Subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates

Smart Living Ballarat: December 21 - Making Comfrey Balm

SLB December 2022Lidwine Oliver is a Ballarat local who makes her own beauty and skincare products at home.

She will be demonstrating how to make a multi-purpose comfrey and plantain balm moisturiser.
The session was held in person at the Barkly Square kitchen across from A Pot of Courage.
The session was streamed live and posted to the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page.
Smart Living Ballarat is a monthly series of free workshops, looking at different aspects of sustainable living.
SLB, hosted by Ellen Burns is a collaboration between BREAZE Inc. and the City of Ballarat.

November 16 Smart Living Ballarat: Kombucha workshop

How to make kombuchSLB November 2022a and pickles!  
The November SLB was  held at the commercial kitchen in Barkly Square, across from A Pot of Courage. 
We were be joined by Jenny Tait Murnane, who will be taking us through a kombucha making demonstration.
In the second half, Ellen will demonstrate a quick pickling method that can be used for all kinds of vegetables to help make the most of seasonal produce and lower food waste. There are a limited number of spots to attend in person so please reserve a free ticket!
All those who miss out on a ticket will still be able to watch the session, as it was streamed live to the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page.
Smart Living Ballarat is a series of free monthly workshops, put on in collaboration between BREAZE and the City of Ballarat.
Join host Ellen Burns on the 3rd Wednesday of every month to learn new skills for living smarter.  Ellen Burns



Smart Living Ballarat - September 21 - Growing Vegetables Successfully

SLB Ditchy 15922

Ditchy is back for the September Smart Living Ballarat!

GROWING VEGETABLES SUCCESSFULLY: Hints on planting and protecting vegetables. Come along and get set up to plant your Spring and Summer veggies right!

This talk by John Ditchburn (Ditchy) draws on over thirty years' experience of growing vegetables in Ballarat. Areas the talk will cover include:

•  How soil temperature affects seed germination,
•  What vegetables are best planted as seeds and what as seedlings,
•  Soil preparation for different types of veggies,
•  The importance of soil PH,
•  Protecting your vegetables using The Three D’s staged approach to pest control.
Join host Ellen Burns on the 3rd Wednesday of every month to learn new skills for living smarter!


It's official, the 2022 Federal election results show public endorsement of national climate action is widespread. We now have a commitment to accelerate the development of infrastructure required for the clean energy transition, to fast-track the integration of renewables into the national grid. 

 Although we finally have a national plan to green the grid, however, actions to date stop short of what is needed to meet our commitments under the Paris COP. Recent approval of WA's Scarborough gas field makes clear we must push harder for the much-needed ban on new fossil fuel investments – and for shut-down dates for coal-fired power stations

The WA gas field will blow out our emissions reductions targets, as Rhiannon Shine writes in her ABC online article, 'Scientists warn backing fossil fuel projects like Woodside's Scarborough will make meeting climate targets more difficult'

Climate scientist Bill Hare, the founder and CEO of the global research group Climate Analytics, said the development of any new fossil fuel projects including Scarborough was inconsistent with the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

"What I'm seeing now is the gas industry is basically using the Russian-induced energy crisis as a justification for essentially busting the Paris Agreement," he said. 

In Australia, the current rise in energy prices, partially attributed to old coal fired-power stations going intermittently offline and partially to the war in Ukraine – which has pushed gas prices up as the world cancels Russian gas contracts in retaliation and desperately looks for alternative energy suppliers – has fostered conspiracy theories about renewables being more expensive because the sun isn't always shining and the wind ...  yada yada ... as if storage wasn't an option.

And rising energy prices have driven misinformation about the benefits of getting solar panels. Nothing new there of course! Last week, putting the myths to bed,  BREAZE's Peter Reid spoke to Steve Martin on ABC Ballarat about why getting solar panels is still a good investment, even in winter. If you missed it, you can catch it here


Smart Living Ballarat

This month on 15 June from 12:30-1:30 Smart Living Ballarat Coordinator, Ellen Burns, will be talking with Colleen Filippa of 15 Trees – who has pledged to plant one tree for everyone that tunes in to the next Smart Living Ballarat session online! Register here via SLB Facebook

They'll be discussing carbon offsetting, biodiversity, and all things trees. Come along and invite your friends to the event page. If you miss it, you can still catch it on the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page

Ballarat Green Drinks

Ballarat Green Drinks, now hosted by BREAZE Secretary, Pat Hockey, will return on 16 June at 7pm at Lake View Hotel, with 'Destination Safe Earth' Plan E: A climate-centred security strategy, a presentation by Dr Liz Boulton, an ex-Army Officer, who has re-imagined military theory for the Anthropocene. Liz will introduce the concept, which involves a civilian led, civil mobilization against the hyper-threat of climate and environmental change, to rescue our number 1 ally – nature. Don't miss this opportunity to join the discussion on climate security, with Pat, Liz and other BREAZE members and friends.


At the City of Ballarat Council meeting on May 25th BREAZE made two submissions.
Draft Budget Submission

You can download our submission to the Draft Budget for 2022-23

Noting Council's 2018 endorsement of the Climate Emergency and the worsening of climate impacts and extreme weather events since then, BREAZE has asked for 5% of overall Budget expenditure to be allocated to fast-tracking climate actions already outlined in the Council's Carbon Neutrality Plan Progress Update (Presented at Council on 23/2/22).

Environmentally Sustainable Design

 BREAZE board member, Sally Missing also made a submission in support of  Council Strategic Planner, Ed Riley's recommendation for funding the second stage of the  Elevating Environmentally Sustainable Design Project. You can read Sally's submission here.

World Environment Day 2022 Children's Writing Competition - encouraging our future environmentalists

This year the Children's writing competition attracted 121 entries from across four schools. The overall Competition winner was Otway Kelsall of Dana Street Primary School. The other school winners were Hollie Macdonald of Newington Primary, and Ayden Webb of Phoenix P-12 Primary School. There is also a video on the BREAZE Facebook site featuring samples of the children's writing. 

The judges also awarded Special Mention certificates and book vouchers to Niamh Rough, Harry Fellows, Astrid Buchanan, Mae Reid, Claire Gillett, Pippa Martin of Dana Street Primary; Hugo Rawlins, Esther Cutts, Jayden Troy and Eloise Lockwood of Newington Primary; Aleena Rehman, Thomas O'Connor, Ally Baker, Olivia Papageorgiou of Phoenix p-12 Primary; and Leni Romein of St Alipius Primary School. Click to read more about the awards ceremony, which was held at Ballarat Central Library on Monday 6 June, with the Mayor of Ballarat, Cr Daniel Moloney kindly officiating. 

Board Meetings

If you have a passion for climate action and ideas about how you can help BREAZE achieve its mission, please note BREAZE members are welcome to attend monthly Board meetings. Any member interested in attending should email me – 

All the best


Dr Mary Debrett
President, June 2022


MDClimate Action and the Federal Election

With the Federal Election looming, BREAZE was quick off the blocks holding its Candidates Climate Forum on Sunday 1 May at Ballarat Tech School in Albert St, Ballarat Central. Four of the eight candidates standing for Ballarat accepted our invitation: the sitting member, Catherine King (ALP); John Barnes (Greens); Alex Graham (Independent) and Sherryn Sedgman (Federation Party). The Forum, which was well attended, was livestreamed on Facebook, and the video is still available there for those who missed it.  BREAZE also produced a Climate Score Card to inform voters about the candidates' climate policies. The scorecard can be found on the BREAZE website and on Facebook.

Read more: President’s Report May 2022

Safe Climate

The following was published on the Opinion page of The Courier on Saturday 14/5/22.

This election you'd be forgiven for assuming that the climate emergency – hardly mentioned in the leaders' debates – had been downgraded.

During their campaigning, political parties push issues for perceived electoral advantage. So national security, the economy, health and the cost of living have dominated. Climate has emerged only as a second-level concern. It's as if we've forgotten the 'natural' disasters our communities have endured – the Black Summer bushfires, the record-breaking east coast floods and the devastating drought of 2017-2020 that dried the Menindee Lakes, killing fish in massive numbers. Extreme weather events are exacerbated by climate change. It's a connection most Australians now accept, along with the need for immediate action, even if it costs, according to last year's Lowy Institute Climate Poll. As we've also been warned recently, by the IPCC, to stabilise climate and keep warming below 1.5C, emissions must peak by 2025 – meaning radical cuts now.

Those campaign issues – national security, the economy, public health and the cost of living – are all intrinsic to acting on climate.

Dealing with climate change is critical to our national security. Our neighbours, the Pacific Island Nations have indicated climate change is a bigger threat than any risk posed by China. Climate change, driving rising sea levels, will destroy their way of life, rendering them climate refugees. Indeed the projected surge in climate refugees from across the world – as whole cities and vast tracts of land are submerged, and as formerly productive farmland is rendered barren by extreme weather events – will pose a considerable national security dilemma for Australia. And as our coastal and agricultural communities are impacted by climate change, rising homelessness and food security issues will make our nation more vulnerable. 

Climate action is intrinsic to our future economic prosperity. Writing in The Age, Ross Gittins recently noted, 'Three-quarters of the 50 top economists surveyed by the Economic Society of Australia, nominated “climate and the environment” as the most important issue for the election.' According to new Australia Institute research, in 2021-22 Australians paid $11.6 billion in fossil fuel subsidies, an increase of $1.3 billion from the previous year. And public health experts at the University of Sydney, estimate the energy and transport sectors alone cost Australia at least $6 billion a year in health problems. With 70% of our trading partners committed to emissions reductions targets of zero by 2050 we face trade embargos unless we follow suit and abandon our commitment to coal, as former PMs, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull recently warned. 

Of course, as we integrate more renewables into the national grid, the transition to clean energy will ultimately see energy prices fall, especially as more homes become all-electric. Australia, Ross Garnaut has noted, could be a clean energy superpower – exploiting our abundant wind and solar, creating clean energy jobs and producing clean exports such as green hydrogen, green steel and green aluminium.

Thirdly, climate change is also a leading public health issue. Pollution from emissions is a major health hazard. In the past century, heat waves killed more Australians than any other natural event. Other health risks linked to climate change include increased risk of: infectious diseases such as Dengue fever, Ross River virus; and food-borne infections due to increased growth of pathogens such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli. Air pollution – contributing to lung cancer, asthma, heart disease and stroke – triggers 3000 deaths annually. 

The COVID pandemic and its emergence in humans is widely attributed to bats, whose geographic distribution range has shifted with climate change, moving pathogens closer to humans. 

There's also a new wave of mental health problems related to climate change, psychological distress arising from extreme weather events and a rising tide of 'eco-anxiety.' 

Lastly, climate change is also a cost of living issue. Supply chains for locally produced foods and imports are impacted by extreme weather events, set to become more frequent and intense due to climate change, driving price rises. And increasing pressure on water supply will also pressure supply and prompt price rises.

Along with COVID restrictions, border closures and skill shortages, natural disasters exacerbated by climate change have impacted supply chains in the building industry. Businesses, home owners/renovators are being impacted by rising construction costs – steel prices have surged by up to 40%, and timber and electrical materials costs by up to 30%, while freight costs continue to rise. 

And as the impact of extreme weather events hits the insurance industry, we can expect higher insurance premiums. Homes in flood and bushfire zones may become effectively uninsurable. According to data from the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) the recent flooding in Southeast QLD and NSW is the most expensive Australian flooding event of all-time, costing $3.35 billion. Such extreme weather events also impact local governments financially, and will presumably drive rate rises in the future. 

If we are to give future generations a decent shot at a liveable environment, policy-making in defence, the economy and public health needs to embed action on climate. After the Black Summer fires which burnt 82 per cent of the magnificent Blue Mountains and destroyed nearly 3 billion native animals, after this year's east coast floods when whole communities were drowned in record breaking rains, after the IPCC's warnings, are we really just going to shuffle on as if everything is normal? Surely that's untenable.

Keep climate front and centre of mind this election. Cutting emissions, stabilising climate is the fight of our lives. Don’t leave things to chance, check the climate policies of candidates before you vote.

Mary Debrett
President, BREAZE Inc.

279847670 7596968707009712 4445789342220672767 nJoin us for our May session where we will be discussing all things trees with Colleen Filippa from Fifteen Trees! 🌳

Fifteen Trees are a Ballarat-based social enterprise who offer carbon offsets via local, and Australia wide, tree planting.
Their work not only offsets carbon emissions, but strengthens biodiversity, grows canopy coverage and helps to rebuild following bushfires and other natural disasters.
Join us live via Zoom or Facebook to take part in the discussion, or as always you can watch it afterwards as every Smart Living session is recorded and posted to the Smart Living Facebook page.
Tell your tree hugging friends! 🌳 


2022 enviro music prizeThe inaugural Environmental Music Prize –$20,000 AUD – the world’s first music prize that celebrates artists who are inspiring action on climate and conservation. has just revealed its first ever finalists - 24 Australian songs have been selected from over 200 entries. The full list of finalists is below and voting is still open to the public.
The organisers are partnering with Greenpeace, Wilderness Society, Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Ocean Impact Organisation. Their message is let's get the climate community to unite around the power of music! 😊
Part of the goal of the prize is to find a climate anthem to inspire change for the planet.
As a non-profit, the Environmental Music Prize goes far beyond traditional awards and is centred on impact. Core to the design is the desire to educate and empower artists to use their voice and influence, both on and off stage, and become climate leaders. The artists are Australian but voting to open to everyone across the globe. The prize looks to expand to a global stage next year.
Environmental Music Prize founder Edwina Floch recently spoke in a one hour Earth Day special on Outrage + Optimism, a podcast hosted by Christiana Figueres the Chair of Prince William's Earthshot Prize & one of the leading UN figures behind the Paris Climate Accord.
Read more: Environmental Music Prize - Voting still open

This year's Federal election on the 21st of May is an important opportunity to send  politicians a message about the urgency for Climate Action Now – to draw attention to the findings and advice of the latest IPCC Report, the final section of its Sixth Report, and the many encouraging reports on Australia's prospects as a potential renewable energy superpower. We must cut emissions and say no to new coal and gas facilities  – which requires radical changes to the status quo. 

IMG 7959 1Upcoming Ballarat Climate Action Rally - Sunday 1st of May 1-3 pm

Climate activist groups in Ballarat, including BREAZE Inc, will be holding a climate rally on Sunday 1st May to signal the importance we all place on a safe climate and need for government policy to recognise and work towards that.If you are will to be a marshals to assist the rally please get in touch with the organisers. There is a Rally facebook site that has more information. 

BREAZE Candidates Climate Forum
Following the Rally - 4-5 pm Ballarat Tech School, 136 Albert St, Ballarat Central

BREAZE Inc. is also holding a candidates' forum to give Ballarat voters a  chance to question candidates about their climate policies and how they plan to address the climate emergency. This is a free event that can be booked here

BREAZE will also shortly be publishing a Candidates' Score Card to assist voters in putting Climate first.

We will be updating BREAZE members shortly via our website, Facebook and Twitter and our e-newsletter, as soon as more details come to hand.



MDTwo recent key events – the federal budget and the IPCC's final instalment of its Sixth report – bring home the continuing and rising importance of what BREAZE stands for and what we seek to achieve. 

While not mentioned in the Treasurer's budget address to parliament, media analysis of the Federal budget has revealed millions cut from climate actions intended to cut emissions, while approximately $4 billion has been allocated to supporting gas. So more lost opportunities and not the news we want to hear.

'Most prominent in the budget papers was an allocation of $50.3 million to "accelerate the development of property gas infrastructure". The Australia Institute analysis also includes investments in "low emissions technologies", which are allowed to go to gas, as well as investments in the National Water Grid, which includes water infrastructure for a gas hub, and patent concessions, mostly for "low emissions technology" that includes gas.The gas industry itself was pleased with what it saw, with the industry's lobby group noting in a press release: the "federal budget confirms gas central to the economy". Michael Slezak, ABC online, 3/4/22

In an article titled, 'A massive lost opportunity,' Nicki Hutley, Climate Councillor, and former Partner at Deloitte Access Economics, calculates that just 0.3% of total expenditure for 2021-2024 has been committed to climate change initiatives, falling even lower, to just 0.2% in 2024-2026. 

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis is similarly scathing: noting ''spending on LNG, gas, carbon capture and storage, and ‘clean’ but not necessarily ‘green’ hydrogen has increased.'

While Renew Economy offers another very damning summation of the budget's neglect of climate : 'Climate spending cut as Frydenberg delivers empty budget for clean energy and EVs.'

'The budget will see federal government spending on climate change measures decline each year for the next four years, just as the world faces a worsening threat posed by climate change and Australia faces mounting international pressure to pull its weight in global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.'

Released on 4 April, the third and final section of the IPCC's SIxth Assessment Report – analysed in this ABC report – shows the contrast between what we need to be doing to address climate change, and what we are doing, could not be more dramatic. Our failure to act could not be more clear. The 2022 budget doesn't just miss the mark, at this late point in time it betrays us all, and especially our youth, denying them a secure future. 

While noting that emissions, which are still growing, must peak at 2025 if we are to keep global warming to within 1.5C, this latest final section of the Report interestingly notes the emerging importance of non-state and sub-national actors:

'Increasing diversity of actors and approaches to mitigation. Recent literature highlights the growing role of non-state and sub-national actors including cities, businesses, Indigenous Peoples, citizens including local communities and youth, transnational initiatives, and public-private entities in the global effort to address climate change.' 

Last year the Ballarat City Council unanimously committed to an 'aspirational' community-wide emissions reduction target of net zero by 2030. While the word 'aspirational' might appear to provide compromising loop holes I suggest it is up to  us, the community, to make sure that this target – which is indisputably ambitious – is more than aspirational. The IPCC's final instalment of the Sixth Assessment Report makes clear we have no time to lose.  And the 2022 Federal budget has made clear that if the current federal climate policy vacuum continues, there will be no action from the top. Ballarat can be a model for other regional cities, just as Hepburn ZNet has been a model for smaller regional communities. It is up to those of us with the will to act to persuade others we can do it. Think global, act local.

Grampians Community Power Hub (G-CPH)

The Grampians Community Power Hub, one of seven established across the State in 2021, is now in the final quarter of its contract with Sustainability Victoria. Our Project manager: Sowmya Nagaraj, Comms/Admin Officer: Sam Rodgers, Hepburn partner: Hepburn Energy's Taryn Lane, and BREAZE volunteers, Peter Boadle, Paul Duggan and myself, have compiled a list of 40+ potential projects for feasibility studies and energy audits, which it is anticipated, will drive greater uptake of renewables, better energy efficiency and cheaper energy costs for not-for-profits across the region.  The G-CPH is delighted to be able to offer assistance to groups like Natimuk Community Energy, who have been investigating a community solar farm for some years, the St Arnaud Renewable Energy group who are pursuing a community energy hub to address energy security issues and the townships of Ballan and Pomonal who have indicated interest in community battery pilots, which are being pursued as part of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA) Community Sparks program, funded via the Victorian Government's Neighbourhood Battery Initiative. Lots of government initiatives and lots of acronyms  – but also hopefully lots of renewable energy for our regional communities. If you know of any organisations that might be potential clients for the G-CPH please register your interest via the G-CPH website - or email us at 

Smart Living Ballarat

With Smart Living Ballarat Coordinator, Sam Rodgers re-locating with family to Ireland, Jeremy Poxon is taking the reins for the next few months until a permanent appointment is made. Do keep your eyes on the SLB Facebook site for Jeremy's updates on coming events in April and May.

Last month's SLB talk on 16 March was Your Guide to Cloth Nappies and Reusable Sanitary Products and is now available online. Liz Wade from the Ballarat Cloth Nappy Library spoke about the cloth nappies on the market, and how to choose and how to use. Other reusable sanitary items such as menstrual pads, breast pads and menstrual cups. were also covered
Just a reminder: City of Ballarat is now offering Ballarat residents a rebate on cloth nappies and reusable sanitary items.

2022 Federal Election:

The BREAZE Board will be discussing how to put climate policy on the local agenda for the upcoming federal election, at our next meeting on 11 April. We will keep you posted re our decisions. We know there are many other important issues, including COVID, the health system, asylum seekers, and cost of living pressures, but believe that the IPCC report, and what we know about the diminishing opportunity for climate action, makes climate policy our most important issue for this election.

Board Business

BREAZE Board members, Pat Hockey (BREAZE Inc. Secretary) and Sally Missing represented BREAZE Inc. at the Buninyong Smart Building and Living Expo on Sunday 20th March. Thanks for all those who came along and thanks to Buninyong Sustainability and Andrea Mason for making it happen.

Board Meetings

If you have a passion for climate action and ideas about how you can help BREAZE achieve its mission, please note BREAZE members are welcome to attend monthly Board meetings. Any member interested in attending should email me – 

All the best


Dr Mary Debrett
President, April 2022