At our second session we listened to an informative podcast* in which Michelle Grattan interviewed Greg Combet, former Minister for climate change and energy in the Gillard governments. Greg had previously been Secretary of the ACTU and has recently been appointed as chair of the Australian government's new Net Zero Agency which has been charged with helping regional communities transition away from fossil fuel industries. The agency started work in July to help communities like those around Hazelwood in Victoria and Liddel in NSW, already dealing with coal power plant closures. It will work with state, territory and local governments, existing regional bodies, unions, industry, investors and First Nations groups to help former fossil fuel industry workers retrain and access support.
There will be a change of day for our next session - it will be at 10 am on Tuesday 5 December at the U3A. The reason for the change is that we are joining with the Stock and Land group to visit an innovative venture that's being progressing in Benalla. Alistair Cumming has developed a method of milling the leaves from a very specific species of eucalypt to extract substances to be used in the pharmaceutical industry. We'll visit his experimental mill located in Benalla and then visit his farm at Lurg where he has a plantation of the species he uses.