President's September Report

 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.

Taking a glass half-full approach, the Australia Institute chose to emphasise the positive in its media release

"A significant majority of Australians (at least 75%) are concerned about the impact of the climate crisis on food supply, agriculture and insurance premiums, and support policies that would force fossil fuel companies to pay for the damage they are causing, according to the Australia Institute’s 2023 Climate of the Nation report."

Certainly, this is a good message to send to the federal government, which seems intent on treading lightly in its dealings with the fossil fuel sector, that continues to expand and remains heavily subsidised by tax payers.

A Local Story of Concern

As some readers may have already noted, the ABC Ballarat newsletter this week included a story on Narmbool – about an apparently a depressing development pending at Sovereign Hill regarding  the possibility of the sale of the property.  It is a working sheep farm and was gifted to Sovereign Hill decades ago with the proviso that it would be used for environmental education and never sold.  

Given the dire need for engaging environmental education of the kind being offered at Narmbool, it seems a very retrograde step.

Home Electrification

Across the nation, momentum for home electrification and getting off gas is building with various initiatives emerging over the past few months. If you are part of a household that has not yet begun this journey there is no time like the present to start planning – with plenty of expert advice on hand and hopefully increased financial assistance at state and federal level. These programs herald the twin benefits of the all-electric home – reduced energy bills and reduced GHG emissions.

  • Webinar – Household Electrification Summit
    • The Webinar - Household Electrification Summit – is targeting for council focused community orgs working on advancing Home Electrification programs with a view to consolidating successful approaches. A collaboration between Ironbark Sustainability and Renew, the webinar/summit will be held on 5 October from 11am-12pm- To register visit
  • Geelong Sustainability – Making the Switch Just Got Easier
    • A home electrification program launched I partnership with RACV Solar which numerous nearby LGAs are taking up 
  • Environment Victoria – Getting off Gas
    • A comprehensive guide that includes advice on appliances and government rebates.
  • Renew - The Getting off Gas Toolkit
    • A step by step guide to home electrification
  • Sustainability Victoria - Home Electrification
    • A question and answer guide that takes the reader through the various options re appliances for space heating/cooling, hot water and cooking.
  • Re-Wiring Australia – Electrify My Community Program- TBA
    • Rewiring Australia is proposing to assist/support 10 regional communities to run home electrification programs in their communities. Re-Wiring Australia was established by Saul Griffiths, the Australian engineer and entrepreneur whose book The Big Switchprovides a compelling case for electrification. 

Another resource, the My Efficient Electric Home Facebook group established by home energy efficiency expert, Tim Forcey, has much practical advice about going all electric in comments threads. Use the search window to find particular topics.

Home Energy Efficiency Workshop Pilot Series Wraps Up

Led by the Ballarat Zero Emissions Alliance (BZEA), the pilot series, How to make your home energy efficient wound up on 4 September. The final Review session at Barkly Square was attended by Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson, council CEO, Evan King, Cr Ben Taylor plus three DEECA staff, Janene Trickey, Regional Manager, Grampians Community and Partnership Programs, Annie Ryan, Senior Community and Partnerships Program Officer, Energy, Grampians, and Amelia Penhall, Communications Officer. 

After a summary of workshop content by Vic Energy Scorecard assessor Dale Boucher, workshop participants who had attended to give feedback discussed the benefits of the workshop and changes they had since made or were planning to make to their homes to make them more energy efficient. General discussion followed regarding how to improve the workshops and how to reach a wider audience. The feedback received from participants was that the workshops were very useful. The Report will be available later this month on the BREAZE website under BREAZE Documents.

Monthly Events

21 September: Ballarat Green Drinks - Third Thursday of the month: Gib Wettenhall OAM on Sustainable building 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. A founding member of the Ballarat Region Treegrowers, 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.

Register via

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

27 September: Smart Living Ballarat Fourth Wednesday of the month 12:30-1:30 pm – Sustainability for Kids - Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council - BRMC

Want to get your kids excited about sustainability? Smart Living Ballarat's 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 .Come in person to the BRMC at Barkly Square 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

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, September 2023                                        

The principal objective of BREAZE is to protect the natural environment and increase sustainability within the region by promoting renewable sources of energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. BREAZE aims to facilitate and educate the wider Ballarat community towards a goal of zero emissions by 2030. BREAZE became an incorporated body in 2007.