Inbox and Environment News Issue 234 

 October 4 - 10, 2015: Issue 234

Ocean beaches and headlands assessment

The NSW Government has announced its decision on the recreational fishing amnesty in NSW marine parks. Based on the Marine Estate Expert Knowledge Panel's advice and further consideration of social values and use conflicts, the NSW Government proposes to:

• rezone 10 sites from sanctuary zone to habitat protection zone to make shore-based recreational line fishing lawful, and to continue the amnesty at these sites until the rezoning process is finalised.

The amnesty has been removed from all 20 remaining sites and enforcement of sanctuary zone rules has recommenced. All forms of fishing are prohibited in sanctuary zones and significant penalties apply including on-the-spot fines of up to $500.

Current arrangements in marine parks 

Community and stakeholder engagement  

Have your say on the draft management rules for marine parks for inclusion in the Marine Estate Management (Management Rules) Regulation 1999. The changes will:

• rezone 10 sites within the Solitary Islands, Cape Byron, Port Stephens–Great Lakes and Batemans marine parks from sanctuary zone to habitat protection zone and to allow recreational line fishing from the shore in those areas,

• update the maps for marine parks. There are a small number of amendments that make corrections to various descriptions and spellings and ensure that the maps are consistent.

For more information please read: 

• Draft Regulation

• Consultation paper

Make a submission

It is recommended that you read the consultation paper, alongside the draft regulation, before making a submission.

• Online submission  or • Hard copy of submission form (PDF)

You can lodge your submission online, via email at or through the post at:

Ocean Beaches and Headlands- Draft Regulations, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Locked Bag 1, Nelson Bay NSW 2315

Submissions close on Friday 13 November 2015.

See all document and submission form at: ocean-beaches-assessment


29 September 2015

The Harbour Trust is repairing and improving the walking track (between Middle Head Rd and Georges Head Lookout) from September – December 2015.

The track will be temporarily closed in stages:

Stage 1 (Late September – October): Middle Head Road to Artists Precinct

Stage 2 (Late October - December): Artists Precinct to Georges Head Lookout

Please use an alternative route to reach your destination– as marked on the map    

The Harbour Trust apologises for any inconvenience.

Night hunting of NSW native game birds to be permitted

EDO: September 18, 2015

The NSW Government has made changes to the Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2012 which allows native game birds to be hunted at night under the existing Native Game Bird Management Program, subject to certain conditions.

Read Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment (Native Game Birds) Regulation 2015 here

 Native Game Bird Management Program

29 Sep 2015: DPI

Rice growers in the Riverina have welcomed changes to the NSW Native Game Bird Management Program which will help them sustainably manage duck damage to their crops.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Senior Native Game Bird Management Officer, Patrick O'Brien, said wild ducks have the potential to cause significant damage to rice crops particularly in the early establishment phase of seed growth, resulting in major economic harm to rice growers.

Mr O'Brien said DPI recently conducted an extensive review of the first year of its Native Game Bird Management Program, which has led to a number of recommendations, several of which will be implemented in time for the 2015-16 rice growing season.

"These recommendations are designed to reduce 'red tape' for those participating in the program and have been developed as a direct response to feedback from landholders and hunters," Mr O'Brien said.

The recommendations were developed following an online campaign for feedback and a series of consultative focus group meetings in April and May 2015 involving rice growers, the Rice Growers' Association of Australia (RGA) and various hunting organisations.

The rice industry focus group meetings were held at Deniliquin, Wakool and Finely, while the hunting organisations met at Mulwala, Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr O'Brien said the two operational changes to the program this year would help landholders better protect their rice crops from duck damage at night and reduce the amount of paperwork involved in giving hunters access to their properties.

Also as part of the review process, DPI met with the RGA and SunRice in July to discuss ways to streamline the licensing process for rice growers whose crops are regularly plagued by wild ducks.

"These discussions led to proposals that were strongly supported by industry members and have culminated in a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between DPI and SunRice," Mr O'Brien said.

Deniliquin rice grower, Tim Strong, said he welcomed the regulation changes and the opportunity to provide feedback to DPI.

"Hunters can now help me protect my crop at night and the reduction in paperwork involved in applying for a licence has freed up my time during a very busy period of the year," Mr Strong said.

Another recommendation from the review has resulted in DPI working closely with the RGA to develop a Hunter Register Service that provides growers with a list of licensed hunters available to assist with managing their wild duck impacts.

 Removing duplication in NSW roads regulation

Joint media release - 1 October 2015: The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment and The Hon. Duncan Gay, NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight

The Federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, and the New South Wales Minister for Roads Duncan Gay, today announced that the strategic assessment of small scale road and traffic works has been approved under national environment law.

Through the strategic assessment, a broad, landscape scale assessment of potential impacts to the environment has been completed. This means the NSW Roads and Maritime Service can get on with critical road improvements, without needing to wait for approval from the Australian Government.

Minister Hunt said "Strategic assessments are a fantastic tool that allows us to streamline approvals while maintaining high environmental standards."

"The approval of this strategic assessment will improve the efficiency of road upgrades in NSW, but most importantly we have done this while maintaining high environmental standards."

"We are demonstrating to the community that the Australian Government is serious about reducing red tape and we are serious about protecting the environment. While Labor and the Greens delay the legislation needed for the One-Stop Shop reform, we are getting one with strategic assessments that provide benefits to business, to the community and to the environment."

Minister Gay said that previously there was unnecessary duplication in the approvals required for some road and traffic management activities undertaken by NSW Roads and Maritime.

"The activities covered by this decision are smaller-scale projects that are not of state significance such as new overtaking lanes for existing roads, short sections of new road, bridge replacement projects and a range of routine maintenance and safety works," Minister Gay said.

"This great cooperation between the two tiers of government will save the time and cost previously spent on multiple approvals and removes unproductive red tape from both governments.

Further information on the Program and strategic assessment can be found on the federal Department of the Environment's website:


19-25 OCTOBER 2015

Celebrate National Bird Week 2015 by taking part in the biggest citizen science project to hit Aussie shores! From 19-25 October, thousands of people from across the country are heading out into their backyards, local parks or favourite open spaces to take part in the second annual AUSSIE BACKYARD BIRD COUNT!

To get involved all you need is 20 minutes, your ‘green patch’ of choice, and some keen eyesight (or binoculars!) And it doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an expert—we’ll be there to help you out along the way. Simply record the birds you know and look up those you don’t on our Aussie Bird Count app (updated version available for download in September) or our website. You’ll instantly see live statistics and information on how many people are taking part near you and the number of birds and species counted across your neighbourhood and the whole of Australia!

Register now and we’ll keep you up to date with exciting Aussie Backyard Bird Count news!

Register at:

 Have your say on the proposed Bylong Coal Project

Date: 23.09.2015: Departmental Media Release; NSW Department of Planning and Environment

A proposal to construct and operate an open cut and underground mine in mid-western NSW will be on exhibition from today for community feedback.

The proposed project would be located approximately 55 kilometres northeast of Mudgee. 

The Department of Planning and Environment is keen to hear the community’s views on the application which seeks to:

• construct and operate an open cut and underground mine to extract up to 6.5 million tonnes of coal a year for 23 years

•construct and operate a range of infrastructure including:

o plant for washing and preparing coal to be transported

o rail loading facility and rail loop

o mine access roads

o accommodation for workers

o ventilation shafts

o water supply and water management

o electricity supply

o communications and administration infrastructure

• transport coal from the mine by rail

• progressively rehabilitate the site.

The proposal and its environmental, social and economic impacts will be thoroughly assessed against rules set out in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

It will also be subject to an independent review by the Commonwealth Independent Expert Scientific Committee.

A spokesperson for the Department of Planning and Environment said the local community always has an opportunity to share their views. 

A public information session on how to make a submission will be held by the Department during the exhibition period. 

“Community consultation is an integral part of the planning process and the applicant will have to respond to the feedback we receive and this is taken into consideration when we develop our recommendations,” the spokesperson said. 

“It’s easy to participate by going online and we encourage everyone to take a look and have their say.”

To make a submission or view the environmental impact statement, visit Submissions can be made from Wednesday 23 September until Friday, 6 November 2015. 

Written submissions can also be made to:

Department of Planning and Environment

Attn: A/Director- Resource Assessments and Compliance

GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001

The EIS is also available to view in person at:

• Department of Planning and Environment, 23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney

• Mid-Western Regional Council, 86 Market Street, Mudgee

• Mid-Western Regional Council, 77 Louee Street, Rylstone

• Mid-Western Regional Council, 109 Herbert Street, Gulgong

• Kandos Library, Angus Avenue, Kandos

• Nature Conservation Council, Level 2, 5 Wilson Street, Newtown



 Bylong Coal Project : NSW Government must act to protect water and farmland

September 23, 2015: Lock the Gate Hunter region

The Environmental Impact Statement for a major coal mine project in the picturesque Bylong Valley in the upper reaches of the Hunter catchment has been placed on public exhibition this morning, prompting calls for the NSW government to fix major gaps in mining and planning laws before more farmland and water resources are permanently lost to mining.

Lock the Gate Hunter region coordinator Steve Phillips said, “This project will potentially affect 440ha of mapped strategic agricultural land, and permanently remove 200ha of that land. A further 117ha of equine critical industry cluster land will be directly affected by the mine. These lands were supposed to have been made off limits to coal mining years ago but the Government has utterly failed to deliver promises to protect farmland from mining. 

“The proponent’s own studies indicate that this project will mean the loss of $2.6 million in agricultural productivity.

“Has the New South Wales Government learned nothing from the backlash to the Shenhua Watermark project?  How much more of our farmland needs to be lost to coal mining before the Government gets off its hands and creates the no-go zones that the community expects and demands?

One of the most serious problems with the mine will be its impact on water.

“The EIS reveals the dramatic damage this mine would do to the Bylong River and its productive alluvial aquifer if it were allowed to proceed. It appears that it will triple water demand in the Bylong Valley, and draw down the river’s alluvial aquifer.

“NSW’s lack of clear legally binding thresholds to prevent damage and loss of this productive groundwater is leading to long-term damage and it needs to be addressed before any more of these damaging projects go through our very compromised planning process,” said Phillips.

 First Spring Nesting of Endangered Pied Oystercatchers in Batemans Bay

Media release: 28 September 2015

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is excited to announce the first spring nesting of the Pied Oystercatcher, an endangered species, at Batemans Bay.

Visitors to Batemans Bay coastline can see these beach-nesting birds, easily recognised by their characteristic 5–8 cm long orange-red beak, slender pink legs and black and white plumage.

Simon Tedder, NPWS Shorebird Recovery Officer said that Batemans Bay locals and visitors can enjoy watching the pair of Pied Oystercatchers rotating their shifts to incubate the eggs and forage for soldier crabs across the mud flats.

“The best place to view the birds is from the rock-wall accessible on foot from Catalina Boat Ramp in the Hanging Rock Reserve,” Mr Tedder said.

“Please appreciate the birds from a safe distance as disturbances can result in their eggs being exposed to the hot sun, literally cooking in the sand, or to feathered predators such as ravens and gulls.

“Pied oystercatchers are endangered in NSW and Batemans Bay is very lucky to have them nesting on our doorstep.

“If you are gathering bait, please leave your dogs at home or tethered away from the site,” he said.

South Coast Shorebird volunteers have recently installed temporary fencing around the site so it is requested that people give the birds some space to incubate their eggs and raise their chicks.

NPWS’s South Coast Shorebird Recovery Program aims to reduce the rate of decline of threatened shorebirds and recover populations by enhancing breeding success. The endangered Pied Oystercatcher is also earmarked under the NSW Government’s Saving our Species program as a site-managed species to ensure the population's viability in the long term.

To find out more about this program or download Oystercatcher fact sheets visit 

Top: OEH picture Pied Oystercatcher

 Funding to support better parks in Sydney

Hon. Rob Stokes with Member for Camden Chris Patterson

28.09.2015, Ministerial Media Release: The Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning

Planning Minister Rob Stokes today welcomed a new 1.5km path in the Australian Botanic Garden, which was funded by a NSW Government grant. 

Inspecting the new Botanic Garden trail, Mr Stokes said the new shared pathway for cyclists and pedestrians was funded by a $445,000 Metropolitan Greenspace Program grant. The project is the first section completed in the garden and forms part of the larger 14km Macarthur Regional Recreation Trail being developed.

“Spring is a perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful open spaces around Sydney like the Australian Botanic Garden here at Mount Annan,” Mr Stokes said.

“The NSW Government is committed to investing in better parks, playgrounds and open spaces. Our Metropolitan Greenspace Program has provided nearly $8 million over the past four years for such projects, and we will continue to support local community efforts to improve their natural surroundings. 

“I want more places like this across Sydney. That’s why I’ve tasked the Greater Sydney Commission, once established, to deliver our new Green Grid and work with councils to fund more projects like this cycleway.” 

The next round of Metropolitan Greenspace Program funding is now open and will provide $3 million for open space projects. The program will help build Sydney’s Green Grid, an interconnected network of Sydney’s parks and green spaces.

Member for Camden Chris Patterson said he was pleased to see the new path network taking shape.

“The Australian Botanic Garden holds a special place in our community, and this cycleway is a wonderful addition to help locals and visitors enjoy this terrific open space,” Mr Patterson said.

All 41 metropolitan councils as well as councils on the Central Coast are eligible to apply for the grants.

Applications close Monday, 9 November.

Further information and application forms are available

 Long weekend marks the start of trout season

1 October, 2015: NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)

This October long weekend will mark the start of the annual NSW trout season for anglers across the State.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Senior Fisheries Manager Inland, Cameron Westaway, said the season for general trout streams and artificial lure and fly streams will open this Saturday (3 October 2015).

"Following the end of the spawning period, in which the four month annual closure allows trout to travel up rivers and streams to breed uninterrupted, the trout season will open," Mr Westaway said.

"Our fish stocking program with a total of 2.9 million rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout and Atlantic salmon released across NSW in 2014/2015, will increase the benefits for recreational fishers.

"This extra supply and the long weekend, will no doubt see a steady stream of fishers heading to our most popular fishing sites.

"This is a major boost for our regional areas with the recreational fishing industry providing many benefits to our local communities."

DPI Director Fisheries Compliance, Patrick Tully, encouraged anglers to be aware of the rules associated with recreational fishing to ensure they have an enjoyable experience.

"The size and bag limits for trout and salmon in general trout streams, general trout dams, artificial fly and lure streams and trout spawning streams have not changed this season," Mr Tully said.

"Since November 2014, there has been a change to the daily limit for trout and salmon in all other inland waters, reduced from 10 to 5 and the possession limit reduced from 20 to 10, in line with the existing bag and possession limits for general trout streams and dams.

"Fisheries officers will be out and about this long weekend to ensure anglers are adhering to the rules, which are in place to protect our aquatic life and waterways for future generations."

For more information on NSW Recreational Fishing Fees or to renew your fishing licence visit the Service NSW page.

A summary of the rules and regulations is provided in the NSW Recreational Freshwater Fishing Guide, also available at DPI offices or fishing fee agents.

Anyone with information about illegal fishing or suspected illegal fishing should contact the Fishers Watch phoneline on 1800 043 536 or submit the online report form.

 Have your say on modifications to Narrabri Coal Mine

Date 29.09.2015, Departmental Media Release: Department of Planning and Environment

A proposal to make modifications at Narrabri Coal Mine will be on exhibition from today for community feedback.

The Department of Planning and Environment is keen to hear the community’s views on the application which seeks to:

• reduce the number of longwall panels from 26 to 20

• increase the longwall panel widths from 295 metres to 400 metres

• extend the underground mining area by 60 metres to the west

• increase production of run-of-mine coal at the mine from 8 million tonnes per year to 11 million tonnes per year

• increase the average number of train movements from the site from 3 to 4 trains per day

• make associated ancillary infrastructure changes.

 A spokesperson for the Department of Planning and Environment said the local community always has an opportunity to share their views. 

“Community consultation is an integral part of the planning process and the applicant will have to respond to the feedback we receive and this is taken into consideration when we develop our recommendations,” the spokesperson said.

“It’s easy to participate by going online and we encourage everyone to take a look and have their say.” 

To make a submission or view the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), visit Submissions can be made from Tuesday 29 September to Friday 16 October 2015. 

Written submissions can also be made to:

 Department of Planning and Environment - Attn: Executive Director – Resource Assessments and Business Systems. GPO Box 39,Sydney NSW 2001

The EIS is also available to view in person at:

• Department of Planning and Environment, 23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney

• Narrabri Shire Council, 46-48 Maitland Street, Narrabri

• Nature Conservation Council, Level 2, 5 Wilson Street, Newtown



 Antarctic warming stimulates diversity of soil fungi

September 28, 2015: University of Queensland

A landmark study published in Nature Climate Change today by Australian and British scientists predicts that climate change will have a major impact on life in Antarctica this century.

Dr Paul Dennis of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at The University of Queensland said results indicated that by 2100 there would be 25 per cent more soil fungal "species" in the most rapidly warming parts of Antarctica.

"While this may bring certain ecological benefits, it may also help invasive species to gain a foothold in this pristine wilderness," he said.

"Our study was based on soil samples collected from Antarctica during an extensive survey led by Professor David Hopkins (Royal Agricultural University, UK) during International Polar Year 2007-2008."

The survey was the most extensive of its kind and involved complex logistics provided by the British Antarctic Survey and the UK's Royal Navy, including light aircraft, helicopters and ice breakers.

Dr Dennis, who now leads the Microbial Ecology Group at UQ's School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, said surface air temperatures in the maritime Antarctic had risen by up to 2.8ºC over the past 50 years, at rates several times that of the global average.

"Our research has demonstrated that in this rapidly warming part of Antarctica temperature is the main factor that determines soil fungal diversity," he said.

Dr Kevin Newsham of the British Antarctic Survey and the University Centre in Svalbard, and Dr Dennis are the lead authors of the study.

The researchers said that the majority of fungi were microscopic and may not be as charismatic as animals to the average person.

However, they had very important roles to play in soils as plant decomposers and as symbionts, closely associated with other organisms.

"With air temperatures in the Antarctic currently rising at the fastest rates in the Southern Hemisphere, it's likely the number of species of fungi present in these soils will increase," they said.

"Such increases are likely to positively influence important ecological processes such as the decomposition of plant remains, effectively kick-starting plant communities by the enhanced release of nutrients into the soil."

Sites in the northern maritime Antarctic are up to 10ºC warmer than those at the southern limit of the Antarctic Peninsula.

"By assessing fungal communities in the northern maritime Antarctic, we were able to make predictions about how soil fungi are likely respond to warming in colder regions," Dr Dennis said.

"Antarctica is like a natural laboratory in which to further understanding of our planet's response to environmental change."

Kevin K. Newsham, David W. Hopkins, Lilia C. Carvalhais, Peter T. Fretwell, Steven P. Rushton, Anthony G. O’Donnell, Paul G. Dennis.Relationship between soil fungal diversity and temperature in the maritime Antarctic. Nature Climate Change, 2015; DOI:10.1038/nclimate2806

This image shows the Antarctic Peninsula. Credit: Dr. Paul Dennis

 Humane Society International v Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd

EDO: October 2nd, 2015

EDO NSW is again acting on behalf of Humane Society International (HSI) in court proceedings against Japanese whaling company, Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd (Kyodo).

In January 2008, we successfully represented HSI in long-running Federal Court proceedings which resulted in the Court declaring that Kyodo was breaching Australia’s federal environmental law by whaling in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in the Australian Antarctic Territory. The Court granted an injunction to restrain Kyodo from further breaches of the Federal environment law.

Following the Court’s ruling, HSI representatives travelled to Japan and served the injunction on Kyodo. Despite this, Kyodo has continued its whaling activities in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. No enforcement action was taken pending the outcome of the International Court of Justice hearing into Japan’s whaling program.

In March 2014, the International Court of Justice found that Japan’s whaling program was not in accordance with scientific research programs provided under international law and ordered Japan to cease its whaling program. However, in October 2014, Japan announced its intention to recommence whaling under a new program that it again claims is for scientific research.

With Japan’s whaling program due to recommence around December 2015, HSI is now seeking to enforce the 2008 injunction. HSI applied to the Federal Court in September 2015 seeking orders that Kyodo is in contempt of the 2008 injunction by continuing to interfere with and kill whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. The case will be heard in November 2015.

We are grateful to barristers Jeremy Kirk SC and James Hutton for their assistance in this matter.

 Gone fishing: Loss of ocean predators has impact on climate change strategies

September 28, 2015: Griffith University

As Australia engages in debate over shark culling, new research says unsustainable harvesting of larger fish will affect how we tackle climate change. A group of scientists warns the loss of top order predators through excessive culling or over-fishing has serious environmental ramifications.

Professor Rod Connolly, a marine scientist from Griffith University's Australian Rivers Institute, is the co-author of new research that says keeping populations of larger fish intact is critical to carbon accumulation and long-term storage in vegetated coastal habitats such as saltmarsh, mangroves and seagrass.

A paper, "Predators help protect carbon stocks in blue carbon ecosystems", is published in the journal Nature Climate Change and identifies the urgent need for further research on the influence of predators on carbon cycling, and improved policy and management with regard to blue carbon reserves.

The research comes as Australia in particular, in response to a recent spate of shark attacks -- some fatal -- engages in fierce public debate over shark culling.

Professor Connolly warns the loss of top order predators through excessive culling or over-fishing has serious environmental ramifications.

"Altering the numbers of top ocean predators has major consequences for the way we tackle climate change," says Professor Connolly.

"These predators have a cascading effect on the food web and the ecosystem generally that ultimately changes the amount of carbon captured and locked up in the seabed."

Coastal wetlands play a crucial role in this process, extracting carbon from the atmosphere and burying it in the mud for hundreds and even thousands of years.

"When we change the abundance of higher order predators, this affects the number of smaller animals living in the mud, and that has flow-on effects for carbon storage in coastal wetlands," says Professor Connolly.

"We are already aware of the need to manage how many fish we take and from where. But we should also know that our decisions affect climate change.

Professor Connolly says the coastal wetlands that fringe the world's continents are doing a power of environmental good, taking a quarter of a trillion kilograms of carbon out of the atmosphere every year.

However, that efficiency can be easily compromised.

"Predators play an important and potentially irreplaceable role in carbon cycling. The effect of the disproportionate loss of species high in the food chain cannot be underestimated."

Trisha B. Atwood, Rod M. Connolly, Euan G. Ritchie, Catherine E. Lovelock, Michael R. Heithaus, Graeme C. Hays, James W. Fourqurean, Peter I. Macreadie. Predators help protect carbon stocks in blue carbon ecosystems. Nature Climate Change, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2763

 How ocean circulation changed atmospheric CO2

September 28, 2015: University of New South Wales

Scientists have struggled for the past few decades to understand why air temperatures around Antarctica over the past one million years were almost perfectly in synch with atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Both dipped down during glacial ice ages and back up again during warm interglacials.

By contrast, temperatures in the tropics and Northern Hemisphere were less closely tied to atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

"This relationship between Antarctica temperature and CO2 suggested that somehow the Southern Ocean was pivotal in controlling natural atmospheric CO2 concentrations," said Dr Maxim Nikurashin from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

"The key that unlocked the mystery was the colder atmosphere and extensive sea ice around Antarctica during the glacial period. Together they fundamentally changed top to bottom ocean circulation and enabled more CO2 to be drawn from the atmosphere."

The researchers found that during glacial periods when the atmosphere was colder and sea ice was far more extensive, deep ocean waters came to the surface much further north of the Antarctic continent than they do today.

This meant that the nutrients brought up from the bottom of the ocean spent more time on the surface of the ocean as the currents moved them southwards before the flow encountered Antarctica and circled back down to the bottom of the ocean.

Because the upwelled waters ran along the surface for a longer period of time, nutrients spent more time near the surface of the ocean where phytoplankton could feed on them for longer.

The biological processes that result from phytoplankton blooms directly take carbon out of the atmosphere. Some of this carbon then sinks to the bottom of the ocean when the phytoplankton die, locking it away in the deep sea for thousands of years.

"The biological processes that take up carbon from the atmosphere even take place in and under the ice -- if that ice is not too thick -- which is why the biological processes persisted for a lot longer during cooler periods," the authors said.

"Our results suggest that this change in circulation and the consequent extended biological activity by itself took 30-60ppm of CO2 out of the atmosphere. That's about one half of the glacial-interglacial change."

However, when temperatures warm over the Antarctic regions, deep waters rise from the floor of the ocean much closer to the continent. This means nutrients are near the surface for a shorter time before returning to the deep ocean floor.

With less time on the surface there is less time for the biological processes to take place and less carbon is taken out of the atmosphere. This is the situation we see today.

"This finding is a major advance in understanding the natural carbon cycle, gained by applying a new understanding about how the "overturning circulation" of the Southern Ocean works," said lead author Dr Andrew J Watson from the University of Exeter.

Andrew J. Watson, Geoffrey K. Vallis, Maxim Nikurashin. Southern Ocean buoyancy forcing of ocean ventilation and glacial atmospheric CO2. Nature Geoscience, 2015; DOI:10.1038/ngeo2538

Top: Figure shows how ocean currents changes with temperature. Top: Ocean currents today. Bottom: Ocean currents during glacial periods. Credit: From authors (Watson et al.)



September 29, 2015: Surfing Australia

There’s two minutes remaining in surfing’s gold medal heat at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, an Aussie athlete needs only a single scoring ride to win in front of fourty thousand spectators and hundreds of millions of TV viewers across the globe.

This scenario is a very real prospect, after the International Surfing Association (ISA) submitted a formal bid in June this year, it has been announced surfing has made the final shortlist for inclusion at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

As one of Australia’s unofficial national sports, surfing will be competing with baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding and sports climbing before a final decision is made at the 129th IOC Session in Rio in August 2016.

Olympic Committee Panel chair Fujio Mitarai said sports popular with the younger demographic such as surfing would be popular.

“One thing I can say is that they're popular among young people. Many are engaged in them globally.”

Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark spoke of the many positives of the sport’s potential inclusion.  

“Surfing Australia is ecstatic at the news of our confirmed nomination for Olympic inclusion at the 2020 Japan Olympic Games. Surfing’s inclusion into the Olympics would be a dream come true for our sport.

We have been striving for many years to achieve Olympic Games inclusion and we certainly believe the Olympics will be better off with our sports inclusion. Australia will most certainly be a genuine Gold medal prospect and we look forward to starting the journey towards Olympic glory in 2020. This is a fantastic progression for surfing and for the Olympics”.

Surfing Australia Chair and seven times World Champion Layne Beachley said the sport would benefit immensely if selected as a new Olympic sport.

"Inclusion into 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is a remarkable opportunity for surfing to be showcased in the international arena of sport. This reinforces the importance of Surfing Australia's High Performance Centre and our developmental pathways to ensure continued nurturing and future success of our athletes." "We are absolutely thrilled to be considered for inclusion and will do everything in our power to work with the AOC and the IOC to ensure this is a truly successful collaboration. There is no doubt we have the talent and membership to deserve this recognition, all that is missing is the opportunity so this announcement is one step closer to achieving our long term vision."

Australian three times World Champion and current Word Surf League ratings leader Mick Fanning passionately backed the bid.

 “It is probably the most watched sporting event in the world. It would be a huge honour to go and represent your country at such a prestigious competition.’

Australian Olympic Committee Media Director Mike Tancred said Australia’s strength as a surfing nation should have all sports fans excited about the prospect of Olympic inclusion.

“Australia is such a great surfing nation and we are very excited to now see the sport in Olympic contention for 2020. Olympic involvement will encourage more kids to get off the couch and try surfing and this results in a fitter, healthier Australia thanks to sport.”

Since the first ever World Surfing Titles were held at Manly Beach back in 1964, Australia has been a dominant force in the world surfing scene winning a combined total of 34 men’s and women’s world titles.

Top: Three time world champion Mick Fanning. Image Credit: WSL 

 Unnecessary, out-dated or unsafe medical services? Tell us about it!

September 29, 2015

Australians who have undergone a Medicare-funded service, procedure or test they considered to be unnecessary, out-dated or even potentially unsafe in recent years are being encouraged to let the Federal Government know about it.

The same goes for doctors and other health professionals concerned about particular Medicare items, rules and regulations they feel need to be updated or removed to reflect contemporary clinical practice.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley today officially launched the start of consultation on the Turnbull Government’s clinician-led review of all 5700 items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) as part of its plans to build a healthier Medicare. 

This includes two discussion papers individually tailored towards consumers and health professionals and a user-friendly online survey to help make submissions easier. 

Ms Ley said it was important doctors and their patients had access to medical services, tests and treatments that reflected contemporary clinical practice and this review – the first of its kind since Medicare was first established back in the 1980s – was “long overdue”. 

“Patient safety is at the core of our plan to build a healthier Medicare and we want to empower health professionals with a modern system that reflects 21st Century Medicine,” Ms Ley said. 

“Unfortunately the current system is lagging in the last century, with only 3 per cent of all 5700 Medicare items assessed or tested to see whether they actually work, are out-of-date or even harmful.

“Inefficient and unsafe Medicare services, tests and procedures also cost the nation dearly because they stop taxpayers being able to invest in new, innovative medical treatments and technologies. 

“This is particularly important when Medicare claims are now hitting one million per day. 

“That’s why we want to hear from health professionals and patients about any services, tests or procedures they’ve come across in the Medicare system that are out-of-date, unnecessary or unsafe in certain circumstances.”

Professor Bruce Robinson – who is head of the Sydney University Medical School and is chairing the Government’s MBS Review Taskforce – said these examples demonstrated the importance of looking at all 5700 MBS items “line by line” to ensure they reflected best contemporary clinical practice.

Professor Robinson said it also made sense look at the relevancy of rules and restrictions governing the use of Medicare items, not just the physical service, test or procedure itself. 

“It has been estimated that 30 per cent or more of health expenditure is wasted on services, tests and procedures that provide no or negligible clinical benefit and, in some cases, might be unsafe and could actually cause harm to patients,” Professor Robinson said. 

“Sometimes this is because a procedure is out-of-date and should be removed altogether. 

“In other instances the test or treatment is contemporary practice; it’s just not always necessary or appropriate in every circumstance and needs stronger rules or restrictions around its use. 

“I’ve spoken to many health professionals – young and old – and there’s a growing consensus we as a profession have a responsibility to work together to ensure patients are getting the best treatments available. Here is our opportunity.

“While this Review is clinician-led, consumers are also well represented on the Review Taskforce and our on-line questionnaire is seeking input directly from the public about their experiences having tests and procedures that they may believe are unnecessary,” he said.

Members of the Taskforce are all experts in the public and private health sectors with experience in general practice, surgery, pathology, radiology, public health and medical administration. In addition consumers are specifically represented and there is also academic expertise in health technology assessment.

The Discussion Papers – developed by the MBS Review Taskforce – builds on feedback already received through face-to-face consultations conducted since July 2015 in various cities around Australia.

The Taskforce is due to deliver an interim report to the Government by late 2015. 

To have your say; download the discussion papers; or check out the review terms of reference,

The MBS Review Taskforce is part of a three-pronged approach to Medicare reform being undertaken by the Government, which also includes a review of the primary care system, including the current fee-for-service model, and better education and compliance around the use of MBS items. 

In 2014/15 Medicare funded 368 million MBS-listed services at a cost of $20.2 billion, more than doubling in the last decade.

 Tick spit protein may trigger allergic reactions

September 25, 2015

Ticks have had millions of years to figure out how to bite without triggering their victims' immune response. Proteins in the arachnids' spit evolved to manipulate immune cells so that the bloodsuckers can suck blood and transmit pathogens in peace. But these measures may not always have the desired effect when ticks bite humans, leading to severe allergic reactions, argue infectious disease specialists in an Opinion published on September 25 in Trends in Parasitology. The researchers believe a vaccine for tick bite allergies could be developed from the spit allergen, once it is identified.

Only recently has it been known that tick bites even cause allergic reactions. Thousands of people are affected each year--particularly in the United States and Australia, with more and more diagnosed as doctors learn of the allergy, and as tick and human contact increases as a result of climate change and habitat loss. Depending on the tick species and the person, bites can result in allergic reactions ranging from an itch to full anaphylactic shock. Tick bites might also induce the development of red meat or gelatin allergies.

"We understand that these allergies are produced by tick bites, but we need to know the precise molecules produced by the tick in the saliva that cause this effect when they bite a vertebrate host," says senior author Jose de la Fuente, of Group SaBio at the Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM) in Spain and CVHS, Oklahoma State University, USA. "We believe that there are proteins in the tick saliva modified by a compound called alpha-gal that changes the immune response in humans, so that it is possible to have these allergic reactions."

The alpha-gal modified proteins are de la Fuente's prime suspect because alpha-gal is not synthesized by humans and apes, and so it could be that when a tick bites us and introduces the protein into the skin, our immune system's natural response is to label it as "foreign" and attack. This would explain why later exposure to red meat, which possesses a variation of alpha-gal, can cause an immune reaction. An immune memory against alpha-gal may also have a protective effect as people previously exposed to the molecule are less likely to get malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, indicating that other insects could carry alpha-gal in their bites.

Whether the tick saliva allergen is alpha-gal or something else, knowing the culprit can lead to the production of an antivenom-like product that minimizes the bite immune response. Another strategy would be to create a vaccine that could numb the immune system to the presence of what is causing the allergy.

"No specific treatment for a tick bite allergy is currently available," de la Fuente says. "Anyone who lives in a risk area or is moving to a region with many reported cases would benefit from such a vaccine."

Cabezas-Cruz et al. Regulation of the immune response to α-gal and vector-borne diseases (In Press). Trends in Parasitology, 2015 DOI: 10.1016/


29 September 2015: CSIRO

A CSIRO-led innovation that enables fast, automated analysis of rock materials directly from drill sites is to be commercialised, opening the way for millions of dollars worth of potential cost and time savings.

The Lab-at-Rig technology that CSIRO has developed in partnership with Imdex and Olympus, under the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC), enables chemistry and mineralogy of rocks found within a drill hole to be analysed within minutes of drilling.

"Lab-at-Rig is an important breakthrough for the industry because of the potentially massive cost savings in drilling, exploration and overall mining operations," says CSIRO Lab-at-Rig Futures Project Leader, Dr Yulia Uvarova.

The new technology features automated analysis of mineralogy and geochemistry of drill-hole cuttings direct from the drill site, while still offering the relevant sampling methods and quality control current processes use.

"If mining or exploration companies have real time information about the mineralogy and chemistry in the drill-hole they can efficiently plan what to do next; whether that is to drill deeper, drill further holes, try elsewhere or to stop," says Dr Uvarova.

"Ultimately, Lab-at-Rig will provide improved decision making and productivity for mineral resource operations." 

The Lab-at-Rig system, fitted to a diamond drill rig and Imdex's AMC Solids Removal Unit includes: a sample preparation unit that collects solids from drill cuttings and dries them; Olympus X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction sensors to provide chemistry and mineralogy of the sample respectively; and the ability to upload data to REFLEX's cloud-based platform where it can be analysed and provided back to the explorer.

This technology will provide a great advantage over the current process which can take three months and often millions of dollars to set up the drill sites, drill, extract, sample and log the drill cores, send to a lab for analysis, enter data into a database and finally provide information back to the company.

Lab-at-Rig offers a one-hour cycle for the whole process enabling rapid decision making and cost savings.

"Our 'light bulb' moment was in 2011 when a group of DET CRC researchers were watching a diamond drilling operation near Adelaide and observed the fluid carrying the drill cuttings to the surface," Dr Uvarova said.

"They asked the question: 'what if we could analyse the cuttings separated from that fluid in real time?"

Lab-at-Rig is the product of two years of research and development and a tribute to the successful collaboration of the research and industry partners through the DET CRC, according to CSIRO's Discovering Australia's Mineral Resources Program Director, Dr Rob Hough.

"The way that Imdex, Olympus and CSIRO have worked together on this through the Deep Exploration Technologies CRC has been crucial l to delivering this world-class technology in such a short timeframe," Dr Hough said.

REFLEX, a business in the ASX-listed Imdex Group of Companies, is the commercialisation partner for the technology.

CSIRO, Imdex, Olympus, University of Adelaide and Curtin University are now working on the $11 million collaborative DET CRC Lab-at-Rig Futures Project which will build the next generation system to cover: new sensor technologies, improved data analysis and processing for decision making, and development of the system for new applications and drilling platforms.

Top: Lab-at-Rig® development team with researchers from CSIRO, Imdex and Olympus.© Greg Adams

Below: CSIRO’s Dr Yulia Uvarova in the middle of proof-of-concept study for Lab-at-Rig®


29 September 2015 

The Australia Council for the Arts has released a summary report that highlights the value of a strategic approach to international arts development and explores the existing activity and future priorities of the sector. 

Australia Council Executive Director Arts Strategy Dr Wendy Were said the report,  International Arts Activity – Australian Arts Sector, was part of a significant body of research and analysis undertaken over the past year to provide a comprehensive overview of Australian international arts activity and identify high value international opportunities for Australian artists.

International development activity includes international presentation, residencies, collaborations and exchanges, networking, participation in festivals, fairs or showcasing platforms, translations and co-productions, all of which provide both short and long-term benefits to the artists involved and enrich our nation’s arts and cultural life.

“Australia is a culturally ambitious nation within a rapidly evolving global context. Our distinctive and wonderfully diverse cultural identity is already on the world stage. More than one in three Australian artists are involved in international work and there is a growing interest in Australian work and artistic collaborations across established and emerging markets,” Dr Were said.

“For it to be most effective, international arts investment must be grounded in knowledge of the arts sector’s international activities, ambitions, and support needs. We undertook this research to get a clear line of sight into what activities artists and arts organisations are pursuing, what their aspirations and priorities are, and what they need to reach their goals.”

The research involved an analysis of funding trends, interviews and focus groups with funding recipients, and a sector-wide survey to identify motivations, needs, challenges and future priorities. 

The Council has invested around $11 million each year in international arts activity since 2010-11, and in addition regularly funds many arts organisations that work internationally. This strategic support has enabled artistic, market and audience development, as well as providing significant value to Australia’s cultural diplomacy agenda. 

Australia Council support has increased mobility and participation of Australian artists in international projects and facilitated vital new networks and connections. Among the many benefits are an increased international profile for innovative Australian arts and the increased integration of international best practice into Australian arts infrastructure. 

“Funding for international presentation such as touring and exhibitions remains of great importance, but the Australia Council also provides a pivotal role in building international connections, promoting the awareness and appreciation of Australian arts and facilitating institutional reciprocity and partnerships that in turn give rise to collaborative projects,” Dr Were said.

The research findings indicate that many artists and organisations believe that without Australia Council support they would have been unable to undertake international activity.

Dr Were said the research would be used to guide future investment, support artistic aspirations, facilitate exchange and growth, and enhance the international profile of excellent Australian art.

“This report is just the first of a number of resources to be developed from this work that will provide benefit to the sector and inform future Government investment and activity,” Dr Were said. 

“It is important to note that the reductions to the Australia Council budget have significantly changed the capacity of the Council to continue delivering investment and strategic international activity at the same level. We will closely monitor the impact of this on the ability of our artists to engage internationally and Australia’s international arts reputation.”

The key findings include:

Most funding applications were for activities in the established markets of Western Europe and North America; however, grants and applications for activity in Asia have increased 65 per cent over the past four years.

The majority of grants for international activity went to independent groups and individuals.

Of Council’s regularly funded organisations between 2010-13, 43 per cent had engaged in international activity, including 13 of the 28 Major Performing Arts companies and 66 of the 157 Key Organisations.

During 2010-13 regularly funded organisations presented 3,800 performances and 4,473 days of exhibitions across 61 countries, which were seen by about 17.9 million people.

Maintaining activity in established markets and increasing activity in growth markets is already happening.

Artists and arts organisations would like to see the Council continue to promote Australian artists and art abroad, helping them tap into growth markets, supporting diverse work and long-term engagements and ensuring flexible quick response funding.

International engagement is motivated by development of artistic practice, audiences and markets.

Benefits include participation in the international arts sphere, artistic and market development, and future international projects.

Artists and arts organisations are increasingly looking for collaborations and exchange projects. These partnerships and reciprocal programs will continue to be a priority over the next five years.

To read the report, International Arts Activity – Australian Arts Sectorgo to:

 Appointment to the Ministry: First Minister for Cities and the Built Environment

Media release - 22 September 2015: The Hon. Jamie Briggs MP, Minister for Cities and the Built Environment

I am honoured to be invited by the Prime Minister to join his ministerial team as the first Minister for Cities and the Built Environment. I thank the Prime Minister for his faith.

Cities are one of the great drivers of our economy. Most Australians live in our cities and the majority of businesses are based in or around them. They are the engine room of commerce, infrastructure, innovation, the arts, science and development.

It is vital that our cities are well planned, serviced with world class digital and physical infrastructure and environmentally sustainable so they continue to grow as economic assets into the future.

Building world class infrastructure is a key priority of the Australian Government to ensure we drive economic growth, revitalise our cities and support industries of the future.

It has been an honour to serve as the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development over the past two years.

In that time we implemented the biggest infrastructure programme in our nation's history with over $50 billion in game-changing projects getting underway in our cities and regional centres.

I am particularly proud of my involvement in ensuring Sydney has a second world class airport and the necessary supporting infrastructure, the first ever Commonwealth concessional loan for the WestConnex Stage 2 project, the introduction of the private sector into public infrastructure projects in Western Australia, and the two and a half billion dollars in spending on the North South Road corridor in Adelaide.

I am also very pleased that the reforms I initiated on Norfolk Island have passed the Parliament in a bi-partisan manner and are now being fully implemented. This will give this unique part of Australia a real chance to thrive rather than being held back by a small group of self-interested individuals.

I want to thank the Hon. Tony Abbott for the opportunity to serve in his ministry. Finally, it is with great sadness that I note the decision of my great mate Joe Hockey to end his illustrious career. Joe is one of the finest, most caring and loyal people you could ever hope to know. His friendship and guidance has been instrumental to me and my career for over a decade. I will miss Joe in the Parliament very much, and I am sure he will continue to make a strong contribution to Australia in the future.

As always, my first love is my responsibility to the people of Mayo. Without them it would not be possible to serve as a Minister. I will honour their support with my absolute focus on delivering genuine outcomes for our region and ensuring their concerns are well represented in the Australian Parliament.

I look forward to continuing my work of implementing the Turnbull Government's agenda to deliver lower taxes, more productive cities and a stronger economy so we can all enjoy a better future.

Myth and Magic: Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

CSIRO: Published on 25 Sep 2015

Have you ever been to a gallery or museum exhibition where only the front of a sculpture or ornament is visible in the display cabinet? What if you could explore the item with your fingertips from every angle in life-size scale? We’ve joined forces with the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) to create a new way for visitors to interact with the artefacts in the Myth + Magic: Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea exhibition. By developing a new 3D content platform that uses open web standards, the physical exhibits have been transformed into fully interactive digital sculptures. Go on, explore.

 King crabs threaten Antarctic ecosystem due to warming ocean

September 28, 2015

King crabs may soon become high-level predators in Antarctic marine ecosystems where they haven't played a role in tens of millions of years, according to a new study led by Florida Institute of Technology.

"No Barrier to Emergence of Bathyal King Crabs on the Antarctic Shelf," published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ties the reappearance of these crabs to global warming.

Lead author Richard Aronson, professor and head of Florida Tech's Department of Biological Sciences, said the rising temperature of the ocean west of the Antarctic Peninsula -- one of the most rapidly warming places on the planet -- should make it possible for king crab populations to move to the shallow continental shelf from their current deep-sea habitat within the next several decades.

Researchers found no barriers, such as salinity levels, types of sediments on the sea floor, or food resources, to prevent the predatory crustaceans from arriving if the water became warm enough.

That arrival would have a huge impact.

"Because other creatures on the continental shelf have evolved without shell-crushing predators, if the crabs moved in they could radically restructure the ecosystem," Aronson said.

The study provides initial data and does not by itself prove that crab populations will expand into shallower waters. "The only way to test the hypothesis that the crabs are expanding their depth-range is to track their movements through long-term monitoring," said James McClintock of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), another author of the study.

In the 2010-11 Antarctic summer, in research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the team used an underwater camera sled to document a reproductive population of the crabs for the first time on the continental slope off Marguerite Bay on the western Antarctic Peninsula. That area is only a few hundred meters deeper than the continental shelf where the delicate ecosystem flourishes.

The overall effect of the migration of king crabs to shallower waters, explained postdoctoral scientist and study co-author Kathryn Smith of Florida Institute of Technology, would be to make the unique Antarctic ecosystem much more like ecosystems in other areas of the globe, a process ecologists call biotic homogenization.

Such changes, the researchers conclude, would fundamentally alter the Antarctic sea-floor ecosystem and diminish the diversity of marine ecosystems globally.

The data used in the paper were collected during an expedition to Antarctica run jointly by NSF, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and the Swedish Research Council. The expedition included scientists from Florida Tech, UAB, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.

Richard B. Aronson, Kathryn E. Smith, Stephanie C. Vos, James B. McClintock, Margaret O. Amsler, Per-Olav Moksnes, Daniel S. Ellis, Jeffrey Kaeli, Hanumant Singh, John W. Bailey, Jessica C. Schiferl, Robert van Woesik, Michael A. Martin, Brittan V. Steffel, Michelle E. Deal, Steven M. Lazarus, Jonathan N. Havenhand, Rasmus Swalethorp, Sanne Kjellerup, and Sven Thatje. No barrier to emergence of bathyal king crabs on the Antarctic shelf. PNAS, September 28, 2015 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1513962112

Top: If climate change allows shell-crushing predators such as king crabs to return to the Antarctic continental shelf, the crabs will likely disrupt the endemic marine fauna. Credit: Photo courtesy of Richard B. Aronson and James B. McClintock

 Changing Population Trends

October 1st, 2015: Departmental Media Release;  Department of Planning and Environment

New figures show the number of older residents in some NSW communities has exceeded the number of children for the first time in Australian history.

The Department of Planning and Environment has crunched the numbers on the state’s ageing population, to coincide with the International Day of Older Persons.

A Department spokesperson said the ABS figures show population trends across NSW are being transformed in a way never seen before in Australia.

“The number of people aged over 65 and older is beginning to outnumber those aged less than 15 years. 

“This has already happened on the Central Coast and North Coast, as well as in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven and South East and Tablelands regions,” the spokesperson said. 

Population projections indicate all areas outside of Sydney will have more older residents than under 15s by as early as 2021. 

The Department is working to ensure this changing population trend is reflected in its planning of new communities, by providing a range of housing options in Priority Precincts, close to services.

“The Department is committed to planning for the future of NSW, and that includes new communities located close to public transport, to cater for residents as they age.

“Providing green space for older members of the community to enjoy also features in both Priority Precincts and land release areas,” the spokesperson said. 

The Department is also working with other Government agencies and service providers to plan for the future needs of an ageing population.

“The Department recognises how important older Australians are to the community and the valuable contribution they make, and is working to ensure they’re properly catered for.”


September 28, 2015 - Surfing Australia

Australia's Mark 'Mono' Stewart has made history by winning the first ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship in La Jolla, California earlier this morning.

In a tightly contested final in small bumpy surf, Stewart made the most of the conditions posting a heat total of 11.13 to take down South African Antony Smyth (10.66) , Brazilian Alcino Silva Neto (8.43) and Hawaiian legend Mike Coots (6.03). 

The lifelong Byron Bay resident said he had been waiting a long time for the opportunity to compete against other adaptive athletes and to take gold was something he only ever dreamed about. 

“I am just completely overwhelmed and it is a dream come true, I still can’t really believe it has happened.”  

Stewart went on to speak about the inspiration he had drawn from the event and his fellow competitors.

“I have met so many awesome people this week who have blown me away with their stories, it is just really touching to see so many dedicated people who love the ocean as much as I do, and it has been an amazing week.”                           

Stewart and fellow Australian adaptive team mates Jake Matthews and Jade ‘Red’ Wheatley travelled to the USAk where they took on other athletes from Chile, Coast Rica, Norway, France, Mexico and thirteen other nations.

Matthews surfed well and made it through to round 2 before being eliminated whilst Wheatley powered through to be narrowly defeated in the quarter finals in what capped off a great team effort.  

The three athletes attended the ISA Adaptive Surfing Symposium in San Diego on Saturday September 26th and intend on using their knowledge to get more adaptive surfers in the water in Australia.

By teaming up with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), one of the recognized leaders in the physically challenged sports community, the ISA wants to unify world-wide efforts for the advancement of Adaptive Surfing.

This World Championship has served as the preeminent platform for physically challenged surfers to display their talents in competition.

For more results, images and video go to the ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships website:

Top: Mark 'Mono' Stuart - Image Credits: ISA /Reynolds 

 Federal Government invests $3.5 million in Solar Plant for North Queensland

Joint media release: 29 September 2015; The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment with The Hon. Warren Entsch MP, Federal Member for Leichhardt

A $23.4 million Solar Plant will now supply renewable energy to Weipa's bauxite mine, processing facilities, township and port in the first commercial diesel displacement solar plant at a remote mining operation in Northern Australia.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has partnered with Rio Tinto and First Solar to deliver the first phase of this groundbreaking two-phase project.

The Weipa Solar Plant's 18,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels have begun feeding electricity into the mine's existing mini-grid. The electricity will be purchased by Rio Tinto under a 15 year Power Purchase Agreement.

"The Australian Government, through ARENA, has provided $3.5 million support towards this landmark project, which is set to demonstrate that solar PV power is a reliable and cost effective energy option for off-grid commercial operations and remote communities," Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt said.

Contingent on the success of the first phase of the Weipa Solar Farm, ARENA has committed up to $7.8 million for a second phase, which would deliver an additional 5 MW and include storage.

The 1.7 megawatt (MW) capacity solar plant has the capacity to support up to 20 per cent of the township's daytime electricity demand. This will reduce the diesel usage at Weipa's power stations.

"The first phase of the project is set to displace up to 600,000 litres of diesel each year and reduce Weipa's greenhouse gas emissions by close to 1,600 tonnes a year. It's good for business, good for communities and good for the environment," Mr Hunt said.

"ARENA has been brought under the umbrella of the Department of the Environment to better coordinate investment in new renewable technologies, with a particular focus on solar and storage."

Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch congratulated Rio Tinto and First Solar on the significant achievement which, he said, had a reach that extended well beyond Australian shores.

"This project is another great example of leading renewable energy innovation being delivered right here in Queensland's Western Cape by business and government," Mr Entsch said.

"As well as keeping Australia at the forefront of global innovation, projects like this bring jobs and training opportunities and align well with the Government's focus on developing Northern Australia."

 NSW Cancer Plan 2016-2020 - Invitation for review and comment

The Cancer Institute NSW provides statewide strategic direction for cancer control in NSW and has a 12 year history in developing and implementing activities that support the community to decrease their risk of cancers, utilise cancer screening services and access world class treatment services.

The Cancer Institute NSW is seeking your comments on the draft NSW Cancer Plan 2016-2020. This draft has been developed following a substantial consultation process to date on key areas of cancer control in NSW with a range of partners and stakeholders, via nine workshops held in February-May 2015, including two consultation and formative research processes with Aboriginal communities and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities. Thank you to those that have contributed as part of this process.

The current NSW Cancer Plan 2011-2015 reflected an integrated and collaborative approach to reducing the burden of cancer in NSW by coordinating priorities, resources and efforts among individuals, organisations and governments agencies involved in cancer control. We will be building on these efforts in the NSW Cancer Plan 2016-2020 where we will continue to focus on:

• reducing the incidence of cancer,

• improving the survival of people with cancer

• improving the quality of life of people with cancer

The draft plan also highlights the importance of focusing particular attention on priority populations and priority cancers to both improve cancer outcomes and lessen the gap for groups within the community who experience poorer outcomes.  

Thank you for your support and involvement in the implementation of the current NSW Cancer Plan 2011-2015. We look forward to receiving your feedback on the draft state-wide Cancer Plan for 2016-2020 and working with you to further reduce the burden of cancer in our community.

A copy of the draft NSW Cancer Plan 2016-2020 is available on the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s ‘Your Say’ website. ANDHERE 

Please provide your comments and feedback on the draft plan via our online survey by 30 October 2015.

Additional comments can be sent 

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey and review the draft NSW Cancer Plan 2016-2020. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

 Blooming microflowers open new electronic frontiers

September 29, 2015

Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed artificial microflowers that self-assemble in water and mimic the natural blooming process, an important step for advances in frontier-edge electronics.

Flower-shaped structures have been the focus of research because their distinctive surfaces offer exciting potential for applications in a range of fields -- from optoelectronics and chemosensors to nanotechnology, biotechnology, biomedicine and organic electronics.

The team from the RMIT-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology Research Centre has for the first time developed microstructures shaped like flowers that build through self-repeating arrangement in water.

Lead investigator Dr Sheshanath Boshanale said the field of organic flower-shaped morphology was still in its infancy.

"This is the first time flower-shaped microforms have been developed in a water solution, opening an exciting new pathway for further research," he said.

"The artificial blooms developed by our team are just 10 microns wide -- about 10 could fit along the width of a strand of human hair.

"While tiny, they have potential to make a big impact by enabling researchers to easily and reliably build microflowers and use them to break frontiers in a range of scientific fields."

To create the microflowers, researchers mixed two organic components (NDI-bearing phosphonic acid and melamine) in water, which is then evaporated. The artificial microflowers take about three hours to fully develop, mimicking the way natural flowers bloom.

The research has been published in Scientific Reports, an open-access journal from the publishers of Nature.

Rajesh S Bhosale, Mohammad Al Kobaisi, Sidhanath V. Bhosale, Suresh Bhargava, Sheshanath V. Bhosale. Flower-like supramolecular self-assembly of phosphonic acid appended naphthalene diimide and melamine. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 14609 DOI: 10.1038/srep14609

Top: A digitally-coloured microflower magnified 20,000 times. Credit: Image courtesy of RMIT University


30 September, 2015

Researchers studying topics from migration to politics, early Japanese cultural exchanges to Aboriginal music are among the recipients of the 2016 National Library of Australia Fellowships.

Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, said the 2016 Fellowships, reinstated and expanded through the generosity of donors and supporters, attracted a field of 147 applications from Australia and overseas—more than double that of previous rounds, with about $700,000 raised through overwhelming donor support.

The Fellowships were open to both emerging and established Australian and international scholars, who could best use the National Library’s collection to further their research.

‘The response from researchers has been overwhelming in both quality and quantity,’ Ms Schwirtlich said. ‘The applicants demonstrated a high research quality, innovative projects and significant use of the national collections—and for that, we congratulate them.’

In its report to the National Library of Australia Council, the Fellowships Advisory Committee said:

‘In a challenging budgetary environment, thanks to overwhelming support from the community and philanthropic supporters, the National Library has delivered one of the most significant turnarounds for its Fellowships program and positioned Australia well for advancing our understanding of Australia and knowledge more generally.

‘If previous scholars are any example, we can expect that some of the most significant research coming out of Australia in the next couple of years will have been seeded by this program.’


Recipients of the National Library of Australia Fellowships, funded by generous philanthropic support. The Fellowships support researchers to make intensive use of our rich and varied collections.

2016 Fellows

Supported by Deidre McCann and Kevin McCann AM and the Macquarie Group Foundation

Professor Klaus Neumann, Professor, Swinburne Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology

Becoming Australian: The published autobiographical texts of first-generation immigrants from non-English speaking backgrounds

Supported by Ryan Stokes

Dr Agnieszka Sobocinska, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director, National Centre for Australian Studies, Monash University

The Volunteer Graduate Scheme and the cultural history of foreign aid

Supported by past and present members of the National Library Council

Professor Lesley Johnson, Emeritus Professor, Griffith University and University of Technology Sydney

Institutions of the Humanities

Supported by Library Patrons and Supporters

Associate Professor Michelle Arrow, Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations, Macquarie University

Private Lives, Public Politics: A new history of the 1970s in Australia

Japan Studies, supported by the Harold S. Williams Trust

Dr Luke Gartlan, School of Art History, University of St Andrews, St Andrews Fife, United Kingdom

Of Other Networks: Photograph Albums and Early Japanese-Australian Cultural Exchanges

Research in Australian Literature, supported by the Eva Kollsman and Ray Mathew Trust 

Dr Bridget Vincent, McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, University of Melbourne

Poetry and Public Apology in the Twentieth Century (Judith Wright)

Dr Amanda Harris, Research Associate and Operations Manager, PARADISEC, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney

‘Corroboree’ and Australian Cultural Identity: Public Performance, Reception and Transformation of Australian Aboriginal Music and Dance 1945-70

Mr Michael Piggott, Consultant archivist and researcher; Adjunct Lecturer, Charles Sturt University

Sir John Ferguson’s Manuscripts – A study of their provenance

Associate Professor Clinton Fernandes, ADFA, University of NSW Canberra

The bi-partisan consensus in Australian foreign policy, 1983 

 Circular Quay wharf revitalisation

NSW Government: Published on 27 Sep 2015

Sydney’s Circular Quay wharves will receive a $200 million redevelopment upgrade as part of the NSW Government’s infrastructure fund, Restart NSW.

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.