President’s Report – AGM

President’s report: (2nd November 2022)

Another big year for the SCEG committee:

Community Climate Forum:

Apart from SCEG’s core work, we’ve also linked up twice with Surfers for Climate & SCS at their Community Climate Forum. This was an opportunity for people to find out what other groups are doing and to tap in to areas of interest.

SCEG strategy document:

We’ve also completed our 5 year strategy and it’s now under way with 4 pillars: Andrew to provide details

  • Energy Transition to zero carbon energy
  • Natural environment & biodiversity
  • Reducing and preventing waste
  • A sustainable built environment.

The strategy is very much about a SYSTEMS approach to human sustainability; it’s not just energy or carbon or just about waste or biodiversity but responding to all of it as a network of interconnected parts – as opposed to silos. Graeme will provide some more detail on that.

Spring Creek valley:

The vision in a nutshell is providing ecological stewardship to Spring Creek valley and to return the ecological vegetation class of Grassy Woodland with Bellarine Yellow Gum as the chief character species. It currently mostly exists as just a thin sliver along the creekline. We plan to do that using multiple strategy lines: For example:

  1. By community ownership of a parcel of land that is owned by the community and operated through a Board of Trustees.
  2. Developing our Biolink strategy; and SCEG has a high level Roundtable event later on this month to assist us with our strategy on this.
  3. Through encouraging Trust for Nature covenants on land titles
  4. And by partnering with other landowners to develop opportunities in say regenerative agriculture consolidated land use such as BnB’s or Ashmore Arts for example.

Importantly, the approach to this is SYSTEMS thinking with Ecology, Energy, Economy and Equity our guide in thinking.  Using this approach not only helps us integrate planning but also to think big. I constantly reference the work done by the community in Wellington , New Zealand as the gold standard. They’ve literally retrieved a lost ecosystem and in the process created a $30 million/annum  economy for the local community.

  • Our partnership with TDLG means we are able to implement a 2nd round of the Wild Otways grant- another $19,030.00  for works out to June 2023.
  • In addition, our community development plans around Spring Creek valley through our ‘Old Great Ocean Road ridgeline trail’ project have been funded by Patagonia to the tune of $12,000 whilst the Foundation for Rural Regional Renewal (FRRR) is funding the engagement work and cit. science on SCV including the recent Field Day event (FRRR) at Ashmore Arts via a $10,000 grant through the work of our committee member Matt Fox. Consequently, the SCS have now announced a $700,000 funding stream to assist community on our ‘Active Transport’ project.

Ecological Footprint Calculator:

  • We’ve also secured $5000 from the SCS to build an online EFC. An EFC measures not just carbon but area of land needed to support your lifestyle (or your production process if you’re a business). The intention here being to provide individual and business with an online tool that asks a suite of questions to then identify, reduce and then offset (in that order) their ecological footprint. Jonathon Wright who is SCEG’s IT expert is assisting us with that as is the local philanthropic PMF group.  Importantly the EFC feeds into our much bigger program about community development which has direct implications around Spring Creek valley and community land purchase, the notion of Limits To Growth and Ecological Overshoot.

Energy and the Microgrid project involving $2 million federal Government funding.

  • Monash University and Birdwood Energy have partnered with Surf Coast Shire Council and Surf Coast Energy Group to conduct feasibility studies for a microgrid, with community workshops to be held Wednesday 16 November in Lorne and Wednesday 7 December in Torquay. Adrian to provide details:

Are you a SCEG member? Would you consider joining the Committee?

Finally, climate change and sustainability is well, just about everything that involves living on planet earth. Do you have a skill or a passion in something that we are missing? Join us and be a part of a movement that is making a difference.


Graeme Stockton