An inspiring community leader
Narrator: Community leader Matthew Nott has a long history of climate action in NSW. Responsible for the Lifesaving Energy campaign that has seen numerous surf clubs and fire stations in NSW go solar, he is now focused on furthering clean energy projects in his hometown of Tathra.
Matthew: Tathra’s a fantastic little town on the south coast of New South Wales. It’s a small but for its size there’s a lot going on in Tathra. We’re looking at tapping into community solutions to climate change. We’ve set an emissions reduction target which is 50/50 by 2020. That’s a 50% reduction in the consumption of energy and a 50 percent production of energy from renewable energy sources by the year 2020. That’s quite an achievable target, particularly in regional areas and a growing number of communities are taking that target on board so that now there are 5 shires in south-eastern New South Wales that have adopted a 50/50 by 2020 target. We’ve had a series of fundraising events across south-eastern New South Wales for community renewable energy projects and we’re also trying to tap into community groups such as the Rural Fire Service.
Lance: The scheme was with pyramid power, that if we had say 30 residential areas that put on these solar panels then they would put on a solar panel array on a community project. The whole town was behind us. A lot of the Tathra citizens say, “You’ve got a great project up there” – they’re all for it, they’re all backing us and hopefully this project is going to snowball up and down the coast.
Matthew: So, we aim to be the first town to reach a 50/50 by 2020 target and we think we can do that. By the end of this year we’re hoping to have every community building in Tathra set up with renewable energy.
Justine: Every year we started running a Tathra enduro race which is a combination of mountain biking various distance in the community. When it was purely to raise money for solar panels for a few projects but particularly for our church. Everything we do, everything we turn on, every instrument we play or whatever – that energy is generated by the solar panels. It only takes maybe 1 or 2 people to have that passion and you get caught up in it and it suddenly becomes important to you as well.
Matthew: Embracing a 50/50 by 2020 target is going to allow us to tap into enormous economic opportunity in terms of creating jobs, investment opportunity, putting ourselves in a position of leadership, attracting eco tourism to our part of the world and putting our part of the world on the map as a region that’s showing leadership on climate change. My argument is that even if your skeptical about climate change, renewable energy, embracing renewable energy is an economic opportunity whether you are worried about climate change or not. And if a little town like ours can achieve an aggressive emission reduction target then any town can do it.