Long Live Tarrangower
by Melanie Scaife, on the future of our region
Tarrangower Times July 2021
Maldon is home to many locally run businesses, some clearly visible on Main and High Streets, others tucked away in home offices, clinics and studios or operatiing on the town’s outskirts – wineries, tourist accommodation and farms producing cherries, honey and flowers.
Perter Strang’s business, Willow Cottage, falls into the latter category and is the reason he attended Business Mount Alexander’s briefing on The Business of Climate Change last month, keen to find out how to grow his business while reducing its carbon emissions.
“At the moment I’m providing energy generated by solar power and I’ve just signed up for a (State Government) subsidised battery – covering my own power needs, but also for people staying in the cottage,” says Peter. “We use recycled materials as much as possible and encourage people to recycle while they’re staying. We have ‘keep cups’ for guests to use, we bulk buy soap and shampoo to minimise waste, we generally try to have a low-impact business.”
The briefing offered Peter and other business owners from Maldon and across the Shire access to advice from experts from Sustainability Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Sustainable Australia Fund, EnviroShop Newstead and Cola Solar, among others.
While solar and battery rebate schemes are perhaps better known, the briefing highlighted several other government programs on offer to business owners in Mount Alexander Shire to help them cut business energy costs, reduce emissions, save money and contribute to a sustainable future, including for those who rent premises, run farms or operate as sole traders.
These included; the Business Energy Advice Program, offering free independent assessments to help small businesses get better energy deals and increase their efficiency. The Victorian Energy Upgrades Program, unlocking discounts on lighting, water efficiency, hot water, space heating and cooling; and the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance’s Small Business Energy Saver Program, offering savings on energy-efficient upgrades, from reverse cycle air conditioners to display cabinets, fridges and freezers.
For farmers, Agriculture Victoria’s On Farm Energy Grants are designed to help them invest in equipment to improve energy efficiency to boost competitiveness and protect local jobs. Protecting and growing local jobs is something that can only benefit Maldon.
“Short-term accommodation is quite a big business in Maldon. Maldon Getaways alone has lists just short of 20 properties,” said Peter.
“Maldon needs a bit more activity. You wouldn’t think so on a Saturday morning, but mid-week it can be quite, and there’s an advantage in promoting a clean, green offering, for Maldon to be seen as an attractive destination. The young couple who stayed just this weekend at the cottage commented that they see this as a positive.”
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Melanie Scaife is a Maldon resident and graduate of the ADAPT Loddon Mallee Region Climate Leadership Program