Plenary sessions

The state of Australia’s climate response: A post-election stocktake and forward agenda

A review and critique of the Commonwealth Government’s current policy settings and commitments. How far will the mechanisms that are currently in place reduce our emissions out to 2020 and beyond? What does the new makeup of the Federal Parliament mean for the strength of our national climate policy? What should we be advocating for to strengthen Australian commitment to climate action?

With: Chaired by Kelly O’Shanassy (CEO, Australian Conservation Foundation), Kane Thornton(Clean Energy Council), David Blowers (Grattan Institute) and Peter Castellas (Carbon Market Institute)

Zero Carbon Evolution partner event: Working together for a zero carbon future

The Zero Carbon Evolution strategy is Moreland’s plan to reduce our city’s carbon emissions by 22% by 2020, to be doing our fair share to meet the global carbon budget. This annual event celebrates our community’s achievements and asks, ‘What more do we need to be doing and how can we effectively work together for a brighter future?’

With: Lenka Thompson (Moreland City Council), Alex English (Moreland City Council), Luke Menzel (Energy Efficiency Council), Michael Hotton (Moreland Community Solar), Imogen Jubb (Moreland community) and Monique Conheady (MEFL)

Rebuilding a leadership position on climate change action in Victoria

As the Andrews Government seeks to establish a leadership position on climate action, how can Victorian communities collaborate to scale up successful climate action measures, build tomorrow’s jobs and future economy, and support the ambitious State Government targets and those agreed to at the Paris Conference?

With: Kath Rowley (Executive Director, Climate Change, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning), Sam Ratnam (Moreland City Council), Dr Nicholas Aberle (Environment Victoria), Eli Court (ClimateWorks), David Meiklejohn (Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action) and Paul Murfitt (MEFL)


Thriving, resilient and sustainable: Can we transform our urban form?

Urban developments built now and into the future will have a lasting effect on the sustainability of our cities. This session looked at our cities as complex systems to investigate how they can thrive through the challenges ahead. In particular it highlighted opportunities for local government and community-led approaches to areas of rapid change such as Fisherman’s Bend.

With: Dominique Hes (University of Melbourne), Toby Kent (City of Melbourne), Natasha Palich (Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment), Peter Steele (Hip v. Hype) and Gavin Ashley (MEFL)

How can business-as-usual include climate action from SMEs?

Reducing energy costs will enable businesses to become more productive but engaging SMEs in climate action isn’t easy. In this session we explored the latest lessons learned on mechanisms (such as EUAs), engagement models (such as co-design), language and incentives.

With: Bruce Thompson (Greensync), Erik Zimmerman (Cherry Energy Solutions), Maria-Luisa Nardella (Moreland City Council), Scott Bocskay (Sustainable Melbourne Fund) and Helen Eveleigh (MEFL)

How do we unblock the community-owned renewable energy pipeline?

Many groups across Australia are working towards establishing community-owned renewable energy projects, yet relatively few are up and operating. This session will explore the barriers that are preventing deployment of these projects and provide solutions for a stronger CORE sector. Recent developments are positive, but what will unlock the scale of CORE that we currently see in Germany, Denmark, Italy and other places?

With: Alex Houlston (Energy for the People), Manny Pasqualini (Community Power Agency), Donna Luckman(Alternative Technology Association), Scott McKenry (EAGA), Les Pradd (Yarra Community Solar) and Paul Murfitt (MEFL)

How can our housing stock stack up against the challenge of a tougher climate?

We know that improving the standard of our housing requires meeting the demands of a tougher climate. But what standard should we aim for to protect and improve the health of our most vulnerable and what’s the best way to get there? Investment is required from a range of sources to improve these housing outcomes, but how do we facilitate accessible and affordable finance to meet improved standards? Would framing the retrofit revolution in terms of a business case for investment in preventative health help?

With: Mark Wakeham (Environment Victoria), Daniel Voronoff (Department of Health and Human Services) and Greg Hunt (South East Councils Climate Change Alliance), Gavin Ashley (MEFL), Ian McNicol (Sustainability Victoria) and Carol Behne (Climate and Health Alliance).

Activating the community on urgent climate action

The Paris Conference demonstrated that some of the most effective responses to climate change are happening at the community level. Actions by households, businesses, schools and community groups can make a big impact, and deliver community co-benefits. The early adopters are already on the page but how can we catalyse the rest into action?

With: Parrys Raines (Climate Girl), Katerina Gaita (Climate for Change), Gavin Mountjoy (Darebin City Council), Jack Noonan (Sustainability Victoria), Lucy Best (MEFL) and Kate Nicolazzo (MEFL)

Victoria’s ambitious renewable energy target – 40% by 2025. How do we get there?

Australia is way ahead on the domestic rooftop solar front, but not so successful in medium-scale commercial systems (and that’s where the opportunities lie). Smart grids and micro-generation have become ubiquitous buzz-words in futuristic portrayals of a sustainable future energy system. Are they deliverable? How do we get there? What combination of action will support delivery of the State Government’s ambitious targets?

With: Scott Hamilton (Executive Director, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning), Chandra Sundareswaran (MEFL), Nicky Ison (Community Power Agency), Bruce Thompson (Greensync), Aditya Upadhye (Jemena)

What’s happening in Moreland? The Zero Carbon Evolution Walking Tour

This tour will enable participants to experience Moreland’s shift to a zero carbon community close up by visiting two of our Zero Carbon Evolution partners – RMIT and the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC).

RMIT have achieved a 26% reduction in carbon emissions on their Brunswick campus through a range of water and energy efficiency upgrades. This has been delivered through an energy performance contract with Honeywell.

PICAC is a  5-star Green Star rated building and has been designed as a working example of innovative design and sustainable plumbing. The training facilities at PICAC are leading edge and include a demonstration Green Plumbing House, world-class reticulated water systems and a working example of the newest technology in water and energy efficiency.
The tour is free and open to Moreland’s residents, businesses, community groups and those who want to learn about what’s happening in Moreland. Places are limited. Bookings will be available on the conference Eventbrite page soon.

GuidesShayne le Combre(Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre) and Michael Anderson (RMIT).

Closing session

Where to from here? Strategies for positive and effective climate action

This session outlined opportunities for collaboration and action identified at the conference, and summarised the broader opportunities and pathways for progressing action on climate change.

With: Alison Rowe (CEO, MEFL), Tom Quinn (Future Business Council), Parrys Raines (Climate Girl), and Angus Hervey and Tané Hunter (Future Crunch)

Full program

Download the full MEFL Spark Conference Program (PDF 6.7MB)