Inbox and Environment News Issue 180 

 September 14 - 20, 2014: Issue 180

 Abbot Point onshore disposal

Published: 10/09/2014

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority welcomes the Queensland Government’s announcement that proposes onshore disposal of dredge material from the Abbot Point port development.

This welcome change in direction for Abbot Point paves the way for a strategic and consistent approach to the sustainable management of dredging and dredge spoil disposal in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, as recommended in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s strategic assessment.

Protection of the Reef is our number one priority, and we support a strategic approach that contains ports along the Great Barrier Reef to a relatively small footprint.

Land disposal of dredge material has always been the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park’s preferred option, in line with the national guidelines.

This announcement also builds on the Queensland Government’s port strategy that limited expansion of new ports.

The land-based disposal options being reviewed now were not available during the Abbot Point assessment process earlier this year.

The permit application we considered was specifically for ocean disposal.

Based on science, we determined this could be done safely with the very stringent conditions imposed and which may now not be required under the new proposal.

 Review of Commonwealth marine reserves begins

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment and Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture

Joint Media release - 11 September 2014

The Australian Government is delivering on its election commitment for an independent review of Commonwealth Marine Reserves with the chairs and terms of reference for the Expert Scientific Panel and Bioregional Advisory Panels announced today.

"It is important that an independent review based on science is undertaken which reconsiders zoning boundaries to restore community confidence," said Minister Hunt.

"The Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review will examine the management arrangements for the new marine reserves rushed through by the previous government in November 2012."

"Unlike the previous government, we are committed to getting the management plans and the balance of zoning right, so we have asked the expert panels to consider what management arrangements will best protect our marine environment and accommodate the many activities that Australians love to enjoy in our oceans."

The expert panels will help restore confidence in Commonwealth marine reserves. They will provide advice to the Government, based on the best available science and after genuine consultation with stakeholders.

"The Government is determined to ensure a science-based review of Commonwealth marine reserves and zoning boundaries, while maintaining our strong commitment to the marine reserves and their estates," said Minister Hunt.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck said "The management plans of marine reserves must be based on sound science and developed in consultation with local communities, including commercial, indigenous and recreational fishers."

"In our election policy we said we would 'appoint an expert scientific panel to review the science supporting the boundary area for each zone' and that we ' will reconsider proposed boundaries in consultation with stakeholders' - that is what we have done and what we will do to restore confidence in the process."

"Our aim is to have a sensible balance, which protects the environment, supports a sustainable fishing industry, attracts tourism and provides cultural, recreational and economic benefits for coastal communities."

The review will be conducted by six panels:

An Expert Scientific Panel, chaired by Associate Professor Bob Beeton, will look closely at the science supporting the new marine reserves.

Professor Beeton is Associate Professor at the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management at the University of Queensland. He has recently chaired the 2011-12 NSW Government Audit of Marine Parks and is a past chair of the Australian Threatened Species Scientific Committee as well as the Australian State of the Environment Committee.

Other members of the panel include Mr Peter Cochrane, Adjunct Professor Colin Buxton, Dr Julian Pepperell and Dr Sabine Dittmann.

Five Bioregional Advisory Panels (one for each marine region, except the South-east marine region) will ensure that communities, marine-based businesses and other interested groups are consulted about the management of marine reserves in those areas.

The Bioregional Advisory Panels will be co-chaired by Professor Colin Buxton, Adjunct Professor of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, and Mr Peter Cochrane, Australian Government Ambassador for the IUCN World Parks Congress, Adjunct Fellow at the Fenner School for Environment and Society Australian National University, and the former Director of National Parks.

Other panel members include:

North Bioregional Advisory Panel: Mr Joe Morrison, Mrs Katherine Winchester, Mr Matthew Barwick

North-west Bioregional Advisory Panel: Dr Andrew Rowland, Mr Brett McCallum, Associate Professor Stephan Schnierer

South-west Bioregional Advisory Panel: Dr Andrew Rowland, Mr Clayton Nelson, Ms Sue Middleton

Temperate East Bioregional Advisory Panel: Mr Simon Boag, Mr Stelios (Stan) Konstantaras, Professor William Gladstone

Coral Sea Bioregional Advisory Panel: Mrs Judy Lynne, Ms Larissa Hale, Mr Neville Rockliff

Panel members have been selected for their capacity to facilitate input from a broad range of stakeholders.

The review panels will report to the Government in mid-2015.

 New mine laws deliver a recipe for regional economic growth

10 September, 2014: Media Release by QRC

Queensland’s peak body for the resources sector has welcomed the passage of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill, which delivers a recipe for regional economic growth.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Michael Roche says this important legislation again demonstrates that the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps remains focused on enabling regional growth and development by streamlining unnecessary regulation.

‘This Bill streamlines the objections process for the grant of a mining tenure but does not limit or remove a right to object to the mining project, rather, objections are considered as part of the project’s environmental authority,’ Mr Roche said. 

‘Communities and landholders remain important stakeholders and still retain a genuine opportunity to raise concerns over a mining project’s environmental impacts. 

‘The amendments reduce unnecessary duplication in Queensland’s approvals processes,’ he said.

Mr Roche said QRC would also like to acknowledge the chair of the Parliamentary Committee, Ian Rickuss, the hard-working member for Lockyer, who succeeded in keeping the committee hearings on this legislation grounded in reality while they were surrounded in controversy.

‘Mr Rickuss and the majority of committee members have demonstrated that they can see past the cheap theatrics and focus on the actual issues at hand, which are fair process, regional growth and delivering regional jobs,’ Mr Roche said. 

‘The committee hearings were a good opportunity to hear the important concerns of genuine landholders.’

The Bill introduced a number of important reforms including: 

implementing the 2012 findings of the Land Access Implementation Committee—on which peak agricultural groups worked closely with peak resource industry bodies under an independent Chair

a new process for ensuring that the maximum resource extraction occurs when coal and coal seam gas tenures overlap—that’s good news for Queensland as it means jobs and royalties will be maximised

providing new powers to ensure legacy boreholes can be swiftly made safe; and

a simple and consistent system of restricted land for all resource tenures—that’s good news for landholders.

QRC remains committed to working closely with the industry’s stakeholders, including landholders, rural and regional communities and peak agriculture bodies with whom we share an interest in seeing regional Queensland grow and develop.

Retrieved from:


Newman Government sneaks through change to stop everyone, even landholders, from objecting to massive mining projects

Media-release - 12 Sep 2014 Larissa Waters

The Newman Government has removed the legal right for anyone to object to massive coal and uranium mines in Queensland on environmental grounds.

“It’s only just coming to light that the Newman Government has taken the biggest backward step in Queenslanders’ rights to protect their land, water and communities, that this state has ever seen,” Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

“The Newman Government deceitfully slipped the amendment to mining laws through state Parliament at five minutes to midnight on Tuesday night without any Parliamentary discussion.

“This comes on top of the Newman Government’s other change to mining laws, which means that only landholders, neighbours and local councils can object to mining leases.

“Because of this new, last minute amendment, not even landholders, neighbours or local councils, or anybody else, will be able to challenge ‘coordinated projects’ – the biggest mining projects in the state – through the Land Court.

“Instead the only recourse against these mega mines will be to submit concerns to the Coordinator General, an unelected bureaucrat, who can choose to ignore those concerns and approve massive mines no matter how many people will be impacted.

“As late as Wednesday, Minister Cripps was still claiming that the community would have the right to object under environmental assessment, while conveniently leaving out that for the biggest, most damaging mines this won’t be the case.

“Campbell Newman is setting up the law so that his mining company buddies can get away with anything they want, even if that means sacrificing our land and water, by taking away Queenslanders’ rights to have a say.

“Premier Newman is trying to silence Queenslanders and they won't stand for it at the next election,” Senator Waters said. 

 Green Army calling for first round of participants

Media release - 11 September 2014

The Government is putting out the call for the first round of recruits to join the Green Army. 

We're looking for enthusiastic 17-24 year olds to join what will become the largest-ever team of young Australians supporting environmental action across the country. 

Appointed Service Providers are now seeking expressions of interest from young people who want to gain valuable skills, training and experience in environmental and heritage conservation fields. 

The Green Army will give participants the tools they need to help them enter the workforce, improve their career opportunities or further their education and training, while participating in projects that generate real and lasting benefits for the environment. 

Last month, the first round of 196 Green Army projects to roll out across the country were announced. These projects are community-led and will support practical, grassroots environment and conservation activities. 

Participants will have the opportunity to undertake accredited training such as work readiness, conservation and land management, heritage conservation, project and human resource management and heritage trade skills. 

Green Army participants will also receive an allowance and be eligible to gain Certificate I or Certificate II qualifications in areas such as land management, park management, landscaping or horticulture or nationally endorsed skills set to support them in their future career prospects. 

Participation is open to a diverse range of young people, including school leavers, gap year students, graduates and job seekers. Participants must be aged between 17 and 24 years and an Australian citizen or permanent resident. 

Projects will be carried out across urban, regional and remote Australia with participants involved for up to 30 hours a week for a period of 20-26 weeks. 

Project activities may include habitat restoration; protecting national heritage places; revegetating river catchments, coastal foreshores, rainforests and wetlands; constructing boardwalks; working closely with traditional owners and restoring culturally significant sites; pest animal management; upgrading walking tracks; and monitoring threatened species. 

To register your interest contact a Service Provider operating in your state or territory. Details are available online


The Hon Pru Goward MP,  The Hon Rob Stokes MP 

MEDIA RELEASE - Monday 8 September 2014

The NSW Government today announced a new approach to biodiversity conservation in NSW.

Environment Minister Rob Stokes said that beginning in October, the NSW Government will give landholders the opportunity to receive payments for managing biodiversity on their land through a fund paid into it by developers to ‘offset’ the impacts of large projects. 

“A new fund will be set up, to enable stewardship payments to landholders wishing to participate in the biodiversity protections for major projects,” Mr Stokes said.

“Our aim is to use offsets as an opportunity for landholders to diversify their income and ensure they are a genuinely integrated part of the landscape.

“It will also provide significant environmental benefits by introducing a consistent, transparent and scientific assessment approach, which will put an end to ad hoc offsetting practices.

“The development of an offsets fund will enable a more strategic approach to offsetting. The fund will ease the burden on proponents by letting them make payments towards their offset, instead of finding offset sites themselves.”

Planning Minister Pru Goward said the NSW Biodiversity Offsets Policy for Major Projects introduces - for the first time - clear, state-wide guidance on how to deal with the biodiversity impacts of major projects.

“The policy will cut red tape throughout the planning process and encourage sustainable investment in NSW because it provides certainty for stakeholders,” Ms Goward said. 

“It is a win for the environment, farmers and industry.”

Mr Stokes said a draft policy was placed on public exhibition earlier this year and the Government carefully considered all submissions and consulted with key community and industry stakeholders to ensure that the right balance was achieved. 

“In response to feedback, we have removed the original proposal to allow discounting of offsets. This is to ensure the policy provides real certainty to developers and government, and improves its environmental integrity.“We will commence work immediately to engage with landholders in areas where biodiversity offsets for major projects are needed. This will involve working with organisations on the ground, such as Local Land Services, to ensure information is available on the opportunities that this policy will provide.” 

Minister Goward said the fund will source offsets on behalf of developers, and use the money to help landowners manage these offsets on their properties. 

“We’re keen to get things underway and the policy will commence on 1 October this year with a transitional implementation period of 12 to 18 months,” Ms Goward said

“We will continue to consult with stakeholders throughout this period and, if needed, will have some flexibility to make minor amendments to the policy and underlying tools to ensure the policy is operating as effectively and efficiently as possible. 

“Following this transitional period, the Government will introduce legislation to give full effect to the policy and the fund.” 

Further information on the offsets policy and the proposed biodiversity fund is available

 Fishers trapped using illegal gear

08 Sep 2014

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) fisheries officers have sent a strong warning to those using illegal fishing gear across the State after a number of fishers have been caught red handed doing the wrong thing.

DPI, Acting Director Fisheries Compliance, Tony Andrews, said three men have been apprehended after a routine patrol of the Gwydir River in the State's north west uncovered a large number of set lines.

"Fisheries officers were undertaking a mid-week patrol of the Gwydir River when they found numerous illegal set lines where it flows though private property, near Gravesend," Mr Andrews said.

"Officers commenced observations of the lines and allegedly witnessed three men come by boat to check the gear. It is alleged that the three men had caught three prohibited size Murray cod using the illegal gear.

"Fisheries officers seized the three Murray cod and 93 set lines with a total of 139 hooks attached. It is anticipated that the three men will now be charged and face court action for a number of offences including use more than two lines, leaving lines unattended, possess prohibited size fish, possess illegal fishing gear and possess fish illegally taken."

Anglers are entitled to use two fishing lines per person in NSW inland waters. Attended lines must be within 50 metres and in the line of sight of the person who is using the line.

Mr Andrews said in another matter in the State's south, fisheries officers apprehended two men after they were allegedly found to be using a fish trap to take Murray crayfish.

"Fisheries officers detected the fish trap in the Murray River, adjacent to a private property, upstream of Corowa," Mr Andrews said. "An extended surveillance operation was undertaken by the fisheries officers to identify the owners of the trap. It is alleged that after checking the trap, the two men tried to evade fisheries officers by discarding what is beieved to be in excess of 15 Murray crayfish together with the fish trap into the Murray River, then driving away in a vehicle.

"The men were later stopped and interviewed and officers from various jurisdictions conducted a search of a property at Rutherglen where they located 13 gill nets, which were seized by fisheries officers. Both men will now face court charged with unlawful use of a fish trap, possessing fish illegally taken and one of the men will face a charge of obstructing a fisheries officer in the course of their duties."

Mr Andrews said that the use of illegal fishing gear such as set lines, fish traps and gill nets showed a total disregard for the laws that are in place to protect our native fish populations.

"It has been illegal to use fish traps and gill nets in NSW inland waters for many years as they exert excess fishing pressure of fish populations and frequently trap protected fauna such as turtles, water rats, platypus and water birds," he said. "It is disappointing to see illegal gear being used to target our native fish species such as Murray crayfish, which have been listed as a threatened species.

"People who make the conscious decision to engage in this type of illegal fishing activity are warned that fisheries officers patrol any day of the week and at any time of the day or night.

"We will continue to target the use of illegal gear and bring offenders before the courts."

Anyone with information about suspected illegal fishing should contact the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536 or your local DPI fisheries office.

A summary of the freshwater fishing rules can be found and in the 2014 NSW Recreational Freshwater Fishing Guide.

The free guides are available from DPI offices and fishing licence agents, as well as bait and tackle shops.


The Hon Katrina Hodgkinson MP, Minister for Primary Industries , Assistant Minister for Tourism and Major Events 

MEDIA RELEASE - Monday 8 September 2014 

The South Coast’s first offshore artificial reef is one step closer to becoming a reality, with NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, and Member for South Coast, Shelley Hancock, today announcing the successful tenderer. 

Ms Hodgkinson said now that the contract to build the reef has been awarded, the offshore artificial reef is on track to be deployed before Christmas. 

“The winning bid included an innovative design for a steel-reinforced concrete artificial reef module standing five metres high and weighing more than 25 tonnes,” Ms Hodgkinson said. 

“Twenty of these massive modules will be deployed to create a reef that will be more than double the volume of the State’s first offshore artificial reef, deployed off the coast of Sydney in 2011. 

“The successful tenderer is an Australian company with extensive experience in the offshore marine construction industry world-wide.”

Mr Ward said the fabrication of the reef modules will take place on the South Coast, which is good news for the local economy. 

“The production of the reef modules is expected to begin in September at Port Kembla and will then be transported to the deployment site in Shoalhaven Bight,” Mr Ward said.

“Recreational fishing is already a major contributor to the local economy of the South Coast, supporting about 1800 fulltime jobs and generating $395 million in economic output. 

“The South Coast offshore artificial reef will provide another major drawcard to attract recreational fishers to the South Coast and keep them coming back.”

Member for South Coast, Shelley Hancock, said the reef will cost about $950,000 and is expected to create a new, high-quality fish habitat for a range of fish species and other marine life. 

“This artificial reef will provide fishing location for boat fishers looking to snag larger target species including snapper and kingfish,” Mrs Hancock said.

“This will be a positive addition to our local waters and is another exciting example of how funds from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts are being invested back into projects and initiatives which directly benefit recreational anglers.”

The successful tenderer is Australian company, Subcon Technologies Pty Ltd.

 Opportunity for Heritage Volunteers!

Are you interested in outdoor volunteer work that helps protect the Aboriginal heritage sites in your local area? Do you want to learn more about the heritage and history of Northern Sydney? If so, the Aboriginal Heritage Office (AHO) is starting a new round of volunteer training that is right up your alley. 

What is the Aboriginal Heritage Office?

The AHO is a joint initiative by the City of Ryde, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Manly, North Sydney, Pittwater, Warringah and Willoughby councils, in a progressive move to protect Aboriginal Heritage in these areas. 

There are over 1000 Aboriginal heritage sites in Northern Sydney. This wealth of history provides us with one of the very few links that we have to this area’s indigenous past. The AHO monitors, records and protects these sites as well as educates our community and younger generation in the importance of indigenous heritage protection. 

What is a Volunteer Site Monitor?

Becoming a Volunteer Site Monitor is a great way to learn about how Aboriginal people would have lived in this area. Volunteers are allocated a heritage site that they then monitor for any change, damage or potential harm. 

Sites are allocated to suit individual’s location, fitness and transport arrangements. Volunteers can monitor their allocated site at any time that suits them and there is no minimum requirement for the number of visits (with an aim to have sites monitored at least every six months). 

Participants of all professions, fitness levels and background knowledge are welcome. 

How do I become a Volunteer Site Monitor?

Easy! Find the contact details at call the office on 9936 8263 or email the AHO 

New volunteers attend a short, two hour training session which gives an interesting insight into the history and heritage of northern Sydney as well as providing information about how to carry out the role of a Volunteer Site Monitor.

 IUCN World Parks Congress Sydney 2014

The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 is a landmark global forum on parks and protected areas held once every 10 years. The Congress will be hosted in Sydney, Australia from 12 – 19 November 2014, on the theme Parks, Planet, People: inspiring solutions. 

The Congress program consists of eight concurrent streams which are Reaching Conservation Goals, Responding to Climate Change, Improving Health and Well-being, Supporting Human Life, Reconciling Development Challenges, Enhancing Diversity & Quality of Governance, Respecting Indigenous & Traditional Knowledge and Culture and Inspiring a New Generation. One stream alone, the Improving Health and Wellbeing: Healthy Parks Healthy People will have over 150 speakers from around the world will contribute and between 3000 to 5000 delegates are expected to attend this very significant Congress. You will benefit from their expertise, practical lessons learnt and plans for positive change. 

Attendees will range from world leaders in environment, health, tourism, education and urban planning fields and more, to young people with a passion and interest in creating a better future. As well as an incredibly informative week-long program there will be opportunities to network at social events, field trips around Sydney and Australia, and opportunities to be involved in groups taking specific action after the Congress to deliver on commitments for positive change. 

For more information or to register go

EPA recommends Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line proposal should not be implemented

Summary: The Environmental Protection Authority has today announced it has recommended the Western Australian Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line Program 2014-2017 proposal should not be implemented.

Release Date: 11 September 2014


Following rigorous examination of the proposal, Chairman Dr Paul Vogel said there remains a high degree of scientific uncertainty about impacts on the viability of the south-western white shark population.

“At this stage, the available information and evidence does not provide the EPA with a high level of confidence. In view of these uncertainties, the EPA has adopted a cautious approach by recommending against the proposal,” Dr Vogel said.

The EPA assessed the program as a Public Environmental Review (PER) - the highest and most thorough level of Environmental Impact Assessment. The proposal attracted 6,751 public submissions as well as two petitions with a total of about 25,000 signatures.

The independent board tested the potential impacts of the proposal against the environmental objective for Marine Fauna, which is to “maintain the diversity, geographic distribution and viability of fauna at the species and population levels”. The assessment had particular regard to the white shark because it is listed as a migratory species and ‘vulnerable’ under both state and commonwealth environment legislation.

Dr Vogel said the EPA asked the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to provide a Peer Review of the proponent’s PER document, a response to EPA questions as well as a Close Out Report on the proponent’s response to the public submissions.

“Despite the proponent’s best efforts to make conservative and plausible estimates, the advice received from the CSIRO stated there remained too much uncertainty in the available information and evidence about the south-western white shark population, population trends and the bycatch from commercial fisheries,” Dr Vogel said.

“After careful deliberation, the EPA has concluded that there is a high degree of scientific uncertainty as to whether the proposal can meet our objective for Marine Fauna.”

Dr Vogel said it was important to note that the EPA was tasked to assess the environmental impacts of the proposal, not the efficacy of the policy in regards to public safety.

“Many of the public submissions raised issues in relation to the effectiveness of the proposal from a public safety perspective,” he said.

“The EPA can only make a judgment on the impact on the environment. The Minister, in making his final decision, may take other matters into consideration,” he said.

Dr Vogel said the EPA supported the continuation and further research into shark behavior and investigation and implementation of non-lethal alternatives.

The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period. Appeals close September 25, 2014 and can be made at

Appeals are administered independently of the EPA by the Appeals Convenor and determined by the Minister for Environment. This proposal is also being assessed under a bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth. This means both State and Federal Ministers for the Environment will make a decision under their respective legislations. Both Ministers will need to give approval for the proposal to proceed.

EPA Report 1527, the Peer Reviewer’s reports and the proponent’s response to submissions are available at


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts today said six companies have been invited to apply for a Uranium Exploration Licence in NSW following a thorough Expression of Interest (EOI) process.

Mr Roberts said the EOI process involved the Division of Resources and Energy (DRE) analysing the applicants’ environmental performance, technical expertise and financial capacity.

“Uranium is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in rock, soil and water, yet at present, we have very little knowledge about the extent and distribution of the uranium reserves in NSW,” Mr Roberts said.

“Laws to allow uranium exploration were passed by the NSW Parliament and came into effect in September 2012. The ban on uranium mining remains in place.

“Exploration will allow the NSW Government to better understand the extent of the State’s resources and any potential economic benefits.

“Companies that apply for and are granted an exploration licence will only be allowed to perform low impact exploration and environmental monitoring, any other activities will require further approvals.

“The six companies will be invited to apply for exploration licences in one of three NSW locations with possible uranium deposits-around Broken Hill, near Cobar and south of Dubbo.

“Further assessments will be made once the companies lodge their applications.”

The companies invited to apply for a Uranium Exploration Licence are:

Australian Zirconia Ltd (South of Dubbo);

Callabonna Resources Ltd and HNFL Holdings Pty Ltd (North of Broken Hill);

EJ Resources Pty Ltd (North of Broken Hill);

Hartz Rare Earths Pty Ltd (South of Cobar, North of Broken Hill);

Iluka Resources Ltd (South of Broken Hill); and

Marmota Energy Ltd (North of Broken Hill).

Mr Roberts said uranium exploration is regulated by 13 State Acts and three Commonwealth Acts.

“Uranium exploration is controlled by strict environmental, health and safety standards,” he said.

“Safety systems are required to be in place to address specific circumstances associated with uranium exploration, including the identification, monitoring and management of material, dust management through reverse circulation drilling and occupational hygiene.

“Uranium exploration and mining is approved in South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

“There are five uranium mines in Australia. The Northern Territory has one operating mine, Ranger and South Australia has four uranium mines Olympic Dam, Beverley, Honeymoon and the Four Mile mine was opened in June.

“Australia has the largest deposits of uranium globally with 33 per cent of the world’s reasonably assured resources and is the world’s third largest producer of uranium concentrates behind Kazakhstan and Canada.

“Any uranium that is exported must be for peaceful purposes under Australia’s network of bilateral safeguard agreements including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Australia’s exported uranium is used in nuclear power reactors in the U.S, France,

United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, South Korea, China, Belgium, Spain, Canada, Japan and Taiwan.

“There are more than 60 NSW DRE inspectors available to enforce compliance of any exploration activities. Fines of up to $1.1 million apply to companies that perform illegal exploration activities.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has demonstrated its commitment to the responsible management of the State’s resources, which provide for our quality of life and are used to build and help fund our hospitals, schools and roads,” Mr Roberts said.

For more information visit the Division of Resources & Energy’s website:

Katandra Sanctuary Open

Katandra opens to the public every Sunday in July, August, September and October 10am - 4pm.

New Trustee appointments The Lands Department has appointed a new Trust for the next 5 years which includes three of the current trustees: Jenny Talbot, Lyn McDougall and David Seymour; and four new trustees: David James, Lachlan Laurie, Marita Macrae and Tim Thurston. Many thanks to the outgoing trustees, Margaret Seymour, John Gale, Ros Andrews and Garry Hewitt.

 Sending out an SOS: Save our Marine Sanctuaries

In 2012, you helped make history.

Together we ran a strong campaign to establish sanctuaries for our marine life. We wrote thousands of letters, made thousands of calls, held inspiring events, ran advertising where it mattered and made history.

And the Australian Government created the largest network of marine parks in the world. In 2012 they finalised Australia’s proud story of ocean protection, a history book both sides of politics had written. 

But now every sanctuary we secured is at risk. The Abbott Government has just announced a review into these protected areas. 

This is an unnecessary and expensive duplication of a process that was started under the Howard government, has involved hundreds of meetings and consultations and over 750,000 public submissions (95% were in favour of increased protection).

The current Australian Government has ignored strong science and overwhelming public opinion by threatening to weaken marine sanctuary protection.

The government’s review casts a long shadow of doubt over the protection of special places in Australia’s oceans, like the Coral Sea, the Perth Canyon and the tropical seas of the Top End.

We did it before and we can do it again. We just need to fight to save our sanctuaries.

Please contact your MP and Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and tell them to listen to science and public opinion. 

Please help us save our sanctuaries.

Darren Kindleysides

Director, Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

 Australia's biodiversity: seas and coasts

Published on 9 Sep 2014

Life originated in the ocean but the breadth of its biodiversity is still being discovered. Dr Alan Butler and Dr Nic Bax talk about the unique habitats of the sea, the challenges it poses to exploration, and the new tools and technologies helping to discover and manage the biodiversity it holds. 

Access CSIRO's book Biodiversity: Science and Solutions for Australia -


Seeking Flood and Storm Snaps

Northern Beaches’ residents are invited to share their historical pictures of flood or storm related events throughout September.

Local Councils (Manly, Pittwater and Warringah) are working closely with the SES to build community awareness around the risks of floods and coastal storms on the Northern Beaches and encourage households and businesses to prepare for such events.

Submissions of these historical flood and storm related pictures will be used to build an exhibition of images that can be displayed during the summer vacation period 2014/15.

In 2012, the Pittwater Council Climate Change Risk Assessment identified floods and coastal erosion would increase as a result of more frequent and intense storm activity combined with sea level rise.

Further information on submission details will be launched to coincide with StormSafe Week (8-15 September 2014) and History Week (6-14 September).

Find out more about how to Be Flood Safe and photo submission information at the Northern Beaches Flood Warning and Information Network website:

We encourage residents to remember the SES number 132 500. The SES has also recently launched a number of information sites:

 Death of Whistling Kite

A Whistling Kite was found dead at the ferry wharf at Palm Beach on 19 August. It appeared to be perfectly intact with no obvious signs of any damage by animal or car. Pittwater Council is looking to ascertain the cause of death and if possible taxidermy the species for use in educational purposes. 

To see this bird up close is pretty amazing, it’s comparative size, larger than you would think and the detail of its flight feathers, talons and beak. People who frequent the area have said there has been a pair of Whistling Kites in this location for a while but why it has died is not clear at this stage. 

If you find dead native animals please report to one of Council’s Bushland Management Officers so that the species and location can be recorded. To make a report please call Customer Service on 9970 1111 or

 New Funding Opportunities

The following grant programs are now calling for applications: 

Environmental Restoration and Rehabilitation Grants – Closes 19 September 

Habitat Action Grants – Riparian Restoration – Closes 19 September 

Save Our Species Grants – EOI closes 29 September 2014 

If your community group is thinking of putting together an application please contact Council’s Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367 or email

Common Myna Control Campaign 

Have you noticed myna birds invading your neighbourhood? 

Do you want to do something about them?

The Pittwater Natural Heritage Association is seeking expressions of interest from members who would like to be involved in setting up a Pittwater Myna Control Group. 

There are a number of strategies that can be employed to control the spread of these pests and a number of towns and cities around Australia have been able to reduce the numbers of myna birds in their localities. 

If you are interested please email David Palmer

 Calling all Landcare and Bushcare Groups!

Did you know that Landcare NSW provides a space for individual Landcare and Bushcare groups to have their own webpage? You can use the page to provide information on your group, share photos and provide updates on current works. It’s a great way to show the rest of the New South Wales, Australia and even the world all the amazing work you do. 

Find out more at:

 Wedding Bush by Australian Bush Flower Essences

The Australian Bush Flower Essences (floral essences) are a system of healing that anyone can use for themselves or prescribe for others. Developed and researched by Naturopath, Ian White, a fifth generation Australian herbalist, the Bush Remedies not only help to give clarity to one's life but also the courage, strength and commitment to follow and pursue one's goals and dreams.

Find out more about upcoming workshops and the whole range of Australian Bush Flower Essences at

 Petition: Suspend the NSW RFS 10/50 Rule pending proper assessment

On 1 August 2014 a new set of rules (called the 10/50 Rule) to do with vegetation removal came into force in NSW.  Although intended for the public to "fire proof" their homes, its implementation goes far wider than that with very worrying consequences for the environment.

Essentially, the rules permit homeowners in areas declared suitable for clearing to cut down any trees within 10 metres of any building with habitable rooms or remove understory vegetation within 50 metres.  This applies in rural or urban areas.  Owners do not have to seek any approval if they comply with a Code of Conduct.  Areas declared suitable do not take into account any threatened species or endangered ecological communities.

One of the major problems is that there are no publicly available maps of the areas suitable for the Rule.  The only way to find out is to use an online tool, one address at a time.  In a random search of Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens I found that the whole of both towns appear to be "suitable"!  Great Lakes Council and the local RFS brigades were not consulted on suitable areas before the rules were activated.

The online tool can be found at:

This rule could have a devastating effect on wildlife all over NSW and our Hawks  Nest/Tea Gardens "endangered"  koala population in particular.  Homeowners in our urban area with a small (no more than 22) koala population could devastate koala habitat by removing virtually all trees without even having to consult the local Council.  The Myall Koala and Environment Group is seeking to have the new rules suspended until proper consultation is initiated with local authorities with a view to correctly identifying the severity of bush fire threat and taking threatened species into account.

We have just lost one of our last remaining stands of littoral rainforest on Fingal Head coast by a disgruntled landowner who had his DA knocked back due to the significant vegetation on his block - 2 days after his DA was refused he cut the whole forest down under 10/50.

Petition: HERE

 September is National Biodiversity Month

Biodiversity month is held in September each year. It promotes the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity in Australia and around the world. Find out more about protecting Australia's biodiversity 

 Indian Ocean expedition pioneers citizen oceanography

September 9, 2014 - Recreational sailors who become "citizen oceanographers" could help provide vital scientific knowledge about the world's oceans by sampling and testing remote waters from their yachts, according to a UNSW Australia-led team of researchers.

In 2013, Dr Federico Lauro, a UNSW microbiologist and national sailing champion, led an international scientific expedition across the Indian Ocean aboard S/Y Indigo V, a 61 foot (18 metre) sailing yacht, to pioneer this method of data collection.

Indigo V Expeditions, involving researchers from 12 institutions in Australia, Canada, Singapore, Denmark and the US, demonstrated that this cost-effective approach can work.

During the 6500 nautical mile "proof of concept" voyage from South Africa to Singapore, the team regularly took measurements and collected samples of tiny marine microbes from the specially equipped yacht.

The four-month long expedition cost less than two days of ship-time aboard an oceanographic research vessel.

"The world's oceans are largely unexplored and we have a shortage of oceanographic data because it is financially and logistically impractical for scientists to sample such vast areas. But with the right equipment, citizen scientists could gather large quantities of information as they sail around the world," says Dr Lauro, who is also an Associate Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

His team outlines their proposal for crowdsourcing the collection of ocean data in an article in the journal PLOS Biology. They say sailors are well suited for the endeavour because they are motivated by their love of sailing and "knowledge of the beauty, power and vastness of the world's oceans."

The thousands of yachts at sea each year could form a global monitoring network, collecting temperature and conductivity measurements, monitoring the weather, and recording sightings of debris.

Participating cruisers would also collect samples of the tiny marine microbes, including bacteria and plankton, which are the foundation of the food web and vital indicators of the health of the oceans.

"They are the most abundant organisms in the ocean and perhaps the most vulnerable in a changing global ocean," says Dr Lauro.

Microbes in the oceans have a vital role, recycling nutrients and producing oxygen for the entire planet, says co-author and lead expedition scientist Professor Joe Grzymski, of the Desert Research Institute in Nevada.

"If the oceans are in peril, mankind is in peril. With the world's population on the rise, now more than ever, understanding the global ocean microbiome health is an urgent priority," he says.

During the 2013 voyage the team established a baseline of data from the Indian Ocean and developed instrumentation called the Ocean Sampling Microbial Observatory that promises to significantly advance the field of oceanography.

The researchers point out that Charles Darwin was the most celebrated "citizen oceanographer," developing his evolutionary theory while sailing the world on the HMS Beagle.

Federico M. Lauro, Svend Jacob Senstius, Jay Cullen, Russell Neches, Rachelle M. Jensen, Mark V. Brown, Aaron E. Darling, Michael Givskov, Diane McDougald, Ron Hoeke, Martin Ostrowski, Gayle K. Philip, Ian T. Paulsen, Joseph J. Grzymski. The Common Oceanographer: Crowdsourcing the Collection of Oceanographic Data. PLoS Biology, 2014; 12 (9): e1001947 DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001947

Picture: Captain and professor Federico Lauro, of UNSW and Nanyang Technological University, with crew, prepares S/Y Indigo V for a squall. Credit: Rachelle Jensen

 Sharks more abundant on healthy coral reefs

September 10, 2014 - Sharks in no-fishing zones in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Marine Park are more abundant when the coral is healthy, according to a study published September 10, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Mario Espinoza from James Cook University, Australia and colleagues.

Shark species that use coral reefs may be under pressure from fishing, habitat degradation, and climate change. The authors of this study were interested in understanding the factors that affect the distribution and abundance of shark populations in the GBR, including fishing and habitat quality. To examine the distribution patterns and habitat associations of sharks, the scientists used thousands of baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) across the entire GBR Marine Park over a 10-year period to record animals attracted to the bait, allowing them to count and identify any sharks present.

Overall, researchers recorded 21 different shark species. The relative abundance of sharks was significantly higher in non-fished sites in the GBR Marine Park no-fishing zones relative to fished sites. However, their findings also showed that hard coral cover had a large effect on the abundance of reef-associates shark species, indicating that the success of marine reserves for sharks, particularly reef-associated species, may depend on coral reef health. "Our results suggest that healthy reefs make good shark habitat, and may be just as important for improving shark numbers as protecting sharks from fishing," Mr. Espinoza said. The study also showed that since the creating no-fishing zones in the GBR in 2004, some shark species found on coral reefs had increased, and that one particular shark, the grey reef shark, had increased in abundance since more of the reef became protected.

The authors hope that this study emphasizes how important the coral reef health is for the future of shark populations, and that it may help others better understand the role of reef health in assessing the benefits of marine-protected areas for sharks.

Mario Espinoza, Mike Cappo, Michelle R. Heupel, Andrew J. Tobin, Colin A. Simpfendorfer. Quantifying Shark Distribution Patterns and Species-Habitat Associations: Implications of Marine Park Zoning. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (9): e106885 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0106885

Gambling for good can increase low income saving by 25 per cent: new study

11 September 2014

Low income households could increase their savings by over 25 per cent if bank accounts with a regular lottery prize for depositors were introduced in Australia, University of Sydney economists have found.

So-called prize-linked saving (PLS) accounts have already been adopted by financial institutions in over 20 countries, including the United States. Similar to a traditional savings account, PLS accounts guarantee the principle and also provide a lottery for a large prize.

Professor Robert Slonim, Doctors Kadir Atalay and Stephen Cheung, and honours student Fayzan Bakhtiar of the School of Economics tested the uptake and outcome of prize-linked saving with over 500 individuals as part of an online experiment.

The savers were asked to allocate a $100 budget. They could choose to receive that cash amount within two weeks of the end of the experiment, put it into a traditional savings account, use it to enter a lottery, or put it into a PLS account.

The economists found that PLS can not only increase existing saving by those on low incomes, but it can also help those who have no savings at all to start the process by redirecting lottery ticket expenditure into PLS accounts.

"Our study shows that PLS accounts indeed increases total savings quite dramatically - by over 25 per cent when PLS accounts became available - and that the demand for the PLS account comes from reductions in lottery expenditures and current consumption," said Professor Slonim.

For the economists' experiment, money allocated to the prize-linked savings account provided a guaranteed payoff of the principal investment plus entry into a lottery that had a payoff of $1,000.

The economists believe the PLS could offer a novel, market-based solution to a serious social issue: how to encourage low-income households to build up savings to protect them against financial shocks.

"Low saving is a central policy issue in Australia, common to all industrial economies. Public policy reforms worldwide have sought to stimulate saving by low income households, as a form of self-insurance for those most vulnerable to economic and social shocks," said Dr Atalay.

Professor Slonim said: "The availability of PLS products from the private sector could nudge households towards saving more in the same manner that the framing of choices and the setting of default options has been shown to have an effect on other household decisions, without having to either mandate changes in savings behaviour or involve potentially costly government programs.

"Our study shows that PLS accounts should be considered as one of the plausible market-based solutions to encourage individuals, specially low income individuals, to increase saving," he added.

The results are published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

 First evidence for water ice clouds found outside our solar system

September 9, 2014 – A team of scientists has discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System. Water ice clouds exist on our own gas giant planets -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune -- but have not been seen outside of the planets orbiting our Sun until now. Their findings are published today by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

At the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, Faherty, along with a team including Carnegie's Andrew Monson, used the FourStar near infrared camera to detect the coldest brown dwarf ever characterized. Their findings are the result of 151 images taken over three nights and combined. The object, named WISE J085510.83-071442.5, or W0855, was first seen by NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Explorer mission and published earlier this year. But it was not known if it could be detected by Earth-based facilities.

"This was a battle at the telescope to get the detection," said Faherty.

Chris Tinney, an Astronomer at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, UNSW Australia and co-author on the result stated: "This is a great result. This object is so faint and it's exciting to be the first people to detect it with a telescope on the ground."

Brown dwarfs aren't quite very small stars, but they aren't quite giant planets either. They are too small to sustain the hydrogen fusion process that fuels stars. Their temperatures can range from nearly as hot as a star to as cool as a planet, and their masses also range between star-like and giant planet-like. They are of particular interest to scientists because they offer clues to star-formation processes. They also overlap with the temperatures of planets, but are much easier to study since they are commonly found in isolation.

W0855 is the fourth-closest system to our own Sun, practically a next-door neighbor in astronomical distances. A comparison of the team's near-infrared images of W0855 with models for predicting the atmospheric content of brown dwarfs showed evidence of frozen clouds of sulfide and water.

"Ice clouds are predicted to be very important in the atmospheres of planets beyond our Solar System, but they've never been observed outside of it before now," Faherty said.

The paper's other co-author is Andrew Skemer of the University of Arizona.

This work was supported by the Australian Research Council. It made use of data from the NASA WISE mission, which was a joint project of the University of California Los Angeles and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech, funded by NASA. It also made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech, under contract with NASA.

Jacqueline K. Faherty, C. G. Tinney, Andrew Skemer, Andrew J. Monson. Indications of Water Clouds in the Coldest Known Brown Dwarf. The Astrophysical Journal, 2014; 793 (1): L16 DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/793/1/L16

This artist's conception shows the object named WISE J085510.83-071442.5Credit: Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Penn State University

 Full list of Eureka Prize winners

Australian Government Eureka Prize for Science Journalism

Winner: Sonya Pemberton, Genepool Productions

Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research

Winner: Professor Lesley Hughes, Macquarie University

University of Technology, Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers

Winner: Professor Maree Teesson, Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, University of New South Wales

Defence Science and Technology Organisation Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia 

Winner: Tim Lyons, One Atmosphere.

University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - Primary

Winner: Harry Driessen, Croydon Public School, NSW

CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science 

Winner: Professor Terence Speed, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography

Winner: Dr Mark Talbot, CSIRO Plant Industry.

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research 

Winner: Professor Graham Edgar and Dr Rick Stuart-Smith, University of Tasmania.

3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science

Winner: Dr Adriana Downie, Pacific Pyrolysis Pty Ltd

University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - Secondary

Winner: Jackson Huang, Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology, Qld

Department of Agriculture Landcare Eureka Prize for Sustainable Agriculture

Winner: Dr John Kirkegaard and Dr James Hunt, CSIRO and Stuart Kearns, Grains Research and Development Corporation

Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research

Winner: Hendra Virus Research Team, CSIRO

ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology

Winner: DIY Droplet Lens, Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Australian National University

Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher

Winner: Associate Professor Simon Ho, University of Sydney

University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research

Winner: SEARCH Project, University of Melbourne

University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Scientific Research 

Winner: B-cell Team, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

 Bureau of Meteorology goes to market for new supercomputer

Joint media release - 8 September 2014

Procurement for the replacement of the Bureau of Meteorology’s supercomputer is now underway, with request for tenders opening today via the Australian Government website, AusTender.

The new supercomputer will enable the Bureau to improve the accuracy of forecasts for severe thunderstorm events and tropical cyclones, as well as improved timing and direction of wind changes for fire weather. 

The Bureau has released two requests to the market, one for the supercomputer via AusTender, and another for the host data centre via an Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Data Centre Facilities Panel.

“As part of the 2014-15 Budget, the Australian Government announced funding over seven years for the supply, installation and operation of a new supercomputer for the Bureau of Meteorology, to be fully operational from mid-2016,” said Minister Hunt.

“The new supercomputer will enable the Bureau to produce more accurate and localised weather information, particularly to support public safety in severe weather events such as thunderstorms, fires, floods and tropical cyclones.”

Senator Birmingham said the new supercomputer is expected to be almost 20 times faster than the current system, giving the Bureau the ability to run complex mathematical models used to forecast weather more frequently and at higher resolution.

“The investment in increased supercomputing capacity will ensure the continued and improved delivery of timely and high-quality forecast and warning services for communities across Australia,” said Senator Birmingham.

“The competitive tender processes will ensure the Bureau receives the powerful supercomputing infrastructure it requires for the best possible value.”

Request for tenders for the supercomputer will be open for nine weeks and evaluation is expected to commence in late October this year, with contract negotiations to be finalised around mid-2015.

Further information on the tender is available

 Citizen Soldier by NFSA

Published on 8 Sep 2014

From The Film Australia Collection. Made by The Commonwealth Film Unit 1972. Directed by Greg Reading. Examines the role and attitudes to the CMF (Civilian Military Forces), its relations with employers, its activities and the reasons why its officers and men and women continue.

 New digital map reveals stunning hidden archaeology of Stonehenge

September 9, 2014 - A host of previously unknown archaeological monuments have been discovered around Stonehenge as part of an unprecedented digital mapping project that will transform our knowledge of this iconic landscape -- including remarkable new findings on the world's largest 'super henge,' Durrington Walls.

The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, led by the University of Birmingham in conjunction with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, is the largest project of its kind.

Remote sensing techniques and geophysical surveys have discovered hundreds of new features which now form part of the most detailed archaeological digital map of the Stonehenge landscape ever produced. The startling results of the survey, unveiled in full at the British Science Festival, include 17 previously unknown ritual monuments dating to the period when Stonehenge achieved its iconic shape. Dozens of burial mounds have been mapped in minute detail, including a long barrow (a burial mound dating to before Stonehenge) which revealed a massive timber building, probably used for the ritual inhumation of the dead following a complicated sequence of exposure and excarnation (defleshing), and which was finally covered by an earthen mound.

The project has also revealed exciting new -- and completely unexpected -- information on previously known monuments. Among the most significant relate to the Durrington Walls 'super henge', situated a short distance from Stonehenge. This immense ritual monument, probably the largest of its type in the world, has a circumference of more than 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles).

A new survey reveals that this had an early phase when the monument was flanked with a row of massive posts or stones, perhaps up to three metres high and up to 60 in number -- some of which may still survive beneath the massive banks surrounding the monument. Only revealed by the cutting-edge technology used in the project, the survey has added yet another dimension to this vast and enigmatic structure.

Work also revealed novel types of monument including massive prehistoric pits, some of which appear to form astronomic alignments, plus new information on hundreds of burial mounds, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman settlements and fields at a level of detail never previously seen. Taken together, these results -- which will be featured in a major new BBC Two series titled Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath -- show that new technology is reshaping how archaeologists understand the landscape of Stonehenge and its development over a period of more than 11,000 years.

In the year marking the centenary of the First World War, the new Stonehenge map even impacts on our knowledge of that momentous event. Surveys have produced detailed maps of the practice trenches dug around Stonehenge to prepare troops for battle on the western front, as well as maps of RAF/RFC Stonehenge -- one of Britain's first military airbases used by the Royal Flying Corps between 1917 and 1920.

British project leader Professor Vincent Gaffney, Chair in Landscape Archaeology and Geomatics at the University of Birmingham, said: 'The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project is unique at a global level. Not only has it revolutionised how archaeologists use new technologies to interpret the past, it has transformed how we understand Stonehenge and its landscape.

'Despite Stonehenge being the most iconic of all prehistoric monuments and occupying one of the richest archaeological landscapes in the world, much of this landscape in effect remains terra incognita.

'This project has revealed that the area around Stonehenge is teeming with previously unseen archaeology and that the application of new technology can transform how archaeologists and the wider public understand one of the best-studied landscapes on Earth.

'New monuments have been revealed, as well as new types of monument that have previously never been seen by archaeologists. All of this information has been placed within a single digital map, which will guide how Stonehenge and its landscape are studied in the future.

'Stonehenge may never be the same again.'

Professor Wolfgang Neubauer, Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, said: 'Developing non-invasive methods to document our cultural heritage is one of the greatest challenges of our time and can only be accomplished by adapting the latest technology such as ground-penetrating radar arrays and high-resolution magnetometers. The developments of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro) offer Europe the opportunity to carry out fundamental archaeological research at a scale and precision never previously attempted.

'No landscape deserves to benefit from a study at this level of detail more than Stonehenge. The terabytes of digital survey data collected, processed and visualised by LBI ArchPro provide the base for the precise mapping of the monuments and archaeological features buried in the subsurface or still visible in the landscape surrounding Stonehenge. After centuries of research, the analysis of all mapped features makes it possible, for the first time, to reconstruct the development of Stonehenge and its landscape through time.'

The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham; Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, Vienna and its international partners; University of Bradford; University of St Andrews; University of Nottingham; and the 'ORBit' Research Group of the Department of Soil Management at the University of Ghent, Belgium.

The project operates under the auspices of the National Trust and English Heritage. The above story is based on materials provided by University of Birmingham. 

Stanford engineers design ant-sized radio to control 'Internet of Things'

Published on 9 Sep 2014

A Stanford engineering team has built a radio the size of an ant, a device so energy efficient that it gathers all the power it needs from the same electromagnetic waves that carry signals to its receiving antenna.

 NHMRC grants to improve the health of the world

9 September 2014

The University of Sydney has been awarded more than $6.7 million in funding in the latest round of grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

University researchers received 10 Research Fellowships and one Practitioner Fellowship. To be successful, Fellows had to be in the top 10 percent of their fields and submit highly innovative research proposals with the potential to have a transformative impact on a disease, condition or the health system.

The Fellowships will allow leading researchers to commence new projects and continue existing work to help improve our understanding of disease and aging and to improve health outcomes for people all over the world, said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Jill Trewhella .

Professor Trewhella noted the University continued to show strong performance in health research and its translation into outcomes, especially in the four Strategic Priority AReas for Collaboration (SPARCs) developed in the Sydney Heath and Medical Research Review chaired by Mr Peter Wills AC.

These include obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease which are the focus of the Charles Perkins Centre; mental health and neuroscience led by the Brain and Mind Research Institute; cancer - with more than 600 University of Sydney researchers linked through the University's cancer research network; and infectious diseases which are the focus of the Marie Bashir Institute.

"The results affirm the excellence in health research at the University of Sydney spanning basic biomedical sciences to clinical medicine, health services and public health. The funding especially strengthens our research in biochemistry, cell biology and genetics, immunology and neurosciences, cardiovascular medicine and public health," Professor Trewhella said.

"Congratulations to all those who have secured funding from the NHMRC in this round - this recognition is not only a reflection of quality of your research, but of its promise in improving health outcomes for our communities," said Professor Trewhella.

Research Fellowships support researchers with incredibly strong career track records, many with a proven ability to translate research into commercial, health practice or policy outcomes.

"NHMRC Research Fellows push the boundaries of research," NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson said.

"They have a clear vision for their research, and in progressing their vision, advance their field and enhance Australia's research capacity in that area. They are among Australia's brightest hopes for delivering breakthroughs in new treatments and practices." "Many of these researchers are already leaders in their field, and these Fellowships offer the potential to enhance not only Australian research in their speciality, but that of researchers around the world."

Practitioner Fellowships are unique in their ability to embed research within the health system and improve research translation, Professor Anderson said.

"Practitioner Fellowships are prestigious, highly competitive, sought after awards for researchers who perform in the top 10 percent of their field. All have strong track records of using their experiences in the health system to inform their research, and vice versa," Professor Anderson said.

 Google me happy! The future of mental health support for iGeneration

10 September 2014

In a world first, Kids Helpline will launch a project to provide safe and secure online group counselling to Australian teenagers using social media.

The pilot project, led by University of Sydney Psychologist Dr Andrew Campbell, responds to the gap in services and growing demand to migrate e-mental health support online.

"One in three teenagers has a social media account and one in five will suffer a mental health problem," Dr Campbell said.

"Social media counselling is the new frontier for mental health because it responds to the changing habits of at-risk teens who are digital natives and increasingly using social media to connect.

"Social networks are a preferred option for young people seeking support. In fact research reveals Australian teens are more likely to talk to others via social networks about their problems than they are to get help face-to-face from a trusted person like a parent or counsellor."

Dr Campbell said while the internet posed inherent dangers, safe and secure social media counselling was the way forward to help teenagers with anxiety or depression.

"Research shows young people like social networking because it makes them feel like they are not alone with their problems," Dr Campbell said.

"We know that while social networking sites allow young people to connect with their peers, it can also make it easier for them to unwittingly connect with the wrong people online who aren't looking out for their best interests or seeking to exploit or exacerbate their problems.

"This pilot will create a safe social networking space to support groups of teenagers who are experiencing similar problems under the guidance of a qualified Kids Helpline."

Kids Helpline CEO Tracy Adams said the past five years had seen a huge growth in young people seeking help via online counselling, with it now accounting for 42 per cent of all Kids Helpline counselling sessions.

"This pilot project addresses a growing need for online support," said Ms Adams.

"Kids Helpline has always adapted to respond to the needs of children and young people, and with the evidence showing one in three kids is using social media, we're moving there to support teens looking for counselling support.

"If this pilot is successful, this innovative peer support model could allow us to provide ongoing support for even more young people."

The project will trial the use of the Google+ social networking platform to help young people manage their depression and anxiety. Under the pilot project, young people who contact Kids Helpline will be assessed and, if appropriate, directed to secure social networking areas for their age group. Each group will have a maximum of 10 members who are all dealing with similar issues and so can share their experiences and gain support from one another.

To ensure the young people's safety and privacy, all members of the peer support group will use pseudonyms and only the counsellor facilitating the group will be aware of their true identities.

The counsellor will help to encourage healthy conversations and a 24/7 monitoring system will alert Kids Helpline if there is any social media communication that signals they should intervene to prevent self-harm.

Kids Helpline is Australia's only 24/7 national counselling and support service for children and young people aged between five and 25 years - visit or call 1800 55 1800.

Key facts:

- One in five young people have a mental health condition

- One in three young people regularly use social networking

- 2013*, Kids Helpline provided just over 233,600 telephone or web counselling interactions with clients aged five to 25 and had more than 700,000 direct contacts and self-help activities with kids and young people.

- Last year, there were almost 390,000 attempts to reach Kids Helpline counsellors via telephone and online

- Kids Helpline is only able to service approximately 60 per cent of online contacts and phone calls received each year.

 Working during depression can offer health benefits to employees

September 10, 2014 - Attending work while suffering a depressive illness could help employees better manage their depression more than taking a sickness absence from work, a new study has found.

The collaborative study between the University Of Melbourne and the Menzies Research Institute at the University of Tasmania is the first to estimate the long-term costs and health outcomes of depression-related absence as compared to individuals who continue to work among employees with depression in Australia.

Lead researcher Dr Fiona Cocker from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health said a greater understanding of the costs and consequences of both absenteeism and presenteeism would allow for more informed recommendations to be made to the benefit of employees and their employers.

"We found that continuing to work while experiencing a depressive illness may offer employees certain health benefits, while depression-related absence from work offers no significant improvement in employee health outcomes or quality of life," she said.

"Cost associated with depression-related absence and attending work while depressed were also found to be higher for white collar workers who also reported poorer quality of life than blue collar workers."

Researchers calculated the costs based on lost productivity, expenses associated with medication and use of health services and the cost of replacing an employee who is absent from work and unwell.

"This is important information for employers, health care professionals (e.g. GPs) and employees faced with the decision whether to continue working or take a sickness absence. It suggests that future workplace mental health promotions strategies should include mental health policies that focus on promoting continued work attendance via offering flexible work-time and modification of tasks or working environment," she said.

Workplace programs and modifications may also have positive, long-term effects on health and well-being via the maintenance of a daily routine and co-worker support.

Finally, the exploration of these outcomes in blue and white collar workers allows work attendance recommendations to be tailored to specific occupation types.

These methods also have the potential to be adapted to other health conditions where work attendance behaviour is affected, such as diabetes or heart disease.

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Melbourne. 

 Scientists take a look at the feel-good benefits of belly dance

September 8, 2014 - Belly dancers have fewer hang-ups about their bodies. Most women who participate in this torso-driven dance do so because it is fun and they get to perform interesting moves -- not because they necessarily feel sexier while doing so. This is the conclusion of Marika Tiggemann of Flinders University in Australia, leader of a study in Springer's journal Sex Roles about the body image of people who belly dance in their free time.

Body image is the way in which someone perceives, feels and thinks about his or her body, especially factors regarding shape and weight. Previous studies in the US and the UK have shown that street and modern dancers hold a more positive body image of themselves than exotic dancers do. Tiggemann's team wanted to add to the scant literature available on belly dancing. The researchers therefore tested how participants of this potentially sexually alluring yet embodying dance form see themselves, and also sought to find out what they gain from it.

The authors recruited 112 belly dancers from two dancing schools in Adelaide, Australia, along with 101 college women who had never participated in this activity before. The participants completed questionnaires in which they rated their own bodies, how they think others view their bodies and about the attention they attract from men.

The researchers found that belly dancers see their own bodies in a better light than the college students do, and are less likely to be dissatisfied with how they look. They also have fewer self-objectifying thoughts, and therefore take what others might think about their bodies less to heart.

Most belly dancers enjoy this activity because it is fun, and because they get to perform interesting movements with their body. Tiggemann says this underscores the fact that belly dancing is an embodying activity that gives women a sense of ownership of their bodies. It allows women to be mentally and physically present "in the moment" and to feel good about themselves.

Most women rated the possible sexual nature of the activity as a lesser reason for enjoying belly dancing. This supports the idea that women participate in this somewhat erotic and sexually alluring activity purely for themselves, rather than to feel sexier and more attractive to others. In fact, the belly dancers in the research group scored no differently in their enjoyment of such sexualization, or being seen as sexual beings, than the college students did.

"Belly dancing is an activity associated with positive body image, because participants tend to focus less on their external appearance, and more on the experience and what they are able to do with their bodies," concludes Tiggemann. "It allows women a rare, safe and creative opportunity for exploring and expressing their sensual and sexual selves."

Marika Tiggemann, Emily Coutts, Levina Clark. Belly Dance as an Embodying Activity?: A Test of the Embodiment Model of Positive Body Image. Sex Roles, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s11199-014-0408-2

Disclaimer: These articles are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Pittwater Online News or its staff.


Enter The Nature Conservancy Australia Nature Writing Prize today!

Calling all nature writers.  The Nature Conservancy Australia is delighted to open the third biennial Nature Writing Prize. The $5,000 award is for an essay between 3,000 and 5,000 words in the genre of ‘Writing of Place’ and the winning essay will be published in the Australian Book Review. The prize will go to an Australian writer whose entry is judged to be of the highest literary merit and which best explores his or her relationship and interaction with some aspect of the Australian landscape.  The competition’s judges are Jesse Blackadder, award-winning author of Chasing the Light and Paruku The Desert Brumby, and Robert Gray, renowned poet, critic, and freelance writer.

The prize has been made possible thanks to a generous donation from The McLean Foundation, which is keen to promote and celebrate the literature of nature in Australia. The deadline for submissions is December 24, 2014, so get out your pens and start writing! Click here to learn more about the prize and review the terms and conditions for entering.


Jillian Skinner MP, Minister for Health, Minister for Medical Research

MEDIA RELEASE - Thursday 5 September 2013

Health Minister Jillian Skinner today presented the inaugural NSW Health Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards in a ceremony at Parliament House.

Mrs Skinner presented awards to the 11 winners and 17 finalists in the awards, including the Judith Meppem Lifetime Achievement Award, named in honour of the state’s first Chief Nurse.

“We are indebted as a society to the 47,500 skilled, dedicated nurses and midwives who are the very heart of our health system,” Mrs Skinner said.

“Each day, every day, they deliver high quality care and compassion to the people of NSW. And from today - with the inception of these inaugural awards - we can publicly acknowledge those among them who are considered excellent by their peers, patients and the community - and who are judged by a highly-credentialled panel to be at the top of their profession.

“On behalf of the people of NSW I congratulate them - and I thank them.”

The Judith Meppem Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Professor Kaye Spence for 35 years’ work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Service at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Judith Meppem - the state’s first Chief Nurse, serving in the role between 1990 and 2002 – attended the ceremony.

Mrs Skinner said the inaugural NSW Health Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards was an opportunity to thank the state’s nurses and midwives.

“Prior to coming to government in March 2011, we promised to increase the nursing and midwifery workforce by 2,475 over four years,” Mrs Skinner said. 

“We met this milestone in half that time. There are now 4,100 more nurses and midwives employed (by headcount and over 2,800 full-time equivalent) in the NSW health system

“I thank each of our 47,500 nurses and midwives for delivering the highest quality of care to patients across our state.”

NSW Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Susan Pearce said she is delighted NSW now has a dedicated awards for nurses and midwives, bringing it in line with other Australian states and territories, as well as the United Kingdom, Canada and many states in the United States. 

Ms Pearce said nurses and midwives make an enormous difference to the lives of patients and their families, many of whom they encounter at times of distress and despair.

“Our dedicated nurses and midwives provide care to the 1.5 million people admitted to our hospitals each year, as well as many others who receive help at home and in the community,” she said.

Winners and Finalists - NSW Health Awards for Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery

Excellence in Nursing – Registered Nurse: Billie McHutchison, Campbelltown Hospital SWSLHD – Winner

Cathy Clarkson, Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick SCHN – Finalist, Alison Wolstenholme, Port Macquarie Base Hospital MNCLHD – Finalist

Excellence in Midwifery – Registered Midwife: Kate Dove, Campbelltown Hospital SWSLHD – Dual Winner, Frances Guy, MNCLHD – Dual Winner

Clare Burke, Moruya Hospital SNSWLHD – Finalist

Excellence in Nursing – Enrolled Nurse: Angela Hand, Children’s Hospital at Westmead SCHN – Winner

Kelly Harrison, Nepean Hospital NBMLHD – Finalist, Debbie Rogers, Cootamundra Health Service MLHD – Finalist

Excellence in Nursing – Assistant in Nursing: Jocelyn Leyshan, Westmead Hospital WSLHD - Winner

Dianne Dowton, Orange Health Service WNSWLHD – Finalist,Rodney Palmer, Camden Hospital SWSLHD – Finalist 

Excellence in Leadership: Melissa Cumming, FWLHD – Winner

Dale Sutton, FWLHD – Finalist, Dorothy Hughes, Queanbeyan Hospital SNSWLHD – Finalist

Excellence in Education, Research and Innovation: Scott Brunero, Prince of Wales Hospital SESLHD – Winner

Scott Lamont, Prince of Wales Hospital SESLHD – Finalist, Ian Whiteley, Concord Repatriation General Hospital SLHD – Finalist

Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Care: Karen Griffin, Wagga Wagga Base Hospital MLHD – Winner

Excellence in Partnerships with Patients, Families and Carers: Jocelyn McLean, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital SLHD – Winner

Helen Hilton, MLHD – Finalist, Michelle O’Hearn, Concord Repatriation General Hospital SLHD – Finalist

Excellence in Team Clinical Practice: Malabar Midwifery Service, Royal Hospital for Women SESLHD – Winner

Shellharbour Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit ISLHD– Finalist, St George Hospital Palliative Care Consultative Service, St George Hospital SESLHD – Finalist

Judith Meppem Lifetime Achievement Award: Kaye Spence, Children’s Hospital at Westmead SCHN - Winner

Margaret Evans, Royal Hospital for Women SESLHD - Finalist,Carol Horan, Coonamble Health Service WNSWLHD – Finalist

 Long Exposure of an Airliner Lifting Off