This is just a tiny fraction of the joy we can offer you on our website! Go there now.
Taking action on Climate Change

Calendar 2016

Solar Towns Grants Deadline 
Friday 12th February 2016

Wash Against Waste Trailer Working Bee
Thursday 18th February 2016

Sustainable House Education Day (SHED)
Sunday 28th February 2016
9am Morning Tea
10am - 3pm Tour
3pm - 4pm Concluding drinks and discussion

Click here for bookings

Polyfaces Premiere at the Theatre Royal
Saturday 28th February 2016

Heritage Awards Nominations
4th March 2016

For more info contact:
Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG)
03 5470 6978

February 2016 enews from MASG

Don't forget Solar Towns Federal Grants Program, with $300,000 available for Community Organisations within Mount Alexander Shire Council, closes on the 12 February.  MASG and The Hub have teamed up to deliver advice, quotes and application support to local not for profits or community organisations who wish to apply. 

Mt Alexander Golf Club going for solar grant with help of the Hub Foundation and MASG. From left to right: John Carter, Past President, Jo Kaptein, Hub Foundation, Brian Cornish, Vice President, Gerry Egan, MASG, Bob Pratt, Past President.

For more information about the application form and eligibility contact:
Gerry Egan, MASG on 0407 092 642 /

For info about PV equipment and getting quotes from suppliers, contact:
Jo Kaptein at the Hub Foundation on 0455 589 065 /


Sustainable House Education Day (SHeD) Sunday 28th February, 2016

On Sunday 28 February 2016, 10am – 3pm, featured as part of the 2016 Sustainable Living Festival, local residents of the Mount Alexander Shire are opening their homes to the public to discuss some of the design anSLF_Brandmark_Vert.FAd build choices they have made in their energy efficient and sustainably constructed homes.

Running since 2008, SHeD house tours have showcased a variety of approaches to sustainable housing, from tiny hand-built homes to high-end designer houses.

This year SHeD features a 19th century mill-owner’s cottage, a deceptively conventional new build; and three homes sharing one quarter-acre block (one of which is the first accredited German-designed “PassivHaus” in Australia) a mid-century brick veneer makeover and their son’s annexe, done on a shoestring budget.

IMG_03032014-05-28 13.29.13IMAG0744IMAG0067


WHEN: Sunday 28 February 2016, 10am – 3pm.

*9am - 10am Morning Tea and Tour Intro (Tour will commence at 10am)
*3pm - 4pm Post Tour Drinks and informal consultation with local designers and energy efficiency experts. 

WHERE: Tour begins and concludes at the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) office, where morning tea and concluding refreshments will be served in the rear courtyard (enter Hunter St). 

325 Barker St, Castlemaine, Vic 3450

BOOKINGS: Please see the eventbrite link here.

Transport on the Day: Please get in touch if you have any questions about access or specific requirements.

If you are not coming on the tour with a vehicle, please let us know so we can arrange car pooling or provide transport if required. 

For more information please contact:

Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG)
p: 03 5470 6978

Go to the SHeD WEBPAGE and stay up to date with house and tour info.

For more local events featuring at the Sustainable Living Festival click here.


Wash Against Waste Trailer: The Next Level

Thanks to all who contributed to the Wash Against Waste Trailer love in, to get ready for a busy couple of months of events.

A particular thanks to Helen Kaptein, Wash Against Waste Project Officer who has been giving the trailer alot of energy and time over the past 8months.

And also to Coliban Water, and Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group for their essential contributions that have helped with the revitalization of our cherished community asset.

MASG are currently in the process of securing needed funds to upgrade the trailer and give it a new shiny respray. A huge thanks to Sandy Coventry for the proposed design (see above). 

Next Working Bee If you have a spare hour or more free:

Thursday 18 Feb
8.30 to 11am

at Windarring
317 Barker St, Castlemaine VIC 3450

Please enter via the Hunter Street entrance

BYO washing up gloves.

Please RSVP to Helen at

For more information about hiring the Trailer, or hiring washable crockery without the trailer, click the link here.

Or contact Helen by email or phone the MASG office on
03 5470 6978.

Did you know? The Wash Against Waste Trailer was the first of its kind, with a second modeled from it and now used by the Sustainable Living Festival.


A message from Sustainability Victoria:
Have your say on Victoria's Climate Change framework

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is building a framework for climate change action in Victoria that will be released in 2016. Sustainability Victoria is supporting the online consultation process on our Participate website. You can share your vision for a thriving and resilient future for Victoria, join a discussion forum on the seven themes for action, or post your ideas to advance a climate ready Victoria.

Have your say here.

Kind regards
Climate Change Program team
Sustainability Victoria

And if you haven't been to the Sustainability Victoria website lately, there is an extraordinary amount of information and resources available, as well as practical ways of being part of national conversations, to directly influence future planning and policy making. 


'Good news for solar customers.'

from Jo Kaptein, The Hub Foundation

The cost of re configuring a standard residential smart meter for solar has dropped from around $300 to around $60.

In 2015, it was on average $300 for a typical smart meter. Powercor have dropped their charges and now charge $58 for this service. This charge is passed onto your electricity retailer by Powercor and appears on your electricity bill once your solar system has been installed and switched on.

We checked this with Powershop and they confirmed that this is indeed the case. Powershop do not add any admin charge so for Powershop customers going solar, the cost of reconfiguring a meter for solar is now $58!

Note that some electricity retailers add an admin fee so it is always worth checking by calling your retailer.

MASH understands that the reason why the price has dropped is because Powercor no longer sends out an inspector to do something called an 'anti-islanding' test. We reckon this is great because the system already has to be inspected by an Independent Inspector; in many ways the separate Powercor inspection was a bit like doing the same job twice!

Information about the Powercor charge is on the link below.…/solar-meter-set-up-and-assoc…/

Jo Kaptein
Project Officer
Hub Foundation
M: 0455-589-065


RALLY Tues 9 Feb: 11.30am, Parliament House, Spring St Melbourne

Leigh Ewbank here from Friends of the Earth.

We're kicking off 2016 with a bang and need your help on Tuesday Feb 9 to secure Victoria's energy future.

Our campaigns for a permanent ban on unconventional gas and for ambitious Victorian Renewable Energy Targets are coming to a head. The Andrews government will soon decide its position on these two critical issues that will shape the state's energy future.

Big energy companies have sought to "open up" Victoria to onshore gas drilling and fracking--putting prime farmland and water resources at risk. Regional communities around the state have said "no" to risky unconventional gas extraction.

On the other hand, the Federal government attacks on the renewable energy sector have been costly. On the Coalition's watch the national Renewable Energy Target has been cut by 20%, investment in the sector has decreased by 90%, and over 2,500 people have lost their jobs.

Leadership from the Andrews government in Victoria is now needed to protect us from risky onshore gasfields and to grow renewable energy and jobs.

The community has waited a long time for the Parliament to resolve these issues.

This is why we'd like you to join us on the steps of the Victorian Parliament on Tuesday February 9 -- the first sitting day of 2016 -- to put them on top of the political agenda.

RALLY: Ban Onshore Gas + Grow Renewables

WHEN: Tuesday 9 February, meet at 11:30am. Speakers from 11.45. Photo event at 12:10.

WHERE: On the steps of Victorian Parliament House, Spring St in Melbourne.

RSVP: Please let us know you're coming here.

SHARE: Help us get the word out on Facebook. We need the Andrews government and Parliament to stand with the community when it comes to onshore gas and renewable energy.

It's time to put an end to the uncertainty hanging over communities from gas development. And it's time grow renewables to see more wind farms and solar built, grow jobs, and cut pollution.

Please invite your family, friends, and colleagues to join you at the Rally.

Cheers, Leigh

PS: We're pleased to have the support of dozens of environment organisations, community groups, as well as Victorian Trades Hall Council, NTEU and NUW.   

Leigh Ewbank ·
Yes 2 Renewables Coordinator
Friends of the Earth
0406 316 176


'Polyfaces' premiere at the Theatre Royal, Sat 27th Feb

Bendigo-based Lisa Jane Heenan (Producer/Co-Director) and Isaebella Doherty (Co-Director/Director of Photography) collaborated with Castlemaine’s Bergen O’brien (Editor) & Michael den Elzen (Composer/Co-Sound Editor) have produced this multi-award winning feature-length feature film:

“As the problems of the world become more and more complex, the solutions become clear and simple. One Australian family spend their life savings and travel to the US, spending 4 years documenting a style of farming that will save humanity!”

Set amidst the stunning Shenendoah Valley in Northern Virginia, ‘Polyface Farm’ in Virginia uses no chemicals and feeds over 6,000 families, restaurants and cafes within a 3 hour foodshed of their farm.

Joel Salatin was called “…the world’s most innovative farmer…” by Time Magazine.

‘Polyfaces’ is a joyful film about connecting to the land. It follows the Salatin’s, a 4th generational farming family who do everything different than everyone else. We follow the family and farm over 3 years as they produce food in a way that works with nature, not against it. Using the symbiotic relationships of animals and their natural functions, they produce high quality, nutrient-dense products.

For booking information go to the Theatre Royal Event link here.


2016 Mount Alexander Heritage Awards

Ian (MASG, Committee of Management) and Lesley's house is one of the houses on display in the SHeD tour, 28 Feb 2016.

Award showcase - Recognising the value of heritage and sustainability

'A 159 year-old brick cottage is not the architectural style that usually comes to mind when imagining environmental sustainability, but Ian Jones and Lesley Wright have managed to transform their cold and draughty nineteenth-century house into an environmentally efficient and cosy home.

Ian and Lesley won the 2014 Mount Alexander Heritage Award for sustainability for a renovation and refurbishment to their Castlemaine home.

“The project was hard work, so winning the award reinforced to us that it was special and worthwhile,” said Lesley.

The couple are encouraging others to nominate heritage projects around the Shire for the next round of awards.

“The awards are a great way to showcase that heritage projects are both feasible and doable,” said Ian.

“Particularly in relation to sustainability, the more people who become aware that modern solutions can be sensitively incorporated into old homes means these projects will become more common, and older homes more energy efficient,” he said.

The couple installed wall, floor and ceiling insulation, photovoltaic solar power and solar hot water. They also sealed the building to prevent draughts and installed a heat exchanger as part of the one year project.

“When we began this project there wasn’t much interest in making ‘green’ changes, but fortunately that seems to have changed now,” said Lesley.

The judges’ decision was based on the unobtrusive manner in which modern solutions had been applied to a heritage home, whilst retaining its architectural character.

Nominations for the 2016 Mount Alexander Heritage Awards are open in six categories including:

  • Creative reuse and contemporary design in a heritage place

  • Incorporation of sustainability principles in heritage restoration/adaptation

  • Specialist heritage trade skills

  • Heritage advocacy

  • Adaptation and conservation of historic commercial spaces

  • Restoration of a heritage place

    Nominations close on Friday 4 March.

    To learn more about the awards or to make a nomination visit

    Mount Alexander Shire Heritage Awards acknowledges its sponsors, Pyrenees Quarries, Maldon and District Community Bank and Regional Management Group. '

List your event or initiative here!

If you have an event or project that you 
would like to see listed here, or for more information about feature articles contact:
Mandy Field Communications Officer


Become a MASG Supporter


MASG is a volunteer driven organisation with part time staff that support the ongoing project operations that MASG undertakes, to research, advocate and implement large scale community renewable energy solutions, and sustainability initiatives.

MASG is committed to representing community interests in communicating these aims across local government, industry and services.

Though we need your support to continue this work. Click this link to be taken to the membership page on the website.

Or go to:

Support MASG with a donation

Make a tax deductable donation to help MASG continue its shire wide projects including the 'Zero Net Emissions by 2025' campaign.

Click here to make a donation or go to

You can also email Mahesh at
or Ph: 03 5470 6978.

If you haven't already subscribed to MASG's fortnightly enews with clean energy actions, updates, offers and events click here.

Copyright © 2015 Mount Alexander Sustainability Group, All rights reserved.