Jen Bray

Sustainable Hepburn Expo this Saturday 10am – 3pm, Trentham Railway Station.

Floods are on our minds right now and the impact on many local residents is very real. Our weather patterns have been dramatically affected by the warming climate – with more intense downpours in some areas and droughts in others. Rural communities are feeling the brunt of climate change a lot sooner than perhaps we expected.

So what can we do?

Our immediate emergency response is sandbagging and evacuations, followed by the recovery phase of mending our homes, roads and drains. But these are short term measures and we will find ourselves in a repeating cycle unless we look at the big picture too. Storms, flooding, droughts and bushfire are increasing threats to our country living. And the sharply rising cost of electricity, gas and petrol is biting hard into most household incomes.

Never was there a better time to start looking for alternatives. We know that this community is very aware about what needs to be done. When Hepburn Shire council asked the question, “what does our shire look like in 10 years time, and what do we need to do to get there?” the message came back loud and clear.

The number one priority from this community was Environmental Sustainability. Calling on the expertise of local community members, council has developed the Sustainable Hepburn Strategy with a large list of actions. The strategy will be launched this Saturday at the Sustainable Hepburn Expo. Hepburn Shire has committed to further reduce its corporate greenhouse gas emissions, protect and enhance local biodiversity, transition to a low waste Shire and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Council’s commitments include:

Beyond Zero Emissions

  • Increasing Electric Vehicle Charging stations in the Shire,
  • Transitioning all 140 council vehicles to Zero Emissions vehicles,
  • Moving away from gas in council buildings, and
  • Amending the Planning Scheme to encourage Sustainable Building Design and Rain and Greywater harvesting/reuse.

Low Waste and Resource Recovery

  • Rolling out Green & Food waste bins to urban areas, and create compost by-product,
  • Separating glass from commingled recycling, and
  • Implementing Hepburn Shire Salvaging guidelines at transfer stations.

Natural Environment and Biodiversity

  • Protecting large old trees on private and council land and improving enforcement of
    illegal vegetation removal,
  • Recognising Dja Dja Wurrung Cultural priorities in biodiversity management decision
    making, and
  • Develop council green spaces to enhance ecosystems through raingardens, shade
    trees, streetscapes and restoring wetlands.

Climate Resilience

  • Create Shire-wide Community Resilience Hubs with information and services to build
    resilient communities before, during, and after emergency events, and
  • Support the Community Sparks community battery project.

But where does darning your socks fit in?

This all kicks off at the Sustainable Hepburn Expo Day this Saturday 29 October, 10am -3pm, at the Trentham Railway Station.

This fun day is a showcase of stalls, local produce, free workshops and activities for the whole family. Local experts, businesses and community groups share their knowledge, services and products to get you inspired about how you can improve your own sustainable footprint, and save on energy costs.

At 10am DJAARA will do a traditional Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony. Guest presenters include: David Holmgren – Permaculture, Mara Ripani – Sustainable Homes, Repair Cafe, Enviro Shop, Nesting boxes, Hepburn Energy, delicious local food by SHIFT – Sustainable Healthy Food Towns for healthy school lunches, and live music.

Learn about passive solar design, permaculture gardening, preserving food, and creating gardens for wildlife. The Repair Café will run a workshop on how to tune up your bike, darn your socks and other helpful tips to stop throwing things away.

Every little effort we make, adds to the whole picture. It’s all connected.

Hope to see you at the Expo on Saturday.

See the full program here:

For more information on the Sustainable Hepburn Strategy, see the full version here:

Councillor Jen Bray is Councillor for Birch Ward and Deputy Mayor, Hepburn Shire. Email: or phone: 0428 150 652.

Councillor Columns are a regular feature in The Wombat Post. We offer this space as an information channel from Council to the community. Councillor Columns are not subject to editorial review by our editorial committee but are published as we receive them from our elected Councillors.