December 9 - 15, 2018: Issue 387

UNSW Dean of Science wins top Royal Society of NSW accolade

December 6th, 2018
by Lucy Carroll, UNSW
Professor Emma Johnston, Dean of Science at UNSW Sydney, has won the prestigious Royal Society of NSW 2018 Clarke Medal, for her novel research on the impact of human activities in complex marine ecosystems.

The award, presented annually for outstanding research in the fields of zoology, botany, and geology, was announced at a Royal Society of NSW event in Sydney last night. It is the second consecutive year the Clarke Medal has been awarded to a UNSW Science researcher.

Professor Johnston, a world-leading marine ecologist, was recognised for her ground-breaking research developing field-based ecotoxicological experiments that examine the effects of pollution, dredging, habitat destruction and the introduction of invasive species on marine animals.

“I am honoured to accept an award that recognises research in the field of zoology. A deeper understanding of our coastal ecosystems is critical to human survival in a rapidly changing world,” says Professor Johnston. 

“The greatest phyletic diversity of animals occurs in the oceans, in part because that’s where life evolved. I accept this Clarke Medal as an acknowledgement of the importance of understanding the often ‘unseen’ marine life within the broader context of animal biology.”

Estuarine ecosystems
Professor Johnston, who contributes to environmental management programs around the world, is now leading the development of molecular approaches to monitoring the biodiversity and functioning of estuarine ecosystems.

Professor Johnston’s research also identifies drivers of marine animal invasion success – or the establishment of species outside their native range – a frequent event that can disrupt ecosystems and reduce biodiversity.

Adopting an original approach as an empirical ecologist, Professor Johnston’s research is collaborative, interdisciplinary and applied in real world conditions that involves linking with industry, government, students and community.

“This research takes time, a creative and collaborative approach, and bringing together the largely disparate fields of ecology, ecotoxicology and invasion biology,” she explains.

The Royal Society of NSW is the oldest learned society in Australia. More than 50 Clarke Medals have been awarded to date, It one of the most highly prized awards for natural sciences, with the disciplines of botany, zoology and geology considered in rotation every three years. The 2017 Clarke Medal in the field of Botany was awarded to Professor David Keith, Professor of Botany at UNSW and Senior Principal Research Scientist, NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.

Professor Emma Johnston, Dean of Science at UNSW Sydney.

These two koalas lost their mothers to deforestation

I call on you to urgently end the deforestation and land-clearing crisis by making potential koala habitat, threatened species habitat, and other high-conservation-value areas off limits to clearing, and by repealing the land-clearing codes.

I also urge you to invest in a restoration and conservation fund and deliver the world-class mapping, monitoring, and reporting the community expects.

The bilbies are back

December 5th, 2018: Media Release - The Hon. Gabrielle Upton, NSW Minister for the Environment
For the first time in more than a century, bilbies are running wild in a NSW conservation area.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said 30 of the small marsupials have been released in a specially fenced, predator-free section of Pilliga State Conservation Area, near Narrabri.

"The bilbies are the first of 13 regionally extinct mammals that will be returned to the wild in a 10-year NSW Government Saving Our Species project," Ms Upton said.

"The return of the bilby is internationally significant: this is a major victory in the campaign to save our species from extinction," she said.

"Bilbies are an iconic Australian native animal and with their long ears, have become our own beloved symbol of Easter.

"They disappeared in the wild in NSW in around 1910 as a result of introduced predators including foxes and cats.

"To have them back in our national parks is a magnificent sight to see and a clear innovative step by this government, towards securing populations of threatened species.

"The bilbies are just the first of the mammal species to be reintroduced to select national parks in Western NSW under the $42.1 million project, with bridled nail-tail wallabies, brush-tailed bettongs and numbats among the species to follow.

"The bilbies are being housed within 32 kilometres of predator-proof fence encompassing 5800 hectares in Pilliga State Conservation Area.

The Pilliga project is being carried out by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in a partnership with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).

AWC Chief Executive Officer Tim Allard said the return of the bilby to the Pilliga is a spectacular outcome not just for the bilby, but also for Conservation.

"Within a short space of time, AWC's Ecologists and Land Managers constructed the 32 kilometre fence, eradicated feral predators, and have successfully reintroduced the bilby.

This fenced area will also provides a secure environment for another 5 species, including the Bridled nail-tail wallaby, as well as many extant species such as the Pilliga mouse and bird species.

"The aim is that the Pilliga will return to what it was like 200 years ago, before feral predators took their toll.

This project is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by Government and Not-for-Profits working in partnership and is an example of AWCs model in action – innovative land management informed by good science," Mr Allard said.

Long Reef Guided Reef Walks

Please find below the 2017 – 2018 timetable for guided walks of Long Reef Aquatic Reserve.

If you’d like to join us on a walk please contact me a couple of weeks before the walk date to make a booking. FREE GUIDED WALKS of Long Reef Aquatic Reserve with NSW Department of Industry & Investment Fishcare Volunteers will be held on the following date:

Dates for 2018
Sunday 9 September 2018     12:30pm – 2:30pm
Sunday 7 October 2018          12:30pm – 2:30pm
Sunday 4 November 2018      11:30am – 1:30pm
Sunday 9 December 2018        4:00pm – 6:00pm

Dates for 2019
Sunday 6 January 2019         3:00pm – 5:00pm
Sunday 20 January 2019       2:00pm – 4:00pm
Sunday 17 February 2019     1:00pm – 3:00pm
Sunday 17 March 2019          11:30am – 1:30pm
Sunday 7 April 2019               2:30pm  – 4:30pm

Walks are held subject to weather conditions

Bookings are preferred.
Please email Wendy to book:

Green Team Beach Cleans 2018!

Hosted by The Green Team
The Green Team is back for 2018! 
It has been estimated that we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050...These beach cleans are aimed at reducing the vast amounts of plastic from entering our oceans before they harm marine life. 

Anyone and everyone is welcome! If you would like to come along, please bring a bucket, gloves and hat. Kids of all ages are also welcome! 

The Green Team is a Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative from Avalon, Sydney. Keeping our area green and clean.

Create a Habitat Stepping Stone!

Over 50 Pittwater households have already pledged to make a difference for our local wildlife, and you can too! Create a habitat stepping stone to help our wildlife out. It’s easy - just add a few beautiful habitat elements to your backyard or balcony to create a valuable wildlife-friendly stopover.

How it works

1) Discover: Visit the website below to find dozens of beautiful plants, nest boxes and water elements you can add to your backyard or balcony to help our local wildlife.

2) Pledge: Select three or more elements to add to your place. You can even show you care by choosing to have a bird appear on our online map.

3) Share: Join the Habitat Stepping Stones Facebook community to find out what’s happening in the natural world, and share your pics, tips and stories.

What you get                                  

• Enjoy the wonders of nature, right outside your window. • Free and discounted plants for your garden. • A Habitat Stepping Stone plaque for your front fence. • Local wildlife news and tips. • Become part of the Pittwater Habitat Stepping Stones community.

Get the kids involved and excited about helping out!

No computer? No problem -Just write to the address below and we’ll mail you everything you need. Habitat Stepping Stones, Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University NSW 2109. This project is assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust

Living Ocean

Living Ocean was born in Whale Beach, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, surrounded by water and set in an area of incredible beauty.
Living Ocean is a charity that promotes the awareness of human impact on the ocean, through research, education, creative activity in the community, and support of others who sustain ocean health and integrity.

And always celebrating and honouring the natural environment and the lifestyle that the ocean offers us.

Our whale research program builds on research that has been conducted off our coastline by our experts over many years and our Centre for Marine Studies enables students and others to become directly involved.

Through partnerships with individuals and organizations, we conceive, create and coordinate campaigns that educate all layers of our community – from our ‘No Plastic Please’ campaign, which is delivered in partnership with local schools, to film nights and lectures, aimed at the wider community.

Additionally, we raise funds for ocean-oriented conservation groups such as Sea Shepherd.

Donations are tax-deductable 

Newport Community Gardens

Anyone interested in joining our community garden group please feel free to come and visit us on Sunday at 10am at the Woolcott Reserve in Newport!

Keep in Touch with what's happening on Newport Garden's Facebook:

Avalon Preservation Association

The Avalon Preservation Association, also known as Avalon Preservation Trust. We are a not for profit volunteer community group incorporated under the NSW Associations Act, established 50 years ago. We are committed to protecting your interests – to keeping guard over our natural and built environment throughout the Avalon area.

Membership of the association is open to all those residents and/or ratepayers of Avalon Beach and adjacent areas who support the aims and objectives of our Association.

What Does PNHA do?


About Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA)
With urbanisation, there are continuing pressures that threaten the beautiful natural environment of the Pittwater area. Some impacts are immediate and apparent, others are more gradual and less obvious. The Pittwater Natural Heritage Association has been formed to act to protect and preserve the Pittwater areas major and most valuable asset - its natural heritage. PNHA is an incorporated association seeking broad based community membership and support to enable it to have an effective and authoritative voice speaking out for the preservation of Pittwater's natural heritage. Please contact us for further information.

Our Aims
  • To raise public awareness of the conservation value of the natural heritage of the Pittwater area: its landforms, watercourses, soils and local native vegetation and fauna.
  • To raise public awareness of the threats to the long-term sustainability of Pittwater's natural heritage.
  • To foster individual and community responsibility for caring for this natural heritage.
  • To encourage Council and the NSW Government to adopt and implement policies and works which will conserve, sustain and enhance the natural heritage of Pittwater.
Act to Preserve and Protect!
If you would like to join us, please fill out the Membership Application Form ($20.00 annually - $10 concession)

Email: Or click on Logo to visit website.

Permaculture Northern Beaches 

Manly • Warringah • Pittwater | Sydney
Permaculture Northern Beaches (PNB) is an active local group based on Sydney's Northern Beaches.  Our parent body is  Permaculture Sydney North.

PNB hold monthly permaculture related events on the 4th Thursday of each month at 7:15pm at the  Nelson Heather Community Centre,  Banksia Room, 5 Jacksons Rd, Warriewood

Avalon Community Garden

Community Gardens bring people together and enrich communities. They build a sense of place and shared connection.


Avalon Community Garden is a community led initiative to create accessible food gardens in public places throughout the Pittwater area. Our aim is to share skills and knowledge in creating fabulous local, organic food. But it's not just about great food. We also aim to foster community connection, stimulate creative ideas for community resilience and celebrate our abundance. Open to all ages and skills, our first garden is on the grounds of Barrenjoey High School (off Tasman Road)Become part of this exciting initiative to change the world locally. 

Avalon Community Garden
2 Tasman Road
North Avalon

Pittwater's Environmental Foundation

Pittwater Environmental Foundation was established in 2006 to conserve and enhance the natural environment of the Pittwater local government area through the application of tax deductible donations, gifts and bequests. The Directors were appointed by Pittwater Council. 


About 33% (about 1600 ha excluding National Parks) of the original pre-European bushland in Pittwater remains in a reasonably natural or undisturbed condition. Of this, only about 400ha remains in public ownership. All remaining natural bushland is subject to encroachment, illegal clearing, weed invasion, feral animals, altered drainage, bushfire hazard reduction requirements and other edge effects. Within Pittwater 38 species of plants or animals are listed as endangered or threatened under the Threatened Species Act. There are two endangered populations (Koala and Squirrel Glider) and eight endangered ecological communities or types of bushland. To visit their site please click on logo above.

Report illegal dumping

NSW Government

The RIDonline website lets you report the types of waste being dumped and its GPS location. Photos of the waste can also be added to the report.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA), councils and Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) squads will use this information to investigate and, if appropriate, issue a fine or clean-up notice. Penalties for illegal dumping can be up to $15,000 and potential jail time for anybody caught illegally dumping within five years of a prior illegal dumping conviction.

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities

Bush Regeneration - Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment  
This is a wonderful way to become connected to nature and contribute to the health of the environment.  Over the weeks and months you can see positive changes as you give native species a better chance to thrive.  Wildlife appreciate the improvement in their habitat.

Belrose area - Thursday mornings 
Belrose area - Weekend mornings by arrangement
Contact: Phone or text Conny Harris on 0432 643 295

Wheeler Creek - Wednesday mornings 9-11am
Contact: Phone or text Judith Bennett on 0402 974 105
Or email: Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment :

Wildlife Carers and Organisations in Pittwater:

Sydney Wildlife rescues, rehabilitates and releases sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife. From penguins, to possums and parrots, native wildlife of all descriptions passes through the caring hands of Sydney Wildlife rescuers and carers on a daily basis. We provide a genuine 24 hour, 7 day per week emergency advice, rescue and care service.

As well as caring for sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife, Sydney Wildlife is also involved in educating the community about native wildlife and its habitat. We provide educational talks to a wide range of groups and audiences including kindergartens, scouts, guides, a wide range of special interest groups and retirement villages. Talks are tailored to meet the needs and requirements of each group. 


Found an injured native animal? We're here to help.

Keep the animal contained, warm, quiet and undisturbed. Do not offer any food or water. Call Sydney Wildlife immediately on 9413 4300, or take the animal to your nearest vet. Generally there is no charge. Find out more at:

Southern Cross Wildlife Care was launched over 6 years ago. It is the brainchild of Dr Howard Ralph, the founder and chief veterinarian. SCWC was established solely for the purpose of treating injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. No wild creature in need that passes through our doors is ever rejected. 


People can assist SCWC by volunteering their skills ie: veterinary; medical; experienced wildlife carers; fundraising; "IT" skills; media; admin; website etc. We are always having to address the issue of finances as we are a non commercial veterinary service for wildlife in need, who obviously don't have cheque books in their pouches. It is a constant concern and struggle of ours when we are pre-occupied with the care and treatment of the escalating amount of wildlife that we have to deal with. Just becoming a member of SCWC for $45 a year would be a great help. Regular monthly donations however small, would be a wonderful gift and we could plan ahead knowing that we had x amount of funds that we could count on. Our small team of volunteers are all unpaid even our amazing vet Howard, so all funds raised go directly towards our precious wildlife. SCWC is TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

Find out more at:

The Green Team

This Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative has been attracting high praise from the founders of Living Ocean as much as other local environment groups recently. 
Creating Beach Cleans events, starting their own, sustainability days - ‘action speaks louder than words’ ethos is at the core of this group. 
Permaculture Northern Beaches

Want to know where your food is coming from? 

Do you like to enrich the earth as much as benefit from it?

Find out more here:


Avalon Boomerang Bags

Avalon Boomerang Bags was introduced to us by Surfrider Foundation and Living Ocean, they both helped organise with the support of Pittwater Council the Recreational room at Avalon Community Centre which we worked from each Tuesday. This is the Hub of what is a Community initiative to help free Avalon of single use plastic bags and to generally spread the word of the overuse of plastic. 

Find out more and get involved.

Smart Energy Conference & Exhibition 2019

Starts: 8:30am Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Ends: 5:30pm Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Location: International Convention Centre Sydney
14 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour, New South Wales 2000

The Smart Energy Conference and Exhibition is one of Australia’s biggest solar, storage and smart energy conference and exhibition.

Powered by the Smart Energy Council – incorporating the Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council, this is our 57th annual FREE-TO-ATTEND conference and exhibition.

  • Over 6,000 delegates, 120 exhibitors and partners
  • A showcase of the latest technology, demonstration of new business models and innovation
  • Outstanding knowledge sharing and networking
  • 3 Conference and information sessions with over 100 presenters
  • CPD points for installers

New director for Australian Antarctic Division

December 4, 2018: Media release - The Hon. Melissa Price MP, Minister for the Environment
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Kim Ellis as the new director of the Department of Environment and Energy’s Australian Antarctic Division.

Mr Ellis is suitably qualified to lead the Division as it enters an exciting new era of research, operations and international engagement in Australia’s Antarctic territory.

Currently the Executive Director of Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands in NSW, and having led a diverse range of high profile government and science organisations, Mr Ellis brings a wealth of experience to this position.

As Director of the AAD, Mr Ellis will lead Australia’s Antarctic Program, coordinating science and research programs in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, promoting our research through grants and other support, and maintaining our permanent stations on the continent.

Mr Ellis will commence in the role early in 2019.

On behalf of the Federal Government, I thank outgoing Director Dr Nick Gales, who is retiring after a long and successful career serving the Division since the 1980s.

From joining as a veterinary scientist, spending a winter in Antarctica studying elephant seals, through his time as Chief Scientist developing the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan to launching the build of our new icebreaker RSV Nuyina, Dr Gales has made an impressive contribution to Australian Antarctic research.

Dr Gales has also been the Australian Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), leading Australia’s efforts to end scientific whaling.

I wish him all the best with the next chapter of his life.

Statewide TSR plan takes new approach to significant assets

Media Release - LLS
Chair of Local Land Services, Richard Bull has announced a single statewide plan to allow consistent management of more than half a million hectares of travelling stock reserves (TSRs) across NSW.

The draft TSR Plan of Management is on public exhibition at the Local Land Services website until Friday 21 December 2018.

“A key component of this plan of management is the consistent classification of TSRs, regardless of which part of the state they are in,” Mr Bull said.

“We have worked closely with Crown Lands staff and held extensive consultations with communities and stakeholders to develop a draft plan that is based on solid evidence about what TSRS are used and valued for today.

“This approach will allow us to work with local communities to determine how they should be used in the future and to look for other sources of funding to manage the reserves in the future.”

It follows a comprehensive review of the state’s TSR network, which found TSRs have a range of economic, cultural, recreational and environmental uses and values.

The draft TSR Plan of Management was a key outcome of the review and would guide management of the 534,000 hectares of TSRs managed by Local Land Services in the Central and Eastern Division.

In the past year, the NSW Government has invested an additional $2 million to improve infrastructure on these TSRs, including better watering points.

Local Land Services is responsible for approximately 534,000 hectares of TSRs, which represents almost 30 per cent of the TSR network across the state.

While the government is committed to maintaining a viable, well maintained and connected TSR network for the future, until now it has relied on revenue from those people who lease TSRs or use them for grazing stock.

“There have been several reviews associated with TSRs in recent years and we highly value the input we have received to this process from stakeholders across local communities,” Mr Bull said.

“Now that we have an understanding of TSR usage across NSW, we will be better placed to make sure that indigenous, conservation, livestock, production, recreation and community values are managed across the network.”

The draft plan of management demonstrates a renewed commitment to working with the community and a focus on a quality assurance and control process that recognises the statewide significance of the TSR network.

Each regional Local Land Services local board will adopt a local annual operational plan to drive activities and spending on TSRs in their region. These operational plans will see the state plan implemented at the local level.

Comments are welcome until 21 December 2018.

Community and koalas at heart of greater macarthur 2040 plan 

November 19. 2018: Media Release - The Hon. Anthony Roberts, Minister for Planning, Minister for Housing, Special Minister of State

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, today invited community comment on plans for the future of Greater Macarthur, which propose well-planned communities, greatly improved roads, better transport connections, protection for koalas and jobs for local residents.

“The Greater Macarthur 2040 Interim Plan demonstrates how the NSW Government is planning for the future of this important region over the next 20 years,” Mr Roberts said.

“Under the plan, future residents will be better connected with easy access to public transport, new parks, and recreation space, all accessible via walkways and cycle ways for a growing community.

“The protection of the koala population and habitat is a primary consideration, with a corridor proposed on government lands east of Appin Road for a koala reserve and plans to upgrade and install protective fencing to ensure koalas can move safely through the local area.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, said road improvements to Appin Road and the development of the Spring Farm Parkway will ensure the safety of road users and koalas.

“The creation of Spring Farm Parkway and the significant upgrade to Appin Road will ensure thousands of road users every day can use the road safely and efficiently, as well as protecting the local koala population,” Ms Pavey said.

Mr Roberts said that Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) schemes for Greater Macarthur will ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place and paid for by developers.

“The SIC developed as part of Greater Macarthur 2040 will direct up to $1.58 billion towards infrastructure to provide funding for roads, schools, health and emergency services, and to make Greater Macarthur a highly desirable location for current and future residents,” he said

The Greater Macarthur 2040 Interim Plan includes a $1 million grant program to ensure Koala friendly planning occurs in the area.

The funding will be released over the next two years to community groups, landowners and local council to undertake koala research, tree planting, pest management, and build greater community awareness about Koalas and their habitat.

The Interim Plan includes 12 precincts. A detailed plan for each precinct will show how new homes will be provided along with adequate open space, a variety of welldesigned housing options, transport connections, local employment, and shopping facilities.

The community is invited to have a say on the draft Plan and SIC until 8 February 2019. Visit:

upgrade of Appin Road between Ambarvale and Mt Gilead 

Roads and Maritime Services will be displaying two Review of Environmental Factors’ (REFs) for the proposed upgrade of Appin Road between Ambarvale and Mt Gilead and proposed Appin Road safety improvement work between Mt Gilead and Appin.

Appin Road is a busy state road which caters to thousands of vehicles each day, including many trucks carrying freight between Wollongong and Sydney’s south-western suburbs so it’s exciting to see progress on these projects.

The REFs will be on display until Friday 14 December, giving the community a chance to have a say on the proposed upgrade and safety improvement work.

Community Information Sessions

We will also host three community information sessions to provide you with an opportunity to ask the individual project teams questions and seek further information. A formal presentation will not be given so please feel free to drop in any time at one of the following sessions:

Saturday 24 November between 10am and 1pm
Appin Public School Hall
97 Appin Road, Appin

Wednesday 28 November between 5pm and 8pm
Hurley Park Community Hall
161 Dumaresq Street, Campbelltown

Wednesday 5 December between 5pm and 8pm
Rosemeadow Community Hall
5 Glendower Street, Rosemeadow

If you are unable to attend one of the information sessions, please contact the project team to discuss, or to arrange another time that is suitable to meet. To make a submission or to join the mailing list for either project please contact the relevant project team:

  • Phone: 1800 411 588
  • Appin Road upgrade Email: 
  • Mail: Appin Road Upgrade
  • Roads and Maritime Services
  • PO Box 973 Parramatta CBD NSW 2124
  • Appin Road safety improvements
  • Email: 
  • Mail: Appin Road Safety Improvements
  • Roads and Maritime Services
  • PO Box 973 Parramatta CBD NSW 2124

The REF documents can be viewed electronically, or you can view printed versions at the following locations:

Campbelltown Civic Centre
91 Queen Street, Campbelltown
Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm

Narellan Library
Corner Queen and Elyard Street, Narellan
Monday, Wednesday 9.30am to 8pm
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9.30am to 5pm
Saturday 9am to 3pm
Wollondilly Shire Council
62–64 Menangle Street, Picton
Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm

Camden Library
40 John Street, Camden
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9.30am to 5pm
Tuesday, Thursday 9.30am to 8pm
Saturday 9am to 12pm

The Department of Planning and Environment will commence exhibition of a Voluntary Planning Agreement to fund more than $80 million of works for the first stage of upgrades to Appin Road. The proposed works are linked to the first 2,000 new homes to be constructed under already zoned lands at Gilead, the first stage of the broader Greater Macarthur Plan.

Appendix A - Consideration of clause 228(2) factors and matters of national environmental significance

f) Any impact on the habitat of protected fauna (within the meaning of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974)?

The proposal would result in the removal of 1.88 ha of Cumberland Plain Woodland and 1.81 ha of Shale Sandstone Transition Forest. Koala habitat would also be impacted as a result of the proposal. Safeguards and mitigation measures have been proposed such as fauna fencing.

Impact: Long term negative 

Visit June 2018 report: Community Calls On Government To Put Koalas Before Developers For Once

Mount Gilead (Lendlease Communities) Planning Agreement: Have a say

Notification start date 20/11/2018
Notification end date 18/12/2018

The public is being notified of this VPA prior to its finalisation and execution. You're invited to make a submission using the form below. (Visit link;)

Have your say at:

Sonic Sea Screening at Avalon Cinema

Living Ocean has initiated a GoFundMe campaign to hire Avalon Cinema for a screening of Sonic Sea.

LO have initiated this campaign to raise awareness that seismic testing is mooted for early next year off our coastline and the public needs to be made aware asap to realise what is at stake.

They will have a balanced panel of experts to discuss the movie and also the issues for all life in the area from any effects of the testing. Also the reality of offshore gas fields and how it could impact fishing, tourism, whale watching plus the hazards that failure of any equipment resulting from the industrialisation of rigs just offshore could produce.

Living Ocean successfully campaigned with NOPSEMA against 2D testing offshore scheduled for peak northern migration of Humpback whales last year. However small scale 2D testing went ahead anyway early this year.

Please share and donate or if you wish to sponsor the screening please contact us.
We have charitable tax deductible status.

Nature Writing Prize 2019

Calling all nature writers!
The Nature Conservancy Australia is delighted to open the fifth biennial Nature Writing Prize.

The winner of the best essay (3,000 – 5,000 words) in the genre of ‘Writing of Place’ will receive a $5,000 award and will be published as an online multimedia essay by Griffith Review – Australia’s leading literary quarterly publication.

The prize will go to an Australian writer whose entry is judged to be of the highest literary merit and which best explores their relationship and interaction with some aspect of the Australian landscape.

Entry costs $30.00. The deadline for submissions is 1 February 2019 and the winner will be announced in May 2019. The prize is open to Australian citizens and permanent residents. 

Newport Community Garden: Working Bee Second Sunday of the month

Newport Community Gardens Inc. is a not for profit incorporated association. The garden is in Woolcott Reserve.

Local Northern Beaches residents creating sustainable gardens in public spaces
Strengthening the local community, improving health and reconnecting with nature
To establish ecologically sustainable gardens for the production of vegetables, herbs, fruit and companion plants within Pittwater area 
To enjoy and forge friendships through shared gardening.
Membership is open to all Community members willing to participate in establishing gardens and growing sustainable food.
Subscription based paid membership.
We meet at the garden between 9am – 12 noon
New members welcome

For enquiries contact
4 Pines Brewery Newport will be providing up-cycled malt bags from the brewery to store the trash and keep it from our shores. 

Do you get a beer? 
Absolutely! 4 Pines will hand out tokens to participants which will be redeemable for a fresh cold beer back at Public House. 

Bushcare in Pittwater 

For further information or to confirm the meeting details for below groups, please contact Council's Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367

Where we work                      Which day                              What time 

Angophora Reserve             3rd Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Dunes                        1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Golf Course              2nd Wednesday                 3 - 5:30pm 
Careel Creek                         4th Saturday                      8:30 - 11:30am 
Toongari Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon (8 - 11am in summer) 
Bangalley Headland            2nd Sunday                         9 to 12noon 

Winnererremy Bay                 4th Sunday                        9 to 12noon 

North Bilgola Beach              3rd Monday                        9 - 12noon 
Algona Reserve                     1st Saturday                       9 - 12noon 
Plateau Park                          1st Friday                            8:30 - 11:30am 

Church Point     
Browns Bay Reserve             1st Tuesday                        9 - 12noon 
McCarrs Creek Reserve       Contact Bushcare Officer     To be confirmed 

Old Wharf Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      8 - 11am 

Kundibah Reserve                   4th Sunday                       8:30 - 11:30am 

Mona Vale     
Mona Vale Beach Basin          1st Saturday                    8 - 11am 
Mona Vale Dunes                     2nd Saturday+3rd Thursday     8:30 - 11:30am 

Bungan Beach                          4th Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
Crescent Reserve                    3rd Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
North Newport Beach              4th Saturday                    8:30 - 11:30am 
Porter Reserve                          2nd Saturday                  8 - 11am 

North Narrabeen     
Irrawong Reserve                     2nd Saturday                   2 - 5pm 

Palm Beach     
North Palm Beach Dunes      3rd Saturday                    9 - 12noon 

Scotland Island     
Catherine Park                          2nd Sunday                     10 - 12:30pm 
Elizabeth Park                           1st Saturday                      9 - 12noon 
Pathilda Reserve                      3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon 

Warriewood Wetlands             1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 

Whale Beach     
Norma Park                               1st Friday                            9 - 12noon 

Western Foreshores     
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay      2nd Sunday                        10 - 1pm 
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay           1st Monday                          9 - 12noon

Australian Native Foods website:

Think before you print ; A kilo of recycled paper creates around 1.8 kilograms of carbon emissions, without taking into account the emissions produced from transporting the paper. So, before you send a document to print, think about how many kilograms of carbon emissions you could save by reading it on screen.

"I bind myself today to the power of Heaven, the light of the sun, the brightness of the moon, the splendour of fire, the flashing of lightning, the swiftness of wind, the depth of the sea, the stability of the earth, the compactness of rocks." -  from the Prayer of Saint Patrick

2018 Aussie Backyard Bird Count Results: Rainbows Rule The Roost!

by BirdLife Australia
For the fifth consecutive year, Australians headed into their backyards and local green spaces to take part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. In 2018, together we counted more than 2.7 million birds including over 305,000 Rainbow Lorikeets!

So, why are Rainbow Lorikeets ruling the roost?

While the species is ubiquitous today, this hasn’t always been the case. In some parts of Australia, such as around Melbourne, the Rainbows were driven out as the urban areas expanded, and even where they were still common in the bush, they were largely absent from our cities.

The rise of the Rainbow Lorikeet highlights the changes in Aussie backyards over the past half century, with traditional European-style cottage gardens making way for native backyards which provide the perfect place for these nectar-loving birds to forage on the flowers of eucalypts, bottle-brushes and grevilleas to harvest nectar and pollen. This shows the impact that planting natives can have, head over to our gardening tips page to see which plants will attract your favourite birds.

Download the 2018 species list for Australia and the states/territories here

Renewables revelations at Smart Energy Summit

December 7, 2018 - By the Smart Energy Council
One much-repeated statement at this week’s Smart Energy Summit: “The cost of coal cannot compete with renewables and storage which are cheaper, that is how we get to lower energy prices, everyone has to open their eyes to the reality.” The speaker? Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. 

So enthralled is he by smart new technology steering decarbonisation that he spent half the day – three hours longer than scheduled – at the summit soaking up news of renewables developments and innovation.

Turnbull – along with his candid views – was more than welcome at the summit, and in his address Politics, engineering and economics: Opportunities for a clean energy transition he set about explaining why, like so many of his forebearers, he failed to unite the government in the construction of energy policy.

It’s one of his key regrets, he said. But when you have a small bunch of climate sceptic politicians that “exist in a fact free zone” and are led by “ideology and ignorance”,that’s what you get. Impasse.

A minority of MPs, he said, torpedoed a ‘very good’ policy.

Turnbull made it clear he never abandoned the NEG, rather the insurgency undermined it and ultimately brought it to an end, and for him that was “very disappointing”.

"Ensuring a competitive market and the protections of consumers is very important, but you've also got to have the certainty of integrated climate and energy policy so that you get the investment," he said.

“The politics in the respective party room make it hard …. but we came close to getting a consensus on a national energy policy, and one that provides the certainty that we need for investment to occur.

“We need the certainly via a landing, a mechanism, to enable that to happen, it’s the best way to create investment certainty in the electricity sector.  You won't get investment if the climate is uncertain and racked with controversy," he said.

"That's what we were endeavoring to do with the National Energy Guarantee.”

"Ensuring a competitive market and the protections of consumers is very important, but you've also got to have the certainty of integrated climate and energy policy so that you get the investment," he said.

He stressed too that the issue of decarbonisation has to be grounded in economics and engineering.

“Always I’ve sought to resolve the trilemma – to reduce emissions and ensure energy affordability and reliability.”

The ex-PM is now calling on the government to revive the NEG, describing it as “fundamentally a very good technology-agnostic policy, which united climate and energy policy, and would enable us to bring down prices and keep the lights on”.

“It was a vital piece of economic policy … the abandonment of the national energy guarantee obviously creates a vacuum of energy policy at the federal level, and of course that provides the opportunity for the states to get on and lead.”

The ALP will adopt the NEG but would lift the emissions reduction target from 26 per cent to a more realistic 45 per cent by 2030. That target is not endorsed by Turnbull on the basis Labor failed to demonstrate it "will not push up prices".

(OK to push up emissions but not prices? But why would he assume prices would rise? Did he not emphasise – several times – that renewables were cheaper and the way to go?)

During his address Malcolm Turnbull took the opportunity to list the coalition’s achievements in matters of energy which include the ACCC inquiry into the electricity and the retail sector, and almost all of the recommendations of the Finkel review, Tasmania’s battery of the nation agreement from energy retailers for a better deal for two million households and his pet topic: the prospect of Snowy 2.

He revealed former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce had “unhelpfully” suggested that instead of investing in Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro the government should invest in new coal fired power plants.

For his part, new PM Scott Morrison remains fixated on lowering electricity prices rather than emissions.

Asked why, during his time in office, Turnbull failed to lock in a renewable energy target, Turnbull said “There is a huge gulf between members’ views on energy – a significant number who don't believe climate change is real and say we need to get out of Paris.”

“You have a very entrenched difference of opinion and as you saw with NEG they are prepared to cross the floor and blow up the government to get their way,” he said.

“[But] I am passionate about the goal of a move to a clean energy future and zero emissions and the way we get there is through smart energy – and smart energy people like you – that is how we will get there.”

“Renewable energy backed by storage is the cheaper form of energy generation, now we are in the midst of a transition from coal fired power to intermittent power.

“From a dumb one-way grid to a smart system where retail customers become both consumers and suppliers of megawatts of power and through intelligent demand response.

“The challenge is to get from fossil fuels to a clean energy future … truly there has never been a more exciting item to be in the energy industry. There is no shortage of enthusiasm and for investment – look at all of you here.”

Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes described the NSW Smart Energy Summit an historic event that facilitated “a fair dinkum discussion of Australia’s clean energy transition”.

“This is the challenge of our time, and we are backing Australian innovation that benefits the whole economy,” he said.

“Australia has always been a leader [now] there’s a real sense that the politics may just be changing and that Australians old and young want to see real action on climate change, with strong support from [many] governments for renewable energy.”

Victoria’s landslide election of late November, delivering Labor 30 more seats than the state coalition, was, he says, in many ways “a trigger for some introspection from the Liberal Party”. Now former Deputy Leader Julie Bishop has stepped into the arena by urging bipartisan energy policy.

Now in just a few short months it’s the turn of the NSW electorate to determine who is best placed to lead the state. 

Echidna puggles hatch at Taronga Zoo

December 3rd, 2018: Media Release - The Hon. Gabrielle Upton, NSW Minister for the Environment
Taronga Zoo’s endangered animals breeding program has been boosted by the birth of two Echidna puggles.

The puggles, who hatched in August to two separate mothers, are a promising step in the ongoing breeding and conservation of this species. The puggles are only the seventh and eighth to be born in the history of Taronga Zoo Sydney(external link).

It is hoped that what keepers learn about the successful reproduction of Short-beaked Echidnas can be applied in the conservation of the critically-endangered Long-beaked Echidna found in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

The puggles are nearly four months old and are not ready for public display because they still require continued care from their mothers and keepers.

Echidnas are known to be a very challenging species to breed in a zoo environment, because they display very complex courtship behaviours.

The Short-beaked Echidna is the most widespread native mammal in Australia, there is still a lot to be learnt about this species due to their cryptic behaviour and reclusive nature.

Echidnas, although iconic, are unusual animals known as monotremes – mammals that lay eggs. Despite being warm-blooded, their young puggles are hatched from eggs and mothers produce milk for their puggles in their pouch.

Minister for Environment, Local Government and Heritage Gabrielle Upton said that it's incredible that the breeding behaviour of some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife is not yet fully understood.

“Having the treatment facilities so the mother and newborns have best chance of survival is of utmost importance. I am proud that Taronga Zoo Sydney is helping to advance understanding of this protected NSW species,” Minister Upton said.

High cost of infidelity for swift parrots

December 4, 2018: Australian National University
Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have found a chronic shortage of females in a critically endangered parrot species has led to love triangles, sneaky sex on the side, increased fighting between males and fewer babies.

The ratio of males to females among swift parrots was once roughly equal but it has increased over time to almost three to one, since the introduction of a tiny predator to Tasmania in the 1800s -- the sugar glider.

Sugar gliders can access nest hollows and kill female swift parrots while they incubate their eggs. More than half of the females die each year at their breeding grounds in Tasmania.

Lead researcher Professor Rob Heinsohn said the research team studied the swift parrot mating system using molecular techniques and found more than half of the nests had babies with more than one father.

"This is remarkable for parrots because most species are monogamous," said Professor Heinsohn from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.

The study, which is published in the Journal of Animal Ecology, found mate sharing was not beneficial for anyone in the ménage à trois.

"The overall number of babies born fell whenever the sex ratio became more male-dominated and shared paternity went up," Professor Heinsohn said.

The researchers used population modelling to isolate the impact of lower reproduction due to mating in trios.

"Although most population decline was directly attributable to sugar gliders killing nesting females, the impact of conflict and lower success from shared mating reduced the population by a further five per cent," Professor Heinsohn said.

"We were aware of many nests where an extra male would hang around and harass the female, but were absolutely flabbergasted to find that the females were engaging in sneaky sex with them.

"We think the females are having sex with the other males for a range of reasons, but probably the main one is just to get them off their backs."

Professor Heinsohn said both sexes suffered whenever mate sharing occurred.

"The obvious costs to females are being harassed by too many males, while males are forced to fight for females to mate," he said.

"The overall population takes a hit, as a consequence, because they are having fewer babies."

Professor Heinsohn said the study was important because it teases apart how individuals in populations may be affected differently by introduced predators.

"Especially how the loss of so many females can change the balance of the sexes, as well as the whole mating and social system," he said.

Professor Heinsohn said swift parrots were not the only species where the fabric of society was threatened by too few females.

"It's happening in other birds, reptiles, and even humans in some parts of the world," he said.

Co-author Dr Dejan Stojanovic said now that the impact of sugar gliders was well understood, the ANU team had embarked on a major program to find innovative ways of limiting their impact on swift parrots.

Dr Stojanovic discovered the deadly impact of sugar gliders on swift parrots in 2014.

"Our methods for helping swift parrots include improving the habitat on small islands off Tasmania where sugar gliders do not occur, and devising clever predator-proof nest boxes for the birds to use elsewhere," he said.

Robert Heinsohn, George Olah, Matthew Webb, Rod Peakall, Dejan Stojanovic. Sex ratio bias and shared paternity reduce individual fitness and population viability in a critically endangered parrot. Journal of Animal Ecology, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12922

This is a swift parrot nest. Credit: Dejan Stojanovic, ANU

CubeSat To lift veil on our environment's extremes

December 5th, 2018: CSIRO
Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, today announced that it would be extending its Earth observation capabilities by acquiring Australia's first CubeSat designed to detect invisible infrared light.

To be known as CSIROSat-1, the new satellite will allow researchers from CSIRO and other institutions to ‘see' features that can't otherwise be seen using satellite imagery in the visible spectrum.

Although the satellite is a pilot and relatively small, the data collected will be valuable for detecting land cover changes such as flooding events or deforestation, detecting bushfires through smoke, and studying cloud formation and the development of tropical cyclones, as well as many other applications.

Traditionally, satellites are about the size of a refrigerator, have long production and assembly schedules, and are expensive to develop and launch.

CubeSats are miniaturised cube-shaped satellites units, with a single unit being 10cm by 10cm by 10cm. They are lower cost, faster to build and cheaper to launch than larger satellites. With these low barriers to entry, they are a cost-effective option for trialling new technology and space research in low Earth orbit.

In addition to enabling scientific research, CSIROSat-1 is a demonstration project, aimed at furthering development of the technology to support growth of Australia's advanced manufacturing, imaging and data processing capabilities for small satellite systems.

Expected to be launched in 2020, the $2 million project will be funded by CSIRO, a grant from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, and in-kind support from industry partners.

CSIRO Chief Executive and Trustee of the Science and Industry Endowment Fund Dr Larry Marshall said CSIROSat-1 and the data infrastructure supporting it would add another level of capability to Australian science.

"Innovation happens at the intersection of people and disciplines - CSIRO's strategy is to drive a deeper sharing of our world class infrastructure with the entire system," Dr Marshall said.

"Space itself is big and Australia is comparatively small - we have to work together to make our mark as a nation.

"Our role as Australia's national science agency is to help create the industries of the future through excellent science.

"Technology projects such as CSIROSat-1 will help support the Australian Space Agency's goal of tripling the size of the domestic space sector to $10-12bn by 2030, bringing economic returns and improving the lives of Australians."

Director of CSIRO's Centre for Earth Observation Dr Alex Held said South Australia-based start-up Inovor Technologies would design, assemble and build CSIROSat-1.

"CSIRO is committed to collaborating and fostering relationships across the space sector, and with start-ups in particular," Dr Held said.

"For the CSIROSat-1 project we're excited to be working together with our build partner, Inovor Technologies.

"It's critical to engage on these types of technology projects to support local capability and nurture the development of the Australian space industry."

Dr Alex Held, Director of CSIRO’s Centre for Observation 

Inovor Technologies provide space technologies and satellite mission solutions and are ideally placed to build the satellite.

As the only Australian company manufacturing satellites using a fully integrated Australian supply, they provided the added benefit of upskilling the local advanced manufacturing sector.

CEO of Inovor Technologies Dr Matt Tetlow said CSIROSat-1 would be a ‘nanosatellite' made up of three cubes, stacked one on top of the other, about the same size as a loaf of bread.

"CSIROSat-1 will carry a sensor with infrared imaging capability, the first time an Australian satellite has operated in this spectrum," Dr Tetlow said.

"In addition to collecting information about Earth, it will be a platform for developing advanced on-board data processing capabilities."

Other collaborators and research partners in the project include the University of New South Wales – Canberra, the Australian National University, and Defence Science and Technology Group.

Data derived from CSIROSat-1 will complement that collected by NovaSAR-1, a new radar satellite in which CSIRO has a 10 per cent tasking and data acquisition share.

The use of Earth observation data for services such as remote asset management, and environmental monitoring and management, was one of the growth opportunities outlined for Australia in our recently published report Space: A Roadmap for unlocking future growth opportunities for Australia.

Artist impression of CSIROSat-1 CubeSat

Iceland’s Banned TV Christmas Advert... Say hello to Rang-tan. 

Published by Iceland Foods
You won't see our Christmas advert on TV this year.
But we want to share our 'No Palm Oil' story with you this Christmas. 
Say hello to Rang-tan.

Powerful Owl Release

March 18, 2018: Avalon Preservation Association
PNHA's Jacqui Marlow has advised that a Powerful Owl chick has been released in Plateau Park following its recuperation in Taronga Park. 

If you see it there being harassed, or even if you see it at all, can you please phone her on 0458 194 127.

Powerful owl family - photo courtesy PNHA

International Year of the Reef (IYOR)
The Third International Year of the Reef (IYOR 2018) @IYOR2018 / #IYOR2018

At the 31st General Meeting (November 2016 in Paris, France), the International Coral Reef Initiative declared 2018 as the third International Year of the Reef and encourages to:
  • strengthen awareness globally about the value of, and threats to, coral reefs and associated ecosystems;
  • promote partnerships between governments, the private sector, academia and civil society on the management of coral reefs;
  • identify and implement effective management strategies for conservation, increased resiliency and sustainable use of these ecosystems and promoting best practices; and
  • share information on best practices in relation to sustainable coral reef management.
1997 was declared the first International Year of the Reef (IYOR), in response to the increasing threats on coral reefs and associated ecosystems, such as mangroves and sea grasses around the world. IYOR was a global effort to increase awareness and understanding on the values and threats to coral reefs, and to support related conservation, research and management efforts. Over 225 organizations in 50 countries and territories participated, and over 700 articles in papers and magazines were generated, and hundreds of scientific surveys were undertaken.

Recognising that, ten years later, there continued to be an urgent need to increase awareness and understanding of coral reefs, and to further conserve and manage valuable coral reefs and associated ecosystems, the International Coral Reef Initiative designated 2008 as the second International Year of the Reef, IYOR 2008 (Resolution to Designate 2008 as the International Year of the Reef).

IYOR 2008 was a year-long campaign of events and initiatives hosted by governments and non-governmental organizations around the world, to promote conservation action and strengthen long-term collaborations for coral reef conservation.

IYOR 2008 Goals were the following:
  • Strengthen awareness about ecological, economic, social and cultural value of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
  • Improve understanding of the critical threats to reefs and generate both practical and innovative solutions to reduce these threats
  • Generate urgent action to develop and implement effective management strategies for conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems.
Nations, organizations, and individuals around the world celebrated the International Year of the Reef 2008 (IYOR 2008): from international organizations to village children, to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and to motivate people to take action to protect them. A tremendous amount of material was produced in several languages during that year, including educational DVDs, posters, children's books, and much more. More than 630 events were organized in over 65 countries and territories around the world. IYOR 2008 has now come to an end, but the spirit lives on... To learn more about the IYOR 2008 accomplishment, download the IYOR Report.

Recognizing that public awareness is an essential element of coral reef conservation and is necessary to ensure that the value of and the threats to coral reefs are understood by the general public, and that sufficient resources are devoted to conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs and associated ecosystems; noting the importance of developing relevant public awareness initiatives that reflect national and regional priorities as well as local culture and knowledge concerning coral reefs and to facilitate public involvement in coral reef conservation related activities in all countries; and acknowledging the success of the International Year of the Reef 2008 in raising awareness of the importance of coral reefs and associated ecosystems; ICRI members adopted a recommendation on continuing coral reef awareness efforts.

The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is an informal partnership between Nations and organizations which strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world.

Although the Initiative is an informal group whose decisions are not binding on its members, its actions have been pivotal in continuing to highlight globally the importance of coral reefs and related ecosystems to environmental sustainability, food security and social and cultural wellbeing. The work of ICRI is regularly acknowledged in United Nations documents, highlighting the Initiative’s important cooperation, collaboration and advocacy role within the international arena.

Brief history
The Initiative was founded in 1994 by eight governments: Australia, France, Japan, Jamaica, the Philippines, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. It was announced at the First Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in December 1994, and at the high level segment of the Intersessional Meeting of the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development in April 1995. ICRI now counts more than 60 members.

ICRI emerged out of the recognition that coral reefs and related ecosystems found in tropical and sub-tropical regions are facing serious degradation, primarily due to anthropogenic stresses. Many nations face similar threats to coral reefs and related ecosystems as well as similar management problems. Recognising this, ICRI’s objectives are to:
  • Encourage the adoption of best practice in sustainable management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
  • Build capacity
  • Raise awareness at all levels on the plight of coral reefs around the world.
ICRI adopted a ‘Call to Action’ and a ‘Framework for Action’ as its foundational documents. Both documents set the four cornerstones of ICRI: Integrated Management; Science; Capacity Building and Review.
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Operation Crayweed Update: Success As North Bondi Restoration Works Produce Next Generation Of Crayweed Also: Green Globe Award For UNSW SIMs Operation Crayweed Project - Issue 334, 2017
Crosswaves - Newport Reef