Welcome to Term 3. Generally, at this time of the year, schools would be increasing their involvement within the Energy Breakthrough, all in preparation for the annual Energy Breakthrough Festival held in Maryborough in November.

As we informed you towards the end of Term 2, the Energy Breakthrough Management Committee would make a definitive decision as to whether the Festival would go ahead later this year at its meeting this week.

The Committee did meet yesterday, and as a result of the information presented to the committee, along with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases within Victoria (and especially Melbourne), the committee has sadly decided to cancel the event for this year.

This decision was not made lightly, and it was informed by a range of information, including:

  • The results of a school survey sent to all Energy Breakthrough schools (92 schools responded) and the general feelings of schools about the event and challenges they are facing,
  • The guidelines set out by DET for school camps and excursions.
  • The effects of changing VCE dates to coincide with the event.
  • An investigation into cleaning and general health and safety requirements for the Festival – especially the site.
  • Regulations relating to large gatherings and social distancing requirements.
  • Alternate festival options and related implications.

The Central Goldfields Shire Council and Country Education Partnership apologise for the disappointment this cancellation will cause, but public health takes priority, and we must make the necessary decisions to respond responsibly to the pandemic.

We thank our schools, volunteers, and partner sponsors for their input into our decision making, and we feel this is the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation.

We understand that a number of schools have already paid their registration for the Energy Breakthrough Festival 2020, and we will be in contact with you in the near future regarding this.

The Country Education Partnership will work with Central Goldfields Shire Council, the Partner Sponsors and Energy Breakthrough schools, to look at how we can support the ongoing development and implementation of the Energy Breakthrough throughout the remainder of 2020. Our partners in La Trobe, Regional Roads and Transurban, are still extremely keen to support schools with STEM-related programs. Further information about this involvement will be released to school in the coming weeks.

Both Central Goldfields Shire Council and Country Education Partnership have committed to making our 2021 program and Festival in Maryborough the biggest and best yet. Our schools and partner sponsors, coupled with the State Government’s $1.5 million funding boost announced in May, will supplement the existing funding provided from the Department of Education and Training, ensuring this much-loved award-winning event will continue to grow.

We aim to ensure that the 2021 Energy Breakthrough is a big celebration event for its 30 years of operation.

As part of the planning for 2021, Country Education Partnership will utilise the time remaining in 2020, to lead several discussion forums involving Energy Breakthrough schools and stakeholders to explore how we can further enhance the already outstanding program that Energy Breakthrough has become.

We look forward to having you remain involved in Energy Breakthrough for the remainder of this year, contributing to the discussion forums, and joining us at the Festival in Maryborough in November 2021.