City of Latrobe, Victoria

Green Expectations

Latrobe City links key townships along the vast brown coal reserves of the Latrobe Valley. This council faces an internationally common problem of an increased political resistance to the burning of coal while it still has largely untapped coal reserves. The community is faced with the negative image of a polluting city while the Council has to plan long-term to respond to potential major changes.

Latrobe City focussed its Green Expectations project on the task of engaging local communities around issues of sustainability.

Current Projects

The Grid
The Grid is the final exciting element of Latrobe City's Green Expectations project and activities will take place throughout 2009. The Grid project explores the role that the Latrobe Valley plays as the heart of energy generation and how that may play out in a "carbon neutral" future. The electricity grid and power generation is changing as the energy market is impacted by carbon trading, the increase in renewable energy generation, and changing community attitudes. The project will give the people of Latrobe City the opportunity to express their unique relationship to the electricity grid and their aspirations for a positive future. By acknowledging Latrobe Valley as the geographical centre of the electricity grid, the project also aims to raise the awareness of those living outside the region of their connection to electricity generation through the electricity grid, and therefore their contribution to the climate change phenomena. Community groups, schools and local artists in Latrobe City will be invited to participate in workshops designed to encourage conversations about what climate change means to them. The whole of Victoria will also be invited to participate in a conversation about energy generation: where do they get their power from and how do they make the connection? Arts projects will include an Australia-wide short film competition, schools art projects, digital storytelling/short film making, shadow storyboards, questionnaires, vox pops, a community weaving project, song writing, a website/blog, short stories, creation of postcards, origami, puppets and flags. The weaving, origami and postcards will be attached to a Pylon Tree, a sculptural work which combines an electricity pylon and a tree, representing the electricity grid as well as a carbon constrained future that may potentially rely on the role of vegetation to help reduce the impacts of climate change. The project will involve a significant community event in August which will showcase the community's arts projects, followed in November by a street parade featuring the puppets and flags made by the school children, the Pylon Tree installation, musical performances and a community dance. Click here to go to The Grid website

Angela Griffiths: Vanishing Point
In conjunction with the Green Expectations project at Latrobe City Council, Latrobe Regional Gallery is featuring a 'green' installation by Tasmanian artist Angela Griffiths. Vanishing Point consists of more than 1,600 hand-made porcelain cones that are lit internally by LED lights. This installation highlights the plight of global warming and more
specifically pays tribute to the changing coastline of Antarctica.

The Grid - SP AusNet Short Film Competition
The Grid - SP AusNet Short Film Competition is an Australia-wide competition for short-film makers to create a work that explores our connection to the electricity grid and how we use electricity in the face of a growing awareness within our communities of the effects of climate change.

Lloyd Goodman: Carbon Obscura
A large sculptural installation has been installed in the Courtyard at Latrobe Regional Gallery. The installation, created by the celebrated artist Lloyd Godman, is based on a camera obscura and is a physical representation in light of a combination of a cooling tower and a coal mine into which people can enter. The piecehas been created by a skeleton of pipework covered in black plastic with a myriad of tiny holes pushed through it in a stunning design. Viewed from the inside, the piece creates adramatic effect as the light penetrates and is captured by smoke that is generated inside the work. The work is a play on shape and light, and offers a sensory experience that people do not normally have the opportunity to enjoy.

Tree Planting Trailer
McInnes was launched by Councillor Doug Caulfield. The tree planting trailer depicts local animals who rely on indigenous habitat for their survival and is a vehicle that can assist in the absorption of carbon from the atmosphere.

Regenerators Street Theatre Troupe
A group of local performers have been mentored by Melbourne based street theatre group Born in a Taxi to develop a street theatre performance based on the issue of climate change. The group of six have been working since August 2007 on the performance and it was launched at the Cinecology Film Festival in February 2008 to the public. The performance is available for local and Australia wide events to raise community awareness and community discussion in relation to climate change. The performers will be performing at the Gippsland Sustainability Festival and also at the Generations conference.

Mega Watt
Green Expectations supported a touring exhibition from Scienceworks titled Megawatt which was held at the Binishell at Monash University in Churchill. The interactive exhibition explored the role of electricity in everyday life and included fully interactive activities and information regarding many different forms of energy.

Cinecology Film Festival
In February a film festival was held at Powerworks which screened films related to climate change. Films included The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived the Oil Crisis; The End of Suburbia; How to Save the World, One Man, One Cow, One Planet; Who Killed the Electric Car and a selection of short films from a Norwegian climate change themed film festival. A highlight of the festival was the film Born to Die which was a film made by the SEC in the 1970's about the demolition of the town of Yallourn. Many of the towns original residents attended the screening and saw footage of old friends and family during this difficult time. For many people new to the area, the film highlighted the impact that coal mining has had on the local community. Catering for the festival used the 100 mile principal which meant that none of the food served at the event travelled for more than 100 miles. All of the films have been donated to the Latrobe Regional Library and are now available to borrow.

Gippsland Sustainability Festival
The Gippsland Sustainability Festival was held at Kernot Hall on the 9th and 10th of May. Information on the festival can be found at The festival was a Gippsland wide event that showcased a range of sustainable technologies and ideas. Stalls included solar and wind power, solar hot water systems, geothermal heating, green cleaning products, bio-diesel production for cars, turbo diesel cars, indigenous plants, organic food, local environmental groups, green banking and eco-friendly home loans. It is hoped that this festival will the first of many to come that will be held in different locations each year. This year Latrobe City Council was host to the festival and other Gippsland Council's will be approached in the coming months for their interest in hosting future events.

Sustainable Gippsland Website
The Sustainable Gippsland Website was launched as part of the Gippsland Sustainability Festival and will become a focus for information related to Sustainability in Gippsland. The website can be found at A Sustainable Gippsland logo has also been developed to support the website.