December 10 - 16, 2017: Issue 341

State Environmental planning controls(Draft Environment SEPP):Urban Bushland

The Berejiklian government has just announced changes that propose to repeal and replace the following State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) with a single Environment SEPP:

State Environmental Planning Policy No. 19—Bushland in Urban Areas - [Manly, Warringah, Pittwater; pages 23 to 32]
• State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Drinking Water Catchment) 2011
• State Environmental Planning Policy No. 50—Canal Estate Development
• Greater Metropolitan Regional Environmental Plan No. 2—Georges River Catchment
Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No. 20—Hawkesbury-Nepean River (No.2-1997) [*Pittwater and Warringah]
• Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005
• Willandra Lakes Regional Environmental Plan No. 1—World Heritage Property.

Aimed at reducing 'red tape' and 'streamlining' NSW's planning system, some changes are commended such as protecting Sydney Harbour's natural assets by prohibiting new canal estates.

However other changes will enable development in sensitive areas that are currently protected.

Designed to marry up with other planning instruments, such as the controversial Biodiversity Act 2016, the changes also give greater effect to Ministerial Directions.

The changes also propose to revise the term ‘bushland zoned or reserved for public open space purposes’ to ‘public bushland’. This includes all land that is zoned non-rural, and owned or managed by a council or a public authority, or reserved for acquisition for open space or environmental conservation by a council or a public authority, and that has vegetation which meets a clear definition of bushland.

From • Draft Environment SEPP (PDF: 6.215 MB):
State Environmental Planning Policy No 19 – Bushland in Urban Areas (SEPP 19)
  • The majority of the provisions of SEPP 19 will be transferred to SEPP (Environment). These provisions will be updated and some will be transferred to a Ministerial Direction.
  • Update council names to reflect recent council amalgamations and boundary changes.
  • Extend its land application to cover local government areas that are currently partly outside the application of SEPP 19 including parts of Hawkesbury and Central Coast local government areas.
  • Transfer plan making provisions in SEPP 19 to a Ministerial Direction.
  • A new circular on Urban Bushland is being finalised for consultation. It has been developed to provide further information and detail regarding the application of SEPP 19. This circular will replace planning Circulars No. B13 and No. 114. 
Creating a new Ministerial Direction – Urban Bushland
SEPP 19 contains provisions for the preparation of local environmental plans in clause 10. The clause ensures that when a council is drafting local environmental plan provisions for any land to which SEPP 19 applies, other than rural land, it considers the general and specific aims of the SEPP, and gives priority to retaining bushland unless significant environmental, economic, or social benefits arise which outweigh the value of the bushland. This should be transferred to a
new Ministerial Direction as it is the appropriate mechanism to guide plan making. No current direction adequately covers urban bushland in the same way. Urban bushland exists across many different zones, therefore Ministerial Direction 2.1 – Environmental Protection Zones, is not appropriate to address public urban bushland of the type protected by SEPP 19.

The new Ministerial Direction is intended to function largely the same way as clause 10 of SEPP 19. As currently, the direction will apply when a planning authority is preparing a planning proposal for land to which the Urban Bushland provisions of SEPP (Environment) apply.

Critically the current SEPP (no 19) SEPP 19 extends 'beyond the protection of environmental values of bushland by identifying 'the need to protect the aesthetic and community values as well as the recreational, educational and scientific values of this resource'.

The proposed SEPP also enables the Roads and Maritime Services, to undertake the subdivision of foreshore lands in order ‘to lawfully reclaim Sydney Harbour land’ and redefine the ‘heads of consideration for consent authorities when assessing Development Applications on Foreshore lands.

The changes also include amending the aim of the Harbour Regional Environmental Plan that ensures Sydney is a ‘working harbour’ to enable a range of recreational, transport, tourism and commercial uses. Greater flexibility to 'mooring pens' is also proposed, which are currently prohibited.

Other changes include transferring heritage provisions to the relevant local environmental plan, thereby reducing the protection of heritage assets.

In addition, concerns have been flagged that moving the prohibition of extractive industries in parts of the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment to the SEPP for Mining, Petroleum and Extractive Industries - and moving the Sydney Opera House provisions in the Harbour Regional Environmental Plan to SEPP (State Significant Precincts) effectively reduces the current protections.

The changes are on exhibition for public comment until the 15 January.

*page 26:
Provisions to be updated and moved to Ministerial Directions
Provisions within the Hawkesbury Nepean Regional Environmental Plan related to local plan making will be updated and are to be moved to a new Ministerial Direction.

The following current provisions contain plan making guidance suited to a Ministerial Direction:
• Clause 3 ‘Aim of This Plan’
• Part 2 ‘General Planning Considerations, Specific Planning Policies and Recommended Strategies’
• Clause 6(3) ‘Water Quality’
• Clause 6(10) (a) ‘Urban Development’ - rezoning or subdivision of land
• Clause 6(11) ‘Recreation and Tourism’.

Other aspects of Clause 6, such as water quality, total catchment management, biodiversity and environmentally sensitive
areas will be transferred to the proposed new SEPP.

Have your say on the Explanation of Intended Effect for the proposed Environment SEPP until 31 January 2018 (NB changed date for submissions/feedback)
• Or write to:

Director, Planning Frameworks
Department of Planning and Environment 
GPO Box 39 
Sydney NSW 2001

From Issue 339

Newport's Bushlink 'From The Crown To The Sea' Paths: Celebrating Over 20 Years Of Community Volunteer Bushcare Results: The pathways wend through the Crown of Newport Reserve, Porter’s Reserve, Attunga Reserve and the Kanimbla Reserve. Includes link to March 2016 Amended Draft of 'North Ward' by NSW Government 'Planner'.

A bright new future for commercial fishing

December 4, 2017: NSW DPI
The biggest reform in commercial fishing in two decades kicks off today with the introduction of new quota and management arrangements.

​NSW Primary Industries Deputy Director General, Dr Geoff Allan, said today is ‘Day One’ of what will be a new and economically viable industry.

“The NSW Government has delivered what was promised last year – less red tape, linkages between shares and catch or effort and most of all, more certainty for fishers to grow their businesses,” Dr Allan said.

“We want to see a new generation of fishers coming into the industry because it’s now a place where people can invest with more confidence.

“After such a long process of trying to bring about change to commercial fisheries, it’s now time for the government to let fishers get on with the job of providing fresh NSW seafood.”

From today, share linkages and revised management arrangements in most share classes commence, as well as new minimum shareholdings.
This means, for example, a fisher out at sea has the opportunity to use more traps and unlicensed (unendorsed) crew to help them retrieve those traps. They will now spend less time at sea and it will be quicker and safer for them with the additional help on board.

Their reporting of quota landings will be done through a new online app instead of a paper logbook. They also have the opportunity to sell or lease out unused quota.

Additionally, there has been a waiver on boat licence fees and free transfers of shares online.

The NSW Government will now focus on modernising compliance, investing in programs that build community confidence, assist the set-up of a peak industry body and look at innovative technology that will help to reduce the costs for fishers and the impact of their operations on the environment.

More information

Eagle eye on illegal dumping and pollution

07 December 2017: EPA
The state’s environment watchdog is putting eyes in the sky to help respond to illegal dumping sites in remote areas, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said today.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority will use drones for a range of regulatory responsibilities, including to identify illegal dumping hotspots, better protect staff, to gain access to properties during investigations and to survey the size of potentially illegal waste stockpiles.

“Using technology to protect people and the environment from pollution where it is safe and respects people’s privacy, is a no-brainer,” Ms Upton said.

“When it comes to illegal dumping those people doing the wrong thing often attempt to hide their rubbish where they think no one will look. Using drones will change how we tackle these problems.”

The Interim Guidelines on EPA use of unmanned aircraft are now on public consultation. The Guidelines outline when, how and where the EPA may consider using drones, the legal frameworks that regulate the EPA’s use of drones and the systems the EPA has in place to ensure its use of drones is transparent, accountable and safe, with minimal impact on people’s privacy.

EPA Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford said drones would be used appropriately, balancing safety and privacy.

“The EPA will also use drones to assess the extent of water pollution incidents in remote areas or capture footage of the site of an offence where having an officer attend the site will put their safety at risk,” he said.

The Interim Guidelines are on exhibition until 15 December 2017.

Call for National Heritage List nominations

1 December 2017: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
Nominations are now open for places of outstanding natural, Indigenous or historic significance to the nation for possible inclusion on our National Heritage List.

“Our prestigious National Heritage List celebrates and protects places that reflect our unique landscapes, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and development as a nation,” said the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy.

“The List currently includes more than 100 sites from across Australia and its territories, ranging from icons such as Bondi Beach, Fraser Island and Kakadu National Park to lesser-known gems such as the Dirk Hartog’s Landing Site, Darlington Probation Station, Mount William Stone Hatchet Quarry, Witjira-Dalhousie Springs and the High Court-National Gallery Precinct.”

“Each year, more places are added to the List as our national story unfolds and understanding of our heritage deepens.”

Nominations are open until 26 February 2016 and will be considered by the Australian Heritage Council before a final list of places to be assessed in 2018-19 is developed. As part of that assessment process, there will be further opportunities for public comment on each proposed listing.

Nominations of natural, Indigenous and historic places with significant heritage value for possible Commonwealth heritage listing are also being sought.

Exhibition of proposed changes to noise and dust assessment for mining projects

November 30, 2017: Departmental Media Release, Department of Planning and Environment
Proposed planning policy changes will help improve the management of noise and dust impacts on properties near proposed mining projects.
The Department of Planning and Environment’s Deputy Secretary for Policy, Strategy & Governance, Alison Frame, said the proposed changes to the NSW Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy respond to the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) recently updated policies for assessing noise and air quality.
"The NSW Government applies the Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy during the assessment of state significant resource proposals, such as mines, to address potential noise and dust impacts on neighbouring land," Ms Frame said.  
"We’ve based our revised air and noise assessment criteria on those developed through recent reviews conducted by the EPA, which underwent public consultation.
"In addition, we’ve also improved the language to explain terms and processes more clearly such as negotiated agreements, acquisition and mitigation processes, and valuation of land.
"We’re interested in hearing from any interested individuals, land-owners, and community groups wishing to provide feedback on the proposed changes.
"Public submissions provide important feedback to our Department, which we will consider as we finalise the policy.
"In the coming months, we will separately be consulting stakeholders across a range of sectors on the potential to provide more policy guidance on negotiated agreements and dispute resolution," Ms Frame said.
The proposal to revise the NSW Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy also requires amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007.
To view the proposed changes or make a submission between November 30 and 16 February 2018, visit the Department's website here.

Innovative methods to help prevent coral bleaching on the Reef

7 December 2017: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy and The Hon Warren Entsch MP, Federal Member for Leichhardt
World leading innovative methods will be trialled to mix warmer surface water with cooler waters from the deep in an effort to reduce the impacts of thermal stress on the Great Barrier Reef to mitigate coral bleaching events.

Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said the innovative research project by the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC) was supported by a $2.2 million investment by the Turnbull Government.

"Taking on innovative research project likes this, demonstrates the Government is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to protect the Reef," Minister Frydenberg said.

"Funded as part of the Reef 2050 Plan, the project will test whether water mixing technology, currently used in freshwater storages, can reduce coral stress at a local level.

"Limited modelling indicates the proposed intervention could reduce average surface water temperatures by 0.7°C during potential bleaching conditions."

Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the proposal put forward by the RRRC would see eight water mixing units installed in a 1km2 area of the northern Moore Reef during the summer months over the next three years.

"The research will involve extensive monitoring and data collection to help improve our knowledge on how climate change impacts coral reefs," Mr Entsch said.

"If successful, this research project could play a pivotal role in ensuring the Reef is protected for generations to come.

"Whether it's tackling the crown-of-thorns starfish or reducing runoff, the Government is acting to improve the health and resilience of the Reef."

The research project will be subject to various environmental management plans being completed prior to deployment, such as a monitoring, decommissioning and cyclone contingency plans.

The Turnbull Government funding will be supported with significant in kind contributions from the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and the Queensland based manufacturer of the water mixing technology, WEARS Pty Ltd.

Have your say on priorities for NSW land conservation

November 17, 2017: OE&H
Public consultation has commenced on continued planning for future NSW national park additions as well as the NSW Government's investment in private land conservation.

Draft Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy 2017-2037 
Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Chief Executive, Anthony Lean said he encouraged the community to have their say on the two important documents which will guide the establishment of an integrated and well planned protected area system across both private and public land in New South Wales.

"The draft Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy 2017–2037 will guide the government's $240 million investment in private land conservation while the draft National Parks System Directions Statement will guide the protection of high value conservation lands across NSW in the public reserve system," Mr Lean said.

"The draft strategy and the draft directions statement are being exhibited at the same time as they speak to each other in working towards the same broad objectives of improving outcomes for our State's biodiversity.

"The National Parks System Directions Statement will set the priorities for acquiring new high conservation value land as part of our State's national park and reserve system, which currently accounts for around 9% of the State.

"On the other hand, the Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy recognises that with over 70% of NSW land privately owned or managed it is critical that we support landholders to protect and manage important conservation assets on private land."

The Strategy is a key component of the government's comprehensive new framework for private land conservation established under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

The NSW Government established the Biodiversity Conservation Trust to manage a statewide private land conservation program that will invest $240 million over 5 years and $70 million per year ongoing, supporting landholders who commit to protect and manage areas of high environmental value on their properties.

The consultation period for both documents is open from 17 November to 5pm 15 December 2017.

For further information and to have your say, visit:

Salmon experts meet to plan ambitious 2018 global symposium

December 6, 2017: University of Tasmania
International and locally-based salmon experts have gathered in Hobart today (Wednesday, 6 December 2017) for a three-day planning conference to lay the groundwork for a major symposium on the salmon industry to be held in Tasmania next year.

Scheduled for late 2018, the Global Salmon Symposium is being developed with the ambitious goals of helping to make Tasmania’s salmon industry the most environmentally sustainable in the world and creating an industry that all Tasmanians can be proud of.

The symposium is being planned through collaboration between salmon companies Huon Aquaculture, Tassal and Petuna, the Tasmanian Salmon Growers Association, the Tasmanian Government, the Environment Protection Agency, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and the University of Tasmania.

University of Tasmania Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood said this week’s planning conference brought experts from Norway, Sweden, Scotland, England, Canada and the Netherlands together with Tasmanian-based scientists, companies and regulators.

“The University has a proud record of delivering research that brings tangible benefits to the Tasmanian community and economy, including a central role in the birth of the Tasmanian salmon industry 30 years ago,” Professor Heywood said.

“We are therefore delighted to be part of a partnership between industry, government and researchers that now aims to help take the salmon industry to the next level.

“Creating the world’s most environmentally sustainable salmon industry will require a clear focus on the development of both sea and land-based farming operations, utilisation of the best available technologies, and collaboration with researchers and aquaculture innovators.

“Next year’s symposium will review world’s best practices and future developments in farming systems, environmental management, biosecurity, science and policy.

“Today’s meeting is about setting a clear direction and building an agenda for the 2018 Global Salmon Symposium, to ensure we have the right people in attendance and address the right issues.

“To help with our planning we have brought together a who’s who of the world’s leading experts in salmon aquaculture, from scientists to financial analysts, and from regulators to corporate governance specialists and non-government organisations,” Professor Heywood said.

The planning session, which concludes on Friday, will include keynote addresses and an expert panel discussion, followed by workshops on future farming, biosecurity and the environment.

Asparagus Fern

Asparagus Fern is our worst weed in Pittwater. The Bush Invaders is by PNHA member and primary school teacher Sylvia Saszczak. Share to spread the message about this horror weed.

Navigation Warning - NSW Coastal Waters: Whale Migration Season

June to December 2017

Migrating whales and whale calves are expected to be present in numbers off the NSW coast during this time.

From June to August whales will be in greater abundance generally moving north within about five nautical miles (nine kilometres) of the coast.

From August to December whales will be in greater abundance generally moving south within about 10-15 nautical miles (18-28 kilometres) of the coast.

From July to December Southern Right Whales with calves are likely to be present within 10 nautical miles of the NSW coast and within coastal estuaries.

Within this period it is expected that whale sightings may be common and mariners are advised to navigate with due care and appropriate caution around any whale activity, including reducing to an appropriate speed to maintain safe navigation.

The approach distance for whales in NSW and Commonwealth waters is 100 metres for whales without calves.  If calves are present the approach distance is 300 metres.

In the event of a collision with a whale, entanglement or whale carcass sighting please call:

National Parks and Wildlife Service Incident Duty Officer on: 02 9895 6444

Charts: AUS 806 to AUS 813 Inclusive.

RMS Coastal Boating Maps: 1-14 Inclusive.

Contact Details:

For further details please contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Team on 9585 6523 or (RMS Contact details 13 12 36)

Information regarding the current location of whales may be obtained at:

Further information about whale approach distances or whale behaviour may be obtained from the Office of Environment and Heritage website at:


Myna Action Group 

Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA)
Indian Mynas - what a pest - like flying rats. 
Contact us on for more information and have a look at

Indian Mynas are displacing our native birds. They often nest in and around shops where their food source is. I took this one down this morning in Avalon (no chicks or eggs but I disturbed the female). There were literally hundreds of tiny bits of plastic in the nest which makes you think that all this plastic would be swilling down the stormwater drains into the sea.

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 

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:

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:


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

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. Contact us or Visit us at; image artwork:

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. 

What Does PNHA do?


On-ground bush regeneration. eg: Asparagus Fern Out Days
Activities: guided walks, bird-watching
Quaterly informative newsletter, online or paper
Members email group for leaset environmental news and events
AGM with Guest Speaker
Free advice for members on managing gardens for Native Vegetation and fauna habitat
Lobbies Pittwater Council and State Government on inappropriate management practices and development
Provides support to Council for PNHA-approved grant applications for environmental projects
Publications: Introductory Field Guide to Birds of Warriewood Wetlands & Irrawong Reserve, $20.00rrp, attractive cards with photos of Pittwater scenes, flora and fauna $2.00

Email: Or click on Logo to visit website.

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.

If Victoria can ban CSG, NSW can too!

By The Wilderness Society
Coal seam gas (CSG) threatens our water, our health and our climate. Many jurisdictions around the world are permanently banning this dangerous industry, most recently Victoria. We do not need or want risky coal seam gas in NSW. 
It’s clear that the industry has no social licence in our state, yet vast and critical areas—as well as human health—are still under threat from CSG across the state.

Call on the new Premier Berejiklian and the new Planning Minister Roberts to follow Victoria's lead and ban this harmful and risky industry in NSW. 

  "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

Draft Environment SEPP

October 31, 2017: NSW Dept. of Planning and Environment
• Draft Environment SEPP (PDF: 6.215 MB)
The Explanation of Intended Effect for the Environment SEPP is on exhibition from 31 October 2017 until the 15 January 2018.
The NSW government has been working towards developing a new State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) for the protection and management of our natural environment. These areas are important to communities in delivering opportunities for physical health, economic security and cultural identity.
This consolidated SEPP proposes to simplify the planning rules for a number of water catchments, waterways, urban bushland, and Willandra Lakes World Heritage Property. These environmental policies will be accessible in one location, and updated to reflect changes that have occurred since the creation of the original policies.
The Department of Planning and Environment is seeking your feedback on the proposed SEPP to update and improve the planning framework in regards to these environmental issues. This is discussed in the Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for the proposed Environment SEPP.
Changes proposed include consolidating the following seven existing SEPPs:

• State Environmental Planning Policy No. 19 – Bushland in Urban Areas
• State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Drinking Water Catchment) 2011
• State Environmental Planning Policy No. 50 – Canal Estate Development
• Greater Metropolitan Regional Environmental Plan No. 2 – Georges River Catchment
• Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No. 20 – Hawkesbury-Nepean River (No.2-1997)
• Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005
• Willandra Lakes Regional Environmental Plan No. 1 – World Heritage Property.
Changes are also proposed to the Standard Instrument – Principal Local Environmental Plan. Some provisions of the existing policies will be transferred to new Section 117 Local Planning Directions where appropriate.
The EIE outlines changes to occur, implementation details, and the intended outcome. It considers the existing SEPPs proposed to be repealed and explains why certain provisions will be transferred directly to the new SEPP, amended and transferred, or repealed due to overlaps with other areas of the NSW planning system.

Have your say on the Explanation of Intended Effect for the proposed Environment SEPP until 31 January 2018

We welcome your feedback on the Explanation of Intended Effect and encourage you to have your say.
• Or write to:

Director, Planning Frameworks
Department of Planning and Environment 
GPO Box 39 
Sydney NSW 2001

“We’ve been told a heap of porkies"

Published on 4 Dec 2017 by The Wilderness Society
Deforestation is history. Sign the petition:

Shane Joyce is a QLD farmer with a strong message and decades of data to back it up.

Find out how letting trees grow back has restored natural systems and made his land more productive.

Integra Mine Complex
Integra Underground Modification 8

Realignment of main headings, extension of approved longwalls (LW15-17), development of up three additional longwalls (LW18-20) to the northwest in the Middle Liddell Seam and changes to ancillary surface infrastructure and water management.

Exhibition Start       07/12/2017
Exhibition End 21/12/2017

Bank Street, Pyrmont

MP 11_0001, Maritime facility (former Sydney Heritage Fleet) - Modification 3
Amended DGRs/ SEARs are requested for proposed Modification #3. 

Modification #3 will seek approval to modify the design of the dry land works (with the proposed buildings contained within the approved building footprint) and a change of use to that approved. This will facilitate the accommodation of harbour cruise businesses within Blackwattle Bay, space for which is limited in Sydney Harbour.

PPR Exhibition Start 30/11/2017
PPR Exhibition End 15/12/2017

Mine Rehabilitation Discussion Paper

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring major mining projects use best practice rehabilitation so that previously mined land can sustain other uses.
The Government is already implementing a number of reforms to strengthen operational rehabilitation requirements for all mining projects in NSW. As the next step in these reforms, we have released the discussion paper, Improving Mine Rehabilitation in NSW, to seek feedback on proposed improvements to the regulatory framework for rehabilitation of major mining projects. This feedback will be used to develop new state-wide policy and actions that provide certainty to industry and the community by clearly setting out Government expectations regarding rehabilitation and closure requirements for all major mining projects in NSW.
There are five proposed reforms set out in the discussion paper across the assessment, operational and closure stages of the mine life cycle. A key aim of the proposed improvements is to ensure mine rehabilitation is consistent with leading practice and delivers appropriate social, economic and environmental outcomes for communities.
We invite you to comment on the mine rehabilitation Discussion Paper until 16 February 2018

No open cut mining for Drayton South

December 2017: Departmental Media Release, NSW Dept. of Planning and Environment
The NSW Government has announced there will be no open-cut mining at the Drayton South site in the Upper Hunter, bringing certainty to industry and community.
Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the proposed amendment to state mining and planning policies would prohibit open-cut mining on the Drayton South exploration licence no matter who owns the land and would protect the valuable and world renowned horse studs in the area.
Mr Roberts said the project had been the subject of recommendations by the independent Planning Assessment Commission after merit-based assessment processes.
“The Commission has twice refused open-cut mining applications on the Drayton South exploration licence area and determined that open-cut mining is incompatible with the unique combination of existing land uses in the area,” Mr Roberts said.
“The NSW Government has now taken action to address this incompatibility by proposing that applications for open-cut mining cannot be made over the Drayton South exploration license.
“This will bring certainty to the community and local industry, including the internationally renowned equine operations in this area.”
Underground mining exploration will be permitted on the site, potentially providing jobs and boosting the local economy.
Minister for Resources, Don Harwin said, “Given the protections the NSW Government is putting in place I have renewed EL 5460 to permit exploration activity for underground mining only.
“As part of the renewal Malabar Coal has agreed to voluntarily relinquish all of the licence area south of the Golden Highway.”
The community can make submissions on the proposed amendments until 14 December 2017. 

NSW Government’s Drayton South announcement not enough to safeguard Hunter farming and horse breeding

December 01, 2017: Lock the Gate
The NSW Government’s announcement today of limited protection from open cut coal mining only for a small parcel of Jerry’s Plains farmland at Drayton South is not enough to protect the region’s farmers and horse breeders, says Lock the Gate.

Lock the Gate NSW Coordinator, Georgina Woods said, "This new regulation does nothing more than formalise the decision already made twice by the Planning Commission that open cut coal mining is not appropriate for this site. It falls far short of the reforms needed in the Hunter to restore balance between mining and other land uses.

"We’re disappointed with this narrow and weak gesture that condemns the farming and horse breeding industries of the Hunter Valley to continue having to fight for their survival against a Government that has ears only for the coal industry.

"Jerry’s Plains is rich and fertile farmland that needs broad and effective protection from all forms of mining, not just open-cuts.

"If balance is to be restored, the Government needs to make all critical industry cluster lands for the horse and wine industries of the Hunter Valley off limits to mining of any kind. It’s really not too much to ask.”

Details of the Government’s proposal, which is seeking public feedback until 14 December, are available here:

Arrow’s CSG deal with Shell leaves farmers and water supplies at risk

December 04, 2017: Lock the Gate
Lock the Gate has serious concerns with the impact of thousands of new coal seam gas wells proposed across productive agricultural lands and waterways of the Surat Basin in QLD.

Arrow's tenements extend from Wandoan in the north, Dalby in the east, to Goondiwindi in the south.  A gas supply agreement has now been struck with Shell’s gas export terminal for the gas to be brought to market.

"This massive expansion will cover thousands of square kilometres of QLD with coal seam gas wells and gasfield infrastructure," said Naomi Hogan of the Lock the Gate Alliance.

"The dewatering of the coal seams for Arrow's gasfields will lead to over a million tonnes of toxic salts being brought to the surface, with no plan for the waste.

“Scientists looking at this proposal have raised serious concerns that the impacts of groundwater and the risks of well integrity failure have been underestimated by the company.  

Arrow's gasfields would intercept some of QLD's best grazing and cropping land.

"This gas deal demonstrates the failure of the QLD Government to stand up and protect strategic cropping land and protect our most productive farming regions.

"It’s inappropriate to force gasfields onto hardworking Australian farmers, while Shell vacuums gas offshore.

"Farmers targeted on the Cecil Plains are clear that Arrow does not have a social licence to operate there.

"The gasfield areas are proposed across valuable cropping for cotton and grains, threatening the productivity of this rich agricultural region.

"Australians are concerned about damage to our prime agricultural areas and strategic cropping lands by polluting onshore gasfields.

"There has been and will continue to be a lot of landholder concern around this, you can guarantee it," she said.

Update on Baleen 2D HR Seismic Survey 

(The survey comprises 46 2D lines of total length 208km.) - 
NOPSEMA 'Not reasonably satisfied – opportunity to modify EP'
Decision date: 03/08/2017 
Titleholder action Resubmission due date 3: 02/09/2017
Extension of timeframe: 17/08/2017 Titleholder action: 15/10/2017
Extension of timeframe: 05/10/2017 Titleholder action: 31/10/2017
Resubmission of EP: 31/10/2017 NOPSEMA decision: 30/11/2017
Request for further information: 30/11/2017 Titleholder action: 21/12/2017

From Decision notification:
Basis of decision 
NOPSEMA has assessed the environment plan in accordance with its assessment policies and procedures. 

On completion of assessment, NOPSEMA has decided that it is not reasonably satisfied that the environment plan meets the criteria below as set out in regulation 10A of the Environment Regulations: 
(a) is appropriate for the nature and scale of the activity 
(b) demonstrates that the environmental impacts and risks of the activity will be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable 
(c) demonstrates that the environmental impacts and risks of the activity will be of an acceptable level 
(d) provides for appropriate environmental performance outcomes, environmental performance standards and measurement criteria 
(e) includes an appropriate implementation strategy and monitoring, recording and reporting arrangements 
(g) demonstrates that: 
(i) the titleholder has carried out the consultations required by Division 2.2A 
(ii) the measures (if any) that the titleholder has adopted, or proposes to adopt, because of the consultations are appropriate 

Titleholder requirements 
For OMR decision In accordance with regulation 10, the titleholder is required to modify and resubmit the environment plan. Upon resubmission of the plan, NOPSEMA will continue to assess the submission in 
accordance with its assessment policies and make a decision under regulation 10. After a titleholder has been provided with reasonable opportunity to modify and resubmit an environment plan, NOPSEMA will 
make a final decision on whether to accept or refuse to accept the environment plan. 

Avalon Boomerang Bags 2018 Dates

Diary Dates

Last workshop for the year at SewCraftCook for the year - passed.
Huge thanks to Kate for providing such an amazing and creative space for us to make the bags and store our "bits".

And a huge thanks to all those who have volunteered making bags, stamping bags, screen printing, cutting, ironing, folding, providing yummy treats, making cups of tea and for all the laughs, chats and good times. Without you we wouldn't be the team that we are.

On that note, dear sewers - if any of you, including the "at home" sewers need more fabric during the break, please contact Robyn via this email and she'll arrange it - the cupboards are bulging.
Tuesday 31 January
Return to our regular workshops  from 11am - 4pm.
Come for a hour or two or come for the day.
SewCraftCook 20/14 Polo Ave, Mona Vale.

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities

Spotlight Walk - 8pm Friday Dec 15
Spotlighting walk - meet at start of Slippery Dip Trail. Spaces limited to 20 people

Wildlife Walk - 7:30am Friday January 19, 2018
Meet at end of Deep Creek Carpark. Spaces limited to 30 people
Email: Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment to get a ticket and book a place for one of these fascinating Wildlife Walks led by Jayden Walsh.

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 :

Eco Paddle on Narrabeen Lagoon
1pm, Sunday Feb 11, 2018
Black Swan have returned to the lagoon after 20 years - come and see these majestic creatures! This paddle will visit the Western Basin, Deep and Middle Creeks. Beautiful Deep Creek attracts migratory birds from as far away as Russia and Middle Creek has been the subject of a substantial remediation programme. A relaxing 2 to 3 hour afternoon paddle. No previous kayaking experience required, tuition given. BYO boat or a hire kayak can be arranged for you at cost. 
Bookings essential.
Email or call 0417 502 056.

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Board Meeting In Public

06 November 2017 by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust invites the public to observe the next Board Meeting.
When: Wednesday 20 December 2017 at 3.30pm
Venue: Boardroom, SHFT offices, Building 28, Best Avenue, Headland Park, Mosman
Members of the public may submit a question/s (maximum of two) in writing prior to the meeting. Questions must be received by 15 December 2017. Questions may be emailed to (link sends e-mail)
The Chair has the discretion to allow a question to be asked and/or answered at the meeting.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP by 15 December on (02) 8969 2100 or

Repeal of two operational SEPPs

By NSW Dept. of Planning
Exhibition Commences 27/10/2017
Exhibition Concludes 22/12/2017
The Department of Planning and Environment is reviewing State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) to simplify and modernise the planning system by removing duplicated, redundant and outdated planning controls. 

The Department proposes to improve and simplify NSW development standards by repealing SEPP No. 1 - Development Standards and SEPP (Miscellaneous Consent Provisions) 2007 (MCP SEPP). The planning provisions contained in these two policies will be incorporated in local planning controls. 

Both SEPPs now only apply to lands which have been deferred from the Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan. Councils that have adopted the Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan already have the equivalent measures in place within their areas. This means local controls will essentially replace the function of the repealed SEPPs. 

The Department of Planning and Environment will work with affected councils to manage the transition of planning provisions into their Local Environmental Plans. 

The Repeal of two operational SEPPs package is currently on exhibition until 22 December 2017. 

Have your say on construction waste management reforms

Proposed minimum standards for managing construction waste in NSW and other miscellaneous waste reforms

The Environment Protection Authority would like to know what you think about proposed changes to NSW environment protection legislation concerning construction waste.

These changes build on the 2014 reforms of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation, by seeking to drive further resource recovery and address poor waste practices.

The EPA undertook consultation on proposed changes through a Consultation Paper (PDF 655KB) released in 2016. The EPA has prepared a Consultation Report (PDF 489KB), which provides a response to stakeholder submissions on the changes.

A draft regulation (PDF 290KB) has been prepared that takes into consideration the feedback received from stakeholders during the consultation period. The EPA has developed, with input from an industry working group, draft standards (PDF 270KB) for managing construction waste in NSW. This is a document that is referenced in the draft regulation, and will have legal force.

The proposed changes set standards to ensure appropriate management, production and use of materials recovered from construction waste. These changes seek to ensure that waste is appropriately sorted, the quality of recovered materials is maintained, and human health and the environment are protected.

Other changes proposed by the EPA relate to
  • improving performance at landfills
  • improving the handling of asbestos waste
  • transported waste deductions
  • new operational purpose deductions
  • clarifying how the waste contributions are applied at resource recovery facilities
  • monitoring of waste at licensed facilities
  • waste transport
  • changing the land pollution offence changing licensing requirements for a small number of activities clarifying resource recovery exemptions
  • providing for the issue of penalty notices for certain offences
  • updating references to local government areas
These proposed changes complement existing waste policy in NSW, including the NSW Government's Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-21, and the significant investment in grants and funding opportunities through the NSW Government's Waste Less Recycle More program ($802 million plus over nine years).

The Problem
Through compliance programs and regulation activities the EPA has become aware of a range of issues in the construction and demolition waste sector. The sector has potential to return large volumes of recovered material into the economy and into the environment. However, a number of operators in the sector have minimal environmental controls and poor processes that are not maximising the safe recovery of resources.

The NSW community and environment could potentially be exposed to significant risks from contaminated products, including asbestos waste. These poor practices can also lead to the loss of valuable resources from the productive economy. The EPA has a responsibility to ensure that recovered materials are produced with all the necessary procedures to protect the community and the environment.

What do you think?
Review the proposal in the explanatory paper (PDF 286KB) and the draft regulation (PDF 290KB) and tell us what you think by online submission via the below webpage form or email.

Email your submission to:
Submissions must be received by 5pm 12 December 2017.

Primary Production and Rural Development
Draft SEPP and planning reforms

The agricultural sector is vital to the NSW economy as it provides food and other products for local consumption and export, and is a major employer in regional areas. The NSW Government is proposing changes to the planning system to further support sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and rural development. These changes will help ensure planning proposals affecting rural land are properly assessed and provide greater certainty to farmers on the types of activities that will require development consent.
The Department of Planning and Environment is seeking your feedback on a package of reforms to update and improve the planning framework for primary production and rural development. These are discussed in the Primary Production and Rural Development - Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE).
The proposals outlined in the EIE will help industry and the community respond to existing challenges. Simpler and more streamlined processes will allow us to adapt to emerging economic opportunities as they arise. They also support commitments in the NSW Right to Farm Policy.
Changes proposed include consolidating the following five existing SEPPs:
• State Environmental Planning Policy (Rural Lands) 2008 (Rural Lands SEPP)
• State Environmental Planning Policy 30 - Intensive Agriculture (SEPP 30)
• State Environmental Planning Policy 52 - Farm Dams and Other Works in Land and Water Management Plan Areas (SEPP 52)
• State Environmental Planning Policy 62 - Sustainable Aquaculture (SEPP 62)
• Sydney Regional Environmental Plan 8 - Central Coast Plateau Areas (SREP 8)
The EIE outlines provisions to be included in a new SEPP. It also highlights proposals to transfer existing plan making requirements to the Ministerial Planning Directions under section 117 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, and to amend the Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan.
• Part 1 – Executive summary
• Part 2 – The new SEPP
• Part 3 – Proposed amendments to other planning legislation
• Conclusion
• Attachment A – Planning framework
• Attachment B – Summary of key policy proposals
• Attachment C – Existing SEPPs
• Attachment D – Existing clause analysis and proposed action
• Attachment E – Outline of revised definitions and clauses
Download the whole EIE document
Download the FAQs
Planning guidelines for intensive livestock agriculture development
Draft guidelines have been prepared to support the proposed planning reforms. These are intended to assist applicants and planning authorities to understand the assessment requirements for new intensive livestock developments, such as feedlots, poultry farms and pig farms.
Download the draft guidelines

Have your say until 18 December 2017
We welcome your feedback on the Explanation of Intended Effect and draft planning guidelines and encourage you to make a submission.
• Or write to:

Director, Planning Frameworks
Department of Planning and Environment
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001
Published submissions will include your name and the organisation on whose behalf you may be writing. Contact details such as email and postal addresses, and telephone numbers are not published. The Department reserve the right to not publish selected submissions (in full or part).
Please read our privacy statement.

Where can I find out more about the Draft Primary Production and Rural Development SEPP reforms package?
• For further information please see the Frequently Asked Questions, or phone 1300 305 695.
• If you require translation assistance, please call 131 450.
You can also subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates from the Department.

Long Reef Walks 2018 Season

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 14 January 2018                1:00pm – 3:00pm
Sunday 18 February 2018              4:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday 18 March 2018                   3:00pm – 5:00pm
Sunday 15 April 2018                      1:00pm  – 3:00pm

~ Walks are held subject to weather conditions ~

Bookings are preferred.
Please email Wendy to book:

Phil Colman, who keeps us updated on the Fishcare Volunteer Walks, has said, when sending in these monthly dates for the new season walks;

"I am only too happy to take individuals or small groups of senior school students out when I might be able to help them with their studies, give them possible projects or whatever.  

Keep in mind that I am totally dictated to by tides, but am retired and basically available at any time.  I am not, by the way, looking for payment.  If I can steer someone in the direction of marine study, I’m paid enough!"

You contact Phil via email at: - ph; 9982 6142

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.

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

New “Coastal Management Guide” Teaching Resource Released

Researchers from UNSW Water Resaerch Laborsatory (WRL) in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, have developed a new ‘Coastal Management Guide’ designed for High School teachers involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education:

The Guide is designed to assist teachers to engage their students (target ages 11 – 16 years) in the complex issues of Coastal Management, with coastal erosion as the “attractor”. Background information spanning topics such as ‘the dynamic coast’, ’what are the issues’, ‘managing for the future’ and ‘how do we measure coastal change’ is presented. A broad range of fully developed independent and guided student activities are provided for use inside and outside the classroom, including hands-on experiments, analysis of media reporting, and role-playing. 

The Guide targets Australian High School STEM curriculum areas (Years 7–10) of Physical Sciences, Human Society & its Environment (HSIE), Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences and Maths. More broadly, it is anticipated that the Guide’s educational themes and activities will provide a useful and stimulating resource in any classroom where ‘living at the coast’ can provide a launching point into diverse areas of secondary school STEM education.

The full Guide is freely available in two formats: pdf for download and eBook for online viewing.

 Australian Native Foods website:

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:

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.

Botanists give new hope to rare local plants

December 7, 2017 NSW OE&H
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) botanists in Limpinwood Nature Reserve discover hope for several threatened plant species, plants so rare they are only known to exist along one escarpment within Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area on the NSW/Qld border.

Saving Our Species Project Officer Justin Mallee said the discovery of nearly 1000 rare Green Waxberry (Gaultheria viridicarpa) plants in high altitude rainforests of Limpinwood Nature Reserve was a pleasant surprise.

"We knew a handful of these very rare plants existed along the top of the cliff line but what we didn't know was how many plants were growing on the cliff faces or their condition," Mr Mallee said.

To survey the plants, NPWS engaged the skills of botanist Lui Weber, who got a special abseiling conservation permit, to abseil down the cliff face to conduct a threatened species assessment.

Green waxberry - Photo by Lui Weber - Office of Environment and Heritage.

Mr Mallee said nearly 1000 Green Waxberry plants were found growing along the escarpment on either side of a rocky summit.

"The mossy cliffs of Limpinwood Nature Reserve are the only place in the world where these plants are found, so the discovery of a bigger population is fantastic news for this threatened species and really boosts this plant's chance of long-term survival," said Mr Mallee.

The survey work, undertaken as part of the NSW Government's Saving Our Species program, also uncovered a large population of Lamington Eyebright, Euphrasia bella.

Mr Mallee said this species, was last known as a small population of only 5 plants recorded in 1982.

"Ninety-Four Lamington Eyebright plants were counted as part of this survey, a huge boost to our knowledge of this population," said Mr Mallee.

A further threatened plant, Wollumbin Dogwood Ozothamnus vagans was also re-discovered during the survey. Although known to exist in small populations in the Border Ranges area, 182 individuals were counted along the cliffs.

The aim of the survey was to document the extent of the populations of these threatened plants, assess their habitat condition and record potential threats. This information will be used by NPWS to undertake management actions needed to help care for the plants in the future.

What we found was that the plants biggest threat is climate change, due to their location in a fragile high-altitude environment.

NPWS will now actively manage the plants via regular population monitoring, ongoing weed assessment and control, monitoring for disease and disease prevention.

"We are now focusing on ongoing management to help protect these rare species. This type of survey work adds to our knowledge of exactly what's out there and how to best manage it," said Mr Mallee.

Bringing nature back – to cities

1 December 2017: Media Release - Ecological Society of Australia
There are many benefits of bringing nature back into urban areas, but new research shows that besides using the right species for the local environment, their social acceptability, economic use and Indigenous significance need to be carefully considered.

‘Nature in all its forms provides a remarkable range of benefits in cities,’ said Dr Luis Mata, from RMIT’s Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group. ‘There is great enthusiasm to bring trees, shrubs, grasses, insects, spiders, birds and mammals back into urban areas. Nature-based solutions such as green roofs and pop-up parks are happening across the world.’

Dr Mata said benefits include improving people’s physical and psychological health, protection from future climate change, and conservation of threatened species. ‘Nature-based solutions re-enchant people with nature, which helps them appreciate and conserve nature outside cities as well. Also, nature in cities connects people with the local Indigenous culture and history.’

However, Dr Mata said that the theory of benefiting from bringing nature back is one thing, but landscape designers, architects, health practitioners and others need to incorporate all aspects of nature in deciding how to bring it back.

‘Broader planning is required before development. We’re in need of biodiversity-sensitive urban design, where developers specifically aim to deliver on-site biodiversity benefits.’

Dr Mata and his colleagues have developed a new decision-making tool that includes the ecological feasibility of each species, its conservation value, economic use, cultural significance in the context of Indigenous culture, and social acceptability.

‘We want to see all these things included in decisions about what nature to bring back into cities. For example, people deciding on re-naturing actions need to guarantee that the nature coming back is not harmful, and that the targeted species are charismatic and attractive to people.’

Dr Mata said that as cities grow globally, bringing nature back to them will be increasingly relevant for future generations. ‘Protecting and bringing nature back into cities is a major sustainability goal. Future generations of an ever-increasing population of urban residents are relying on it.’

Dr Mata’s work contributes to the National Environmental Science Program - Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub (NESP-CAUL). He presented his results to EcoTAS 2017, the joint conference of the Ecological Society of Australia and the New Zealand Ecological Society, held this week in the Hunter Valley.

Oceans book launches at critical time

CSIRO has launched Oceans: Science and Solutions for Australia (Oceans), a book bringing together the latest science to explain the crucial role oceans play in the lives of all Australians.

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Director Dr Tony Worby said Australia faced several opportunities and challenges, with three of the world’s four major oceans in its marine estate.

"Australia’s oceans cover almost 14 million square kilometres, nearly twice the area of our land, and hold the key to our climate, weather, economy, international security, and social well-being," Dr Worby said.

"It is important that we strike a balance between our national economic and resource requirements, while ensuring long term sustainability of our marine estate and this is key research focus for CSIRO and the Australian marine science community.

"Our oceans do the heavy lifting with respect to carbon dioxide and heat absorption and their capacity to continue to do these things is one of many areas we are focused on through our climate research.

"The effects of ocean warming can be seen already as tropical fish are found further south from warming coastal waters, cold water species decline in some regions, and coral bleaching becomes more frequent.

"There has never been a more important time to focus on marine research."

Oceans editor and CSIRO Chief Research Scientist Dr Bruce Mapstone said national and international collaboration was essential, with Australia having stewardship of the third largest marine estate in the world and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. 

"The book focuses on Australia’s marine estate which includes the Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans, however many of the topics covered have global relevance because of the interconnectedness of the world’s oceans," Dr Mapstone said.

"Collaboration is the only way we can tackle the breadth of marine research Australia and the world need to fully understand our oceans.

"Indigenous coastal peoples have had cultural and livelihood connections with Australia’s oceans for thousands of years and their knowledge is extremely valuable.

"Importantly, this book takes complex and detailed research and translates it into clear English that can be understood by policy makers and just as importantly students, some of whom are Australia’s future marine scientists."

Oceans: Science and Solutions for Australia has been authored by scientists from CSIRO and other Australian research agencies and is available for free download: Oceans [PDF 21.5MB] or to order a hardcopy through CSIRO Publishing visit: Oceans.

NNTT registration of contested Adani land deal to be fought hard in Court by W&J

Brisbane, 8 December 2017: Media Release -  Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Family Council
Traditional Owners of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Family Council say they are troubled by the decision of the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) to register an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for Adani before a legal challenge to the ILUA scheduled for March 2018 can be heard in the Federal Court. 

W&J representatives say they have never given consent or signed the ILUA and are not bound by it. The ILUA was rejected by W&J again at a claim group meeting only days ago.

Representatives of the native title claim group have filed an application in the Federal Court for an injunction against Adani and the Queensland Government, to restrain them should they attempt to use the registration of the ILUA to extinguish their native title, under its terms, before their challenge is resolved in the courts.

Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council Spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said, “We expected the Native Title Tribunal to tick the boxes and register Adani’s sham land use agreement. It is still subject to a legal challenge in March 2018 and we will pursue this and seek to reverse any decisions that are made in the meantime.

“Our lawyers are immediately writing to the state government and are urgently pursuing an injunction. Our legal team have prepared for the eventuality that the tribunal would place the ILUA on the register.

“The tribunal knew this was not a clean process or an uncontested document, and despite receiving evidence this week that the Claim Group had de-authorised the ILUA, they proceeded to register it. We are looking at our options for judicial review of the Tribunal decision,” Mr Burragubba concluded.

Linda Bobongie, the Coordinator for the W&J Applicant, one of the convenors of the claim group meeting last weekend, and Chairperson of the W&J Traditional Owners Council, said, “It is a matter of justice that W&J’s court challenge to this ILUA be heard before the state acts to extinguish our native title for the mine. Our lawyers are seeking a response from the new Queensland Government that they will not act on any provisions of this ILUA document that will harm our rights or lead to the destruction of our country and heritage.

“We are contesting Adani’s purported land use agreement in the courts, and the Government would have its thumb on the scales of justice if it moved to support the mine and extinguish our native title before the trial. We have said no. The Government and Adani do not have our consent”, Ms Bobongie concluded.

On 2 December, for the fourth time since 2012, W&J Traditional Owners voted unanimously at an authorisation meeting of the claim group to reject an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani, underlining their sustained opposition to the mine.

The claim group meeting put beyond any doubt that the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council speaks for the claim group against the Adani mine. The authorisation meeting passed a resolution to confirm that the Council advocates for the traditional culture of the claim group, and supports the W&J people to remain connected to our country.

The Traditional Owners have filed an application for an injunction in the Federal Court against Adani and the Queensland Government, to restrain them should they attempt to extinguish their native title, under the ‘Adani ILUA’, before the Federal Court hearing of W&J’s litigation against the purported ILUA, set for March 2018.

The W&J Council will fight all the way to the High Court if necessary to defend their rights and protect their country from the destruction of the Carmichael Mine.

Resolutions of the W&J authorisation meeting on the Adani ILUA, 2 December 2017
This meeting of the Wangan and Jagalingou claim group:
  1. Does not authorise the Indigenous Land Use Agreement between the Wangan and Jagalingou People and Adani Mining Pty Ltd and the State of Queensland (“the Adani ILUA”).
  2. Does not authorise the Applicants to sign the Adani ILUA and to the extent that some Applicants have already signed it, determines that they no longer have the authority of the claim group to do so and declares that their signatures are to be treated as nullity.
  3. Do not consider the Adani ILUA to be binding on the Wangan and Jagalingou people.
  4. Determines that the Applicants are not to continue to seek to register the Adani ILUA and directs Colin Hardie of Just Us Lawyers to submit to the Registrar of the Native Title Tribunal and to the Federal Court that the Adani ILUA should not be registered and is invalid.
  5. Directs the Applicants to immediately communicate to the Registrar, National Native Title Tribunal and to the Federal Court the objection of the Applicant to the registration of the Adani ILUA purportedly executed by members of the Applicant.
  6. Abhors the provisions of the Adani ILUA that provide for the extinguishment and surrender of our Native Title.
  7. Objects strenuously to the Carmichael Mine.
  8. Considers that the Adani ILUA does not provide adequate compensation for the detrimental effect that the Adani Mining project will have on our culture and traditional lands.
  9. Deplores the degradation that the Adani Mining project will wreak on our culture, environment and our ancestral lands.
This meeting of the Wangan and Jagalingou claim group directs the Applicants not to further engage with Adani Mining Pty Ltd or any other entity on behalf of Adani to negotiate or renegotiate any ILUA relating to the Carmichael Mining project unless and until authorisation is given to the Applicants at a lawful authorisation meeting and express approval is given by the claim group for such further negotiations.

This meeting notes the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine ILUA assessment prepared by Economics Consulting Services and that it is an interim report. This meeting directs the Applicants to further engage Economics Consulting Services to obtain a full assessment of the benefits package proposed by Adani.

New species of extinct marsupial lion discovered in Australia

December 6, 2017
A team of Australian scientists has discovered a new species of marsupial lion which has been extinct for at least 19 million years. The findings, published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, are based on fossilised remains of the animal's skull, teeth, and humerus (upper arm bone) found by University of New South Wales (UNSW) scientists in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area of remote north-western Queensland.

Named in honour of palaeoartist Peter Schouten, Wakaleo schouteni was a predator that stalked Australia's abundant rainforests some 18 to 26 million years ago in the late Oligocene to early Miocene era. This meat-eating marsupial is estimated to have been about the size of a dog and weighed around 23 kilograms.

The new species is about a fifth of the weight of the largest and last surviving marsupial lion, Thylacoleo carnifex, that weighed in at around 130 kilograms and which has been extinct for 30,000 years. Members of this family, the Thylacoleonidae, had highly distinct large, blade-like, flesh-cutting premolars that they used to tear up prey.

The discovery comes just a year after the fossilised remains of a kitten-sized marsupial lion were found in the same famous fossil site in Queensland. The UNSW scientists named that miniature predator Microleo attenboroughi after broadcasting legend Sir David Attenborough.

With this new find, the researchers believe that two different species of marsupial lion were present in the late Oligocene at least 25 million years ago. The other, originally named Priscileo pitikantensis, but renamed Wakaleo pitikantensis, was slightly smaller and was identified from teeth and limb bones discovered near Lake Pitikanta in South Australia in 1961.

This latest discovery reveals that the new species (W. schouteni) exhibits many skull and dental features of the genus Wakaleo but it also shared a number of similarities with P. pitikantensis -- particularly the presence of three upper premolars and four molars, previously the diagnostic feature of Priscileo. Further similarities of the teeth and humerus which are shared with W. schouteni indicate that P. pitikantensis is a species of Wakaleo.

According to the authors, these dental similarities distinguish W. schouteni and W. pitikantensis from later species of this genus, all of which show premolar and molar reduction, and suggest that they are the most primitive members of the genus.

Lead author Dr Anna Gillespie, a palaeontologist from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia says that the latest finding raises new questions about the evolutionary relationships of marsupial lions: "The identification of these new species have brought to light a level of marsupial lion diversity that was quite unexpected and suggest even deeper origins for the family."

Anna K. Gillespie, Michael Archer, Suzanne J. Hand. A new Oligo–Miocene marsupial lion from Australia and revision of the family Thylacoleonidae. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2017.1391885

Reconstruction of Wakaleo schouteni challenging the thylacinid Nimbacinus dicksoni over a kangaroo carcass in the late Oligocene forest at Riversleigh. Credit: Illustration by Peter Schouten in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology

Surprise in the kangaroo family tree

December 4, 2017
Ironically, it is jumping genes that indicate the need for a reorganization of the kangaroos' phylogenetic tree. According to a new study by a Senckenberg scientist, published recently in the journal "Scientific Reports," the swamp wallaby is more closely related to the remaining wallaby species and the large red and grey kangaroos and wallaroos than previously assumed. Together with her Australian colleagues from QUT in Brisbane, the researcher was the first to examine the relationships within the kangaroo genus Macropus on the basis of retrotransposons, genes that literally jump across the genetic material.

Like their larger relatives, the kangaroos, the smaller wallabies are an iconic part of the fauna "down under." Even the Australian National Rugby Team is named after them. However, one wallaby stands out among the rest -- the swamp wallaby. It is the only marsupial that is able to switch to "turbo speed" during reproduction, becoming pregnant again before giving birth to the first set of offspring. The animal, which is widespread on the east coast of Australia, also differs from the other wallabies in its appearance, e.g., the shape of its teeth and its more crouched hop.

Until now, the swamp wallaby was placed in its own genus, Wallabia, which only comprises one single species. However, this outsider role is actually not justified -- as recently shown by the molecular-genetic studies at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre.

"At the genetic level, the swamp wallaby does not represent a sister genus to the other wallabies, but it belongs to the genus Macropus, like all remaining wallaby species. Thus, it is not only more closely related to the other wallabies than previously thought, but also to Australia's icons, the large red and grey kangaroos and the wallaroos," explains Dr. Maria Nilsson, head of the study.

Of all things, it was retrotransposons -- genes that literally jump across the genetic material -- that shed new light on the relationships among wallabies and kangaroos. These mobile genetic elements are able to make copies of themselves and reinsert these at a different location in the genome. If they occur in the same areas in different species, these species have a common ancestry.

Nilsson elaborates: "Therefore, such jumping genes are also referred to as molecular fossils, which allow inferences on the phylogenetic history. They occur in almost all organisms; due to their properties, they have gained an increasing importance in evolutionary research in recent years."

According to the analysis, the modern subgenera of the kangaroo genus Macropus as well as the swamp wallaby subsequently evolved from a common ancestor approximately five to seven million years ago. During this time period, the forests in Australia began to open up, many later being replaced by spreading grasslands. This habitat was colonized by new species of large red and grey kangaroos and wallaroos. "The wallabies and the swamp wallaby arose at a later date, and they inhabit woodlands," says Nilsson.

Even in this genetic analysis, the swamp wallaby retains a special status. Although it now falls within the genus Macropus, it constitutes a subgenus within it -- and, not surprisingly, this subgenus only consists of one lone species.

The research also still leaves some mystery to be solved as fellow researcher, Matthew Phillips, Associate Professor at the Queenland University of Technology points out in conclusion: "Although we show that the swamp wallaby clearly falls within Macropus, we also found some evidence for a small portion of it' s genome being a relic of an ancient, now extinct kangaroo. It might be interesting to investigate this further."

William G. Dodt, Susanne Gallus, Matthew J. Phillips, Maria A. Nilsson. Resolving kangaroo phylogeny and overcoming retrotransposon ascertainment bias. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-16148-0

The swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) is more closely related to the remaining wallaby species and the large red and grey kangaroos and wallaroos than previously assumed.

Ice core may unlock secrets of Australia’s wild weather

4th December 2017
Scientists hope a deep field mission to recover a 2000 year old Antarctic ice core will shed light on the long-term influences that impact Australian weather and climate.

Preparations to set up an ice core drilling camp at Mount Brown, 330 kilometres inland of Australia's Davis research station, began over the weekend.

Five researchers and two deep field support specialists will spend 50 days drilling a core to a depth of around 350 metres this summer. 

The Australian Antarctic Program project is led by Dr Tessa Vance from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre.

Dr Vance said there is little information on how weather patterns formed in the Indian Ocean have changed over time periods longer than a few decades, and how this then impacts Australia.

“The region is known as a ‘cyclone nursery’ as it’s where many storms are ‘born’ before they head from west to east across the Southern Ocean and impact both Australia and East Antarctica.”

“A new ice core record from Mount Brown South will provide us with a snapshot of the climate history of the Indian Ocean and hopefully an insight into climate variability in Australia over the last one to two millennia.”

Loading up the Twin Otter with gear for the field camp. (Photo: Paul Vallelonga)

The Mt Brown camp site. (Photo: Australian Antarctic Division)

The chemical constituents in Antarctic ice cores including traces of hydrogen and oxygen, sulphur from volcanoes, and sea salts, along with the amount of snowfall per year, provide information on past climate and climate processes.

In 2015, scientists developed a 1000 year record of drought in eastern Australia from the existing Law Dome ice core.

“The Law Dome record showed us that prolonged droughts in eastern Australia are part of the natural climate cycle,” Dr Vance said.

“We hope an ice core from Mount Brown will provide us with another snapshot of climate variability in the Indian and south west Pacific Oceans, and more insight into long-term climate variability in Australia.”

The scientists have used satellite and continental surveys gathered over many years to find the best drill location in East Antarctica.

The ice cores will be brought back to Australia in March on the icebreaker Aurora Australis.

Ice cores including traces of hydrogen and oxygen, sulphur from volcanoes, and sea salts. (Photo: Tas van Ommen)

The team sailed to Davis research station on the Aurora Australis. (Photo: Martin Walch)

As parks become backyards, smart street furniture essential

December 7, 2017: by Lucy Carroll, UNSW
An interdisciplinary team from UNSW will give parks and urban spaces in the Georges River area a makeover as part of the federal government's Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

Public spaces in south Sydney will be transformed by urban planners and industrial designers from UNSW Sydney as part of the first federal grants awarded by the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

The UNSW Built Environment interdisciplinary team was awarded more than $650,000 to work with Georges River City Council to install "responsive" technology such as smart sensors on street furniture and amenities to monitor and respond in real time to their use.

Senior Lecturer Nancy Marshall said the project, Smart Social Spaces: Smart Street Furniture Supporting Social Health, would respond to the pressures of high urban density and apartment living resulting in parks and plazas being used as urban backyards.

Marshall said the 18-month project would involve using social media and behaviour mapping to track foot traffic and movement patterns to capture data on how often public space was used.

"We are asking people to live in two-bedroom apartments with families so the need for healthy open local spaces is critical. There is so much opportunity for smart cities to improve efficiencies from council service providers so people do feel comfortable going to local parks with great facilities," Marshall said.

The team will install digital Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to measure sound, use and flow of water on picnic tables, bins, barbeques, seats, ash receptacles, bubblers and lights to get immediate data sent to the council.

"The aim is for the council to receive live messages, for example sensors on bins will detect fullness, register if ash receptacles are overheating or if a street bollard is damaged. This will help providers to know exactly which bins are ready to be emptied and when to send service teams out," Marshall said.

New-generation bins use fullness-level sensors and software to alert providers when collection is needed. Photo: Solar Bins Australia

The project's co-lead, Industrial Design Senior Lecturer Dr Christian Tietz, will design a range of public furniture prototypes for the local parks that will include cooking facilities, water, WiFi and shaded seating that asks users to log in or authorise them to use equipment via a unique identifier.

Marshall said the team would be mentored by the city of Tel Aviv, a hub for smart city technology that has pioneered personalised "digital cards" that give real-time notifications about what's happening in a neighbourhood and free WiFi across the city.

The project also includes Nancy Marshall, Kate Bishop, Linda Corkery, Christine Steinmetz, Susan Thompson, Miles Park and Homa Rahmat from UNSW Built Environment.

Green talent recognised with international award

December 6, 2017: University of Tasmania
One of the world’s leading young environmental researchers has chosen to continue her ground-breaking work at the Australian Maritime College.

Pratiksha Srivastava, who was working at the Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, Bhubaneswar, India, is one of 25 winners of the International Green Talent Awards.

General Director Matthias Graf von Kielmansegg and Green Talent Pratiksha Srivastava. © DLR-PT / Hans-Christian Plambeck

Conferred under the patronage of the German Research Minister, Professor Johanna Wanka, the awards provide young researchers with a platform for sharing their views on green concepts to improve environmental sustainability.

A high-ranking jury of experts selected 25 up and coming scientists out of 602 applicants from more than 95 countries. Their prize is one of the coveted tickets to go to the Green Talents – International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development.

Raised in a small village in India, Ms Srivastava has drawn on her personal experiences to direct her career into wastewater treatment and sanitation technologies with the aim of improving the lives of villagers in her home country.

“Coming from a small village, I was aware of the villagers’ situation. Most of the time they and their cattle share the same water resources for drinking, bathing and other tasks,” she said.

“While pursuing my university education, I learned more about environmental issues and was fascinated to study these issues in detail to try and solve these problems for the villagers.”

Ms Srivastava identified a number of constraints to improving the quality of life in Indian villages including the lack of technical know-how, very poor infrastructure, a shortage of electricity and poverty.

She recognised the implementation of a low-cost solution for wastewater treatment and sanitation was likely to be one of the best options to improve the situation.

Ms Srivastava focussed on constructed wetlands, which is a low-cost and simple technology, appropriate for Indian conditions.

A series of shallow, densely-planted man-made ponds, constructed wetlands help filter water through physical and biological processes. They can run on solar energy without the need for any chemical and mechanical equipment, have almost no operation and maintenance costs and can be built with local resources.

But while constructed wetland technology has several advantages, it has a slow wastewater treatment rate and a high land-use footprint.

So to improve the performance and speed of treatment in constructed wetlands, Ms Srivastava and her supervisor successfully developed a novel technology named Integrated Constructed Wetlands Microbial Fuel Cell (CW –MFC).

Using this approach, the performance efficiency of the constructed wetlands almost doubled. The CW-MFC has a reduced land-use footprint and in something of a world-first, can generate electricity.

The new technology is gaining much interest at a global level from key constructed wetlands scientists.

Ms Srivastava and her research group also designed and built a unique zero-discharge water recyclable community toilet which is working in Bhubaneswar. It is integrated with constructed wetlands and innovative septic tanks.

Her research deals with biotechnology, microbiology, process engineering, electrochemistry, inorganic chemistry, botany and environmental science and engineering.

Ms Srivastava is now in the early phases of her PhD at AMC, where she is focussing on the development of marine microbial fuel cells for various environmental applications.

“Terrestrial resource based microbial fuel cell technology have limited applications, while marine resources are vast and have enormous potential. I wish to use this technology for marine applications and want to develop next-generation microbial fuel cells for various applications using marine resources like marine bacteria or marine sludge,” she said.

While it’s a long way from her home in India, Ms Srivastava is excited by the opportunity to study at AMC, after hearing about the institution through a colleague and then researching it on the internet.

“The University of Tasmania’s AMC is providing me with world-class facilities and expertise for doing and improving my work.”

Ms Srivastava’s PhD is supervised by Drs Vikram Garaniya and Rouzbeh Abbassi from AMC, and Dr Trevor Lewis from the School of Physical Sciences.

“My supervisors have vast experience and are very supportive. In fact, I cannot progress much further in the work without the significant support of AMC lecturers and staff,” she said.

Dr Garaniya is proud the AMC has attracted such a highly talented scholar and grateful for funding support through the Tasmanian Community Fund to enable Ms Srivastava to take up the PhD opportunity.

For Ms Srivastava, studying a PhD at AMC provides the chance to bridge a gap in her research and collaborate with experts, but perhaps more importantly, allows her to develop technologies that will significantly improve the lives of people around the world.

“I am really hopeful that our work will lead to innovative microbial fuel cells based technology which will solve some of the wastewater treatment and other environmental problems as it will be cheaper, faster and easily manageable.”

Avalon Boomerang Bags: An Idea that's Spreading to stop plastic bag use

Avalon Boomerang Bags - now at North Avalon shops - A J Guesdon photo, 25.5.2017

Avalon Boomerang Bags

11am-5pm @ sewcraft cook 
Unit 20/14 Polo Ave Mona Vale

Boomerang Bags is a bag-share initiative involving the installation of a number of ‘Boomerang Bag’ boxes throughout any given business district, shopping centre, street or market. Each box is stocked with re-useable bags for customers to borrow if they have forgotten to bring their own.

Unlike the traditional purchase-and-keep approach, Boomerang Bags are free, and local community members are responsible for returning the bags once they’re no longer required. The availability of free re-useable bags reduces the reliance of local businesses to supply bags to all customers, and encourages a mentality of re-use among local communities, thereby reducing the amount of plastic bag material entering our landfills and waterways.

So who makes the Boomerang Bags? Well, you do! Boomerang Bags are made by local communities for local communities, and are sewn from recycled and donated materials.

Get in touch if you'd like to donate materials, join us making bags, or implement Boomerang Bags in your own local area!