27 September 2023

News in Brief

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Rooftop solar for apartments

More Canberrans will soon be able to enjoy cheaper, cleaner energy from solar, with new funding for installations of shared rooftop solar on multi-unit apartments.

It is anticipated that over 2,100 households will benefit from the scheme which could provide a 35 per cent reduction in electricity bills for Canberrans living in apartments.

Multi-dwelling body corporates will be able to access up to $100,000 for rooftop solar, half a grant from the Commonwealth and an interest-free loan from the ACT Government.

Further information can also be obtained from this PS News link.

Childhood education for kids

Three-year-old preschool children in the ACT will soon be able to spend one day per week learning early childhood education from the start of 2024.

Available to all Canberra families, the service will save the average family $1,329 with a 3-year-old and will be delivered through the participating Early Childhood and Education Care (ECEC) services.

More than 5,000 three-year-olds across Canberra are expected to be eligible for this nation-leading initiative and details can be found at this PS News link.

UNSW Canberra City campus OKed

The ACT Government has approved plans from the University of NSW (UNSW) to build a $1 billion campus on Constitution Avenue.

The approval follows three years of work ensuring the precinct is integrated and connected to the city and surrounding environment.

Establishing UNSW’s new campus in Canberra City will not only attract around 6,000 local, national and international students, but will become a hub of innovation, with a new Defence and Security Innovation Precinct set to be a key feature of the new campus.

New wind farm for Canberra

Canberrans are to have their electricity supplied by another windfarm in Victoria as the Government enters an agreement with Global Power Generation (GPG) for their Berrybank 2 Wind Farm.

Announced by the Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reductions, Shane Rattenbury, the windfarm has a total capacity of 109 MW from 26 wind turbines to generate 390 GWh of clean energy per year, equivalent to the electricity consumption of 71,000 households.

“The addition of the Berrybank 2 wind farm will ensure Canberra’s continued access to affordable and reliable zero-emissions energy,” Mr Rattenbury said.

Library families off to space

Libraries ACT is calling on families to get their spacesuits ready for its calendar of winter school holiday activities.

Unveiling the Space themed events, Libraries ACT said July would see an action-packed line-up of cosmic activities at Canberra’s libraries to ignite children’s imagination and take them on an intergalactic journey.

It said the line-up featured an exploration of the solar system through interactive exhibits and games, Lego Space Adventures, Storytime in the Stars, and a space-themed movie marathon.

“Get ready for a holiday full of cosmic fun and discovery that will leave you starry-eyed!”

The program of school holiday events can be accessed at this PS News link.

Libraries to art Refugee Week

Libraries ACT is marking Refugee Week later this month (18-24 June) with an art exhibition.

Announcing The Power of Colour exhibition, Libraries ACT said it had partnered with Afghan Women on the Move to launch the creative display at the ACT Heritage Library.

“This story telling creates a platform for woman to share their experiences and knowledge for all to learn from,” Libraries ACT said.

“The exhibition gives a voice to these women to pass their lived experiences and knowledge onto their family, community, next generations of migrants and wider community of Australia as well as the world with the potential to turn it into a thriving enterprise.”

Locals to battle Canadian fires

A contingent of ACT Firefighters have departed for Canada to support local firefighters during extremely challenging conditions early in the Northern Hemisphere fire season.

Announcing the deployment, the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) said local firefighters had joined the Australian and New Zealand deployment of experienced firefighting crews, incident management teams and various specialist roles to help battle the over 225 wildfires across the country.

It said ACT firefighters would be deployed for 35 days, most likely based in Alberta, Canada.

Electric bus fleet to grow

Transport Canberra is to welcome an additional 94 electric buses over the next three years, bringing the Territory’s fleet up to 106.

Announcing the move, the Directorate said the Government had signed a contract with Vehicle Dealers International (VDI) to buy 90 Yutong ‘E12’ battery electric buses and was currently in negotiation with Custom Denning to procure four ‘Element’ battery electric buses including charging infrastructure.

“The agreement with Vehicle Dealers International will provide our passengers with a cleaner, quieter and more comfortable ride while cutting transport emissions,” Transport Canberra said.

“We’re also in negotiations with another provider to lease four more electric buses.”

HR Commission backs court case

The ACT Human Rights Commission has welcomed the Board of Inquiry being conducted in relation to the court case R v Lehrmann.

The Commission said it valued highly the essential work the Victims of Crime Commissioner, Heidi Yates (pictured) continues to do, providing support, advocacy and assistance to victims of crime in the ACT.

It said that under Commissioner Yates’ leadership, Victim Support ACT had helped more Canberrans than ever, with demand for VSACT’s support, advocacy and financial assistance services growing every year for the past four years.

Libraries to host National Story

Libraries ACT is inviting Canberra families to visit their local library on 24 May for a special reading of The Speedy Sloth by Rebecca Young as part of National Simultaneous Storytime.

Issuing the invite, the Library said National Simultaneous Storytime was an annual campaign that aimed to encourage children to read and enjoy books as well as teach them the value of literacy.

“Now celebrating its 23rd successful year, we have no doubt that the reading of Rebecca Young’s The Speedy Sloth, will continue to build this wonderful campaign,” Libraries ACT said.

“This free event will start at 10:30am, with songs and play.”

Information on the event can be accessed at this PS News link.

Canberrans for free streaming

Library members across Canberra can now access a new movie streaming resource with Libraries ACT adding Beamafilm to its catalogue of offerings.

Announcing the new service, Libraries Act said Beamafilm was the leading Australian-owned streaming service for movie-lovers to enjoy the best in ad-free on-demand cinema for free.

It said library members could access Beamafilm directly with their library card number.

Parks close to control rabbits

Sections of Canberra’s nature reserves are to be closed to the public from next week to July for visitor safety while rabbit control operations take place.

Announcing the upcoming closures, the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) said rabbits were a serious environmental pest as their grazing resulted in a loss of vegetation and their warrens contribute to soil erosion.

“Grazing by rabbits threatens the survival of native birds, mammals, and insects that rely on plants for food and shelter,” EPSDD said.

It said to allow the ACT Parks and Conservation Service to undertake rabbit control operations safety and effectively, Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura would be closed 9 – 26 May; Mount Pleasant and Percival Hill, 9 May – 28 July; and Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, 9 May – 30 June.

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