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Hazelwood - time for action! - this weekend!

On Sunday September 13, 2009, people from across Victoria, and Australia, will come together for a day of peaceful community mass civil disobedience to Switch off Hazelwood and Switch off Coal, while taking action for renewable energy. UPDATED with report and photos from the weekends action.

Media Release

22 arrested taking action for renewable energy.

[check below for images]

Sunday 13, September, 2009.

Five hundred people from across Victoria and Australia converged on the Latrobe Valley for a day of community protest at the gates of Australia’s most-polluting power station, Hazelwood.

Louise Morris from Switch Off Hazelwood said “This action has been a historic moment for the Victorian grassroots climate movement. This day is a positive step toward a grassroots campaign that can make government listen to our demands for just transition away from coal - in favour of clean renewable energy jobs for the Latrobe Valley, and Australia. “

“Today’s action in which 22 people, including doctors, teachers and scientists, were prepared to be arrested shows that moves by the Brumby Government to go on sinking taxpayers money into supporting the coal industry will not wash,” said Louise Morris, Switch off Hazelwood spokesperson.

“That 22 people managed to climb the heavily fortified fences around Hazelwood to present the ‘Community Decommission Orders’ is proof society has moved beyond coal, and now the government must catch up or suffer the consequences at the polls.”

“That the Brumby Government chose to put such an over the top police presence at this event with water police, helicopters, mounted police, police on dirt bikes and in special uniform is proof that they are not in tune with community sentiment on climate. Thankfully this did not overly disrupt the community event to switch on renewables and switch off coal,” said Ms Morris.

“We will continue our campaign for the state government to remove its support of the coal industry and instead support the renewable energy transition our
community and planet need,” concluded Ms Morris.

The Switch off Hazelwood. Switch off Coal. Switch on Renewables protest is organised by a range of people who care about climate change and want to see a switch from coal to renewable energy. For more information and images from the day please visit or call Louise Morris on 0408 906 310.

Photos from the day

While much of the media reported 'violent clashes with the police' the reality was that 99.9% of the day was friendly, focussed and effective campaigning for a better future. I suppose you don't want the truth to get in the way of good headlines....

There's a nice video from Penny Milstein from
Sustainability in Stonnington
available here.

above: placard painting in the kids tent

above: Robbie Thorpe, Gunnai/ Kunai, gives welcome to country

above: Tali

above: the tshirt says it all, really

above: MC for the day, Dave Sweeney, takes the rain in his stride

above: as the speeches wore on, the kids got to work with the earthball

above: the wonderful Lou Morris

above: the march starts, heading to Hazelwood

above: on the walk to Hazelwood

in Victoria we can't complain when it rains anymore, and the crowd didn't seem to mind ...

above: a group of children lead the march and managed a quick press conference on the way (and blitzed the media, of course)


above: MC Dave Sweeney

above: Melbourne based paedeatrician Merryn Redenbach

above: David Spratt, author of Climate Code Red

who said environmentalists don't have a sense of humor?

 Hazelwood = 65,000 'black balloons' per minute!? Kind of puts those ads into another light

above: the blockade starts

[saturday Sept 12, final update]:

If you can't make the actions, we will be tweeting direct from Hazelwood this weekend. Please support this action by following us and retweeting our tweets:

Age story: Hazelwood action gets support from green movement:

Check Hazelwood site for other media stories:

But hope to see you there!

UPDATE: SEPT 7: final details for the weekend

Switch off Hazelwood – Switch on Renewables, less than a week away!

We are now less than a week away from the Switch off Hazelwood – Switch on Renewables, day of peaceful community protest.

Things are going incredibly well in the lead up to the weekend of camping and action for renewable energy.


On Monday Sept 7 we launched our campaign to the media and the world. To see our media release and links to how it was covered across Australia
please go to

Below is an example of the coverage we got:

Bid launched to close coal power station
Ninemsn - Sydney,New South Wales, Australia
Community organisations will protest at Victoria's Hazelwood power station next Sunday in a push to close the station and encourage the Latrobe Valley ...


Leading up to this weekend of action there have been multiple skill shares where people have learnt why we are protesting at Hazelwood, what sort of events are planned throughout the day (and evening before), how they can form affinity groups to plan their own involvement in the day. As well as other necessities such as our legal rights at such a protest and how to be part of the creative element of the day.


We are excited to be able to announce the location of our campsite for Saturday September 12 – the Hazelwood Pondage Caravan Park and Campsite. This campsite is approx 2km down the road for Hazelwood power station and is a registered campsite with toilets, BBQ’s and is lakeside to the Hazelwood ponds. These ponds are a constant 22C, so you can bring your bathers.

Camping fees are $10 per night and we will have marquees and camp kitchen set up for the Saturday night. For more information on the site and how to get there go to;

We are hoping as many people as possible will join us for the camp on Saturday night, it will not only be the time when we can give the final legal briefings, action updates, updates on police liaison but we can also talk and meet up with like minded people who are excited about taking peaceful community action on climate change – and continue to build the movement.

We will be starting the Saturday program from 4pm on Saturday Sept 12, we strongly encourage people to come for the night. Bring your camping gear, lunch for Sunday, some money to pay for camp fees and donate to the shared dinner and be ready for some inspiring community action on climate change.

The program for Saturday night will be emailed to all who have RSVP’d and will be posted on the website.


Sunday Sept 13, is the day we come together as a community to show we want to Switch off Hazelwood – Switch off Coal and Switch on Renewables.

The day will start at 11am on the corner of Brodribb and Nadenbouschs Rd, 1500m up the road from Hazelwood power station.

Robbie Thorp, Gunai representative, will give an acknowledgement of country ceremony.
Greenpeace Germany’s, Sven Teske will talk about the transition available for Victoria and the Latrobe Valley.
Sen. Scott Ludlum will outline why events such as ours are critical to create the political will for science-based action on climate change…and then we will begin our march to the front gates of Hazelwood.

Once at the Hazelwood front gates, this may take a while as the march will be slow, we will hear from David Spratt (Co-Author Climate Code Red) on why the science is telling us to switch off coal and Dr. Merryn Redenbach on the health impacts of burning coal.

The affinity groups that are forming are planning a myriad of creative ways to keep us entertained and spirits up on the day. This includes a game of cricket that people can be part of in the main car park, circus acrobats, musicians and the like. We hope that people will think about what they want to get out of the day – and create it themselves with their friends and affinity groups.

Throughout the day people will be pasting up ‘Community Decommission Orders’ around Hazelwood, showing that we want this dinosaur switched off – so we can switch on renewables. You will be able to collect some of these CDO’s on the Saturday night or download them from the page in the lead up to the action.

This event is organised by community – for community so the more creativity and thought you put into how you want to be part of this historic event, the better it will be.


We are liaising with the police re: clear demarcation of where we are able to assemble without any possibility of arrest. Essentially all spaces in front of the Hazelwood gates, -that are not fenced off - are fine for us to assemble in.

Police will be blocking off the road for the duration of our action on Sunday to make sure that we do not have to contend with traffic on the day. This will ensure that the march and front gate area of Hazelwood is safe for children, cyclists, puppet operators and all of us to be on, without having to worry about traffic safety.

Police have advised us that they will have a few mounted officers on the day, to bring up the rear of the march, which will also stop any traffic from encroaching on our event.

We have two designated police liaisons appointed for the action who will liaise with the police and relay relevant information to us via the MC and PA we will have throughout the day.


We strongly encourage you to join with other like-minded folk before the action to have a chat about what sort of experience you want to have on the day…and organise to make that happen. Such friendship groups or groups formed on similar hopes for the day are often called affinity groups. An affinity group can be anything from a ‘Parents and children’ group, ‘puppet making’ group, ‘musicians’ and ‘clowns for climate.’ The only think limiting what your affinity group can be is imagination.

Many groups are forming already, and we will be forming more such groups on the Saturday night at the campsite. These groups include:
‘Parents and Children’ (towards the front of the march)
‘Captain Planet, Planeteers’
‘Creative Collective’
‘Australian Youth Climate Coalition’
‘Windmill backpacks’
‘Climate Clowns’
‘Climate Acrobats’
‘Wheelie Bin Sound System’
‘Independent Media group’
…the list is growing

If you are part of a Climate Action Group, a university group, or sporting group this is often a good place to start building an affinity group for this action. The important thing is that you have similar aims for the day, know the people in your group and can work together on the day.

If you have already formed an affinity group and want to let the organising group know email us at [email protected]. We will be trying to get all the affinity groups together the week before the action to meet each other, talk about the day of action and how we can support each other and have a safe, successful and uplifting day of community action.


For camping
-fold out chairs
-sleeping gear
-toiletries (we have toilets on site).
- some pocket money for campsite fees and dinner that is being provided.
-readiness to meet lots of like minded people and be inspired.
-your pre-made banners, props and affinity group for the action.

for the action
Our best advice is to bring what you think you may need on the day to be self-sufficient. This includes;
-warm clothes
-rain jacket
-walking boots
-any medication you may need
-banners, signs, placards etc
-your camera (bound to be lots of great photo opportunities)
-friends and family.
-picnic blanket or something light and easy to carry to sit on or take a break on…


Switch off Hazelwood – Switch on Renewables is a first for the Victorian climate movement. We have signed petitions, met with our political representatives and Walked Against Warming – now we are taking our voices to the gates of one of the biggest polluters in Australia with the message we want it Switched off, and renewables Switched on!

The technology and money  is there for us to make the transition to renewable energy solutions what is lacking is the political will.

This action is about ordinary Australians saying we want action on climate that is strong, science based and now.

Switch off Hazelwood - Switch on Renewables; is a day of peaceful community protest and mass civil disobedience, that shows ordinary Australians are serious about taking action on climate change.

Switching  Australia away from coal and switching on the transition to renewable energy solutions.

Full details at:


AN UPDATE, August 24:

It is now less than three weeks till the Switch off Hazelwood – Switch on Renewables day of peaceful community action.

The buzz is building; people are telling us they are bringing bus loads of their friends, family (and Climate Action Groups) from places as far away as Ballarat, Albury and Sydney.

This is a first for the climate campaign in Victoria, whereby a community organised event is being held at a major greenhouse emitter – Hazelwood - and people are prepared to come together to peacefully protest to show that the social licence for polluting dinosaurs such as Hazelwood has been revoked.

In an act of peaceful civil disobedience some people will be slapping ‘Community Decommission Orders’ on the Hazelwood power plant and of course the fence and surrounding infrastructure of this coal mine and station.

Whether you will be one of the many giving the ‘Community Decommission Order’ directly to Hazelwood, or one of the hundreds who will be peacefully marching rallying at the front gates of Hazelwood – we need everyone to come out and show the Brumby and Rudd government that the community wants a just transition away from coal to renewable energy.

On Sunday Sept 13 @ 11am we will meet on the corner of Brodribb and Nadenbousche Rd. We will be welcomed to country and hear from speakers including Greenpeace Germany’s renewable energy expert Sven Teske on how we can repower our state, and our country.

We will march to the front gates of Hazelwood and, through peaceful protest, will make it clear that the community wants to Switch off Coal and Switch on Renewables.

There are many, many ways people can be involved in making this day happen, from being a part of our creative collective (making up banners and puppets for the day), our community outreach team, our legal observer team, camp logistics team (marquees, tents etc), or you can form your own affinity group and decide how you and your friends/ CAG want to be part of the day.

Come along to our final skill share session (Aug 29 & 30) to find out how the day will run, what your legal rights are, what sort of roles you can help with on the day…and to meet others who will be coming along.

Please RSVP or email [email protected] to register for the skillshare.

Groups you can be part of to help build this event include:

  • Creative Collective
  • Community Outreach
  • Legal Observers
  • Campsite logistics
  • Transport logistics
  • Fundraising

To join any of these groups email [email protected]

This event is organised by community, for community – we need all of us who care about climate change to make this day a peaceful, enjoyable and powerful day of  action to Switch off Hazelwood, Switch off Coal and Switch on Renewables.

For full details, please check here




Switch off Hazelwood. Switch off Coal is a day of fun, creative, inspiring direct community action at one of the main causes of climate change - coal burning power stations – specifically Hazelwood coal power station.

Hazelwood coal power station is one of the dirtiest coal stations in the industrialised world, spewing an average of 17 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year was scheduled to be shut down in 2005 it was given a life-line by the ALP state government to keep operation until 2031. We need to remove that lifeline and extend it to climate protection and renewable energy.

This polluter of the past has to be switched off to allow us to switch on renewable energy for the future.

We are all affected by climate change and it is time for us to remove the social licence for polluting dinosaur like Hazelwood to go on causing climate change.

Join us for a peaceful day of community protest and mass civil disobedience. Be creative, be inspired and be there!

This is a community organised event, as such we need as many people from the community as possible to help make this event a success and as diverse as possible.

Come along to a training session, get involved with organising the event (paint a banner, bring your friends, help raise awareness), but most importantly come along on the day for the first mass civil disobedience at the Hazelwood coal power station on Sunday September 13, 2009.

Full details here.


We’re asking everyone who plans to come to the Switch off
Hazelwood:Switch off Coal day of action to also attend one of the
activist skillshare training courses prior to the action.

These trainings are invaluable tools that have been used in
virtually every social movement to ensure the safety and effectiveness
of activists, and they will provide you with a clearer understanding of
what to expect at the action and some more tools to add to your
activist toolbox.

What will be covered in the trainings?

Hazelwood skillshare/training sessions program will include;

    • Introduction to civil disobedience
    • Why peaceful mass civil disobedience /nonviolence as a tactic for Hazelwood?
    • Your legal rights and responsibilities.
    • Roles at an action: (police liaison, media liaison, medical support team, legal observers and more).
    • Creative civil disobedience through puppets, props and music.
    • Protest tactics – the practical how to’s when switching off coal.
    • Organising for the day (affinity groups).
    • Dealing with police response to peaceful civil disobedience.
    • Media at an action –how to generate your own media and speak to journalists.

(Role plays and interactive learning tools will be used through each session)

We will be holding trainings in Melbourne in the weeks leading up to
Sept 12/13 at the Climate Action Centre (Level 5, new building Victoria
Trades Hall Council).

Please identify which of the trainings you wish to attend and RSVP for that training stream – and the action of course.

Currently Scheduled Nonviolence Trainings for Switch off Hazelwood: Switch off Coal: Switch on Renewables.

Two day workshop program that repeats this
program structure provides a split weekend allowing for parents and
busy activists to attend on two concurrent Saturdays. The full weekend
caters for those able to devote a weekend block of the same 2 day

Stream one;
Sat 15th August: Day one program
Sat 22nd August: Day two program.

Stream two;
Sat & Sun- 29/30 two day program in single weekend.

Skill shares to start at 9.30 am and end at 5pm.

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