Inbox and Environment News: Issue 274

July 31 - August 6, 2016: Issue 274

New Era in Genetic Disease Diagnosis: Whole- Genome Testing Service Launched 

Media Release: 27 July 2016 - Garven Institute
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research’s Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics launched Australia’s first clinical whole-genome sequencing service at an event today in Sydney. This new service could triple the diagnosis rates for Australians living with rare and genetic conditions.
The Garvan Institute’s Executive Director, Professor John Mattick AO FAA said that the launch will mark a turning point in disease diagnosis and health care in Australia.

“This new service extends cutting edge genomic technology beyond the research lab. We now have the ability to provide answers to many of the hundreds of thousands of Australians affected by genetic disease.[i]
“We are on the precipice of a tremendous revolution in health care.  The more we understand about the whole genome, the greater our ability is to make life-changing diagnoses for genetic conditions and help patients receive the right treatment faster.

We are at the forefront of genomic discovery and understanding – it is a very exciting time,” Professor Mattick said.

This Australian funded whole-genome sequencing service is the result of a two and a half year development at the Garvan Institute’s Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics in conjunction with NSW Health Pathology - the country’s largest provider of public pathology services.

The service will be offered by Genome.One, a newly established health information company that is owned by, and based at, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney.

Bill Ferris AC, Chair of Innovation and Science Australia and past Chair of the Garvan Institute, said, “Genome.One is a wonderful example of how the superb medical research and technology in our country can be translated into innovative health advances and real economic benefits.”
Patients seeking a diagnosis for a possible genetic condition will be referred to a clinical genetic service who will work with NSW Health Pathology to assess whether whole genome sequencing can provide an answer.

Those who may benefit will then be able to access the service from Genome.One who will screen all 20,000 genes at one time, providing a faster, more accurate and comprehensive service than any other genetic testing in the country.

The new service will be able to help hundreds of thousands of Australians who currently live with a genetic condition1, many of which are rare and challenging to diagnose. This new service will increase the diagnosis rates of these conditions from around 20 per cent to 40 – 60 per cent.

Dr Marcel Dinger, Head of the Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics predicts that the impact of this new service will be significant:
“For families, receiving an accurate and timely diagnosis could result in access to new treatments and therapies as well as a clearer understanding of the journey ahead,” he said.

 “This one test puts an end to the long and complicated journey to diagnosis that at the moment, many families endure. The value the test provides is not confined to benefits to the patient, it will have economic benefits to the health care system as well.

“We are looking forward to working with local and international clinical and research communities to grow our knowledge of the human genome. This will ultimately lead to further breakthroughs and a greater understanding of how each person's unique genome affects their individual health,” Dr Dinger added.

The ability to diagnose a rare disease also provides the opportunity for patients and clinicians to connect with others who have the same diagnosis around the country and the world, allowing them to better understand and potentially treat their condition, as well as providing a much needed support network.

Families who are currently searching for a diagnosis of a genetic disease should speak to their genetic specialist about whether Genome.One’s new test is appropriate for them.

About the Garvan Institute of Medical Research
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research is one of Australia's largest medical research institutions and is at the forefront of next-generation genomic sequencing in Australia. Garvan’s main research areas are: cancer, diabetes and metabolism, immunology and inflammation, osteoporosis and bone biology, and neuroscience. Garvan’s mission is to make significant contributions to medical science that will change the directions of science and medicine and have major impacts on human health. In 2012, Garvan established Australia’s first purpose‐built facility for undertaking clinical-grade genome sequencing and large-scale research projects. The Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics (KCCG) researchers undertake collaborative projects and genome‐based studies to improve genome interpretation, with the aim of advancing the use of genomic information in patient care.

About Genome.One
Genome.One ( is a pioneering health information company providing genetic answers to life’s biggest health questions through clinical Whole Genome Sequencing. Genome.One aims to enhance the lives of patients, families and communities across the world. Genome.One is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia.

[i] Rare voices. (2016). Rare Voices Australia. Retrieved 19 July, 2016, from

Monday 25 July 2016 - Hon. Jillian Skinner, NSW Minister for Health
I am profoundly sorry for the families of a newborn who died and another newborn who was severely affected after the wrong gas was dispensed through a neonatal resuscitation outlet at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital.

I deeply regret these families have suffered through such a devastating error. NSW Health will do all it can to support them.

Senior Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital staff met with the families over the weekend for open disclosure of the facts surrounding the two births, which occurred in June and July this year.

The families were advised the oxygen outlet in one of the hospital’s theatres was incorrectly installed and certified by BOC Limited in July 2015. The error was discovered last Thursday after a paediatrician raised concerns about the unexpected death of the newborn baby, which has been referred to the Coroner. Testing of the gas outlets found one oxygen outlet was emitting nitrous oxide instead of oxygen.

To reassure the public of the safety of Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital and hospitals across NSW, I can confirm:

• Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital has checked all eight operating theatres and found an installation fault in only one theatre, which remains closed.
• Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital has reviewed all records of babies delivered in this theatre since July 2015 and confirmed no other baby received gas from the affected outlet.
• Every medical gas outlet installed in a NSW Health facility in the last five years is being checked to ensure the correct gas is being emitted.
• Secretary of NSW Health Elizabeth Koff has advised the state’s 15 Local Health Districts and two specialty networks have urgently reviewed their protocols for ensuring medical gas outlets are correctly installed and verified in compliance with the Australian standards.
• The legal General Counsel for NSW Health has written to BOC Limited, demanding urgent advice on how the error occurred and if there are any systemic issues in BOC processes which may impact other sites.
• South Western Sydney Local Health District is conducting a formal investigation to determine if Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital staff followed protocols which may have detected the installation error last year.
Newly available hepatitis C treatments have cure rate of more than 90 per cent

28 July 2016: NSW Health
NSW Health today marked World Hepatitis Day by encouraging people living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection to access newly available treatments with cure rates of more than 90 per cent.

Dr Jo Mitchell, Executive Director, Centre for Population Health, NSW Health, said the highly effective, direct-acting antivirals for the treatment of hepatitis C are now affordable after recently being listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“These treatments have the potential to greatly reduce HCV transmission in the community,” said Dr Mitchell.

“Where it is recommended, adults living with hepatitis C can now access these medications that have few side effects. Also, the assessment process is far simpler and much less invasive than it used to be – there is no need for a liver biopsy.

Dr Mitchell will today address a World Hepatitis Day event held in partnership with Hepatitis NSW in Surry Hills to raise public awareness of hepatitis B and C during NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week, held from 25-31 July 2016.

“These treatments have a very high cure rate of greater than 90 per cent for most genotypes. The majority of people require 12 weeks of treatment, compared with up to 48 weeks for the previous, interferon-based therapies, which involved oral tablets and injections and had a cure rate varying from 40 to 90 per cent, depending on HCV genotype,” said Dr Mitchell.

“Due to the severity of side effects from previous medications, patients found it difficult to complete treatment.

“Hepatitis B and C are among the leading causes of primary liver cancer and a common reason for liver transplantation. NSW Health is working hard to reach people who are most at risk of acquiring, or most affected by, viral hepatitis, and improve their health outcomes.”

A key direction of NSW Health’s NSW Hepatitis B Strategy 2014-2020 and NSW Hepatitis C Strategy 2014-2020, launched in 2014, was to provide more accessible treatment and prevention services for priority at-risk populations.

This year’s World Hepatitis Day theme is “Elimination”, marking a commitment to eradicate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

For more information on hepatitis, visit or contact the Hepatitis NSW Infoline: 1800 803 990. For more information on the NSW Health Hepatitis B and C Strategies 2014-2010,

Key Facts
Hepatitis C
• In 2014, an estimated 230,470 individuals were living with chronic HCV in Australia, including, 81,940 individuals in NSW.
• An estimated 690 deaths attributable to chronic hepatitis C infection occurred in 2014 in Australia.
• Of 224 people who had a liver transplant in 2014 in Australia, 81 (36%) had hepatitis C infection.
• About 90% of new infections are attributable to injecting drug use with unsterile injecting equipment.
Hepatitis B
• At the end of 2014, an estimated 213,300 people were living with chronic hepatitis B infection in Australia.
• It is estimated that more than 77,000 NSW residents have hepatitis B and that the number of people with chronic infection is growing.
• An estimated 395 deaths attributable to chronic hepatitis B infection occurred in 2014 in Australia.
Sources: The Kirby Institute’s Annual Surveillance Report 2015 - HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia and NSW Hepatitis B Strategy 2014-2020

World Hepatitis Day: Australia leads world in curing hep C as record numbers seek treatment

28 July, 2016 -  Luci Bamford: UNSW
Australia is on track to eliminate hepatitis C in ten years if record numbers of people living with the virus continue to seek and receive breakthrough antiviral treatment, according to a new analysis.

Data from the Kirby Institute at UNSW reveals that since new generation hepatitis C cures were made available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schemes five months ago, 22,470 Australians have already commenced treatment – a massive increase on the 2,000 to 3,000 people with hepatitis C treated annually prior to the listing.

Professor Greg Dore from the Kirby Institute said Australia is leading the world in the treatment of hepatitis C.

This is the most rapid uptake of new treatments seen anywhere in the world, thanks to the unique approach Australia has taken in making these medicines available without restriction.

This is the most rapid uptake of new treatments seen anywhere in the world, thanks to the unique approach Australia has taken in making these medicines available without restriction,” Professor Dore said.

“This represents a huge leap forward in public health. To put this into perspective, we are on track to cure more people with hepatitis C this year than in the past twenty years of interferon-therapy.”

Hepatitis Australia CEO, Helen Tyrrell said that the wave of people who had been treated was “frankly phenomenal” but that Australia must keep up the momentum in order to make the elimination of hepatitis C a reality within a decade in Australia.

“Governments, along with the health and community sector, should be applauded for the record number of people with hepatitis C coming forward for treatment so far, but of course these efforts must be sustained over many years to reach everyone who would benefit,” Ms Tyrrell said.

“The message for the 230,000 Australians living with hepatitis C is: ask your doctor about new hepatitis C cures. Don’t miss out. You can be cured in as little as 12 weeks and with far fewer side-effects than previous treatments,” Ms Tyrrell urged.

The Department of Health estimated that 62,000 people would be treated with the new antivirals in five years, however if high treatment rates continue, experts believe this goal could be reached by the end of 2017. Importantly, there is no limit on the number of patients that can be treated.


Hep C cures available today for as low as $6.20 a prescription
1 March 2016: Federal Minister for Health Sussan Ley
Hepatitis C sufferers will today get access to publicly-subsidised breakthrough cures that could eradicate the deadly and debilitating disease within a generation, thanks to an investment of more than $1 billion by the Turnbull Government. 

Minister for Health Sussan Ley announced Australians with Hep C would now pay just $6.20 a prescription if they were a concession card holder or $38.30 a prescription as a general patient for four different cures listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme today – saving patients as much as $100,000 for treatment.

Ms Ley said that when taken as prescribed, the four breakthrough medicines listed today had a cure rate of over 90 per cent and worked faster and with fewer side effects than anything else previously subsidised on the PBS. 

“Australia is one of the first countries in the world to publicly subsidise these cures for every one of our quarter-of-a-million Hep C suffers, no matter what their condition or how they contracted it,” Ms Ley said. 
“This is a watershed moment in Australian history and we are hoping to eliminate one the great disease challenges facing Australia in the 21st century.

Hepatitis C is an infectious blood borne virus that attacks the liver, causing its inflammation, and may lead to cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, liver cancer and, in some cases, death. It has six different genotypes.

Ms Ley said there were about 700 deaths attributable to chronic Hep C infection each year, with thousands more suffering a variety of serious liver diseases and conditions.

As a result deaths from primary liver cancer, for which untreated Hep C is a major driver, are rising faster than for any other cancer, with Ms Ley describing today’s PBS listings as a “game changer”.

“Essentially one in every 100 Australians has Hep C, with another 10,000 people diagnosed every year, and they come from all walks of life,” Ms Ley said.

“With this announcement there is great hope we can not only halt the spread of this deadly infectious virus, but eliminate it altogether in time.
“It’s therefore important we tackle this disease head on, and that includes providing these medicines to all Australians, particularly vulnerable populations where rates of infection are high.”

Ms Ley said today’s announcement would see the listing of multiple drug combinations to ensure cures for all types of Hep C were made available to the entire patient population through the PBS from March 1 2016. The medicines are: Sofosbuvir with ledipasvir (Harvoni); Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi); Daclatasvir (Daklinza); and Ribavirin (Ibavyr). 

Ms Ley said in the majority of cases the medicines would be taken orally, with treatment duration as short as 8 to 12 weeks. 

Ms Ley said the cures would be administered in line with the Australian Government’s broader 4th National Hepatitis C Strategy. 

Ms Ley advised people with Hep C to consult their doctor about the best course of treatment for them. 

These Hep C cures were part of $1.6 billion the Turnbull Government invested in its recent MYEFO update. 

“The Turnbull Government is committed to listing medicines recommended by the PBAC without fear or favour, unlike Labor, who tried to halt listing new drug recommendations until it returned budget to surplus,” Ms Ley said. 

“As such, the Coalition has now approved over 900 new and amended listings to the PBS since coming to office – nearly triple the 331 new listings in Labor’s final term.

“Every dollar spent on inefficiency in the health system is a dollar we cannot invest in new breakthrough cures like this one.”

Ms Ley said like access to all PBS medicines, funding was demand driven and the Government would account for any potential variations in spending accordingly. 
NSW trials medicinal cannabis cultivation

26th July 2016: NSW Government
In an Australian first, NSW is researching medicinal cannabis cultivation.
The Federal Government has given the NSW Department of Primary Industries the go-ahead for the pilot cannabis cultivation program.

NSW Minister Primary Industries Niall Blair said the program paves the way for non-government cultivation in the future.

“This is an important step forward that underpins the potential pharmaceutical supply of cannabis-based medicines made in Australia.”
Australia’s international obligations to the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs won’t be affected by the research.

“This cultivation research will build the additional evidence required to produce medicinal cannabis in NSW to guaranteed safety and quality standards,” Mr Blair said.

The NSW Government has invested $21 million in the cultivation program, which is hoped to deliver legal, standardised pharmaceutical cannabis products that health professionals can prescribe safely.

Read more about the Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme:
Ensuring Australians get most from community pharmacy

27 July 2016 – Media Release: The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, Minister for Sport

The Australian Government is ensuring Australians get the best experience possible from community pharmacy and wants to hear from the entire pharmaceutical supply chain – including consumers – on how to deliver it.

The independent Panel for the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation today released their Discussion Paper, with formal consultations and submissions to take place over the next two months. 

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said the Review was looking at everything from important community obligations performed by pharmacists regarding the handling and dispensing of prescription medicines through to regulation and their expanding role in providing patient primary care, such as blood pressure checks and routine vaccinations. 

“The Turnbull Government is committed to an integrated health system that ensures strong co-ordination between a patient’s healthcare team, as evidenced by our landmark Health Care Homes and My Health Record reforms,” Ms Ley said. 

“As a regional member of parliament, I know first-hand that pharmacists are taking a greater role in a patient’s overall healthcare everyday – it’s no longer just about prescription medicines. 

“This Government has made a strong commitment to recognising the important role pharmacists play through our Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement and this review is aimed at ensuring the next agreement continues to meet the future needs of Australians.

“I thank the independent review panel for their hard work so far in developing this discussion paper and look forward to the thought-provoking submissions it will no doubt generate to inform the next steps of the process.”

The Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation was a key part of the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement signed between the Turnbull Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia last year. 

During July, August and September 2016, the Panel will undertake a national public consultation process. This will be extensive and will include public forums in each state and territory (including metro and regional centres), briefings at industry conferences and a public interactive live broadcast.

The Panel is keen to hear the thoughts and perspectives of all interested parties. All submissions to the Discussion Paper received before the closing date of 23 September 2016 will be reviewed and considered by the Panel. 

The Discussion Paper and details on how to respond are available on the Review’s webpage: 

Two short online surveys, specifically targeted at consumers and pharmacists, will also be offered in addition to written responses to the Discussion Paper during the consultation period. 
Imaging technology partnership a major advance for biomedical research

26 July 2016 – by University of Sydney
The University of Sydney is preparing to acquire advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology that will be of major benefit to preclinical and translational medicine research capabilities.

The instruments will enhance the University’s biomedical research capability in areas such as oncology, neurology, embryology, regenerative medicine and cardiology. This capability will accelerate the translation of fundamental research into clinical trials.

The University’s core research facility in biomedical imaging, Sydney Imaging, will soon receive the first of two preclinical MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) systems. 

The systems are being purchased from MR Solutions as part of a technology collaboration which includes local distributor AXT Pty Ltd. 
Professor Simon Ringer, Academic Director of Core Research Facilities at the University of Sydney explained, “Excellence in research is increasingly linked to excellence in capability, and that is what our core research facility program is all about.”

“Our goal is to build world-class research facilities supported by a team of academic, technical and business staff who will manage these platforms. Partnerships with the leading vendors, such as MR Solutions, are essential to that plan.”

Recognising the critical importance of imaging science and technology in biomedical research, the University recently established Sydney Imaging to operate as the peak biomedical imaging facility for the institution. The staff and instrumentation are situated at various sites across the campus in a hub-and-spoke model, accessible to all researchers.

This university-industry partnership involves the installation of a large bore 7 Tesla MRI system as well as a smaller bore 3 Tesla MRI system (1 Tesla is 31,000 times the magnetic field intensity of the earth’s field).

The 7 Tesla system is the most powerful commercially available preclinical MRI imaging system on the market.

The 7T MRI system will be located at the University’s Charles Perkins Centre (CPC), which hosts a number of the University’s core research facilities. MR Solutions will support an MRI Scientist based with the facility staff at the CPC.

The Charles Perkins Centre is an ideal location for the instrument as it brings together researchers from various disciplines to work on obesity, cardiovascular and diabetes related research. Globally, the emerging research agenda in this space is linked to insights gained from imaging technology.

The MRI system’s ability to combine anatomical imaging with analyses to create images in real-time will shed light on changes at the cellular level and how that relates to the progression of diseases such as cancer. 
The unique nature of the design of these MRI systems enables easier compatibility with other imaging technology.  Because the MRIs are a “dry” magnet design, they require no liquid helium for operation and therefore no expensive liquid helium cooling. This results in lower running costs and a more compact design.

Dr David Taylor, CEO and director of MR Solutions said, “I am delighted to be providing our advanced MRI technology to Sydney Imaging at the University of Sydney.  We are excited not only for the wonderful research that will be conducted using our MRI systems, but also in partnering with Sydney Imaging to advance MRI science.”

MR Solutions recently received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation), the most prestigious business award in the United Kingdom, for their development of the MRI scanners.

Richard Trett, Managing Director at AXT added, “We are particularly pleased to be able to provide the MR Solutions advanced MRI technology to the Australian scientific community and in particular into a core research facility at the University of Sydney.”
New genetics clues into motor neuron disease

July 26, 2016: University of Queensland
Researchers at The University of Queensland have contributed to the discovery of three new genes which increase the risk of motor neuron disease (MND), opening the door for targeted treatments.

Professor Naomi Wray from UQ's Queensland Brain Institute was involved in the data analysis as a part of an international study of more than 30,000 people.

"These three new genes open new opportunities for research to understand a complex and debilitating disease which currently has no effective treatments," Professor Wray said.

"Crucially, we hope Australian patients will be included in the next phase of the study, thanks to funds raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge."

"We're very hopeful that in the next phase of discovery, as sample sizes with measured DNA increase, that we'll discover more genes associated with MND."

More than 1400 Australians have MND (also known as ALS). Nerve cells controlling the muscles that enable us to move, speak, breathe and swallow begin to degenerate and die, and the average life expectancy is two to three years.

For more than 90 per cent of patients the diagnosis comes out of the blue -- in what's known as sporadic MND.

This latest research has increased the number of genes associated with the sporadic form of motor neuron disease from one to four.

The Motor Neuron Disease Research Institute Australia has funded the next phase of the research -- the establishment of the Sporadic ALS Australia (SALSA) consortium which has implemented identical data and DNA collection protocols in all the major MND clinics in Australia.

"The consortium paves the way for Australians with MND to join the international efforts in genetic discoveries as a step towards penetrating the complexity of this terrible disease," Professor Wray said.

This study is published in Nature Genetics.

Wouter van Rheenen et al. Genome-wide association analyses identify new risk variants and the genetic architecture of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Nature Genetics, 2016; DOI:10.1038/ng.3622
Common brain changes found in children with autism, ADHD and OCD

July 27, 2016
A team of Toronto scientists has found similarities in brain impairments in children with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

The study, published this month in the American Journal of Psychiatry, involved brain imaging of white matter in 200 children with autism, ADHD, OCD or no diagnosis. White matter is made up of bundles of nerve fibers that connect cell bodies across the brain, and enable communication between different brain regions.

"We found impairments in white matter in the main tract connecting the right and left hemispheres of the brain in children with either autism, ADHD or OCD, when compared to healthy children in the control group," says Dr. Stephanie Ameis, first author on the study and clinician-scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's (CAMH's) Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute. This particular white matter tract, the corpus callosum, is the largest in the brain and among the first to develop.

The research team, from CAMH, the Hospital for Sick Children and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, also found children with autism and ADHD showed more severe impairments affecting more of the brain's white matter than those with OCD. This finding may reflect the fact that both autism and ADHD typically have an onset at a much younger age than OCD, and at a time when a number of different white matter tracts are going through rapid development, says Dr. Ameis.

Autism, ADHD and OCD have common symptoms and are linked by some of the same genes. Yet historically they have been studied as separate disorders. Together, these three neurodevelopmental disorders affect roughly 15 per cent of children and youth.

The study is part of a major Ontario initiative, the Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders Network (POND) that is examining various childhood brain-related disorders collectively, to better understand their similarities and differences, and develop more effective and targeted therapies.

Brain-behavior link
Many of the behaviours that contribute to impairment in autism, ADHD, and OCD, such as attention problems or social difficulties, occur across these conditions, and differ in severity from person to person. The researchers found that the brain's white matter structure was associated with a spectrum of behavioral symptoms present across these diagnoses. Children with greater brain impairment also had higher impairments in functioning in daily life, regardless of their diagnosis, said Dr. Ameis, who is also appointed at the Hospital for Sick Children.

This finding has implications for our understanding of the nature of brain-related disorders, notes senior author Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou of Holland Bloorview Rehabilitation Hospital and head of the POND Network. By providing biological evidence that brain structure relates to a spectrum of behavioural symptoms that cut across different developmental conditions, it highlights the shared biology among such conditions. And it points to the potential that treatments targeting a spectrum of behaviours may be relevant for all three conditions.

Stephanie H. Ameis, Jason P. Lerch, Margot J. Taylor, Wayne Lee, Joseph D. Viviano, Jon Pipitone, Arash Nazeri, Paul E. Croarkin, Aristotle N. Voineskos, Meng-Chuan Lai, Jennifer Crosbie, Jessica Brian, Noam Soreni, Russell Schachar, Peter Szatmari, Paul D. Arnold, Evdokia Anagnostou. A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study in Children With ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, OCD, and Matched Controls: Distinct and Non-Distinct White Matter Disruption and Dimensional Brain-Behavior Relationships. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2016; appi.ajp.2016.1 DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15111435
Support for Festival of India in Australia 2016

26 July 2016
The Turnbull Coalition Government has announced $250,000 to support the Confluence: Festival of India in Australia 2016.

Launched today, the festival is the most significant showcase of India’s arts and culture to be staged in Australia. Held from August to November 2016, the festival will bring an exciting and diverse program of the finest classical and contemporary performing and visual arts from India to audiences  across six Australian cities. The festival will also include a number of community activities and collaborations with local artists.

This cultural celebration will extend and deepen the longstanding relationship between Australia and India by giving Australian audiences the opportunity to experience a program including exhibitions, theatre, dance and music.

The Festival of India in Australia was announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 and is a key deliverable of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Arts and Culture between the Government of the Republic of India and the Australian Government. 

The festival follows the Australian Government’s ‘Oz Fest’, a major cultural festival in India that ran from October 2012 to February 2013.

The Australian Government has committed $200,000 to the festival through the Department of Communications and the Arts and a further $50,000 from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australia India Council.

For more information on the August to November, 2016 program visit:

Accessible lifts for Sydney Harbour Bridge

25th July 2016: NSW Government
More Sydneysiders and visitors from around the world will be able to access the Sydney Harbour Bridge with new lifts to be installed to make the scenic walk across Australia’s most recognisable landmark accessible.

Lifts will be installed at Kirribilli and The Rocks so that people with prams, the elderly or those in a wheelchair can access the Sydney Harbour Bridge walkway.

Currently there are 61 steps on Broughton Street at Kirribilli and 64 steps at Cumberland Street in The Rocks to access the walkway.

Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka said community consultation and detailed planning work will continue to ensure the heritage value of the bridge is preserved during the upgrade. 

"Everyone, including people with disability, should be able to enjoy everything NSW has to offer. This project is a game-changer for people with disability and their families,” Mr Ajaka said.

Roads and Maritime Services has carried out extensive work to investigate preferred locations for the lift access, taking into account the heritage value, accessibility standards, visual impacts and integration with the existing structure.

Consultation, detailed design and environmental assessment is expected to take around 12 months, with construction to start soon after, pending planning and heritage approvals.
Which is Australia's most successful Olympic town?

26 July 2016 – by University of Sydney
Perth, Western Australia, has come out on top in a study into Australia's most successful towns for producing Olympic athletes, according to new University of Sydney research. 

Kristy O'Neill, a PhD student from the Faculty of Education and Social Work, arrived at the result after examining the profiles of 2160 Australian athletes who had competed in the summer Olympic Games between 1984 and 2012.

Using biographical and archival data from the Australian Olympic Committee, official team handbooks, the National Sport Information Centre in Canberra and published newspaper articles, O'Neill then traced each athlete to a corresponding local government area to determine where the athletes were born or raised.  

Olympic success was determined by those local government areas which had the highest number of representations proportionate to their population size, with the three bordering local government areas of Cambridge, Claremont and Nedlands in Perth emerging as a clear hotspot for nurturing sporting talent.

"The 'birthplace effect phenomena' – where elite or professional athletes are more likely to come from small-to-medium-sized communities – has been identified in Canada and the United States, but I wanted to see if this effect also existed in Australia," said O'Neill.
As part of her doctoral thesis, O'Neill interviewed 42 people from the local community, including 11 Olympians, to determine which features made Perth such a strong sporting community, and whether this success could be replicated in other areas across Australia.

While early learning environments were a crucial factor for fostering world-class athletes, O'Neill also uncovered several other elements that, if present in other locations, could produce similar results to Perth.

"The geographic location in Perth is ideal for encouraging a sporting culture. The climate is more Mediterranean, the community has access to lots of built and natural facilities – beaches, parks and open spaces – as well as access to larger backyards. All of this encourages people to engage with sports from an early age and fosters a physically active population," said O’Neill.

"Given Perth has a relatively small population compared to somewhere like Sydney, the athletes there are also able to compete against more experienced athletes from a young age, and as juniors had quite a lot of interaction with older athletes as role models."

O'Neill's analysis revealed several other hotspots nationally which have produced a proportionately high number of Olympic representation for their regionincluding local government areas around Brisbane, Ballarat and Boroondara in Victoria, Burnside and Mitcham in Adelaide, and Manly in the Sydney region.

Yet one key factor contributing towards Perth’s sporting success was the size of the city itself, O'Neill found.

Perth is big enough to have world-class sporting facilities but is not as large as Sydney or Melbourne, meaning that promising athletes were more likely to be noticed early on by coaches or talent spotters.
Kristy O'Neill

"Perth-raised athletes also benefited from easy commutes to these sports facilities. Many athletes in the Perth hotspot areas only needed to travel for between five and 15 minutes before arriving at their destination, which is better for their training and recovery because they're not sitting in traffic for hours each day."

Regardless of where they were based, most of the athletes profiled in O'Neill's study shared the view that resilience and perseverance, rather than natural skill level, contributed most to their success; a promising finding for other towns hoping to follow Perth's example.

"None of the athletes really emphasised having good genes or being 'born with it' – they just believed that relentlessly working hard made the difference. They weren't always the best athletes at the younger age groups, but they were the ones who had the most grit or stuck with it," said O'Neill.

"It's multifaceted and definitely can't be attributed to one thing, but the athletes said the factors that were close to home – their family influences, their psychological traits, and having a positive early experience at community sports clubs and in primary school – were the most influential, rather than location-based factors which no doubt gave them an advantage."
Young Australians encouraged to take the lead – don’t delay, register today

26 July 2016
The Australian Government is urging young Australians to put their good intentions about organ donation into effect by registering and sharing their decision online. 

In a message to young Australians, the Assistant Minister for Health, Ken Wyatt, said that DonateLife Week provides a great opportunity to make time to join the Australian Organ Donor Register. Currently, just eight per cent of 18-24 year olds have registered their donation decision.

In the lead up to DonateLife Week, Mr Wyatt said that, overall, 69 per cent of Australians said they were willing to become organ and tissue donors, yet only 33 per cent of adults had joined the national register.

“In most cases, people say they just haven’t got around to it,” Mr Wyatt said. “But while they delay, Australians of all ages are waiting for a life-saving transplant.

“Registering is very simple and has no down side – and it just might mean the world to someone who needs help to stay alive or live a normal life.”

Mr Wyatt today visited the Liver Transplant Unit at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne to speak with liver transplant specialists and patients waiting in hope for a life-saving transplant. 

A new video launched by Mr Wyatt contrasts the anguish of waiting for a transplant with those every-day things people find themselves waiting for, such as a holiday, a birth or simply our morning coffee. 

The gap between supporting organ donation in theory and declaring support on the national register is greatest among young adults. 

“It’s understandable that when you’re young you don’t think too much about mortality, but it’s something we all need to think about and discuss,” Mr Wyatt said.

“DonateLife Week, which begins on 31 July, is a great opportunity to focus on this issue, discuss it with friends and family and register your decision at Make it official. Register and share your decision online and then take a leadership role and encourage your family and friends to do the same.”

Increasing rates of organ donation enabled a record 707 Australians to receive life saving transplants in the first six months of this year. A new annual record was also set in 2015, of 1,241 organ recipients.

Currently around 1,500 Australians are waiting for a life saving transplant, with a further 12,000 people on dialysis waiting for a new kidney.

Mr Wyatt said nine in ten families agreed to organ donation where their loved one was a registered donor. This drops to just five in ten where the deceased was not registered and the family had no prior knowledge.

He said it was easy to register online at the DonateLife website, which provides a simple way for people to self-select their preferred method of registration.

People who previously registered via a driver’s licence are encouraged to check that their details on the Register are current by contacting Medicare on 1800 777 203 or by Email

What are you waiting for?
First discovery from ‘New Riversleigh’ – a new extinct carnivorous marsupial

26 July, 2016 -  Deborah Smith: UNSW
A new species of extinct flesh-eating marsupial that terrorised Australia’s drying forests about 5 million years ago has been identified from a fossil discovered in remote north-western Queensland.

The hypercarnivore, which is thought to have weighed about 20 to 25 kilograms, is a distant and much bigger cousin of Australia’s largest living, flesh-eating marsupial, the Tasmanian Devil, which weighs in at about 10 kilogram.

Named Whollydooleya tomnpatrichorum, it is the first creature to be formally identified from a range of strange new animals whose remains have been found in a recently discovered fossil site in Queensland dubbed ‘New Riversleigh’.

A description of the new marsupial, based on its fossil molar tooth, is published in the Memoirs of Museum Victoria.  

“W. tomnpatrichorum had very powerful teeth capable of killing and slicing up the largest animals of its day,” says study lead author UNSW Professor Mike Archer.

tereophotographs of a lower molar of the new hypercarnivorous marsupialWhollydooleya tomnpatrichorum, the first of a range of unique animals found in Whollydooley Site rocks. Photo: Suzanne Hand

The late Miocene period between about 12 and 5 million years ago, when Australia began to dry out and the megafauna began to evolve, is one of the most mysterious and least well-understood periods in the continent’s past. Fossils of land animals from this period are extremely rare, because of the increasing aridity.

“Fortunately, in 2012, we discovered a whole new fossil field that lies beyond the internationally famous Riversleigh World Heritage Area fossil deposits in north-western Queensland,” says Professor Archer.
“This exciting new area – New Riversleigh – was detected by remote sensing using satellite data.”

With the help of ARC funding and a grant from the National Geographic Society, Professor Archer and his colleagues began to systematically explore New Riversleigh in 2013.

The new species’ highly distinctive molar was one of the first fossil teeth obtained from a particularly fossil-rich site in the area which was discovered by team member Phil Creaser and named Whollydooley Hill in honour of his partner and Riversleigh volunteer Genevieve Dooley.

“New Riversleigh is producing the remains of a bevy of strange new small to medium-sized creatures, with Whollydooleya tomnpatrichorum, the first one to be described,” says Professor Archer.

UNSW students Georgia Soares and Naomi Machin in Whollydooley Quarry. Photo: Mike Archer

“These new discoveries are starting to fill in a large hole in our understanding about how Australia’s land animals transformed from being small denizens of its ancient wet forests to huge survivors on the second most arid continent on Earth.”

Team member UNSW Professor Suzanne Hand says medium to large-sized Australian Late Miocene animals have previously been known from fossil deposits in the Northern Territory, such as at Alcoota.

“But those deposits give almost no information about the small to medium-sized mammals that existed at the same time, which generally provide more clues about the nature of prehistoric environments and climates,” Professor Hand says.

Team member and UNSW postdoctoral researcher in palaeontology, Dr Karen Black, adds: “The small to medium-size mammals from the New Riversleigh deposits will reveal a great deal about how Australia’s inland environments and animals changed between 12 and 5 million years ago – a critical time when increasing dryness ultimately led to the Ice Ages of the Pleistocene.”

The Whollydooley Site deposit provides other exciting clues about how the environment was changing. For example, it contains the first signs of wind-blown sand grains, which are absent from the older Riversleigh World Heritage deposits.

And the teeth of the other animals in this deposit are unusual for Riversleigh, because they are more worn down. This suggests that the foods animals were eating in the late Miocene were perhaps tougher, more drought-resistant plants, and there was more abrasive dust in the environment.

“Although Whollydooleya terrorized the drying forests around 5 million years ago, its own days were numbered,” says Archer.

“While it was at least distantly related to living and recently living carnivorous marsupials such as Devils, Thylacines and Quolls, it appears to have represented a distinctive subgroup of hypercarnivores that did not survive into the modern world.

“Climate change can be a merciless eliminator of the mightiest of mammals,” he says.
New plan for children & young people in NSW

26 July, 2016
The NSW Government has launched the first-ever strategic plan which will help ensure children and young people in NSW have opportunities to thrive, get the services they need and have their voice heard.

Minister responsible for youth John Ajaka was joined by the NSW Advocate of Children and Young People Andrew Johnson to officially launch the three year whole-of-government NSW Strategic Plan for Children and Young People at the Sydney Opera House.

“The NSW Government is leading the nation when it comes to engaging with and delivering for children and young people. As well as greater connectivity, the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people in NSW will be also be a focus of the NSW Government’s agenda with the launch of the Plan,” Mr Ajaka said.

The Plan aims to ensure children and young people in NSW are safe, connected, respected, have opportunities, are healthy and well, and have a voice in decisions that affect them. As part of developing the Plan, the Office of the Advocate of Children and Young People consulted with more than 4,000 children and young people right across NSW.

“This really is a Plan that is by, for and on behalf of children and young people. We have talked with children and young people from a myriad of different backgrounds and places,” Mr Johnson said.

Key commitments under the Plan include:
• Investing an additional $900,000 in extra resources for the Office of the Advocate to further undertake his statutory responsibilities on behalf of children and young people across the State,
• $700,000 to develop a website to connect children and young people to local services and opportunities to further integrate into their local communities,
• Develop a Quality Assessors program to train children and young people to review services and provide feedback directly to government, and
• Further embedding the participation of children and young people in NSW Government consultations.

Furthermore, 2016-17 NSW Budget measures which align with key components of the Plan include investing $190 million over four years to reform the children protection and out-of-home care system, investing $100 million over two years to implement the Smart, Skilled and Hired initiative, and  investing $40 million over four years to better address youth homelessness.

For more information about the Plan, go to
Illegal foreign fishers convicted

26 July 2016
Joint media release from The Hon Peter Dutton Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, and Senator the Hon Anne Ruston Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing will not be tolerated in Australian waters, as demonstrated by the recent conviction of 26 Vietnamese foreign fishermen who were found illegally fishing in Australian waters last month.

The crew and masters of the vessels received suspended jail sentences ranging between two to six months for each offence and good behaviour bonds of between two to three years.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, said the sentencing sends a strong message to those seeking to do the wrong thing and plunder Australian resources.

“These sentences demonstrate the Australian Government’s commitment to prosecuting those who seek to exploit Australia’s maritime resources,” Minister Dutton said.

The Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, agreed that these cases showed that Australia takes illegal fishing very seriously.

“Congratulations on the work of our maritime enforcement agencies who have taken action against these boats threatening the sustainability and economic viability of our marine resources,” Minister Ruston said.

The fishermen pled guilty and were sentenced in the Darwin Magistrates Court after being caught illegally fishing in waters off North Queensland on 21 June 2016.

The Australian Border Force made the apprehensions in cooperation with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, the Australian Defence Force and Parks Australia after the vessels were boarded near Diane Bank more than 400 kilometres off north Queensland.

During the inspection, officers found diving gear to support multiple teams of divers, approximately 8.7 tonnes of bêche-de-mer and a quantity of turtle meat, coral and reef fish.

This latest conviction follows the recent conviction of thirty Vietnamese foreign fishermen in June for illegally fishing in the Coral Sea. Masters and crew received suspended sentences and good behaviour bonds and their boats were destroyed.

More information on how Australia is working to combat illegal fishing can be found at
2016 federal election payment to political parties and candidates

27 July 2016: AEC Media Release
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has authorised the first payment of election funding to political parties and candidates for votes received at the 2016 federal election.

The total of the first payment is $60 466 642.44. Payments have been made to 24 parties and 24 independent candidates.

This first round of payments is based on the progressive vote count as at close of business on Friday 22 July 2016. The AEC has paid up to 99 per cent of the funding entitlements calculated at that date.

A second and final round of payments of all outstanding funding entitlements will be made once vote counting is finalised.

In order to be entitled to election funding a candidate must obtain at least 4 per cent of the formal first preference vote.

Funding entitlements are calculated using an indexed sum per first preference vote. At the 2016 federal election, each first preference vote was worth 262.784 cents.

Following is a breakdown of the first payment of election funding for the 2016 federal election.

2016 federal election - first payment to political parties and candidates as at 22 July 2016

Political Party                                                       Amount ($)
Liberal Party of Australia                                       23 464 128.62
Australian Labor Party                                               22 355 109.55
Australian Greens                                                          6 337 258.36
National Party of Australia                                          3 158 301.63
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party                          1 623 827.11
Nick Xenophon Team                                                  1 179 992.89
Derryn Hinch's Justice Party                                      544 420.99
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)              283 838.18
Family First                                                                      218 993.20
Country Liberals (Northern Territory)                              180 977.63
Katter's Australian Party                                              157 743.09
Rise Up Australia Party                                                75 490.79
Jacqui Lambie Network                                                68 951.79
Liberal Democratic Party                                                48 494.75
Animal Justice Party                                                        34 114.28
Australian Recreational Fishers Party                        29 277.97
Glenn Lazarus Team                                                        21 220.94
Australian Christians                                                        20 422.25
Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party                                17 456.17
Bullet Train for Australia                                                15 509.23
Australian Liberty Alliance                                                15 277.98
Australian Country Party                                                  9 155.11
Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party                  6 311.79
Australian Sex Party                                                          6 311.79

Catherine McGowan (Indi, Victoria)                                 81 241.57
Andrew Wilkie (Denison, Tasmania)                                 76 413.07
Antony Windsor (New England, New South Wales)         72 333.82
Robert Oakeshott (Cowper, New South Wales)         70 762.48
Stephen Ruff (North Sydney, New South Wales)         30 745.25
Dennis Jensen (Tangney, Western Australia)                 25 836.11
James Mathison (Warringah, New South Wales)         25 721.64
Bradley Christensen (Lyne, New South Wales)                 24 004.61
Jim Ball (MacKellar, New South Wales)                         17 645.66
Daniel McCarthy (Leichhardt, Queensland)                 15 821.94
Kevin Foley (Riverina, New South Wales)                         15 722.08
Stephen Mayne (Menzies, Victoria)                                 15 214.91
David Wilks (Forde, Queensland)                                 13 575.14
John Harvey (Hunter, New South Wales)                         12 261.22
David Tran (Gellibrand, Victoria)                                         11 922.23
Julie Hegarty (Mackellar, New South Wales)                 11 706.74
Kenneth Murray (Capricornia, Queensland)                 11 131.25
Christine Berman (Bradfield, New South Wales)         10 939.41
Stephen Large (Dawson, Queensland)                         10 794.88
Arthur Mills (Farrer, New South Wales)                         10 684.51
Michael McCluskey (Wannon, Victoria)                         10 437.50
Robert Jones (McPherson, Queensland)                           9 917.18
Yingiya Mark Guyula (Lingiari, Northern Territory)           4 672.02
Braedon Earley (Lingiari, Northern Territory)                   4 551.13
                                                                  Total       $60 466 642.44

BACKGROUND: The AEC's tally room in some instances automatically rounds up the percentage figure for first preference votes received by a candidate. Federal election payments – as reflected in the above table – are made on the actual total first preference votes received rather than a rounded-up percentage figure displayed in the tally room.
Korean Veterans' Day

27 July 2016 - Media Release: The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

Australians should pause and remember those who served in the Korean War and post armistice period on today’s 63rd anniversary of the signing of the armistice.

Some 18,000 Australians served in Korea, including during the post-armistice period, with more than 350 Australians losing their lives and some 1,500 wounded.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, said Australia’s role in the Korean War and the post-armistice period was another proud chapter in the nation’s military history.

“Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses made an important contribution to the international effort and furthered our reputation as a nation willing and able to do its part,” Mr Tehan said.

“On the anniversary of the signing of the armistice we should reflect on the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served in the Korean War and the post-armistice period.

“We should also reflect on more than 350 Australians who paid the ultimate price and did not return home.

“Today a grateful nation says thank-you for that service.”

Mr Tehan said a veterans’ mission would travel to Korea in October to commemorate the 65th anniversaries of the battles of Kapyong and Maryang San.

A high school education kit about the Korean War will be released later this year.
Height rankings revealed: Dutch men and Latvian women tallest in world

July 26, 2016
Dutch men and Latvian women are the tallest on the planet, according to the largest ever study of height around the world.

The research, led by scientists from Imperial College London and using data from most countries in the world, tracked height among young adult men and women between 1914 and 2014.

Among the findings, published in the journal eLife, the research revealed South Korean women and Iranian men have shown the biggest increases in height over the past 100 years. Iranian men have increased by an average of 16.5cm, and South Korean women by 20.2cm.

The height of men and women in the UK has increased by around 11cm over the past century. By comparison, the height of men and women in the USA has increased by 6cm and 5cm, while the height of Chinese men and women has increased by around 11cm and 10cm.

The research also revealed once-tall USA had declined from third tallest men and fourth tallest women in the world in 1914 to 37th and 42nd place respectively in 2014. Overall, the top ten tallest nations in 2014 for men and women were dominated by European countries, and featured no English-speaking nation. UK women improved from 57th to 38th place over a century, while men had improved slightly from 36th to 31st place.

The researchers also found that some countries have stopped growing over the past 30 to 40 years, despite showing initial increases in the beginning of the century of study. The USA was one of the first high-income countries to plateau, and other countries that have seen similar patterns include the UK, Finland, and Japan. By contrast, Spain and Italy and many countries in Latin America and East Asia are still increasing in height.

Furthermore, some countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East have even seen a decline in average height over the past 30 to 40 years.

How tall we grow is strongly influenced by nutrition and environmental factors, although an individual's genetic factors may also play a role. Children and adolescents who are better nourished and live in better environments tend to be taller, and height may even be influenced by a mother's health and nutrition during pregnancy. It has lifelong consequences for health and even education and earnings. Some research suggests people who are taller tend to live longer, gain a better education and even earn more. However, being tall may carry some health risks, as studies have linked height to a greater risk of certain cancers including ovarian and prostate.

Professor Majid Ezzati from the School of Public Health at Imperial who led the research said: "This study gives us a picture of the health of nations over the past century, and reveals the average height of some nations may even be shrinking while others continue to grow taller. This confirms we urgently need to address children and adolescents' environment and nutrition on a global scale, and ensure we're giving the world's children the best possible start in life."

He added: "Our study also shows the English-speaking world, especially the USA, is falling behind other high-income nations in Europe and Asia Pacific. Together with the poor performance of these countries in terms of obesity, this emphasises the need for more effective policies towards healthy nutrition throughout life."

Mary De Silva, Head of Population, Environment and Health at the Wellcome Trust, who co-funded the study, said: "This is a unique analysis that shows the real power of combining a hundred years of population data sources that span the globe. The most striking finding is that despite the huge increases in height seen in some countries, there is still a considerable gap between the shortest and tallest countries. More research is needed to understand the reasons for this gap and to help devise ways of reducing the disparities in health that still persist globally."

The research team, which included almost 800 scientists and was in collaboration with the World Health Organization, used data from a wide range of sources, including military conscription data, health and nutrition population surveys, and epidemiological studies. They used these to generate height information for 18-year- olds in 1914 (who were born in 1896) through to 18-year- olds in 2014 (who were born in 1996).

Among the findings the team found that:
• Dutch men are the tallest on the planet, with an average height of 182.5cm. Latvian women are the tallest on the planet, with an average height of 170cm.
• The top four tallest countries for men are the Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia and Latvia. The top four tallest countries for women are Latvia, the Netherlands, Estonia and the Czech Republic.
• Men from East Timor were the smallest in the world in 2014, with an average height of 160cm. Women from Guatemala were the smallest in 2014 with an average height of 149cm.
• The difference between the tallest and shortest countries in the world in 2014 was about 23cm for men -- an increase of 4cm on the height gap in 1914. The height difference between the world's tallest and shortest countries for women has remained the same across the century, at about 20cm.
• The height difference between men and women has on average remained largely unchanged over 100 years -- the average height gap was about 11cmin 1914 and 12cmin 2014.
• The average height of young men and women has decreased by as much as 5cm in the last 40 years in some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa such as Sierra Leone, Uganda and Rwanda.
• Australian men in 2014 were the only non-European nationality in the top 25 tallest in the world.
• In East Asia, South Korean and Chinese men and women are now taller than their Japanese counterparts.
• Adult height plateaued in South Asian countries like Bangladesh and India at around 5-10 cm shorter than in East Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea.

The smallest adult men in 1914 were found in Laos, where the average male height was 153cm, a similar height to a well-nourished 12-year- old boy living today. In 1914 the smallest women were found in Guatemala, where the average female height was 140cm, a similar height to a well-nourished 10-year- old girl.

NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). A century of trends in adult human height. eLife, 2016 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.13410

The Delta Aquarid And Perseid Meteor Showers – Get Up Early And Then...Look Up!

Every year, the Delta Aquarid meteor showers are visible during the last days in July and early August. The best viewing hours will be before dawn. Rug up, step outside, allow your eyes to adjust to the light, or lack of it, and look up. Most meteor shower watchers advise laying flat on a blanket or getting comfy in a lawn chair.

The Delta Aquarid shower officially began mid-July: Nominal peak July 28 or 29. If you watch the Perseids in August, you’ll see Delta Aquarids then, too.

Late July, 2016 – around July 28 or 29 – presents the nominal peak of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower, but this occurs steadily from about July 12 to August 24 each year. The new moon in early August 2016 means a waxing gibbous moon in the optimum predawn hours of late July, and dark skies throughout most of the night all through the first week of August 2016. 

This NASA graphic shows the location of the Perseid Meteor Shower radiant in the night sky during 2013 peak on Aug. 12 and 13.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This shower overlaps with the more famous Perseid meteor shower, which in early August is rising to its peak (this year on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13 but from August 9th). Those who observe the Perseids are likely to see some Delta Aquarid meteors flying on the same nights. 
If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, your Delta Aquarids will be radiating from nearly overhead. Your Perseids will be shooting up from somewhere along your northern horizon.

2016 is said to be a particularly rich year for meteors, if you have a dark sky, you might even see Perseid meteors cross paths with Delta Aquarid meteors! It can be an awesome display. May even be worth heading to Australia’s first Dark Sky Park for that August weekend of the 13th.

The comet producing the Perseid meteor shower is called Swift-Tuttle discovered by astronomers in 1862, according to Space.Com. And although the comet does not pose a risk towards the Earth, it is said to be a big as the one that impacted the Earth millions of years ago that killed the dinosaurs.
Information retrieved from 

The Delta Aquariids are best viewed in the pre-dawn hours, away from the glow of city lights. Southern Hemisphere viewers usually get a better show because the radiant is higher in the sky during the peak season. Since the radiant is above the southern horizon for Northern Hemisphere viewers, meteors will primarily fan out in all compass points, east, north and west. Few meteors will be seen heading southward, unless they are fairly short and near the radiant.
Southern Delta Aquariids. (2014, July 27). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

NB: The word gibbous comes from a root word that means hump-backed. A gibbous moon can also be a waning gibbous, in the week between full moon and last quarter moon.

Perseid Meteor Shower In 2015

Students Invited To Chat ‘Live’ With Antarctic Expeditioners

25th July 2016- from Australia’s Antarctic Division
Are you curious about what it is like living on the highest, driest, windiest and coldest continent on earth?
School students are invited to chat with expeditioners during live video conferences from Australia’s Antarctic research stations – Casey and Davis. 
Antarctic station leaders and expeditioners will talk to classes about their daily lives, invite students to take part in a learning activity and answer questions.

Expeditioners use Hagglunds to travel around Antarctica (Photo: Todor Iolovski)

Each session is open to a maximum of 15 classes, and will last for 45 minutes.

Each class will be invited to ask a question about life in Antarctica. Previous discussions have included topics such as what is for dinner, where expeditioners sleep, how long the sun disappears for in winter, what causes an aurora australis, and how a ship travels through sea ice.

Classes will also be invited to take part in an activity in preparation for their videoconference. They will then be asked to talk about their activity with the expeditioners in Antarctica. Details of the preparatory activity will be emailed to teachers when they have registered.

Teachers are encouraged to include the video conference as part of a broader lesson plan regarding Antarctica. Earlier this year, the Australian Antarctic Division released new national curriculum aligned learning units for grades 3 to 8, which are available on the education website Classroom Antarctica.

Schools video conferences will take place on:
Wednesday, 24 August (Davis research station)
Wednesday, 14 September (Casey research station)
Wednesday, 12 October (Casey research station)
More information

Davis research station leader Alison Dean, who has spent eight winters in Antarctica, will take part in the video conferences. (Photo: Alison Dean) 

Jason Ahrens is the station leader at Casey research station. He's also spent time at Davis and Macquarie Island research stations. (Photo: Barry Balkin)

Bright Minds In Good Hands

28 JUL 2016- by  UNSW MEDIA
Pittwater’s Selena Griffith, UNSW Engineering’s new Scientia Experience Manager, is helping students build entrepreneurial skills and a love of hands-on learning.

UNSW Engineering Scientia Experience Manager Selena Griffith. Photo: Grant Turner/Mediakoo
As far as student compliments go, it would be hard to think of a better one than this: “Come to my graduation because your courses have had the greatest impact on my career decisions.”

The request extended to Selena Griffith, UNSW Engineering’s new Scientia Experience Manager, came from a student she had worked with in the Enactus program, a global student-led organisation that uses entrepreneurial action to transform lives. UNSW has one of the largest Enactus teams in Australia.

“I was proud to have been asked,” she says, of the invitation.

Empowering students to realise their potential is a passion for Griffith, who came to Engineering from UNSW Art & Design, to develop and implement initiatives to enhance the student experience.

“This is a very exciting time because we are effectively redesigning and redefining what teaching means at a university level,” she says.
“There is a renewed focus on the student experience and the University is considering a promotion track that allows academics to be acknowledged for, and concentrate on, their teaching.”

The role has brought Griffith full circle – she originally studied at UNSW’s Kensington campus as an undergraduate in the first intake of the Industrial Design program.

Griffith says that degree was groundbreaking because it combined elements from a number of disciplines, including design, commerce and engineering, when most programs were very discipline specific.

“It inspired us to be lifelong learners because we understood the value of connecting disciplines.”

This formative experience, combined with a background working in design for big brands such as Quiksilver and establishing her own start-up businesses, has inspired her approach to teaching.

“I believe every student coming through university needs to have some kind of real project experience – a cross-disciplinary collaborative learning opportunity that will inspire them in their future careers,” she says.     
Griffith has long been occupied by the quest to solve broader, more complex problems as part of teams of individuals with diverse interests and experience.

While working at Art & Design (from 2005 to 2016) she developed a course called Nexus, where students worked on industry-based projects or created their own, working with chosen collaborators.

“Students would come up with really amazing ideas but not have the skill sets to make them happen so the course allowed them over 12 weeks to experiment, take risks, be innovative and be assessed not on the outcome, but on the way they reflected on their management of the project.
“If it failed, that was a true experience of reality, and a useful lesson they were not penalised for,” Griffith says.

And it was the desire to create experiential learning that impelled Griffith to devise the ‘Island Innovation Lab’ course that gathers students from across UNSW to learn as a team and from each other.

“Instead of just working on theoretical case studies, I thought, why can’t we be the case study using our intellectual and practical skills?” she explains.
The courses involved replacing the classroom at Kensington with the Asia Pacific Islands of Vanuatu, Singapore, Kiribati and Palau. The initiative was supported through scholarships from the Federal Government’s New Colombo Plan.

“Instead of just reading a paper about the challenges of climate change and its effects on the region, we were sitting in the sand with the people of Kiribati, talking about the lack of water and changed weather patterns, actually experiencing those effects at the same time,” Griffith recalls.

The innovation labs encourage students to use the knowledge they have learned in their courses, but also be informed by their research, peers and shared on-the-ground experience to develop solutions to the challenges at hand.

This leadership and mentorship of students in the development of social enterprise was recently recognised at the Enactus National Championships where Griffith was awarded ‘Most Outstanding Faculty Adviser’.

“I was very honoured. The students said they valued my approach to developing their leadership skills and finding opportunities for them to connect with industry.”

She says helping students form start-ups and “make things” encourages them to become inventors and creators, to solve complex challenges and to build connections.

Sydney’s winter festival Vivid was a good example. “We put a call out for students and ended up with two projects. Both were put in very prominent locations and received a huge amount of media.

Selena Griffith (L) with the Vivid student team.
“It was a really great experience for the students – helping build their confidence and communication skills, as well as practical skills and internship opportunities. And it has led to deeper insights into how we could scale that experience for larger class teaching scenarios.”
In her new role, Griffith intends to make sure all engineering students are engaged in hands-on projects that develop innovation and entrepreneurial skills.
She also hopes to inspire students to participate in extra-curricular student-led enterprises such as Vivid, UNSW’s solar car racing team, Sunswift, and the Robocup robot soccer team, or in clubs such as Create or Enactus.
In many ways it’s a return to the age-old practice of learning through getting your hands ‘dirty’.
“We need to go back to our roots, to find the essence of the University motto Scientia Manu et Mente: ‘knowledge from hands and minds’.” 

NSW Health report shows over 65s drink alcohol more than young people

21 July 2016
The 2016 Chief Health Officer’s Report, Trends in alcohol use and health-related harms in NSW, has revealed a new picture of community drinking patterns.
The report found that people are still drinking too much, with a quarter of all adults drinking at levels that put their long-term health at risk.
But what may be surprising to some is that daily drinking is highest for people over 65 years and lowest for people aged 16-24 years.
NSW Health’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said she was pleased to see that young people are initiating drinking later and are drinking at less hazardous levels than previous years.
“It is also encouraging to see there are a decreasing number of adults drinking at levels that increase long-term risk of harm. However, improvements can still be made in reducing harmful drinking in men, young adults, Aboriginal people, and people living in regional and remote areas of NSW,” said Dr Chant.
The number of high school students who drank alcohol in the past 12 months dropped significantly from 63.5 per cent in 2005 to 43.7 per cent in 2014. Alcohol-attributable hospitalisations for 15-24 year olds have also decreased over the past nine years.
Dr Chant said the report also shows about one in seven people aged 65 years or over drank alcohol daily (14.8%) – substantially higher than the youngest age groups (0.8% of people aged 16-24 years and 3.3% of people aged 25-44 years).
“Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the main preventable public health problems in Australia, with alcohol use noted as the leading contributor to the burden of disease in Australia for people 25 to 44 years of age,” said Dr Chant.
“It not only affects the drinker but can also contribute to relationship and family problems, public intoxication, and other criminal offences. Alcohol use also increases the likelihood and extent of aggressive behaviour.”
Other key findings of the Report include that Aboriginal people are equally as likely to abstain from drinking alcohol as non-Aboriginal people and that one-third of adults do not drink alcohol, with higher rates for women and people born in non-English speaking countries.
NSW Health provides a range of specialist drug and alcohol treatment services addressing both short- and long-term impacts arising from alcohol misuse. This includes withdrawal management, community-based counselling and case management, the Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program and hospital-based consultation liaison services.
NSW Health also offers information and education to the public in several ways such as on the Your Room website as well as through a 24 hours/day hotline for crisis assistance. For further information, please or
Accessible lifts for Sydney Harbour Bridge

25th July 2016: NSW Government
More Sydneysiders and visitors from around the world will be able to access the Sydney Harbour Bridge with new lifts to be installed to make the scenic walk across Australia’s most recognisable landmark accessible.

Lifts will be installed at Kirribilli and The Rocks so that people with prams, the elderly or those in a wheelchair can access the Sydney Harbour Bridge walkway.

Currently there are 61 steps on Broughton Street at Kirribilli and 64 steps at Cumberland Street in The Rocks to access the walkway.

Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka said community consultation and detailed planning work will continue to ensure the heritage value of the bridge is preserved during the upgrade. 

"Everyone, including people with disability, should be able to enjoy everything NSW has to offer. This project is a game-changer for people with disability and their families,” Mr Ajaka said.

Roads and Maritime Services has carried out extensive work to investigate preferred locations for the lift access, taking into account the heritage value, accessibility standards, visual impacts and integration with the existing structure.

Consultation, detailed design and environmental assessment is expected to take around 12 months, with construction to start soon after, pending planning and heritage approvals.

Bed numbers rising more in private hospitals than in public hospitals

Canberra, 29 July, 2016
In 2014–15, there were 1,322 hospitals in Australia—698 public and 624 private hospitals, according to reports released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

'In the five years to 2014–15, the number of public hospital beds increased by an average of 1.1% each year to 60,300 and private hospital beds increased by an average of 2.9% to almost 32,000,' said AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves.

Beds available for overnight hospitalisations (rather than for same-day care) accounted for 63% of the increase in public hospitals. For private hospitals, 96% of the increase in beds was in hospitals that provided overnight care.

Australia's hospitals 2014–15: at a glance, provides a summary of information and performance indicators for the2014–15 financial year, as well as trend data over a five year period.
It accompanies two more detailed reports on hospitals—Hospital resources 2014–15 and Non admitted patient care 2014–15.

For the first time, information is included on expenditure on public hospital service provision by Local Hospital Networks (which manage single or small groups of public hospital services and their budgets) and by state and territory health authorities (except for Queensland). In 2014–15, recurrent expenditure on public hospital services by hospitals, Local Hospital Networks and state and territory health authorities was about $57 billion.

Also for the first time, information is included on expenditure on broad categories of public hospital services. Of the $57 billion recurrent expenditure, the main types of services funded were admitted patient care (57%), outpatient care (17%), and emergency care (10%).

All hospitals across Australia are required to implement the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHS Standards) to improve patient safety. Accreditation is undertaken to assess if the NSQHS Standards have been implemented. Data on accreditation is collected by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, and AIHW analysis of the data indicated that about 93% of public and private hospitals were accredited to the NSQHS Standards (as at 30 June 2015), and the remaining 7% were not yet due to be assessed.
There were over 10 million hospitalisations overall, with the most common reason being dialysis for kidney disease (1.4 million hospitalisations), followed by cancer (1.1 million).

About 1 in 4 hospitalisations involved surgery, with 60% of surgery occurring in private hospitals. Cataract extractions were the most common surgeries performed (246,000).

Public hospitals admitted about 700,000 patients from elective surgery waiting lists, with 50% admitted within 35 days of being placed on the waiting list.

For the first time, outpatient clinic data were provided for all public hospitals that provide these services. Around 34.9 million outpatient services were reported. About 46% of outpatient service events occurred in allied health and/or clinical nurse specialist clinics, 30% in medical consultation clinics, 13% in procedural clinics and 10% in stand-alone diagnostic clinics.

Full publications: 
Australia's hospitals 2014–15 at a glance | online version
Non-admitted patient care 2014–15: Australian hospital statistics
Hospital resources 2014–15: Australian hospital statistics
Ensuring Australians get most from community pharmacy

27 July 2016 – Media Release: The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, Minister for Sport

The Australian Government is ensuring Australians get the best experience possible from community pharmacy and wants to hear from the entire pharmaceutical supply chain – including consumers – on how to deliver it.

The independent Panel for the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation today released their Discussion Paper, with formal consultations and submissions to take place over the next two months. 

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said the Review was looking at everything from important community obligations performed by pharmacists regarding the handling and dispensing of prescription medicines through to regulation and their expanding role in providing patient primary care, such as blood pressure checks and routine vaccinations. 

“The Turnbull Government is committed to an integrated health system that ensures strong co-ordination between a patient’s healthcare team, as evidenced by our landmark Health Care Homes and My Health Record reforms,” Ms Ley said. 

“As a regional member of parliament, I know first-hand that pharmacists are taking a greater role in a patient’s overall healthcare everyday – it’s no longer just about prescription medicines. 

“This Government has made a strong commitment to recognising the important role pharmacists play through our Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement and this review is aimed at ensuring the next agreement continues to meet the future needs of Australians.

“I thank the independent review panel for their hard work so far in developing this discussion paper and look forward to the thought-provoking submissions it will no doubt generate to inform the next steps of the process.”

The Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation was a key part of the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement signed between the Turnbull Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia last year. 

During July, August and September 2016, the Panel will undertake a national public consultation process. This will be extensive and will include public forums in each state and territory (including metro and regional centres), briefings at industry conferences and a public interactive live broadcast.

The Panel is keen to hear the thoughts and perspectives of all interested parties. All submissions to the Discussion Paper received before the closing date of 23 September 2016 will be reviewed and considered by the Panel. 

The Discussion Paper and details on how to respond are available on the Review’s webpage: 

Two short online surveys, specifically targeted at consumers and pharmacists, will also be offered in addition to written responses to the Discussion Paper during the consultation period. 

20 minutes of ultrasound to the forearm cuts high blood pressure

July 27, 2016
Blood pressure can significantly drop by applying 20 minutes of ultrasound to the forearm of type II diabetes patients with treatment-resistant hypertension, according to research from Japan's Tohoku University.
High blood pressure is estimated to cause 7.5 million deaths worldwide and can be difficult to control in some patients with type II diabetes.
Katsunori Nonogaki, of Tohoku University's Department of Diabetes Technology, and colleagues, enrolled 212 type II diabetes patients with treatment-resistant hypertension.

They were divided into four groups. One received 20 minutes of low frequency (800 kHz), low-intensity ultrasound irradiation to the forearm. Another received 500 kHz of low-intensity irradiation for 20 minutes. The other two groups were used as controls, receiving a placebo procedure.
They found that the patients' blood pressure and pulse rates were significantly reduced after both 800kHz and 500kHz irradiation sessions compared to pre-treatment levels. Blood pressure levels were also lower than those of the placebo groups, but significantly so in the case of the 500kHz treatment. No adverse effects were found in either group as a result of the ultrasound treatment.

How ultrasound improves blood pressure in these patients is still unclear, but it might suppress sympathetic nerve activity, responsible for the fight or flight response, by means of nerve pathways from the forearm to the cardiovascular system, the researchers say.

"We do not have specific treatments for resistant hypertension," says Nonogaki. "The cost of anti-hypertensive agents for patients is high. Ultrasound has the advantage of being cheap and non-invasive."

Katsunori Nonogaki, Tomoe Yamazaki, Mari Murakami, Noriko Satoh, Miki Hazama, Kouji Takeda, Nobuyuki Tsujita, Shuichi Katoh, Nariki Kubota.Low-frequency and very low-intensity ultrasound decreases blood pressure in hypertensive subjects with type 2 diabetes.International Journal of Cardiology, 2016; 215: 147 DOI:10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.04.062
Smell test may predict early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

July 26, 2016
Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York State Psychiatric Institute, and NewYork-Presbyterian reported that an odor identification test may prove useful in predicting cognitive decline and detecting early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

Their two studies, presented at the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference in Toronto, Canada, suggest that the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT) may offer a practical, low-cost alternative to other tests.

In one study, researchers administered UPSIT to 397 older adults (average age of 80 years) without dementia from a multiethnic population in northern Manhattan. Each of the participants also had an MRI scan to measure the thickness of the entorhinal cortex -- the first area of the brain to be affected by Alzheimer's disease.

Four years later, 50 participants (12.6 percent) had developed dementia, and nearly 20 percent had signs of cognitive decline.

The researchers found that low UPSIT scores, but not entorhinal cortical thickness, were significantly associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. (Low UPSIT scores indicate decreased ability to correctly identify odors.)

Low UPSIT scores, but not entorhinal cortical thickness, also predicted cognitive decline, although entorhinal cortical thickness was significantly associated with UPSIT score in those who transitioned to dementia.
"Our research showed that odor identification impairment, and to a lesser degree, entorhinal cortical thickness, were predictors of the transition to dementia," said Seonjoo Lee, PhD, assistant professor of clinical biostatistics (in Psychiatry) at CUMC and presenting author. "These findings support odor identification as an early predictor, and suggest that impairment in odor identification may precede thinning in the entorhinal cortex in the early clinical stage of Alzheimer's disease."
In another study, researchers from CUMC evaluated the usefulness of UPSIT and tests that measure the amount of amyloid in the brain (in higher amounts, the protein forms plaques in the brains of those with Alzheimer's disease) in predicting memory decline.

The researchers administered UPSIT and performed either beta amyloid PET scanning or analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in 84 older adults (median age of 71 years). Of these, 58 participants had mild cognitive impairment. The researchers followed the participants for at least six months.
At follow-up, 67 percent of the participants had signs of memory decline. Testing positive for amyloid with either method, but not UPSIT score, predicted cognitive decline. However, participants with a score of less than 35 were more than three times as likely to have memory decline as those with higher UPSIT scores.

"Our research suggests that both UPSIT score and amyloid status predict memory decline," said William Kreisl, MD, the Boris and Rose Katz Assistant Professor of Neurology (in the Taub Institute) at CUMC and a neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. "Younger age, higher education, and shorter follow-up may explain why UPSIT did not predict decline as strongly in this study as in previous studies. Although more research is needed, odor identification testing, which is much less expensive and easier to administer than PET imaging or lumbar puncture, may prove to be a useful tool in helping physicians counsel patients who are concerned about their risk of memory loss."

Current methods are only capable of clinically detecting Alzheimer's disease in the later stages of its development, when significant brain damage has already occurred. Brain imaging with PET may show the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain years before symptoms appear, although this method is expensive. Beta amyloid can also be detected in cerebrospinal fluid through a lumbar puncture, and brain PET imaging of abnormal tau protein is rapidly advancing through research.
"Our study adds to the growing body of evidence demonstrating the potential value of odor identification testing in the detection of early-stage Alzheimer's disease," said D.P. Devanand, MD, professor of psychiatry (in Neurology and in the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center) at CUMC and senior author of both studies.

"Using other biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease to detect the disease at an earlier stage -- which have the potential to be lower-cost and non-invasive -- could lead to dramatic improvements in early detection and management of the disease," commented Heather Snyder, PhD, director of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer's Association, in a statement.

The above is reprinted from materials provided by Columbia University Medical Center. 

First Southern Right Whale Spotted Off Sydney

Media release: 25 July 2016
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has welcomed the arrival of southern right whales off the NSW coast again this year after one was spotted entering Botany Bay today just off the coast of Sydney.
NPWS Wildlife Management Officer Geoff Ross said it's great to see southern right whales in NSW waters again and it is a timely reminder that we share our harbours, bays and oceans with these majestic animals.

"Every year we are seeing more southern right and humpback whales pass the NSW coast as their populations recover and they are regularly sheltering in our estuaries, harbours and major waterways, even busy Sydney Harbour," Mr Ross said.

"The recent sightings of the southern right is very exciting as it means that the species is slowly returning to their traditional places in NSW bays and inlets. These sheltered bays and inlets were traditional calving areas for right whales and we are seeing them return home after whaling pushed them to the brink of extinction.

"With infrastructure, people and large numbers of commercial and recreational vessels making the formerly quiet bays and inlets of the NSW coast now very busy, we need remind people to give these whales space and share the water. Southern rights love the shallow water, are hard to see and they travel slowly making them more vulnerable to vessel strike and entanglement.

"For the safety of the whales and the boating community, Masters should ensure their vessels stay 100m from a whale or 300m when a calf is present or the vessel is a jet ski.

"If you're swimming, diving or just enjoying the water on your own or with friends and you spot a whale, then you must stay at least 30m from the whale in any direction.

"While the humpback whale population is recovering strongly, with an estimated 24,000 individuals in the wild, sightings of the southern right whales close to shore is significant as their numbers are still very low especially in NSW waters where aerial surveys over the past four years have counted only 17 right whales."

"We can individually identify right whales by the shape and pattern of their callosities (hard growths on their head) so NPWS is working with university researchers to obtain photographs of the whales using remotely piloted aircraft or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).

"These photos will then be added to the Australasian Right Whales Photo Identification Catalogue (ARWPIC) providing wildlife managers with important information," Mr Ross said.

For more information on whales visit the NPWS Wild about Whales   website and download the App to record your sightings. Alternatively

Whale Facts
• For all vessels, a distance of between 100m and 300m is established as the 'caution zone'. In this zone, vessels must travel at a constant slow speed and leave a negligible wake. It's also important to assess the direction that the whales are travelling in, and then plan the best course of action.
• These animals can be unpredictable in their behaviour so NPWS remind other UAV users to maintain aircraft approach distances. If you're flying a UAV or a plane, or helicopter and you spot a whale, then you must be at a height no lower than 300 metres; within a horizontal radius of 300m for aircraft, and for helicopters, gyrocopters and UAVs, the distance increases to 500m.
• If you see a stranded, entangled or sick whale in distress, please report it immediately to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service or ORRCA.
• The southern right whale is a baleen whale and one of three species classified as right whales. This species is easily distinguished from others because of their broad back without a dorsal fin, wide pectoral fins, a long arching mouth that begins above the eye and small rough patches of skin (or callosities) on its large head. Its two separate blow holes produce a distinguishing V-shaped blow.
• Land-based whaling in Australia initially concentrated on southern right whales. They get their name because they were the 'right' whale to catch: they were slow-swimming, floated when dead, and provided large amounts of valuable products - particularly oil for illumination and lubrication.
• Commercial whaling began in Australia in 1820, taking around 75% of the southern right whale population between 1835 and 1845, when the industry collapsed. It took another 90 years before they were officially protected.
• An estimated 12,000 southern right whales are spread throughout the southern hemisphere, compared to an original population before whaling of more than 100,000. However, their numbers are growing at around 7% each year.

Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis) Courtesy Photo Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith - 

Renewable Energy Map Of NSW

27th July 2016: NSW Government
In a state first, NSW will have a renewal energy map to help drive investment in new renewable projects across Australia.

The NSW Renewable Energy Resource Map provides renewable energy project developers with free access to geospatial data and information on the state’s renewable energy resources and highlights more than 201 sites across NSW.

Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts said the project will allow greater investment opportunities for the renewable energy sector in NSW.

“By identifying and promoting our renewable energy resource base, we are giving investors, contractors, market researchers, planners and academics the information they need to scope out opportunities to invest in our state,” Mr Roberts said.

The GreenPower Connect initiative, aimed at meeting the needs of large energy purchasers, will also launch across the state.

GreenPower Connect supports investment in new largescale renewable energy projects by allowing large purchasers of renewable energy to directly link with new cost effective projects.

Decade of conservation work to protect threatened species

27 July 2016
A decade of conservation work is set to start at 79 sites across the state to protect the Swift Parrot, Giant Dragon Fly, Blue Mountains Water Skink, Bell’s Turtle and eight woodland bird species including the Scarlet Robin, Environment Minister Mark Speakman announced today.

The Australian National University and the Central Tablelands, Northern Tablelands and South East Local Land Services will share $3.7 million in grant funding to undertake conservation projects that span 10 years.

Mr Speakman said the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species Partnership Grants Program aimed to help stop the decline of biodiversity and protect the state’s threatened species into the future.

“These Environmental Trust projects are important to help protect and stabilise local populations under threat,” Mr Speakman said.

“The grants program gets the best bang for the taxpayer’s buck because it brings researchers, the community, land management experts and the government together to protect the state’s most vulnerable species.”  

Including this second round of projects the NSW Government has invested almost $10 million in this program through its Environmental Trust. This is on top of the NSW Government’s five year $100 million Saving our Species commitment to continue to safeguard the state’s threatened species.

Photo: scarlet robin petroica-booda, courtesy NSW OEH
Australian first project combines wind and solar to produce more reliable renewable energy

26 July 2016 – Media Release: Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)
Australia’s first large-scale solar farm to be co-located with wind turbines will be built near Canberra, in a development that promises more reliable, cheaper renewable energy.

A 10 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant will be built adjacent to the existing Gullen Range Wind Farm, laying the groundwork for more solar plants to be built alongside wind farms and helping large-scale solar costs to fall faster.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $9.9 million support for New Gullen Range Wind Farm Pty Ltd (NGRWF) to develop and construct the $26 million project.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said solar and wind were complementary sources of renewable energy that produced power at different times of the day and year.

“Co-location provides more continuous energy generation, as wind farms tend to generate more energy overnight whilst solar only generates during the day. Gullen Wind Farm generates more power in winter and the new solar farm will generate more in summer,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Wind farm owners across Australia could benefit from adding solar plants to their existing sites. Developers can save money on grid connection, approvals and site development costs by co-locating wind and solar plants, whilst also reducing environmental impacts.

“NGRWF estimates that the potential co-location savings for the Gullen Range Solar Farm could be as high as $6 million, representing a 20 per cent drop in total project cost.

“There is huge potential to adopt this approach at other wind farms. An ARENA-supported study found there’s an estimated 1000 MW of potential opportunities to add solar PV alongside existing wind farms – enough to power 700,000 homes. We expect this to more than double by 2020 in line with Australia’s renewable energy target.”

Mr Frischknecht said Gullen Range Solar Farm could show co-location is the cheapest way to construct large-scale solar and would be a key impetus for encouraging future projects.

“ARENA is focussed on bringing down the cost of renewable energy and encouraging more projects to enter the market,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“This is the first project of its type in Australia, so the lessons learned will be invaluable. It has the potential to provide a blueprint for future projects and cement industry confidence in the approach.

“It could also unlock new markets for medium-scale solar PV projects, because scale isn’t as important for competitiveness when plants are co-located.”

The project is scheduled for completion in July 2017, with two years of knowledge sharing activities to follow.

NGRWF is jointly owned by Beijing and Jingneng Clean Energy (75%) and Goldwind Capital Australia (25%). Goldwind has developed the project up until obtaining a development approval. Moving forward, it will be constructed, owned and operated by NGRWF.

About Goldwind Australia
Goldwind Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology, a leading vertically integrated global wind power company offering comprehensive wind power solutions. Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (stock code 002202) and The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (stock code 2208). High-quality manufacturing is the foundation for Goldwind’s business along with excellent customer service and technological innovation. Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently ranked Goldwind as number one in the world for newly installed capacity in 2015. In 2015 Goldwind installed more 7.8 GW with accumulated installed capacity exceeding 32 GW.
CEFC continues to lead transformation of investment in Australian clean energy

Tuesday 26 July 2016: Media Release - Clean Energy Finance 
Corporation (CEFC)
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) committed a record $837 million to new investments in the Australian clean energy sector in the 2015-16 financial year, contributing to projects with a total value of $2.5 billion. The CEFC’s investment commitments since its inception in 2013 have now reached $2.3 billion, contributing to projects with a total value of $5.7 billion.

CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said: “The CEFC is fulfilling its leadership role in transforming clean energy investment in the Australian economy. This year we committed more funds to a greater number and more diverse range of investments than in any other year. We have also mobilised an even greater amount of private sector capital into clean energy activities. Across the economy, we are working to accelerate investment in renewable energy, increase energy efficiency in the manufacturing and transport sectors and improve energy standards in the built environment. Our investments are delivering clean energy solutions to rural and regional Australia, as well as to our cities.”

In its third year of operation, the CEFC achieved a 73% year-on-year increase in the value of new investment commitments, including a substantial increase in the number of indirect investments and new capital products, demonstrating the growing strength and breadth of the CEFC’s co-financing models.

Mr Yates added: “We are actively targeting areas of economic activity where clean energy investment can improve energy efficiency, cut carbon emissions as well as lower operating costs. The CEFC’s involvement in projects continues to attract additional private sector investment, which is critical if Australia is to achieve its emissions reduction commitments and meet the Renewable Energy Target. We are pleased with the level of private sector interest we are seeing in clean energy, but this will need to further increase in the years ahead. Australia still faces a considerable investment challenge to deliver the clean energy solutions necessary to reduce emissions.”

The CEFC’s investment commitments in 2015-16 targeted three strategic priority areas:

Strategic priority areas      2015-16 2014-15   Since Inception
Cleaner power solutions, including wind, large and small scale solar, grid and storage, waste, bioenergy and agriculture sectors.
                                                     $110m     $115m    $840m 
Better cities and built environment, including infrastructure and transport; property, manufacturing and industry; governments and not for profits, including universities and social housing.
                                                    $217m $125m  $661m
New sources of capital, with the development of investments in climate bonds, equity funds and working with co-financiers to increase investment in clean energy projects.
                                                    $510m $244m  $754m
TOTAL                                     $837m $484m $2,255m

The CEFC’s investment commitments by technology are:
Technologies                2015-16 2014-15 Since Inception
Renewable energy       $379m $189m   $1,056m  
Energy efficiency        $458m $295m $1,124m  
Low emissions technologies - $75m
TOTAL                       $837m $484m $2,255m
Cleaner power solutions
• Up to $20m in cornerstone debt finance for the Barcaldine Solar Farm, providing competitively-priced renewable energy.
• $67m to Australia’s third largest wind farm, at Ararat in Victoria.
• $8m to Windlab, the Canberra-based global wind energy development company that is successfully commercialising CSIRO renewable energy research.

Better cities and built environment
• In an Australian-first, up to $60m for not-for-profit community housing provider SGCH to build more than 200 new energy efficient homes and upgrade a proportion of its 4,300 existing, older properties with energy efficient technologies.
• $68m towards the construction of an exemplar green building in an historic Geelong landmark, to ‘stretch’ the design of the $120m 14-level commercial office tower to a market leading 5.5 star standard under the National Australian Built Environment Rating System.
• $50m to support the increased uptake of low emissions vehicles by corporate, government and not-for-profit fleet buyers, withEclipx Group, one of Australia’s largest independent fleet leasing companies.
• Up to $30 million for the City of Melbournefor the installation of energy saving street lights and reduced emissions associated with Council and community facilities.
• Up to $9.1m for the University of Melbourne to accelerate the use of innovative energy efficient and renewable energy technologies, including voltage optimisation, freezer upgrades, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal and micro-turbines. 

New sources of capital
The CEFC’s commitment to cleaner power solutions and a better built environment were also facilitated by the development of the following new sources of capital:
• $100m cornerstone equity commitment to the new Australian Bioenergy Fund, to support investment in a broad range of projects seeking to produce energy from agricultural, council, and forestry waste streams.
• $90m cornerstone investment in the $500 million Westpac Climate Bond, to finance a $1b Australian-based clean energy portfolio, including energy efficient commercial buildings.
• $200m to the WestpacEnergy Efficient Financing Program to support small businesses across Australia that want to invest in solar, energy efficient technologies and low emissions vehicles.
• $20m in a FlexiGroup green bond certified by the global Climate Bonds Initiative and secured against a portfolio of solar PV and renewable energy assets. This was the first certified green bond transaction of its type in the Australian market.

The CEFC operates with the rigour of a commercial financier, while delivering on its clean energy public policy purpose. Each dollar of CEFC investment commitments in 2015-16 was matched by $1.95 from the private sector. All investments generate a return above the Government’s costs of funds. The CEFC has remained profitable since inception.

Mr Yates added: “Changes to the CEFC’s Investment Mandate have included new areas of focus in emerging and innovative technologies, with the creation of the Clean Energy Innovation Fund from 1 July 2016. We anticipate further changes in 2016, to support investments to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s cities.  We look forward to continuing to work with all types of business, co-financiers and all levels of government to help tackle Australia’s significant emissions challenges, with practical, competitive and targeted financial solutions.”

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation invests commercially to increase the flow of funds into the clean energy sector. Our mission is to accelerate Australia's transformation towards a more competitive economy in a carbon constrained world, by acting as a catalyst to increase investment in emissions reduction. We do this through an investment strategy focused on cleaner power solutions, including large-scale and small-scale solar, wind and bioenergy, and a better built environment, with investments to drive more energy efficient property, vehicles, infrastructure and industry. The CEFC also invests with co-financiers to develop new sources of capital for the clean energy sector, including climate bonds, equity funds and other financial solutions. The CEFC operates under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012. Please visit our

Polar Ice Reveals New Secrets Of Earth's Climate

July 26, 2016: CSIRO
A team of scientists have used air bubbles in polar ice from pre-industrial times to measure the sensitivity of the Earth's land biosphere to changes in temperature.

The paper published today in Nature Geoscience has verified and quantified the relationship for the first time and shown how it impacts the cycles of carbon between land, ocean and the atmosphere. 

About half of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by human activities since 1850 has been taken out of the atmosphere by the land biosphere and the ocean.

Image: Air bubbles trapped in ice have been used to quantify the relationship between carbon and temperature.

How these sinks will behave in the future has been a significant source of uncertainty in climate projections.

The paper led by Dr Mauro Rubino of CSIRO and the Seconda Universita di Napoli has revealed that the Earth's land biosphere takes up less carbon in a warmer climate.

"Until now it has only been assumed that as the Earth's surface warms the ability of land-based plants to store carbon is reduced," paper co-author and CSIRO senior scientist Dr David Etheridge said.

"In this study we were able to quantify the relationship. Reduced storage of carbon by the biosphere leads to higher atmospheric CO2.

"This increases the Earth's surface temperature, which leads to even less carbon stored by the biosphere, causing a positive feedback," Dr Etheridge said.

The research team measured air trapped in ice core samples from the Australian Antarctic Program's unique Law Dome site where past atmospheric composition is preserved in fine detail, together with ice cores from the British Antarctic Survey.

"The very high detail preserved in Law Dome ice cores has been a key to unlocking this information," Dr Mark Curran, co-author from the Australian Antarctic Division said.

The study focused on CO2 changes preserved in ice before, during, and after a naturally-cool period known as the Little Ice Age (1500 to 1750 AD).

This period is well suited to focus specifically on the relationship between CO2 and temperature because it occurred just before the growth of industry and agriculture affected CO2 concentrations and the deposition of pollutants and nutrients.

"Changes in the carbon-13 isotope ratio, which is a signature of carbon from land plants, show that the CO2 changes during the Little Ice Age originated from the land biosphere," Dr Etheridge said.

Previously published measurements of another natural ice-based tracer of the carbon cycle, a gas called carbonyl sulfide (COS), were used to rule out the possibility that early land-use changes could have contributed to the CO2 change seen through the study period.

This confirmed that the CO2 changes can be related to variations in land surface temperature, which are known from paleoclimate proxies such as tree rings.

The study shows that for every degree celsius of global temperature rise, the equivalent of 20 parts per million less CO2 is stored by the land biosphere.

"How plants and soils respond to warming is one of the big unknowns in climate projections so it's great for modellers to have some independent numbers to compare against rather than just comparing models with each other," paper co-author Dr Peter Rayner from the University of Melbourne said.

Dr Etheridge explains that this result is relevant to coming decades, because it shows how the biosphere responds to temperature changes that are comparable in magnitude and duration to the likely future warming.

Previous ecosystem carbon cycle and climate studies have had limited geographical extent and duration.

"This finding, and feedback quantification, will need to be taken into account for models of the Earth system to project future climates under various scenarios of human greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS)," Dr Etheridge said.

The paper is a result of a collaboration between CSIRO, the Seconda Universita di Napoli, University of Melbourne, British Antarctic Survey, University of East Anglia, Australian Antarctic Division, University of Tasmania and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation(ANSTO).

Pictures and vision of ice core drilling in Antarctica available courtesy of the Australian Antarctic Division.

National Tree Day in Pittwater

– July 31, 2016
Whitney Reserve, Mona Vale & Careel Bay Reserve, Avalon

Participate in National Tree Day event from 9am-1pm and help enhance Pittwater’s natural environment. National Tree Day is Australia’s largest nature event. It is organised by Planet Ark and calls on community members to plant trees at selected sites to improve the local green canopy. 

Trees cool and beautify neighbourhoods, bring nature to communities and have environmental benefits for years to come. More info available 

Where: • Whitney Reserve, access from Whitney Road or Suzanne Street, Mona Vale and • Careel Bay Reserve North (near dog exercise area). Meet at the corner of Etival St and Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon. 

Please wear suitable clothes such as long sleeves, trousers, sturdy shoes, a hat and bring water to drink. Council will provide refreshments and free native plants for you to take home and plant in your own garden.

RSVP: Helena Dewis on 9970 1367 or

Katandra Sanctuary

Katandra is a sanctuary for flora and fauna where the wildflowers are their most colourful during spring but all year round there are opportunities for bird watching. The sanctuary covers 12 hectares and is situated on the Ingleside/Warriewood escarpment. Choose to follow a short walk of about 1km or the longer 2km track through rainforest remnants with creeks and fern-fringed pools. Visit:


Would you like to know more about our local birds and explore our bushland reserves? Then join us on one of our bird walks:

21 August, Chiltern Track, Ingleside (birds and wildflowers)

25 September, Irrawong Reserve, North Narrabeen

27 November, Warriewood Wetlands

Most walks start at 7.30 or 8am and last a couple of hours. Bring binoculars and morning tea for afterwards if you like. for details of each walk.

Have Your Say On Wyong Coal Mine

Wallarah 2 Coal Project
Establishment of an underground coal mine and associated infrastructure (see Preliminary Environmental Assessment). 
The proposal will also require Commonwealth assessment under the EPBC Act.

Exhibition Start 22/07/2016
Exhibition End 05/09/2016

City Wyong
State NSW
Post Code 2259
Country Australia
Local Governments Lake Macquarie City Council and Wyong Shire Council

Amended application Document: HERE

The key features of the Project include:  
• A deep underground longwall mine extracting up to 5 Million tonnes per annum of export quality thermal coal;  
• The Tooheys Road Site (located north-east of the intersection of the M1 Motorway and the Motorway Link Road) which includes a portal, coal handling facilities and stockpiles, water and gas management facilities, small office buildings, workshop, coal transportation infrastructure and connections to municipal water and sewerage systems;  
• The Buttonderry Site (near the intersection of Hue Hue Road and Sparks Road) which includes administration offices, bathhouse, personnel access to the mine, ventilation shafts and water management structures;  
• The Western Ventilation Shaft Site (located in the Wyong State Forest) includes a downcast ventilation shaft and water management structures;  
• An inclined tunnel (or ‘drift’) from the surface at the Tooheys Road Site to the coal seam beneath the Buttonderry Site;  
• Transportation of product coal to the Port of Newcastle by rail; and  
An operational workforce of 300 full time employees.

The Project constitutes State Significant Development. As such, the Project has been subject to the assessment process under Division 4.1 of Part 4 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.
Warnings of imminent extinction crisis for largest wild animal species

July 27, 2016

Indian water buffalo (Bubalus arnee) in Kaziranga National Park, India, is an endangered bovid with a global population estimated at fewer than 4,000 individuals in the wild. Credit: Varun R. Goswami, WCS India Program

A team of conservation biologists is calling for a worldwide strategy to prevent the unthinkable: the extinction of the world's largest mammal species.

In a public declaration published in today's edition of the journalBioScience, a group of more than 40 conservation scientists and other experts are calling for a coordinated global plan to prevent the world's "megafauna" from sliding into oblivion.

Among the threats cited by the group as drivers of this mass extinction are illegal hunting, deforestation and habitat loss, the expansion of agriculture and livestock into wildlife areas, and the growth of human populations.
"The more I look at the trends facing the world's largest terrestrial mammals, the more concerned I am we could lose these animals just as science is discovering how important they are to ecosystems and to the services they provide for people," said Dr. William Ripple, professor of ecology at Oregon State University and lead author of the study.

Ripple worked with other authors on the study to examine population trends of many species, including many of the most well-known, charismatic species such as elephants, rhinos, gorillas, and big cats that are now threatened with extinction.

Approximately 59 percent of the world's biggest mammalian carnivore species -- including the tiger -- and 60 percent of the largest herbivores are now listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species as threatened with extinction.

"Perhaps the biggest threat for many species is direct hunting driven by a demand for meat, pets, and body parts for traditional medicines and ornaments," Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, WCS's Vice President of Species Conservation and a co-author on the study. "Only a massive commitment from the international community will stop this rampant destruction of so many animal populations."

All of these large species play critical roles in their ecosystems. Species at risk include elephants, that provide a suite of vital ecosystem services as ecological engineers, dispersing seeds and nutrients across vast areas. 

"The loss of elephants in the forests of Central Africa is increasingly damaging the function of the region's most important ecosystems," said WCS Conservation Scientist Dr. Fiona Maisels, one of the study's co-authors. "We're only beginning to understand how vital these keystone species are to the health of rainforests and other species that inhabit them."

Human-wildlife conflict is a serious concurrent threat for many species. "With simultaneous loss of wildlife habitat and expansion of human populations and agriculture, negative interactions between people and wildlife are bound to rise," said WCS India Scientist Dr. Varun R. Goswami, also a co-author on the study. "For wide-ranging megafauna like elephants and tigers, we need landscape-scale conservation strategies, taking into account the increasing interface between wildlife and people."

Some megafauna face the threat of obscurity. The loss of elephants worldwide to poachers in pursuit of ivory is well-known and is the focus of extensive efforts to shut down this trade, but the study authors point out that many species are at risk from many similar threats but are so poorly known that effective conservation efforts to save them are difficult.
The paper includes a 13-part declaration that highlights the need to acknowledge the threatened status of many large mammals and the vital ecological roles they play. The declaration also cites the importance of integrating the efforts of scientists and funding agencies in developing countries where many species occur; the need for a new global framework to conserve megafauna; and the moral obligation of saving the world's biggest mammal species.

William J. Ripple et al. Saving the World's Terrestrial Megafauna.  BioScience, 2016 DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biw092

Bush Regeneration And Envirofun Weekend 

On: August 26-28, 2016
At: Pittwater YHA, Morning Bay

Volunteer for two mornings’ bush regeneration and receive free accommodation, two evening meals, two BBQ lunches and two morning teas and free use of kayaks over the weekend of 26 to 28 August. Alternatively come for a Saturday or Sunday morning bush regeneration and enjoy a morning tea and BBQ lunch and kayak. It is only a $20 contribution ($50 nonrefundable booking fee with a $30 refund on arrival) for a weekend of great company, food and activities. 

Bookings essential: 9999 5748 Email: 

A Pittwater YHA activity in partnership with: • Pittwater Natural Heritage Association • National Parks and Wildlife Service • Northern Beaches Council • supported by the Greater Sydney Local Land Service • with funding from the Australian Government and the NSW Government.

Frog reproduction in created ponds may be affected by disease and food availability

July 27, 2016
Food availability and disease in created habitats may affect the reproductive output of reintroduced frogs, according to a study published July 27, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Kaya Klop-Toker from the University of Newcastle, Australia, and colleagues.

Attempts to mitigate the impact of land development often involve the reintroduction of species and creation of habitats. However, previous research has found that captive-bred animal populations, when released into a created environment, may not breed successfully. To investigate which factors potentially contribute to breeding failure within a created habitat, the authors of the present study monitored a released population of endangered green and golden bell frogs, Litoria aurea, within created ponds on Kooragang Island in the New South Wales region of Australia and compared them to populations in natural breeding ponds as well as natural ponds where breeding did not occur.

The authors discovered that the created habitat had lower diversity in vegetation and invertebrate species than the natural ponds, which may have resulted in fewer nutritional resources available to the frogs for breeding. Also, compared to the wild populations, a greater proportion of frogs in the created habitat were carrying the chytrid fungus, a pathogen previously shown to reduce reproductive functioning in male L. aurea.

While their study was limited to one area in Australia, the authors suggest recommendations to improve likelihood of success when reintroducing frogs into created habitats, including planting a diversity of plant species to attract invertebrates and following recommendations to reduce disease within the frog population.

Photo: This is an endangered green and golden bell frog, Litoria aurea.
Credit: Evan Pickett; CCAL

Kaya Klop-Toker, Jose Valdez, Michelle Stockwell, Loren Fardell, Simon Clulow, John Clulow, Michael Mahony. We Made Your Bed, Why Won’t You Lie in It? Food Availability and Disease May Affect Reproductive Output of Reintroduced Frogs. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (7): e0159143 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159143