Mike Hill Fellowship launches next gen leader in Merri-bek (media release)

27 April 2021

Moreland City Council and Australian Energy Foundation have launched the Mike Hill Fellowship, a joint initiative to build local champions for action on climate change, created in tribute to prominent Merri-bek environmental figure Mike Hill.

Daisy Day was announced as the 2021 Mike Hill Fellowship recipient and will work on two energy innovation pilot projects in 2021, as part of the Merri-bek Energy Innovation Lab (MEIL); an education and advocacy program encouraging plumbers replacing hot water systems to transition from inefficient gas and electric, to more efficient systems; and a project centred around in-home devices that connect to smart meters, so residents can see their energy usage over the day.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to begin my career in environmental sustainability in a manner that supports my vision to create community driven environmental change, and something 'bigger than myself',” said Daisy.

“I’m excited to work with local industry and community members during the two MEIL pilot programs – the results of which I hope inspire future ‘zero carbon’ actions within Merri-bek.”

The Fellowship was officially launched on Wednesday 21 April at the Coburg Civic Centre.

Moreland Mayor Cr Annalivia Carli Hannan said the fellowship aims to provide future leaders the opportunity to learn about social and environmental challenges in the local Merri-bek community and design solutions to solve them.

“The Mike Hill Fellowship has been created to honour and continue former Merri-bek Mayor Mike Hill’s legacy and passion for environmental sustainability” said Cr Carli Hannan.

“It celebrates the ongoing 20-year partnership between Merri-bek City Council and Australian Energy Foundation, or the Merri-bek Energy Foundation as it was known during Mike’s time.

“In partnership with AEF, we have established the Merri-bek Energy Innovation Lab (MEIL) designed to help achieve our targets within the Merri-bek Zero Carbon 2040 Framework and ensure the continuation of best practice energy innovation pilots within Merri-bek.”

Daisy Day’s focus is the Plumbing Industry Engagement project (PIEE), which seeks to work in close consultation with plumbers in the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA) region, through the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC), Tradelink, Reece Plumbing and Master Plumbers. The project encourages plumbers, when replacing hot water systems, to transition from inefficient gas and electric, to efficient systems, such as Hot Water Heat Pumps, providing a better outcome for the environment.

Mike Hill was a community leader, activist and visionary thinker across the environmental sustainability and local government communities in Victoria. Throughout his career, Mike Hill was appointed in numerous positions, including Mayor of Brunswick Council and inaugural Mayor of Merri-bek where he oversaw the founding of CERES and Australia’s first kerbside recycling scheme; the creation of the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA); and was “founding father” of the Merri-bek Energy Foundation (now Australian Energy Foundation) as the first Chair of the Board.

Image: Mike Hills Fellowship recipient, Daisy Day