AGM Report & New Committee

Jonathan WrightNews

Over 30 members and guests attended Geelong Sustainability’s tenth Annual General Meeting held on Thursday 30 November 2017 in the Library Room of the Grovedale Hotel. The financial statements presented, showed that we experienced enormous growth in revenue to over $81,000 due largely to our first state government grant. We made a small profit for the year to 30 June 2017 and had assets of just over $34,000.

Top left: Costa leading us at Pako Festa – Top right: Solar Phil engaging his audience at Green Drinks
Bottom left: Homeowner, Anne after Sustainable House Day 2017 –  Bottom right: Christine Couzens MP announcing the grant for our Multicultural Aged Care Services solar project.

President’s Report

President, Vicki Perrett commented that it was pleasing to see energy and sustainability finally becoming mainstream issues in both the media and general community this year. On behalf of the 2017 committee, she reported that Geelong Sustainability had had its most successful year yet!

Vicki outlined the group’s significant achievements during 2017:

  • Pako Festa – This massive community event in February was loads of fun. Our volunteers enjoyed parading down Pakington Street led by Costa Georgiadis and exhibiting in the Makers & Growers area.
  • Community Energy – We successfully fulfilled our first ever state government grant – a scoping study into community solar for our region. In so doing, we developed an innovative business model for community owned renewable energy (CORE) projects. Subsequently we were successful in applying for a second even bigger grant to implement the model and deliver our first solar project.
  • Moolap Plan – The future of the Moolap saltfields and Pt Henry is an ongoing key concern. In June, we held a public forum on the draft Moolap Plan, which was attended by over 100 people.
  • Green Drinks – Our monthly Green Drinks events served to connect and inform people who are interested in a more sustainable future for our region. The 10 events, with themes aligned to different One Planet Living Principles, were well attended and regularly filled Beav’s Bar.
  • Life Learning – This innovative new program has proven to be a big hit especially with younger people. We held 17 classes on a wide range of topics from Backyard Chooks to Decluttering, with many sessions booked out.
  • Sustainable House Day – In October, we coordinated our ninth Sustainable House Day. With perfect spring weather, the 10 open houses had record attendances with almost 2000 visits. This massive annual event involved over 105 volunteers and more than 40 onsite technical experts.
  • Our Future – We eagerly accepted an invitation from the City of Greater Geelong to be a strategic partner in their Our Future visioning process. We worked hard to see sustainability principles embedded into the 30-year Clever and Creative Future vision.
  • Stop Adani – This critical campaign represents a line in the sand for many Australians. We’ve connected with the national Stop Adani campaign and organised local meetings and various events.
  • Cycling Without Age – In April, founder Dorthe Pedersen gave an inspiring briefing in Geelong about this irresistible Danish cycling initiative now in over 30 countries around the world. After further discussions between various interested groups, we agreed to work with MACS and Cycling Geelong to establish a Geelong chapter.
  • Environmental Advocacy – Our advocacy role has continued to grow. This year, we were invited to join the G21 Environment Pillar, the Victorian Community Solar Alliance and the City’s Community Zero Carbon Working Group. We attended lots of meetings and workshops and also prepared numerous written submissions to local and state government authorities.
  • Governance – We have continued to develop and improve our policies and procedures and to migrate our financial data to a professional accounting package. Vicki commented that as we take on larger projects and grants, effective administration and professional support are vital organisational capabilities.

Vicki acknowledged that our success is built upon the significant contributions of our committed and passionate volunteers. She thanked all members, supporters and partners. In particular, she acknowledged and sincerely thanked the members of the management committee, the CORE Task Group led by Dan Cowdell, the various event teams and the Committee of Management of the Geelong Sustainability Public Fund

As it was our tenth anniversary year, she recognised and thanked our long serving continuous members especially Dave Campbell who’s been a GS member for all 10 years since the group’s inception.

What’s planned for 2018?

Vicki went on to list even bolder and more ambitious plans for 2018 and beyond.

  • Another year of monthly Green Drinks events
  • Another year of Life Learning classes
  • A new social enterprise, Geelong Community Energy
  • A new Solar & Battery Bulk Buy project
  • A new Clever Living seminar series
  • Edition 3 of the Sustainable Directory
  • Sustainable House Day 2018 – our 10th year – Sunday 14 October.
  • A new Zero Waste Action Group
  • A potential new Zero Waste Events project (subject to grant funding with 5 partners)
  • A huge new Climate Safe Rooms project (subject to grant funding with 4 partners)
  • Rolling out ot the Geelong Chapter of Cycling Without Age
  • Continuation of our Advisory & Advocacy roles

She reiterated that the group’s achievements show GS is committed to making our region’s economy fairer and greener as well as our communities more resilient and connected. She encouraged people to get involved and add their time and expertise to our growing cohort of committed volunteers. Together we can achieve even more!

On behalf of the committee she wished members and supporters a very relaxing and happy festive season.

2018 Committee

Past President, Dan Cowdell declared all committee positions vacant and conducted the election. As nominations did not exceed positions available, he announced the following results:

  • Vicki Perrett was declared President
  • Vivienne Burke was declared Secretary
  • Sara van der Meer was declared Treasurer
  • Tim Adams, Mik Aidt, Noreen Nicholson, Jonathan Wright and Jen Wressell were elected general committee members, with one vacancy remaining.

Dan congratulated the new committee and wished them well in their various roles.


Vivienne Burke, Vicki Perrett, Mik Aidt, Jen Wressell, Noreen Nicholson, Jonathan Wright

Insert: Tim Adams and Sara van der Meer

Presentation on the Kimberley

The incoming President introduced our guest speaker, Louise Beames, an Ecologist and Projects Coordinator within the Kimberley Nature Project at Environs Kimberley. Louise grew up on a sheep and cattle farm on the Bellarine and developed an interest in restoring degraded land from a young age. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Science from Melbourne University and a first-class honours degree in applied biology from Victoria University.

In her ten years with Environs Kimberley, Louise led the expansion of their natural and cultural resource management projects. She and her team work collaboratively with Aboriginal ranger groups, communities and volunteer groups across Kimberley region.

In the last 2 years she has developed Environs Kimberley’s not-for-profit consultancy—Nature Projects Australia which continues this intelligent and passionate contribution to the nature and culture of the Kimberley and beyond. She’s a committee member of Bellarine Landcare Network and was involved in our 2017  Sustainable House Day!

Louise talked about 3 key areas of the organisation: Advocacy & Campaigns, Projects and Consultancy. Louise emphasised the importance of her organisations strong and consistent engagement with Aboriginal people to support the protection, conservation and management of natural and cultural heritage, threatened species, ecosystems.

Much of Louise’s work involved integrating science and traditional ecological knowledge to improve the documentation of species and ecosystems, as well as planning for and implementing sound management practices including fire, weed and feral animal management.

People were pleased to see how much of the Kimberley and Australia National Reserve Systems are comprised of Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) and to understand the positive impact that Aboriginal ranger programs are having within their local communities and on Country. They were surprised learn that there are 100 indigenous ranger groups that are funded to work on country across Australia: 33 in NT, 30 in QLD, 18 in WA, 10 in SA, 5 in NSW, 2 in TAS and 2 in VIC.

Louise is working locally with the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative to develop a business plan within their proposed Indigenous Protected Area at Little River. The exciting plan is founded upon natural resource and cultural heritage management and provides for culturally appropriate community development and support.

She encouraged people to help shape the future of the Kimberley region by learning more or becoming members. After Louise’ presentation, members examined a range of reports and resources produced by Environs Kimberley before adjourning to the bistro  where the conversations continued over dinner.


More more information, download the 2017 Annual Report or the 2016-17 Financial Statements below.