“Power to the people: how communities can help meet our renewable energy goals”

Iain MacGill, the Co-director of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets, UNSW, writes about this in today’s issue of The Conversation.

He writes about “Energy for the people”:
“Community renewable energy (CRE) may have a key role to play. Community energy can involve supply-side projects such as renewable energy installations and storage, and demand-side projects such as community education, energy efficiency and demand management.

“In short, community renewable energy revolves around community ownership, participation, and consequent benefits from community-scale renewable energy projects.”

Read the full article here.

“NSW farmers stepping up tree felling even before land-clearing laws loosened”

The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 June, reports on the the likely terrible impacts of the NSW Government’s proposed biodiversity legislation; the article is here.

The NSW Nature ConservationCouncil, of which FuturePLANS is a member, has initiated an advocacy campaign to protect native vegetation in NSW. This is the  Stand Up For Nature campaign.    You are invited to visit the campaign website to familiarise yourself with the issues and to consider engaging in advocacy to protect biodiversity in our region. Remember, submissions close on 28 June.

The SMH wrote: “The state’s farmers have lopped paddock trees at an accelerating rate in the past 18 months even before a new land-clearing law eases controls further, government data shows.

“The new figures, which reveal the rate of clearing of paddock trees has more than doubled since November 2014, come as the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists wrote to all MPs to call for a reversal of “retrograde changes” planned in the new Biodiversity Conservation act.

“NSW farmers used a new self-assessment code to remove 21,716 paddock trees – or more than 50 a day – over the past year and a half.

“The rate, at an average of about 50 per day, was 140 per cent more than the average over the previous seven years, data from the Office of Environment and Heritage showed. Paddock trees, judged to be single or small patches of trees, make up 40 per cent of remaining woodland cover, OEH says.”

See the full article for more details.

Native vegetation map for Palerang

The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council is conducting public information sessions on the revised native vegetation layer for the former Palerang Council area that it has placed on public exhibition: Bungendore – Tuesday 21 June, Bungendore Council Chambers, 6pm-7pm and Queanbeyan – Tuesday 28 June, Committee Room, Queanbeyan Council Chambers, 6pm-7pm.

‘The layer will be used to update the Palerang Local Environmental Plan 2014 Terrestrial Biodiversity map, to identify areas of native vegetation that require additional consideration in the strategic and statutory planning processes. The layer will also enable interested parties to search for certain types of native vegetation classifications to assist if an area for a biodiversity offset is being sought or where funding is being accessed to manage a particular vegetation community’.

Details are here.

QPRC – Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council community meeting

I was surprised how few people participated in the first QPRC – Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council – Community Meeting this evening in Bungendore, considering the amount of interest in the Council merger that has been expressed here and elsewhere in the past.

The atmosphere of the Community Meeting was very positive. The Administrator, Tim Overall, and the acting General Manager, Peter Bascomb, and others, provided heaps of useful information about how the new council will be operating. It was great to see the former QCC senior staff willing to come out to Bungendore, along with some of the former Palerang Council staff, explaining what their roles will be in the new council.

As everybody knows, part of the Council merger arrangement is that QPRC will receive $15 million to be expended during the period of the administration which runs from now until the council elections in September 2017. The Administrator explained that $5 million of this is for merger expenses and $10 million will be for a “stronger community fund”. $1 million of this will be allocated to community organisations by means of grants of up to $50,000. It is likely that the invitation to apply for these grants will be issued in the first quarter of the next financial year. I suggest that this is something that local community organisations should prepare for.

One of the good features that the Administrator mentioned is that the members of the Local Representational Committee (LRC) will be remunerated at a level similar to that of the councillors in the former QBN City Council.

The s355 committees will continue to operate until the 8 June council meeting. That meeting will receive a report from council staff to the Administrator recommending which of the s355 Committee should continue and which would not. The Administrator indicated that some council staff and/or members of the LRC will participate in s355 Committee meetings, but largely in an observer role rather than as full members.

Another positive aspect, not mentioned at tonight’s meeting, is that members of the community will continue to be able to address council meetings – i.e. address the Administrator: http://www.qcc.nsw.gov.au/Online-Forms/Register-to-make-a-presentation

Guardian campaign: ‘Keep it in the Ground!’ Fantastic news!

On 21 May The Guardian wrote:

Here’s some great news to brighten your weekend.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has sold off its entire $187m investment in BP. There’s no word from them on why, but it certainly looks like the foundation is quietly getting out of fossil fuel companies. Since 2014, it has dropped 85% of such investments it had held.

Bill Gates says he’s not keen on the divestment argument but we know that the pressure you’ve put on the foundation through Keep it in the Ground – as well as the folks at Gates Divest in Seattle and the wider divestment movement – has been having an impact behind the scenes.

You can read our story on it here.

There was also good news from around Europe this week. Portugal ran for four days straight on renewable energy alone and last Sunday, Germany powered almost all its electricity needs from clean sources. There was so much renewable energy on the grid that at several times in the day, power prices turned negative – effectively paying consumers to use it.

Change is happening.

Yours Sincerely

James Randerson – assistant national news editor

ABC News: Five Southern Highlands families win appeal against Hume Coal accessing their land

10 May 2016,  full story here

By Jean Kennedy and Philippa McDonald

In a landmark court victory, five families from the New South Wales Southern Highlands have won their appeal to stop mining company Hume Coal accessing their land for exploration drilling.

The landowners of five rural properties in Sutton Forrest appealed against a November decision by the court that allowed the Korean-owned firm prospecting rights over their properties.

Chief judge Brian Preston of the Land and Environment Court ruled in favour of the landowners and ordered Hume Coal to pay their legal costs.

What #Action4theLand will your local councillor take?

FromLandcare Australia:

With over 5,300 registered Landcare groups across the nation, even the smallest of actions from a single Landcare group can add together – across the Landcare movement – to make a large difference.

As part of our World Environment Day 2016 activities, Landcare Australia will be running a fundraising and environmental awareness initiative, where we ask every individual, business, government agency, politician and media outlet we engage with across the nation “What positive #Action4theLand will you take?”

It is our hope that the #Action4theLand campaign can create a groundswell of awareness, and accompanying activity – where every dollar collected through our fundraising efforts will make a difference, by supporting Landcare groups and projects across Australia.

We’re reaching out across our network to encourage each and every one of you to start a positive #Action4theLand conversation. Over the next few months, get out there and ask your friends, family, colleagues, and local representatives, “What #Action4theLand will you take?”

In particular, we encourage you to reach out to your local councillors, and state and federal elected representatives to invite them to join your Landcare group for a day to see the positive #Action4theLand you have taken in your local community.

LLS’ ‘South East Circular’, April 2016 issue

The April 2016 issue of the South East Local Land Service’s newsletter South East Circular has now been published. The topics covered are:

Improving worm control in sheep
Local disease watch
Autumn feeding guide
New wasps in the Bega Valley
Recognition for District Vet
Thinking of purchasing a property in the bush?
Grazing management courses start soon
Do you know the size of your paddocks?
From the garden to the plate
Landcare Australia field visit
Innovative partership tackles marine pest
Partnership protects endangered perch
LLS Seasonal Conditions Report
Feral Fighters 2016
Weather and Climate Risk Management
Local Annual Report 2015
The benefits of electronic identification in cattle
Narooma littoral rainforest field day
South Coast Industry Dinner 2016
Events
Feedback

Bungendore Farmers Market: Boots for Change

The Southern Harvest Farmers Market in Bungendore will be held every single Saturday throughout April and May! If it works well for the producers and the customers, we will continue!

If you have any shabby old boots lying around at home, bring them in for use at the Boots For Change market day. We’re hosting this very special day on Saturday April 9th, we ask that every WEARS BOOTS on the day, any kind. There will be boot throwing with prizes, planting in boots and other activities.

The First People – Aboriginal Pre-history in the Palerang Region

Who were the first settlers in Palerang and what do we know about them?  This presentation by Alister Bowen, a specialist in historical and pre-historical Australian archaeology,  will look at the Aboriginal occupation of the region and help us to interpret the survival tactics of Aboriginal people. Bookings close 4 April.  Part of the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival.

Date: Tuesday 5 April
Venue: The Carrington Inn, 41 Malbon St, Bungendore
Start time: 4.30 pm
End time: 6.00 pm
Cost: Gold coin donation
Contact: 6230 0533
info@nationaltrustact.org.au
Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.au/act

http://www.environment.act.gov.au/heritage/heritage-and-the-community/heritage_festival