President's August Report

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

How to make your business energy efficient: A Smart Living Ballarat Special @ B31

With assistance from the Regional Sustainability Alliance Ballarat via the City of Ballarat, BREAZE Inc. organised a workshop at Commerce Ballarat's B31 Business Festival. Hosted by Smart Living Ballarat's Ellen Burns and led by Victorian Energy Scorecard Assessor and carbon accountant, Dale Boucher, the workshop covered how to save on energy bills and cut GHG emissions: From simple fixes for better thermal efficiency and energy use management to the relative merits and RRE of bigger cost items such as rooftop solar, behind the metre, hot water heat pumps, EVs on novated lease and EV chargers, to the most cost-efficient electricity retailers for business. Given the scope for cost savings identified during the workshop we are considering running it again this year. Please get in touch if you are a business owner who would be interested in attending.

How to make your home energy efficient – and save on energy bills and cut emissions
Every Monday - ending 4 September  - free workshops for householders at Ballarat Tool Library

2023  EE Workshop 1Register now to avoid missing out! There are still spaces available in the last two  workshops - Monday  21 August with Tim Drylie and Monday 28 August with Dale Boucher - and in the Review session on 4 September.

Please note, we will only be running  one review session, on Monday 4 September - the previously advertised session on September 11 session will not be running.

For all who attended these workshops, we would love you to come to the 4 September review session to share what you have done/are planning to do and to get some final contemporary advice on government rebates and future planning for energy savings.  This is also a last opportunity to get answers to any questions you have re insulation, draught-proofing techniques/products and/or energy efficient appliances etc.  

Dale Boucher will run the Review Session on September 4 - from 10am-11:30am in the BGT Theatre at Barkly Square.  Register via

Refreshments will be served.

Please do take this opportunity, if you possibly can, to get more free professional advice and to give us some feedback on the workshops. We need your feedback for our funding application to run more workshops in 2024. People who haven’t attended a workshop, who might be interested, are also most welcome to attend.

Funded by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, the workshops are being led by accredited Victorian Energy Scorecard assessors, Dale Boucher and Tim Drylie.  Content covers cheap fixes, how to identify the best energy retailer, energy efficient appliances, and government rebates and subsidy schemes. Participants should bring recent energy bills and letters notifying of energy increases.  The workshops, which are being run by the Ballarat Zero Emissions Alliance (BZEA), of which BREAZE Inc. is a member, are intended as a pilot with further funding to be sought later this year for a longer program for 2024.

Monthly Events

17 August: Ballarat Green Drinks - Third Thursday of the month:

Gardens for Wildlife Ballarat's Stephanie Davison: Creating a Garden Haven for Little Birds2023  BGD Auugust

Don't miss this opportunity to find out what to plant to attract the little birds into your garden:

"Birds add colour and movement to our gardens and their antics never fail to fascinate. When asked, people always say they would like to attract more birds - especially wrens, robins, spinebills, honeyeaters and thornbills. It’s simple to make spaces in your garden where the little birds can feel safe and thrive. In the process you’ll attract other wildlife to your patch and enjoy the many benefits of gardening for wildlife."

Stephanie is a long-term volunteer at the City of Ballarat Indigenous Plant Nursery, 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 and animals in gardens and natural landscapes around Ballarat. 

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

Free book via

26 July: Smart Living Ballarat Fourth Wednesday of the monthScreen Shot 2023 08 02 at 5.51.38 pm 

John 'Ditchy' Ditchburn - 'Grow your own seedlings' - Ballarat South Community Hub, Tuppen Drive (behind Phoenix College) 12:30-1:30 pm

Learn how to grow your own seedlings with Ballarat'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 Phoenix College) or join the session online here:  The talk 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! 

Board Matters

The Special General Meeting of BREAZE Inc. held on Monday 17 July at 5:30pm in the Function Room, the Royal Mail Hotel, 290 Albert St Sebastopol, unanimously approved the following Special Resolution: 

That BREAZE Inc. establishes a new category of membership – BREAZE Inc. Business membership – for which the annual fee will be set at $100.

This resolution, which puts BREAZE Inc. membership categories on a comparable basis to other regional community sustainability groups, is intended to help to address rising operations costs incurred by BREAZE Inc.

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. 

All the best


Dr Mary Debrett
President, June 2023