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Annual General Meeting

October 9, 2010

The 2nd Newstead 2021 AGM was conducted at the Welshman’s Reef Winery and Vineyard on Thursday 7th October. There was a terrific turnout with adults and children enjoying a dazzling array of pizza’s direct from the oven. Salads travelled fom the Community Garden and it was wonderful to share the rewards of our gardeners have provided with an enthusiastic crowd.

I have attached a copy of our Annual Report including a summary financial statement below. Minutes from the meeting will be posted shortly.

Annual Report 2009/10 – Geoff Park (President N2021)

Newstead 2021 comprises citizens formed after a summit held in May 2008. The summit was organised by our local community and included a wide range of participants including farmers, self-employed business people, professionals and school children. Inspired by the then newly-elected Federal Government’s 2020 Summit, we wanted to sound out ideas – social, environmental and economic – to strengthen our community. As a result of that Summit, N2021 was formed and we have since developed a community garden, established a locally available free wi-fi service, installed new play equipment in our community playground, set up a town website and are establishing a community project to reduce our energy use and switch to renewable energy. Our first AGM was held on the 24th May 2009. We became officially incorporated on 16th June 2009. Tonight, the 7th October sees our second AGM! This report provides a snapshot of activities and achievements’ over the past 12 months or so …

The Playground Project

The idea for a new playground arose from kids attending the 2008 Newstead 2021 Summit. The kids expressed the need for new playground in the shape of a timber pirate ship. A few grown-ups at this summit, Steve Proposch, Sam Bell, Dean McLaren, & Karly Smith enthusiastically got behind the idea of somehow getting a ship playground to our land-locked town. A year or more of hard work (and a few battles with council) later this farfetched idea has become a reality. The ship has been named HMAS Bell in honour of the passion and commitment Sam Bell had for the kids of our district. The HMAS Bell was officially launched on Feb 19th 2010. We have the Australian Government’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan and the Mount Alexander Shire Council to thank for the initial project funding. Further support for ongoing development has come from the Shire, Maldon & District Community Bank and three local Lions Clubs – Maldon, Castlemaine and Maryborough.

50 km Speed restriction

The concept of a 50 km/hr speed restriction zone for the town ‘got legs’ at the 2008 Summit. Terry Chapman, a participant of the summit raised the matter when he expressed concern for the safety of his children as he walked them to school across the bridge. Vic Roads responded to representations from Terry and he was a member of a deputation which met with its officials from Bendigo last year to advance the project. Signs showing the new 50 km speed zone were erected along Lyons Street in February 2010.

Network Newstead

Network Newstead is the community run free wireless network which covers a large part of central Newstead. The network has been made possible by the generous support of Mount Alexander Shire and Internode. Network Newstead covers the Newstead RTC, and access points at Dig Cafe and the Newstead Community Centre cover from the butchers to the bridge in Lyons Street. There is also some coverage either side of Lyons Street.

Newstead website

A new community website was launched in September 2009. The website funded by Maldon and District Community Bank is an exciting project which allows community groups, businesses and services to maintain their own content on the website, thus keeping the community up-to-date. Both the website and wireless network projects have been led by Dave Hall with assistance from Ron Snep, Julie Butler and a host of others. The website project established an editorial committee to oversee content and development of the site.

Rocket Science

Rocket Science – community conversations on topics that matter was first held on 3rd August 2008. Our first invited speaker was Jayson Burhop from MASG who spoke on renewable energy options. Since then we have held a further 13 sessions covering matters as diverse as writing and publishing, information technology, groundwater, climate change, conservation of rivers, natural hazards, small town community development, Newstead website and energy from sustainable forestry. Sessions have been really well supported by local people and attracted visitors from afar. While Rocket Science remains an occasional we always seeking new topics. Thanks must go to DIG Café and the Welshmans Reef winery for their wonderful support.

The River Project

The Loddon River restoration project has progressed from the development of community-based plans in 2009 to action in 2010. Newstead Landcare Group was successful in obtaining a $9700 Federal Government Community Action Grant for works in riparian restoration in the Newstead area, much of which was allocated to works on the Loddon. Volunteers mapped weed infestations and rabbit warrens and rabbit control programs commenced this year. The first stage of planting of indigenous understorey species was completed in August and although the recent floods caused considerable damage to the plants, quick action by volunteers saved 2/3 of the planting. The floods have incidentally reduced a major weed problem, Cape Broom, comprehensively ripping out many of these plants. This presents an opportunity to replace the weed with native vegetation and an imperative to prevent its return or colonisation by some other undesirable. Newstead Landcare Group has applied for similar funding for ongoing works in 2011. There is every reason to expect that the restoration of the Loddon River will gather pace in the coming 12 months.

The Community Garden & Produce Exchange

Since the 2009 AGM the Community Garden has become a physical reality – a beautiful place shared by 15 plotholders and 16 ‘Digger’ (communal) members as well as regular and casual visitors. The Produce Exchange, now operating monthly outside The Red Store, has become a regular feature of the Newstead calendar. Once Newstead 2021 gained Incorporation and insurance the group was able to secure a lease with the Church of England Diocese of Bendigo, effective from 1/9/2009. After much planning, costing and negotiating 2021 entered a funding agreement with the Shire so that our local group could administer some of the Federal Government stimulus package funds. The Shire handled large infrastructure items such as fencing and water supply.

The following is a snapshot of progress in the 13 months since the site was accessed.

  • September – Visit to Barwon Heads Community Arts Garden. Dolomite & lime applied to ground. First sod turned 12/9/2009. Green manure crop sown.
  • October – Fencing completed; water tank and pump installed, connected to bore and rainwater supplies. External power point installed.
  • Oct/Nov – Garden design discussions and masterplan development
  • November – Tool shed construction, Peppercorn tree rehabilitation, green manure crop dug in.
  • Dec/Jan – Further development of garden design, philosophy and membership guidelines.
  • March – Received Mount Alexander Shire Community Grant. Design implementation workshops, laying out of garden, water supply, path construction.
  • April/May – Fruit trees planted, plots prepared, logo developed, greenhouse frame erected flowform water feature installed.
  • 16th May – GRAND OPENING! and Launch and plot handover.
  • May onwards – Individual plotholders busy planting and maintaining gardens. Communal area planted.
  • August – Biodynamic Compost-making workshop.

Throughout this time there have been numerous days of gardening, peace meditations under the Peppercorn tree and participation in the ACMI short film project. A weblog has been operating for over twelve months with monthly garden notes and other posts. A recent Federal Government Volunteer Grant has provided seeds, moisture meters and more tools for both adults and children. Current focus is on incorporating art into the garden (Regional Arts Fund application pending), constructing a sandpit, compost bays and raised beds, managing the garden through its first Summer and looking forward to enjoying the produce.  We would like to gratefully acknowledge  support from Mount Alexander Shire Council, All Saints Anglican Church, the Federal Government and individuals too numerous to mention. Particular thanks to Doug Bell who has led construction working bees, Liz Bell for running the Produce Exchange and Janet Barker for the blog and continued expertise.                               

Renewable Newstead

A partnership has been formed between N2021 and the Central Victorian Solar City project to establish Renewable Newstead with the aim of exploring how we as a community might move to be 100% energy self-sufficient. On Sunday 18th July nearly 60 folks from the Newstead community came together at the Community Centre to discuss the proposition. Since then a number of things have happened.

  • We have developed a MoU with CVSC to collaborate on the project.
  • Appointed a locally based project worker (Jayson Burhop) who will be working 3 days/week for 12 months, based at the Newstead RTC. Jayson will be conducting free home energy assessments and assisting local residents and businesses with retrofitting and renewable energy options (eg PV and Solar hotwater).
  • CVSC have allocated 30K to the project to assist us in the development phase.
  • With assistance from Terry White submitted a proposal to the Victorian Government Solar Hub program for a 250K to establish a ‘Solar Hub’ in Newstead.
  • We are in the early stages of developing a 50K proposal with ‘Climate Communities’, a program within Sustainability Victoria. The concept is to link the idea of Renewable Newstead with the establishment of a new sustainable building at the Newstead Recreation Reserve.

This is a very exciting initiative that has the potential to bring great economic, social and environmental benefits to the Newstead community. A Strategic Planning Workshop is planned for Sunday 24th October to take the idea to the next level. Many thanks are due to Leah Sertori (CVSC), David, Genevieve, Melissa and Don for their hard work on this project.

While many community members have been involved in the activities of Newstead 2021 I would like to especially thank the following people for their energy, input and support over the past 12 months.

  • Genevieve Barlow, Don Culvenor, Dave Stratton, Patrick Kavanagh and Melissa Proposch and members of the N2021 committee.
  • Kylie Richardson our Treasurer
  • Ron Snep and Dave Hall
  • Mary Park and Janet Barker
  • Karly Smith and Dean McLaren
  • Cr. Michael Redden and the Newstead RTC

Newstead 2021 Inc.  – Summary of financial statement as at 30th September 2010

Item Income Expenditure Balance
Community Enterprise Foundation (Bendigo Bank) – grant 8000.00 5880.05 2119.95
Mount Alexander Shire Community Grant – Wireless Network 5000.00 4904.36 95.64
Federal Volunteers Grant 2009 4849.00 3185.29 1663.71
Federal Volunteers Grant 2010 – Community Garden 3916.00 2942.97 973.03
Community House Energy survey – grant 1000.00 690.00 310.00
MAS – Stimulus Package funding for Community Garden 8600.00 8590.00 10.00
MAS Community Garden workshops – grant 4920.00 4920.19 (0.19)
Community Garden (donations, fees, fundraising) – income 945.00 0 945.00
MAS Stimulus package – Playground 3450.00 3385.00 65.00
Donations (misc) 24.78 0 24.78
 Total 40704.78 34497.86 6206.92



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