As Christmas 2022 approaches it seems timely to recap and reflect on BREAZE Inc. achievements for the year - along with our ongoing activities we've had some big ones:   

• Via our leadership of the Grampians Community Power Hub, delivered by Sustainability Victoria we identified 46 community renewable energy projects: from feasibility studies for rooftop solar installations for local not-for-profit organisations, to contracting expert facilitator discussions on governance for a community-solar farm, to scoping a community renewables power hub, to first stage feasibility studies for community battery trials – along with extensive Level 1-2 energy audits for the Grampians Health Service on five sites across three regional locations. We estimate the potential total capacity of this pipeline as 12MW. Sometimes, however, the outcomes were not what we wanted. Community batteries we found, were more complicated than we had thought - the contractor Orkestra, has written an interesting article on the topic. BREAZE volunteers - Peter Boadle, Paul Duggan and myself – committed a $242,200 in-kind contribution to the G-CPH, which ran from 1/7/21-30/6/22. Thanks in large part to our Hepburn branch partner led by Hepburn Energy, we also implemented five projects - rooftop solar, btm batteries and heat pump bulk buys. 

•  To promote environmentally sustainable design (ESD) and initiatives undertaken by the City of Ballarat Planning Department in collaboration with CASBE, a subcommittee of BREAZE Board members – Sally Missing (Coordinator), Sue Broadway and Pat Hockey – organised the Building Better Homes for the Future Forum. Over fifty local developers, architects and builders attended to hear a panel of speakers, led by renowned ESD architect Paul Haar, discuss the possibilities for reducing emissions across the building sector – which contributes 30% of GHG emissions. The video recording of the event can be viewed here.

  • Via our membership of the Regional Sustainability Alliance Ballarat (RSAB) BREAZE Inc. was also involved in the development of the City of Ballarat's Plan for the Net Zero Emissions Ballarat 2030 target This target has been a long-held goal for BREAZE and we look forward to working with the wider community and the Council in promoting and advancing the Plan in 2023.

  • BREAZE Social Solar also kicked some goals: in 2023 we look forward to implementing the Woodbine Inc. Solar Project (58.2kW) in Warracknabeal – to be Project Managed by BREAZE Board member and Renewable Energy Consultant, Vany Gunaratnam – thanks to funding from DELWP's New Energy Jobs Round 6; and to installing two more 6.5kW solar systems on McCallum Inc.'s accommodation units in Ballarat, thanks to a grant of $7,250 from CoPower's social renewables fund. and to the BREAZE Public Fund, chaired by Ian Rossiter.


Environmental Stalls at Lucas 10 Year Party and Sunset Community Market

2022Lucas 3Many thanks to Heath Steward, Senior Sustainable Policy and ESD Officer at the  City of Ballarat, who invited BREAZE to be part of the Environmental space at the Lucas 10 Year Party on  Friday 2nd December.

2022Lucas 4
It proved a great way to meet the locals and talk about the environment. Council staff from Waste and Environment led by HoD Les Stokes were out in force talking about the Circular Economy.

But it was the community group Gardens for Wildlife (GFW) who stole the show with boxes of tube plants - all natives - to give away.

Shout out to the CoB nurseries and Sustainability Officer Dan Siemensma for providing the trees. Sam Strong from GFW and Dan had their work cut out advising on planting and placement of the natives - cool trees that went like hot cakes


Smart Living Ballarat

Smart Living Ballarat talks host, Ellen Burns, is holding the last session for 2022 as a  face to face workshop on How to make Comfrey Balm at Barkly Square. If you find it booked out, don't despair, Ellen had also arranged Facebook livestreaming so you can still join the workshop online. Just in time for Christmas, the 21 December Smart Living Ballarat workshop on making your own comfrey balm, a beauty product, is a chance to make gifts for your sustainability-aware friends and family members. Get your tickets here:

Ballarat Green Drinks

A BREAZE sub-committee will be confirming the program for 2023 shortly. The program will run from February to November on the third Thursday of every month, from 6:30-8:00 pm.

The BREAZE Board will be discussing ideas for BREAZE in 2023 at our final meeting on 19 December. If you have any thoughts on what we should be doing please get in touch and I will forward you the zoom link. 

Many thanks for your membership and support throughout the year for the work of our volunteers. 

Finally, thanks to our volunteers and Board members for all the work we've accomplished this year. It's been great working with you all.

Wishing everyone a relaxing, Covid-free and low carbon Christmas.

All the best,


Dr Mary Debrett
President, December 2022                                                     


SLB December 2022

Lidwine 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.

 MD2030 Zero Emissions Ballarat Plan

The City of Ballarat Council unanimously endorsed the 2030 Zero Emissions Ballarat Plan at the Council meeting on 26 October. BREAZE made a submission advocating for a public launch for the plan and for an awards competition to drive community awareness and participation. We will continue to urge Council to work with the Ballarat community, particularly via our many volunteer groups dedicated to climate action, living sustainably and conserving the environment. This is a terrific initiative by Council. Given a Zero 2030 target has long been a key part of the BREAZE Inc. mission we are particularly pleased to see this policy endorsed. However, we know that it will require ongoing community advocacy and active engagement to drive the lifestyle changes needed to achieve the necessary emissions reductions. Please let us know if you have any suggestions about how we can advance this very important community goal. The Plan can be found inside the Council Agenda (Item 8.8 on page 312) for the 26 October meeting on the Council website - scroll to the bottom of this page

New Energy Jobs Fund Round 6

BREAZE has been successful in its application for funding from DELWP's New Energy Jobs Fund Round 6 - for a project to install rooftop solar on five properties owned by Woodbine Disability Inc. which is based in Warracknabeal, Yarriambiack. Scroll down this link to see the announcement. Woodbine Disability Inc. was the focus of a feasibility study undertaken through the Ballarat Community Power Hub back in 2019. Capacity issues at that time limited the scope for installation. Fortunately, some of those network capacity issues have since been addressed. Now, with the help of the NEJF6 funding, along with the matched funding from Woodbine Inc. and BREAZE, we can complete the project. 

Candidates Climate Forum

With the state election on 26 November approaching, BREAZE held a forum at the Ballarat Tech School on 13 November, inviting candidates standing in the three electorates of Eureka, Ripon and Wendouree, to come and answer questions from the public on their policies to address the climate emergency. There was a very narrow window between the closing of the Victorian Electoral Commission's register of candidates on 11 November and early voting opening on Monday 14th November. As reported at the Forum, BREAZE invited all candidates, even the very minor party candidates who registered in the last two days. Eleven candidates accepted, with two of these cancelling late, due to unexpected events, and one no-show – Paul Tatchel (Liberal Party) Eureka. Formal apologies were received from: Eureka - Wendy Morrison (Animal Justice Party), Michael Ray (Independent), Nicola Reid (Independent) and Michaela Settle (ALP). Ripon - Martha Haylett (ALP), Earl James (Greens), Bernard Quince (Independent), Louise Staley (Liberal Party. Wendouree: Samantha McIntosh (Liberal Party). Given the many reports of devious campaign activities, such as those of the so-called 'preference whisperer', we recommend voting below the line for the Legislative Council (upper house). You are only required to number your first five preferences – so not as demanding as for the Senate in the Federal election. That way you can ensure your vote goes where you want it to go.

BREAZE thanks those candidates who participated in the Forum. Anyone who missed it and wants a better idea of which candidates have the best climate policies should watch the video on the BREAZE Facebook page. With the IPCC advising that GHG emissions must peak by 2025 we know we have no time to lose.

Smart Living Ballarat

Smart Living Ballarat talks host, Ellen Burns has taken the last two sessions for 2022 back to face to face - for warmer months only. The November workshop on Kombucha and Preserving at Barkly Square was fully booked. Fortunately, Ellen had also arranged Facebook livestreaming so no one missed out with others joining the workshop online. Just in time for Christmas, the 21 December Smart Living Ballarat workshop will be on 'Making your own cleaning and beauty products,' – perfect gifts for sustainability-aware friends and family members. Sign up via the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page 

Ballarat Green Drinks

The final Green Drinks talk for 2022 was given by Matt Turner of Enduring Domain Architecture. Matt's talk, 'The future of home: sustainable, accessible affordable,' covered many of insights into how to minimise your carbon footprint when building, along with his own philosophy that informs his professional practice as an architect. 

A BREAZE sub-committee will be confirming the program for 2023 shortly. The program will run from February to November on the third Thursday of every month, from 6:30-8:00 pm.


The BREAZE 2022 AGM was held at Lake View Hotel on 14 November with guest speaker, Jane Lean, talking about the recently launched Newstead Solar Farm. Jane is a former BREAZE Board member, former Chair of the BREAZE Public Fund and former member of the Ballarat Community Power Hub's Project Control Group (2017-2020). Jane moved to Newstead in 2019, taking her zest for community renewables with her, and joined the Renewable Newstead Committee, where she has been part of a process that began around 2012, planning a solar farm to off-set the town's emissions. Jane's excellent presentation – which outlines the various stages the Committee passed through in getting to where it is today – is available on the BREAZE website.

The AGM also saw two new members elected to the Board. A very warm welcome to Lydia Mzondo and Peter Morison for stepping up. 

The BREAZE Board for 2022-2023: Dina Jones (Secretary), Lydia Mzondo, Simon Reid, Paul Tant (Treasurer), Sue Broadway, Campbell Mercer (Vice President) Mary Debrett (President), Sally Missing, Peter Morison, Sue Nunn and Catherine Oakley.

The Board will be discussing ideas for BREAZE in 2023 at our final meeting for 2022 on 19 December. If you have any thoughts on what we should be doing please get in touch and I will forward you the zoom link –

Many thanks for your support for the work of our volunteers. 

All the best


Dr Mary Debrett
President, November 2022                                                    

MDIn Australia, the year 2022 will be remembered by many for the terrible floods, first the east coast of Queensland and NSW, and now north western and central Victoria. While traumatising for affected communities, particularly where homes, businesses and farms have been inundated, as extreme weather events the floods are clear signals that climate change is here and that worse is to come. Globally there is a bare seven years left to get emissions reductions on the right trajectory for net zero by 2050 - the target set to keep global warming to 1.5C and our current best option for avoiding catastrophic climate change. However, there is worse news – we in Australia are facing an even more dire scenario: 'Observations to date indicate Australian warming of around 1.6 °C compared to the globe of around 1.1 °C'. So we need more Australians to get behind calls for closing coal fired power plants and ending gas, coal and oil exploration as soon as possible. With 114 fossil fuel projects still in the investment pipeline across the nation, and with fossil fuel subsidies continuing, there are plenty of reasons for making a lot of noise. It is of course also profoundly bewildering, given Australia's potential to be a clean energy superpower. Even as economists warn of stranded assets, market-driven short termism it seems, continues to be indulged in the face of oncoming climate catastrophe.

At the local level we are focused on doing better and BREAZE Inc. members and supporters have some significant achievements to celebrate. The City of Ballarat has developed a plan for its aspirational community-wide target of net zero emissions by 2030. This is an ambitious target and BREAZE Inc. has been a key player in both the target and the Plan via the Regional Sustainability Alliance Ballarat (RSAB). We look forward to collaborating with other local community groups dedicated to sustainability and climate action in working with the Council in promoting and implementing the Plan in 2023 and beyond.

BREAZE Inc. has also been lead partner in the Grampians Community Power Hub (G-CPH) 2021-22, delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government. The G-CPH Project Control Group included BREAZE Inc. volunteers, Peter Boadle, Paul Duggan, and myself; Hepburn Branch partner representative, Hepburn Energy Manager, Taryn Lane; Sustainability Victoria's Regional Lead for the Grampians, John van Rooden and Jenny Dickson; and BREAZE-appointed employees, Project Manager, Sowmya Nargaraj and Communications/Admin Officer, Sam Rodgers. The G-CPH undertook community engagement across the 11 local government areas of the Grampians Region, seeking to identify potential community energy projects, which were subsequently supported via feasibility studies, energy audits and other assistance with governance and finance matters. Members of the previous Ballarat CPH Project Control Group: Ross Irving, Ian Rossiter and Peter Reid, also kindly provided expertise and advice.

Read more: 2022 President's Report

2022 AGM   3At the BREAZE 2022 AGM on Monday 14 November,  at Lake View Hotel it was welcome to old friends and new members. Our Guest Speaker was Jane Lean from Renewable Newstead (RE), a former member of the BREAZE Board, Chair of the BREAZE Public Trust, and member of the Ballarat Community Power Hub Project Control Group of 2017-2020. The BREAZE Board also welcomed two new Board members, Lydia Mzondo (second from left in the picture) and Peter Morison who was unable to attend on the night. 

Jane gave a presentation on the process the RE Committee followed in establishing the Newstead Solar farm, launched last month by Minister for Energy and the Environment, Lily d'Ambrosio. 

When Jane moved to Newstead in 2019 she joined the Renewable Newstead (RE) Committee, which was committed to establishing a local solar farm to off-set the town's emissions. The Renewable Solar Farm has a commercial operator, Flow Power. Jane explained much of RE's thinking behind the choice of Flow Power was their substantial backer, a Canadian Superannuation Fund, which mitigates against some of the challenges facing smaller Green Energy companies in current times. Jane covered the three mains steps in the pre-development process: Building social licence, assessing technical feasibility and ascertaining financial feasibility. You can download a pdf of Jane's presentation.

The 2022-23 Board above L-R;  Dina Jones (Secretary), Lydia Mzondo (Board member), Simon Reid (Board member), Paul Tant (Treasurer), Sue Broadway (Board member), Campbell Mercer (Vice President), Mary Debrett (President) - Board members not present: Vany Gunaratnam, Sally Missing, Peter Morison, Sue Nunn and Cathy Oakes.

Members can download the Presidents Report 2022 and the BREAZE Inc 2022 Financial Statements 

Mary Debrett



MDOn 5th October, the BREAZE-organised Building Better Homes for the Future Forum was held for the building sector at the Mercure Hotel, Golden Point. Addressing the audience of approximately 60 – builders, architects and developers – keynote speaker, architect Paul Haar, outlined many of the possibilities of environmentally sustainable design (ESD), referencing the eco community of Mullum Creek at Donvale of which he was founding architect. He was followed by Bradley Hall, Director of Chatham Homes, who outlined some of the regulatory obstacles besetting developers keen to apply ESD with reference to a recent 8 star (NatHERS energy efficiency rating) build undertaken locally by his company. Third speaker Joseph van Dyk, Director of Hygge Property, expanded on this theme referencing his company's recent mid-scale developments in Ballarat and Daylesford, where ESD principles have guided design. Final speaker, City of Ballarat's Natalie Robertson, Director of Development and Growth, acknowledged the current bureaucratic hurdles and outlined the work that the City of Ballarat regarding the Elevating ESD Targets Planning Policy Amendment as a partner in the CASBE (Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment) bid by 24 Victorian Councils seeking an amendment to the Victorian planning scheme to elevate sustainability requirements for new buildings.

The Forum – a collaboration between BREAZE, the Committee for Ballarat and the City of Ballarat – was the product of months of work by a group of BREAZE volunteers coordinated by Board member, Sally Missing. Speaking on the night, Sally noted that despite the expense of her own home energy retro-fit she and her partner were still left with a south facing home - and that ESD planning for new builds is essential if we are to cut housing GHG emissions.  

With the right choices we can build houses that are more comfortable - warmer in winter, cooler in summer and cheaper to run. This is also way better for the environment.The construction industry is responsible for 40% of global emissions.  Australians have the biggest houses in the world and Victorian houses  have the highest carbon intensity in Australia. The average Victorian home has a carbon footprint of 8.8 tonnes per annum compared to the Australian average of 7.0 tonnes per annum. Good design is key to more energy efficient homes – and this is where we believe local developers, builders and planners can help in driving the low energy homes we need to achieve a net zero emissions future.

 Sally Missing, Forum Coordinator

One of the key problems for builders and developers embracing ESD is the price premium at point of sale, with home buyers often more focused on immediate cost savings rather than the long term cost-benefits of a sustainable energy efficient home and the energy savings it brings. Back in 1999 the ACT legislated to make it mandatory to include a home's energy rating in the Section 22 distributed by Estate Agents to prospective buyers at point of sale – a move that saw the value of energy efficient homes increase as public awareness grew. Now finally, this will shortly become mandatory across the nation. 

Zero Emissions Ballarat Plan

It is our understanding that the Final Zero Emissions Ballarat (ZEB) 2030 Plan will be presented to Councillors for adoption later this month. BREAZE hopes to see Council initiatives to assist residents with making the clean energy transition, such as solar and heat pump bulk buys, energy audits, and especially assistance to low income households with energy efficient retro-fits. We will publish a link to the Final Plan once it becomes available.


Smart Living Ballarat

The next upcoming talk on Wednesday 19 October at 12:30-1:30 pm, which will be online, will be on the topic of environmentally sustainable design. Watch the SLB Facebook page for updates. Smart Living Ballarat is a series of free monthly workshops, supported by the City of Ballarat. Join host Ellen Burns on the 3rd Wednesday of every month to learn new skills for living smarter!

This event will be presented via Zoom and streamed live onto the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page. A recording of the event will be available on the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page instantly after the event.To join live and be able to participate in the Q+A, please register for the Zoom presentation here:

Want to Volunteer?

In November and December Smart Living Ballarat will shift into face-to-face mode with some practical workshops:

  • 16 NovemberKombucha & Ferments- presenter tbc
  • 21 DecemberMake your own cleaning & beauty products - personal gifts- presenter tbc

Host, Ellen Burns would like volunteers to help with set up etc at the SLB in-person sessions on 16 November and 21 December. If this is something you would like to volunteer for, please get in touch - email //">

Register here via SLB Facebook  If you miss it, you can still catch it on the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page

Ballarat Green Drinks

On 20 October, upstairs in the Marble Lounge at Lake View Hotel, Bob Hartmann, President of Friends of the Canadian Corridor will talk about the work of this phenomenally successful local land-care group. It is the 10th anniversary of FoCC so please come along and celebrate the group's fantastic achievements - Woowookarung, the Wildflower Trail and the Bunny Trail and more.  Bob's talk will begin at 7:00pm but we suggest you arrive at 6:30pm or earlier to grab a drink and bite to eat and join us for dinner. Bob will talk for about 30 minutes leaving another 30 minutes for Q&A, finishing at 8pm.

The next talks scheduled for Ballarat Green Drinks in 2022 are: 

  • Thursday 17 November- Matthew Turner (Domain Architecture) Our Homes for our Future: Functional, Affordable, Desirable! Shifting mindsets in what we want as a home.


Climate March - 22 October 1pm

BREAZE Vice President, Campbell Mercer will be one of the speakers at this month's Climate March on Saturday 22 October. People planning to attend, and we urge BREAZE members and friends to please consider it, should assemble at Civic Hall at 1 pm. The March will proceed via Lydiard Street 

to the Town Hall where it is anticipated performers will join with the speakers in informing, inspiring and entertaining the protestors. If you want tan end to the fossil fuel industry, and to end logging of native forests, and to see Australia's emissions reductions accelerated, please come along and add your voice - we need more noise for climate action.

Candidates Climate Forum - 13 November 2-4pm

BREAZE Inc. will be holding a Candidates Climate Forum on 13 November from 2-4 pm at the Ballarat Technical School to give local voters a chance to question candidates standing for Eureka, Wendouree and Rippon in the up-coming Victorian State Election on 26 November. Please mark it in your calendar. We aim to put climate action on the agenda for this election. 

Board Meetings

If you like what we do and think you might like to join in some of our projects, whether for advocacy or practical action or have perhaps have 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, October 2022                                 


Breaze Image

In conjunction with the Committee for Ballarat and Ballarat City Council, BREAZE successfully conducted the Building Better Homes for the Future forum on October 5. Held at Ballarat's Mercure Hotel, the event attracted builders and developers from across the region. Panellists included Mullum Creek Development architect Paul Haar, Chatham Homes group managing director Bradley Hall, Hygge Property director Joseph van Dyk and City of Ballarat director of development and growth Natalie Robertson. BREAZE Board member and event coordinator Sally Missing described the event as highly successful, with a great range of speakers and a very engaged audience.

Video recordings of all speakers participating in this event are now available on the BREAZE Inc. You Tube Channel

Report on Building Better Homes for the Future Forum

held on 5th October 2022


The project was conceived as an opportunity to improve the quality of volume building in Ballarat with the aim of ensuring new homes have a smaller carbon footprint and are more thermally efficient than current new homes.

The project will comprise three forums and the development of media and social media content. The first forum targeted representatives from industry. Two community forums will be run in 2023. A Steering Committee was formed with representatives from BREAZE, the City of Ballarat planning department, a private architect with an interest in eco builds and was chaired by the CEO of Committee for Ballarat.

The objective of the first forum was to: Inspire and motivate builders, developers and planners, in particular volume builders and to provide them with some practical strategies to improve the thermal efficiency of new builds and reduce their carbon footprint. Considerable thought was given to who would make the best speakers and what angle was most likely to resonate with the audience. Also, much work went into identifying the invitation only audience for the forum to ensure we attracted the people that had the potential to make change.

Read more: Building Better Homes for the Future

Thursday 20 October   Bob Hartman   Friends of the Canadian Corridor FoCC is 10 2Venerable local landcare group, Friends of the Canadian Corridor turns 10 this year and to mark the occasion, FoCC President, Bob Hartmann spoke about the work of the group at  Ballarat Green Drinks on 20 October. If you missed it that's a great shame. It was a terrific talk - that began with the group's ambitious and very successful campaign to have a 641-hectare retired blue gum plantation, which was already envisaged as a new suburb, reserved for the Woowookarung Regional Park. An extraordinary achievement by anyone's measure. Established in 2016, Woowooarung became the site of many public tree- planting sessions, which have seen much of the clear felled land returned to native forest. More recent achievements include the Dementia Trail which was developed in partnership with several other bodies, including Dementia Advocate, Anne Tudor, who conceived the idea. Anne recently awarded the Premier’s Award for the Victorian Senior of the Year in 2021.  

More recently FoCC applied for and received funding to expand the Bunny Rail Trail – linking  Mt Clear to Woowookarung Regional Park – the current Bunny Rail Trail follows a short section of the old East Ballarat to Buninyong railway line.

Bob shared many of the group's strategies behind their success, such as the cleverly conceived 'Imagine' concept in which propositions are presented in positive only terms that avoid any allocation of blame, instead inviting others to share the possibilities and empowerment that conservation projects can bring. 

Dedicated to connecting the Ballarat community with Woowookarung and the Canadian Corridor, tree planting, guided nature walks, a walk that takes in significant remnants of Ballarat's gold mining during Heritage Week,  along with Citizen Science Projects such as the Koala Count, an increasingly vital resource in the struggle to protect the habitat of this iconic but endangered native species, are all part of the activities of FoCC. If you want to join or stay informed about what FoCC are up to you can subscribe to their monthly e-newsletter, Spiky - it's packed with FoCC activities and achievements.



Built environments generate nearly 40% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions and they profoundly degrade our precious natural land and water systems. Rethinking the way we design and build our homes and our cities has never been more urgent and important.

The Mullum Creek estate in Donvale Victoria has trialled initiatives in ecologically sensitive design, some of which go well beyond and address weaknesses in what has elsewhere been regarded as best practice sustainable development.

Mullum Creek development was able to achieve:

  • A genuine NatHERS minimum 7.5 star energy rating for all homes.
  • Continuous ground slab insulation, crucial for highly glazed homes chasing 7.5 stars in a cool climate.
  • Preservation of good mid-winter inter-lot solar access for all homes via 3D building and vegetation envelopes.
  • Eco-friendly binders for all wet mix concrete, spraycrete and mortar.
  • Timber products sourced in accordance with strict environmental selection criteria. 
  • Reduction of construction waste to landfill by 80% from business-as-usual via minimisation and recycling practices.
  • Min. 20kL rainwater storage and min. 4kW rooftop solar on all home sites.
  • Intergrated private and public realm landscaping sensitive to the estate’s natural bush surrounds.

Paul Haar

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