MD 2023


Last week, ‘Gobsmackingly bananas,’ an article by The Guardian’s Environment Editor, Damian Carrington, documented continuing record-breaking temperatures across the planet. Quoting a tweet by climate scientist, Zeke Hausfather, the article made the following grim observations:

Conditions have now rebounded to an El Niño event, which releases ocean heat and drives up temperatures. It’s all but certain that 2023 will be the hottest on record and 2024 may even exceed that, as the heating impact of El Niño is felt most in the year after it begins.

In ‘Meet the Hustlers’  in this week’s The Saturday Paper, Polly Hemming, Director of the Australia Institute Climate and Energy Program, provides a chilling analysis of how Australia’s representatives continue to game international climate talks. Noting that we’re apparently very good at it, she observes ‘Australia gives more aid to the fossil fuel industry than it does to the Pacific region’–  the nations arguably most at risk from climate change, as global warming dirves rising sea levels.

In The Conversation, 2 October, Judith Brett’s Too hard basket: Why climate change is defeating our political system,’ is the first in a series on climate change and the energy transition. This is a terrific, succinct overview of recent local developments, from the Intergenerational Report to the climate and security analysis ordered by the Albanese Government from the Office of National Assessments (ONI) and delivered in 2022 – but yet to be released – and various commentary and analysis on government obfuscation/inaction.

The final paragraph no doubt speaks for many of us:

As governments around the world, not just ours, are failing to reduce carbon emissions fast enough to prevent catastrophic climate change, we still have to live from day to day, week to week and year to year. 
I don’t want to live in dread of a dystopian future, or consumed with anger at go-slow governments, or in a state of depressed apathy because of my powerlessness, so I go about my generally enjoyable life accompanied by the drone of doom in the pit of my stomach.

Meanwhile, as reported by Giles Parkinson in Renew Economy on 9 October,  the clever team at the Clean Energy Council (CEC) have been warning that Australia will miss the 100% renewables grid 2035 target unless we ramp up development with better policies soon. The CEC has produced The Power Playbook, which calls for :

A Clean Energy Transformation Investment Package of around $10 billion over the next decade to boost Australia’s Australia’s international competitiveness.
It also calls for a “Renewable Energy Superpower Masterplan”, including extending the large scale renewable energy target from 2030 to 2040, including new national targets for rooftop solar and distributed energy storage, a national offshore wind target and support for home batteries and green hydrogen and green minerals.

The CEC warns there is a ‘global race for capital and supply chains’ and missing out is on the cards if we can’t match what other nations are investing. It’s a call that resonates with this month’s Ballarat Green Drinks talk – see below. 


19 October: Ballarat Green Drinks – every third Thursday of the month
Tom Quinn: ‘The Clean Energy Transition, the IRA and How Australia Should Respond.’Tom Quinn FB post

Ballarat local, Tom Quinn who is also former Head of Policy and Research at climate think tank, Beyond Zero Emissions will be talking about the clean energy transition this month at Bunch of Grapes Hotel from 7-8pm.

Tom is currently leading combined work to secure a $100 billion Australian response to the US Inflation Reduction Act (2022).
This is a remarkable joint effort by the unions, environmental and business sectors to establish a significant program to decarbonise industry, establish a massive green commodity export industry and in the process aim to cut global emissions by 6-9% (more than Australia's 1% direct contribution). You can read more about this in this article in The Guardian

With the window for action on runaway climate change rapidly shrinking, we know we have to accelerate the clean energy transition. Dumping fossil fuels is our most immediately effective action to stabilise climate. Don't miss this very timely talk. Tom is a great speaker and eminently qualified on this topic. 

6:30-8:00pm, Bunch of Grapes Hotel, 401 Pleasant St, South, Ballarat 
Join us for drinks/dinner and great talks and conversation.  

To read more about Tom -  Register via

25 October: Smart Living Ballarat - Fourth Wednesday of the month

12:30-1:30 pm – Getting to know your native plants – Stephanie DavisonScreen Shot 2023 10 09 at 2.22.27 pm

The forests, grasslands and wetlands around Ballarat are home to many beautiful and important indigenous plants. Discover what makes Australian plant life unique and precious; get to know some local treasures and favourite places for wildflower walks; find out about the growing number of local community groups promoting native flora and fauna; and consider how and why you might grow indigenous trees, shrubs and groundcovers in your patch.

Stephanie Davison has worked in science education and outreach in schools and university, volunteers with the CoB Indigenous Plant Nursery, is an active member of the Wattle Flat Pootilla Landcare Group and a founding member of Gardens for Wildlife Ballarat. Her talk is based on the practical experience of growing and observing indigenous plants in gardens and natural landscapes in and around Ballarat.

Venue: FedTAFE Horticulture Campus, Corner Gillies and Gregory Streets, Wendouree.
Enter via the front door facing onto the Gillies Street carpark.
Free Parking: Off-street carpark on the corner Gillies and Gregory Streets. Carpark entry is via Gregory Street very close to the intersection. If the carpark is full, use on-street parking in Gregory Street and then walk to the main campus entry via the carpark facing Gillies Street.

Optional Nursery and Gardens Tour (max. 1.5 hours): If your time permits, join us after the talk for a visit to the neighbouring City of Ballarat Indigenous Plant Nursery. We will then carpool to view the
indigenous garden bed at Ballarat Botanical Gardens and return to Gillies Street to continue our afternoon explorations with a guided walk through the mature indigenous plantings at North Gardens Wetland. Come along for any or all of the tour.

As always, the presentation will also be streamed live to Facebook and posted for later viewing on the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page. It's not the same experience as being there live though, so get along in person if you can!

No need to register, everyone welcome. Smart Living Ballarat is a free monthly workshop series looking at all different topics around sustainable living. It is made possible through a partnership between BREAZE and the City of Ballarat.  Join your host, Ellen Burns, on the 3rd Wednesday of every month!

27 October, 10:15am - BREAZE TALKS ON RADIO 3BA Screen Shot 2023 10 09 at 2.54.15 pm

BREAZE Board member, Sue Broadway, will be talking about induction cooktops with Brett McDonald on Ballarat Today – don’t forget to tune in!

Sue has done quite a bit of research on the topic and is hosting our final Green Drinks talk for 2023 on 16 November, when former BREAZE President, Ian Rossiter will be giving a user’s perspective and what to look for when purchasing an induction cooktop. 


BREAZE Board member, Sally Missing, Coordinator of the Building Better Homes for the Future forums made a submission on behalf of BREAZE to the City of Ballarat’s Housing Policy, currently in review. The submission will be available on the BREAZE website when it is back online. A major system crash of our website platform, Joomla, in Texas, has left our site offline since early October. We apologise for the inconvenience and hope to have it back up soon.

BREAZE Inc. was recently invited by Re-Wiring Australia to be Expert Community Partner in their Electrify My Community program. We look forward to working with other communities and sharing experiences and resources with Re-Wiring Australia – the organisation founded by engineer and entrepreneur, Saul Griffiths, author of The Big Switch plus many other achievements.

BREAZE Inc. Board meetings are held on the third Monday of the month and alternate between Zoom and face to face meetings over dinner at the Royal Mail Hotel in Sebastopol. If you are a paid up member of BREAZE Inc. you are welcome to join us. If you would like to volunteer with us we would love to hear from you. Please email and I will forward you link/details. 


Dr Mary Debrett
President, October 2023

Tom Quinn FB post
At October Ballarat Green Drinks, local renewable energy consultant Tom Quinn, former Head of Policy and Research at climate think tank, Beyond Zero Emissions, gave the audience his insider's view on a multi-partner lobbying group endeavouring to boost the nation's chances of reaching clean energy super power status. Tom is currently leading combined work to secure a $100 billion Australian response to the US Inflation Reduction Act. Read about it in this article in The Guardian.  
This remarkable joint effort by the unions, and the environmental and business sectors, to establish a significant program to decarbonise industry, establish a massive green commodity export industry and in the process aim to cut global emissions by 6-9% (more than Australia's 1% direct contribution), began in July. Tom's talk was a whirlwind tour through the hopes and possibilities of his work in navigating the corridors of power, nudging politicians to move, on what looks like Australia's only chance for prosperity in the tumultuous period ahead, as the rest of the world transitions to clean energy and green steel and our export markets dwindle.

You can download Tom's presentation here.

You can read more about Tom here -



 MD 2023Climate in the News this month

Last week the Australia Institute’s Climate of the Nation Report was released– it’s Australia’s longest continuous survey of community attitudes to climate change and certainly didn’t get the coverage it deserves, so worth a look.

This latest report on public attitudes to climate change and climate action indicates widespread ongoing confusion and ignorance, even as the devastating effects of climate change are hammered home around the world on a daily basis. Read the Report here

"In 2023, Climate of the Nation asked for the first time about Australians’ concerns regarding the impact of climate change on the cost of living. Three in four (75%) say they are concerned about more expensive insurance premiums, and the same proportion (75%) are concerned about disruptions to supply chains making it harder to buy necessities.

The top three climate impacts of concern are more droughts and flooding affecting crop production and food supply (80%), more bushfires (79%) and the extinction of animal and plant species (79%).

Australians oppose new gas, coal and oil projects and fossil fuel subsidies"

Just two lines down the summary also notes: ‘56% of Australians know that opening new coal, gas and oil projects will make it harder for Australia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030’ – which indicates that 44% of Australians do not yet realise this.

Read more: President's September Report

Screen Shot 2023 09 15 at 11.21.48 amWant to get your kids excited about sustainability? Smart Living Ballarat's 27 September session falls within school holidays, so we have planned a special kid-friendly edition! Green Earth Kids is a business dedicated to inspiring children, families and businesses to live in a more Earth friendly way 🌏
Miree runs eco workshops specialising in sensory play and craft activities using natural and recycled materials 👧
She has also just launched a range of DIY Eco Party kits for your child's next birthday! 🥳
Kid's activities will be set up in the room and the presentation will be aimed at adults but kid-friendly.
The in-person workshop will be held in the meeting room at Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council, down the hallway of the BRMC hall (the old Ballarat East Library).
The best place to park is in the carpark at the back, just off Princes St, and there are disable parks available right next to the hall (enter the carpark off Princes St and keep driving up the hill).
As always, the session will also be streamed live to Facebook and posted for later viewing on the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page.

It's not the same experience as being there live though, so get along in person if you can! No need to register, everyone welcome.
Smart Living Ballarat is a free monthly workshop series looking at all different topics around sustainable living – made possible through a partnership between BREAZE and the City of Ballarat. Join your host, Ellen Burns, on the 3rd Wednesday of every month!

Handing the report to Juliana Addison2 copyWith the State Government due to review their Gas Substitution Roadmap in the coming months, Environment Victoria wanted to show the government that Victorians are asking for the Roadmap to be strengthened with setting specific goals and timelines to assist households to get off gas.  After surveying over 220 locals and having conversations around replacing gas appliances, a Report – What do Victorians Think about Gas? – was compiled and handed to local politicians recently on the steps of parliament. 
Together with a cost comparison report compiled by RENEW, the Report shows overwhelming public support to move away from gas.
In addition it's clear that Victorians will save by switching across to all electric. To find out more about how to save by getting off gas read Environment Victoria's IT’S A GAS: How ditching gas this winter can cut heating bills by 75%
AUTHOR: BREAZE Board member, Sue Broadway also volunteers with Environment Victoria


2023 Sept BGD Gib Wettenhall

Next up at Ballarat Green Drinks - Thursday 21 September 6:30-8pm - Gib Wettenhall OAM will talk about biorich plantation and sustainable buiding with timber.
An award winning author, with a background in journalism, editing and law, Gib turned to tree growing, managing a biorich plantation at Lal Lal. 
The biorich plantation optimises habitat for wildlife while offering resources to landowners for income diversification.
A founding member of the Ballarat Region Treegrowers (BRT) and editor of Australian Forest Growers magazine for 14 years, Gib is committed to sustainable forestry and the ethos of going local and going slow, to minimise energy use and emissions.
As Secretary of BRT, Gib has been involved in a 2021 project fund raising for and overseeing the construction of a 21st century Aussie drop-slab hut by young wood craftsman, Lachie Park, the old slow 'green wood' way, without nails, deploying a minimum of machinery and choosing natural unprocessed products. 
Register free for September Green Drinks now at

MD 2023Getting off Gas.

As something many of us are still struggling with at the domestic level, it was great to have this announcement from the Victorian government last month. 

Victoria becomes the first state and second jurisdiction in Australia to ban gas in new builds - as of 2024. The ACT made the acommitment a year earlier, ending gas in new builds from January 2023 and ending all gas by 2045. The Victorian government's decision comes as a new study of Australian Gas Plants reveals methane emissions greatly exceed those forecast in environmental impact statements. While methane doesn't last as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it is estimated to be 80 times more potent and to account for 30 per cent of warming since the industrial revolution. Sector specific methane targets, plus tax incentives, are among approaches being taken across the world to get everyone on board. A good article on the Study in Renew Economy on 8 August.

'Infrared thermographer Théophile Humann-Guilleminot found 101 leaks and methane venting at 15 of 38 sites visited in New South Wales (NSW), and at 20 of 42 sites visited in Queensland. At some sites there were multiple emissions points from a single piece of equipment ...

Venting, where gas is deliberately released, was found at four of seven Santos coal seam gas wells surveyed in the Pilliga/Bibblewindi forest in NSW, and at the APA-operated compressor station at the Wallumbilla Gas Hub.

“I have personally undertaken methane fieldwork in eight countries and filmed at more than 250 fossil fuel sites. Doing this work in Australia was on another level,” he says.

“In times of heated debates on energy cost, seeing all this gas wasted and supercharging climate change is deeply worrying.”                                                                                                                     

Rachel Williamson in Renew Economy 8 August

Implementing the Ballarat Zero Emissions Plan - a key BREAZE Inc. objective for 2023

Read more: President's August Report

Screen Shot 2023 08 08 at 4.07.30 pmBREAZE Inc. commissioned this guide, which is produced by Hepburn Energy, as part of its work for the Grampians Community Power Hub – to facilitate ongoing community energy projects across the central and western Victoria. The Grampians Community Power Hub Program, funded by the State Government. 

The purpose of this guide is to inform local people and groups in the regions, about community energy, appropriate technologies, models, and processes for delivery.

The guide provides:

-  context and background information on the energy system
-  information on technology and models
-  examples and case studies of community energy projects
-  advice on how to deliver a project
-  and links to other resources

A great opportunity to learn all the ins and outs of growing your own seedlings with Screen Shot 2023 08 02 at 5.51.38 pmBallarat's gardening expert, John "Ditchy" Ditchburn! Ditchy draws on years of local knowledge and gardening experience to bring you techniques and advice that are specific to Ballarat gardens.


Learn how to grow your own veggies from seed and how to grow seedlings that not only survive, but thrive! Now is the perfect time to get prepped for Spring!

Join in person at the Ballarat South Community Hub (behind Pheonix College) or join the session online here:

It will also be streamed live to the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page. The recording will then be posted and available to watch, rewatch and share.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 4th Wednesday of every month to learn new skills for living smarter!