that BREAZE members are welcome to attend monthly Board meetings. Any member interested in joining the Board or in just attending the April Board meeting, now held via Zoom, should email me –

All the best


Mary Debrett
President, April 2021

 ‘Meet Ballarat’s EV Enthusiasts’ is an introduction to electric cars including interviews with Pat Hockey (Nissan Leaf), Sandra Hawkins (Tesla Model 3) and Sam Blanchard (Hyundai Kona).

We find out the best and worst things about having an electric car (spoiler alert: there aren’t many ‘worst’ things), as well as where to purchase, maintain and charge an EV in Ballarat.

We also chat to Rob Law from Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance about the Charging our Regions Project. This free one hour session will include a Q&A so any questions you may have about EV ownership can be answered by one of our experts. 
The session will also be streamed live to the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page and posted afterwards for you to rewatch later!

f514335c 6de9 4d1d a08f b063374e0619

IMG 4024 1 At their 24 March meeting, Ballarat City Council unanimously voted in favour of a motion put by Cr Belinda Coates for a Ballarat community wide net zero emissions target for 2030.

In a great demonstration of bipartisanship, Cr Amy Johnson, seconder of the motion, commended Cr Coates for her advocacy on emissions reduction.  

Thank you and well done to all who wrote and/or called councillors about the importance of setting a community net zero target. But please, don't stop now. We still need to remind Council that we expect them to back this target with a detailed plan, and to allocate funding for that, when it comes to the upcoming annual budget and council plan.


The following piece, arguing for a community net zero target was published on the Opinion page of The Courier on Saturday 20 March.

Think global, act local: why Ballarat should adopt a zero community target 

For many of us, a masked boy against a tangerine sky sheltering in a boat off Mallacoota beach, was the indelible imprint of new year’s eve 2020. Climate change before our very eyes – up and down the east coast, pyro-cumulonimbus clouds igniting firestorms, ripping through rainforest, incinerating 82 per cent of the World Heritage listed, Greater Blue Mountains area, driving endangered species to the brink of extinction, if not beyond. Devastating lives, livelihoods and communities, Black Summer shocked the nation – and the world. But then came Covid taking its terrible toll. And now it seems we may be at risk of simply accepting this disturbing new climate reality, reassuring ourselves that droughts and bushfire have always come and gone in this ancient land – of pretending it’s normal, even though we know it’s not.

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its 1.5ºC Report advising that humanity had 12 years in which to set emissions reductions in a trajectory to meet the zero 2050 target – a trajectory requiring sharp cuts by 2030. Now of course that timeline for action has been reduced to just nine short years. 

So news that the Ballarat City Council will be considering a zero community target for greater Ballarat when it meets next Wednesday, should be welcomed by all. Consultation on the target date by which community emissions must reduce to net zero, plus a Plan – presumably with interim targets and sector by sector goals showing how this can be achieved – will follow in due course.

This city has, of course, not been lacking in action on climate change. Back in 2018, Ballarat City Council voted to endorse the Declaration of Climate Emergency – an initiative launched in Victoria, which has since been signed by 1,890 jurisdictions and local governments covering 826 million citizens. It was also in 2018 that Ballarat joined the Cities Power Partnership, a local government climate network. And then in the following year, Council unanimously endorsed the Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan with a 2025 target for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from council operations to net zero. This month’s development, a zero community target, will enable the Council to build on these initiatives, by implementing the final item in its Action Plan: ‘Empowering communities.’

Naysayers will likely deride the value of a Zero Ballarat target as having little impact on the global problem of climate change. This line of argument routinely references the world’s top five emitters – China, US, India, Russia and Japan, who far exceed the rest of the world in the scale of their emissions – while neglecting the cumulative significance of smaller emitters like Australia, who collectively constitute a sizeable proportion of the problem. In the spirit of the concept, Think global, act local, a more compelling argument for many of us, is that if we don’t act on the IPCC’s advice, can we really expect others to?  

Ultimately of course, we have little to lose and everything to gain by setting a community target and working collaboratively to achieve carbon neutrality. Whatever the costs of action, the costs of inaction are far greater and more devastating for future generations. The fact that air pollution from GHGs has long been a serious public health problem, triggering 3000 deaths annually – exacerbating lung cancer, asthma, heart disease and stroke – means that cutting emissions will have an immediate health benefit. The other costs of climate inaction – extinction of native flora and fauna, food and water security issues, not mention the risks to coastal real estate and the impact on everyday life and outdoor sports – have been widely detailed. 

On the upside, however, the way in which we respond to this crisis has potential to foster prosperity in our region. By taking bold action now and becoming a leader in driving down community emissions, Ballarat can demonstrate green credentials and optimise the geographical advantage of being in the Western Victoria Renewable Energy Zone (REZ). Given the anticipated investment in clean energy in this region, becoming a carbon neutral community will also be good for Ballarat business.

Only by setting targets at international, national, state AND local levels will we build the momentum for the level of change we need to decarbonise the economy.

With global and local imperatives at play here, we need strategies to integrate our Covid economic recovery with our social and environmental needs, to accelerate emissions cuts.

An ambitious target with a community-wide plan will bring other benefits, facilitating cross-sector collaboration via engagement with the challenge, forging resilience, thereby truly ‘empowering the community’. Surely we owe this to our children and grandchildren and all who follow. Carpe diem –Ballarat Net Zero 2030. 

Mary Debrett
President, BREAZE Inc.




2013 walk at the lakeBREAZE members and friends are invited to an informal get-together in the Champagne Room at the Lakeview Hotel on the shores of Lake Wendouree from 3pm to 5pm. It's a chance to meet with board members and others to catch up and have a chat about local community-driven efforts to reduce emissions and address climate change impacts. Don't miss this great chance to share with like-minded folk at this critical time. Email  if you intend to come along



MDThere’s no guidebook for decarbonising the economy but as we all know it’s something we must embrace and accelerate. So it’s good to see the number of State Government renewable energy initiatives launched in recent weeks, many with the double function of addressing the COVID downturn. 

The Renewable Energy Zones Directions Paper seeks community and other stakeholder feedback on issues related to the 6 designated REZs of which Western Victoria is one. The paper outlines a proposed new agency, VicGrid, along with investment in poles and wires, and grid stability upgrading, to better integrate distributed renewable energy sources and facilitate development of REZs. Additionally there's a recently announced Neighbourhood Battery Initiative, running simultaneously with an EngageVictoria survey  – and a Small Business Energy Saver Program subsidising energy efficiency upgrades.

HAVE YOUR SAY - A Zero Emissions Target for the Ballarat Community

Meanwhile, City of Ballarat staff are currently preparing a Report for councillors, proposing a community zero emissions target for the whole community. This would be setting a target date for zero community emissions.  This ZERO COMMUNITY target is being proposed over and above the City of Ballarat’s Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan,  which is for emissions from Council operations – passed in 2019 with a 2025 target date,. 

Ballarat Zero 2030

BREAZE believes that Ballarat can be a model Zero Community for the region, one that  has already made great strides in driving renewables and is much better than many others to lead in decarbonising the economy. Key Ballarat industries, McCains and Mars, have already shown leadership in committing to renewable energy. A Zero Emissions Community Target led by the City of Ballarat would be accompanied by a Plan, outlining how different sectors could reduce their emissions. Readers may be interested in checking out Ballarat’s GHG emissions via the local government Snapshot Tool – developed by Ironbark Sustainability and Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) – which gives a sector by sector breakdown of emissions.

Zero emissions by 2030 for the Ballarat region is a long-held BREAZE goal, and the BREAZE Board is keen to see a similarly ambitious target date set by Council, when it considers the upcoming Report at its 24 March meeting. Council meetings are now being held in person but public participation is limited to email/online.

Ballarat residents who want an ambitious target should let council know. You can do this in several ways: 
    • Write to your Ward Councillor, prior to the 24 March Council meeting date, telling them what you would like to see as the target date and why you think this is important. For councillors’ emails visit
    • Make a Public Representation to Council.Submissions (no more than 200 words) must be emailed to by no later than 4.30pm on the day of Council meeting; and will be read out by the Chief Executive Officer or nominated delegate at the meeting prior to the matter being considered by Council.
    • Ask a Question of Council–75 words or less. Questions must be submitted via email to by no later than 4:30pm on the day of the Ordinary meeting.For further information on questions see:
Read more: President's Report March 2021