Inbox and Environment News - Issue 237 

 October 25 - 31, 2015: Issue 237

 Working with experts to solve complex problems: Resources Advisory Forum

21.10.2015: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment

The Department of Planning and Environment will hold the inaugural meeting of its Resources Advisory Forum later this month, bringing together expert environmental groups with industry and local government to discuss issues around resource planning and assessment in NSW.

The group will include representatives from expert environmental and community groups, local government and industry peak bodies representing farmers and the resource sector.

A spokesperson for the Department said the forum’s purpose will be to provide broad policy advice to the Department on complex issues around resource assessment in NSW.

“It’s another opportunity for experts in their field to share ideas directly with the Department, for the Department to seek advice on specific policies and for various stakeholders to discuss possible solutions with each other,” the spokesperson said.

Records of the Forum’s meetings will be published on the Department’s website.

Members invited include: 

Expert environment and community:

• Total Environment Centre

• Environmental Defender’s Office

• Nature Conservation Council of NSW

• NSW Aboriginal Land Council

• Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union


• Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association

• Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia

• Clean Energy Council

• NSW Farmers

• NSW Minerals Council

Local government:

• Association of Mining Related Councils

• Hunter Councils

• Namoi Regional Organisation of Councils

• Canberra Region Joint Organisation of Councils


• UNSW School of Mining Engineering

 Adélie penguin population almost doubles in East Antarctica

22nd October 2015

Adélie penguin populations in East Antarctica have almost doubled over the past 30 years, according to research published in PLOS ONE today.

Australian Antarctic Division seabird ecologists, Dr Colin Southwell and Dr Louise Emmerson, alongside colleagues from Australia, France and Japan, found that the five main regional populations of Adélie penguins in East Antarctica have increased by 69 per cent since 1980.

The team used aerial photographs and ground-based observations to count Adélie penguins during recent summer breeding seasons at 99 sites located along 4500 km of the East Antarctic coastline.

Dr Southwell said the counts were then compared with historical counts made at the same sites 30 years ago.

“Adélie penguins are top level predators that mainly eat krill and fish in the sea-ice zone, so the population increase likely reflects underlying changes in the lower levels of the food web and the sea-ice environment,” Dr Southwell said.

“Limited data on East Antarctic ecosystems makes it difficult to identify exactly how changing environmental conditions could have affected population growth, however, there are some possible explanations.

“Two aspects of the East Antarctic marine environment have changed over a large area and at a time that may be linked to the long-term population increase.

“Prior to current sustainable fishing practices, the harvesting of baleen whales, krill and fish across East Antarctic waters through the 20th century could have reduced competition between Adélie penguins and other predators for food, and improved prey availability.

“A proposed reduction in sea-ice extent in the mid-20 century may also have benefited Adélie penguins by enabling better access to the ocean for foraging.”

Dr Emmerson said the research showed a faster rate of population increase five years after periods when sea-ice cover in the winter foraging grounds decreased.

“This probably indicates that changes in winter sea-ice primarily affect young penguins before they become breeders at around five years old,” she said.

Despite the overall increase in the five regional populations (near stations at Dumont d’Urville, Casey, Davis, Mawson and Syowa), growth rates have varied. While most local populations have increased since 1980, some local populations have plateaued or decreased in recent years.

“This indicates that local processes – such as prey depletion or availability of breeding habitat at individual colonies – may affect population growth, in addition to regional processes such as reduced competition or sea-ice change,” Dr Emmerson said.

The population increase in East Antarctica contrasts strongly with research showing widespread decreases in Adélie penguin populations on the West Antarctic Peninsula over the same time.

“With Adélie penguins there is a delicate balance between too much and too little sea-ice for accessing foraging grounds, capturing prey and resting,” Dr Emmerson said.

“It has been proposed that in areas where ice is very extensive, such as East Antarctica, a reduction in sea ice extent will initially benefit the species up to a point, and then further reductions will be detrimental – as we are seeing in West Antarctica.”

The increasing Adélie population in East Antarctica also contrasts with declines in East Antarctic emperor penguin populations.

“Differing species’ ecologies can result in a range of responses to the same environmental conditions,” Dr Southwell said.

The research team said the future global status of Adélie penguins will depend on the complex interplay between the changing physical environment and the effects of human activities such as fishing and tourism.

“Further studies that look at penguin responses over space and time and also in different environments are critical for improving predictions of future changes in Adélie penguin populations,” Dr Emmerson said.

Fast Facts: 

• Five species of penguins live on the Antarctic continent: the Adélie, emperor, gentoo, chinstrap and macaroni.

• Adélie penguins are top-level Antarctic predators that eat mainly Antarctic krill and fish. 

• They are medium sized penguins, weighing 3–6 kg and standing 70 cm tall and are distinguished by the white ring surrounding the eye.

• Males and females are of similar size and difficult to tell apart visually.

• Adélie penguins breed around the entire coast and small islands of Antarctica, in places where there is exposed rock close to the ocean.

• Like all penguins, Adélies are excellent swimmers. They have been recorded travelling as far as 450 km away from their breeding sites to forage for food during the breeding season. They can dive to 140 m deep.

• They are also very determined long distance walkers, travelling up to 70 km over sea-ice to reach their breeding sites even though their short legs restrict them to a waddling gait on land. Their walking speed on sea-ice averages 2.5 km/h and swimming speed from 4–8 km/h.

• Adélie penguins are a key indicator species for the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to detect impacts from krill fishery activities.

Top: Adélie penguin populations have increased by 69% in East Antarctica over the past 30 years. (Photo: Louise Emmerson)

 Rio Tinto Warkworth mine win robs Bulga of justice

October 22, 2015: Lock the Gate Alliance

The independent planning panel’s recommendation to approve Rio Tinto’s Mount Thorley Warkworth mine expansion proposal is a blow for the Bulga community, who have fought the proposal for five years and twice won in court, says Mr John Krey, President of the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association.

"This decision is tribute to the iron grip the mining industry still has over the NSW government, even though the ruinous nature of Rio Tinto’s project has been spelt out over and over again," Mr Krey said.

"Two judges have ruled that the project has unacceptable impacts on our community, yet the Coalition government, working in lockstep with greedy mining giant Rio Tinto, has managed to dodge new rules and push it through regardless," Mr Krey said.  

"Approving this bankrupt proposal guarantees the destruction of our community, Aboriginal culture, flourishing wine and tourism industry,world unique Warkworth Sands Woodlands and biodiversity.

"This is a joke, but we’re not laughing. Thousands of people have pledged to stand with us to continue our struggle to save Bulga.

"We will now consider the options available to us, using every peaceful means available. This battle to save our township of Bulga is not over yet.

"For the past five years Rio Tinto and the Coalition have fought us at every turn, holding secret meetings, appealing our court wins, amending planning laws, reneging on an agreement to protect Saddle Ridge and stripping away appeal rights.

"The NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes took a positive, first step in again relegating consideration of the economic benefits of a mine to the same status as its social and environmental impacts, but his reforms were inadequate to secure justice.

"We need much stronger government action to protect communities like ours, and the environment, from the destructive impacts of coal mining.

"In the Hunter Valley communities such as Camberwell and Wollar face mine expansions, while the beautiful Bylong Valley is a risk of being dug up for a new, open cut coal mine."

Georgina Woods, NSW Coordinator for Lock the Gate Alliance said, "Despite securing approval for multiple large scale expansion projects, and increasing production levels, and coal the industry has shed 4,000 jobs in the last two years. Approving this project does not solve that problem: the Hunter region is slipping into a crisis that must be urgently addressed.

"The NSW Government has failed to create balanced and common sense policy that protects villages, the wine-industry and endangered bushland from coal mining. This short-sighted mining-at-any-cost policy is costing us a thriving, diverse and sustainable economic future for the region.”

Mt Thorley Continuation Project – Second review Report – 10 pages in total

From page 7 of second report Warworth Sands Woodlands gets a whole 2 sentences: 

“4.4 Warworth Sands Woodlands

The Mt Thorley Continuation Project would not cause any disturbances to the Warworth Sands Woodlands. This issue is addressed in the review report for the Warworth Continuation Project.”


Warkworth ruling reveals biodiversity offsets policy as a farce

22 October, 2015: NSW Nature Conservation Counci

The Planning Assessment Commission’s (PAC) finding today [1] that Rio Tinto’s Mount Thorley Warkworth mine expansion proposal is approvable makes a mockery of the state’s biodiversity offsets system, according to the NSW Nature Conservation Council.

If finally approved, Rio Tinto will be allowed to destroy more than 600 hectares of bushland, including areas set aside as biodiversity offsets for the original mine pit. The areas affected include three endangered ecological communities:

• Warkworth Sands Woodland (NSW Endangered Ecological Community)

• Central Hunter Grey Box–Ironbark Woodland (NSW Endangered Ecological Community)

• Central Hunter Valley Eucalypt Forest and Woodland (Federal Critically Endangered Ecological Community) [2]

“Some of the woodlands that will be destroyed include areas Rio Tinto promised to protect in perpetuity to offset the losses caused by the development of the original mine,” CEO Kate Smolski said.

“Releasing the company from its offset obligations under the original approval is a betrayal of the residents of Bulga and the broader community, and makes a mockery of the Baird government’s major projects biodiversity offsets policy.

“It also sets a dangerous precedent for the destruction of other biodiversity offset areas the community believes have been permanently protected.”

Ms Smolski said the mine expansion will have a significant impact on wildlife, including the Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptohynchus lathami), Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolour), Regent Honey Eater (Anthochaera phrygia), Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis), and many other species.

“Many of these species are suffering a death by a thousand cuts as each coal mine chips away another chunk of habitat. It is time to draw a line in the sand and ensure that environmental offsets provide what the community expects – protection of essential habitat in perpetuity.  

“Rio Tinto’s latest proposal is essentially the same project that the Land and Environment Court and Supreme Court rejected. Approving this mine would constitute a grave injustice. The NSW Government must close the door on this project once and for all.”



[2] Federal Environment Department listed Central Hunter Valley Eucalypt Forest and Woodland as a Critically Endangered Ecological Community in May this year. Rio Tinto did not require federal approval to destroy 400 hectares of this woodland because the federal listing occurred after the development application was lodged.

[3] Revealed: Major new coal mines planned for the Upper Hunter

Aussie Bird Count 2015 – Last Day today 

October 22, 2015: BirdLife Australia

Day 4 of the Aussie Backyard Bird Count and we have some preliminary results in!

So far these are the Top 10 birds that have been counted around Australia:

1. Rainbow Lorikeet

2. Noisy Miner

3. Australian Magpie

4. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

5. Red Wattlebird

6. Magpie-lark

7. New Holland Honeyeater

8. House Sparrow 

9. Galah

10. Common Myna

*These results are subject to change over the next three days and once the data has been vetted*

The ‪#‎AussieBirdCount‬ ends on Sunday, so there is still time to get involved, head to to find out more.

 Marine Friendly Sunscreen from Surf Life Saving Australia

Did you know that it's estimated that each year 6,000 tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers in oceans and rivers worldwide? 

Surf Life Saving Sunscreen Marine Friendly SPF50+ sunscreen helps protect your skin and our unique marine environment at the same time as it's oxybenzone free, and preservative free!

Your purchase supports Surf Life Saving in their efforts to provide safer beaches and communities for all Australians.

 Visit the website to find out more.

 Australia maintains strong opposition to lethal whaling

Media release: 19 October 2015, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP; Minister for the Environment

Australia has already met with the Japanese Government to discuss Japan's attempt to exclude itself from the International Court of Justice in matters relating to future whaling activities.

Australia has successfully brought action in the International Court of Justice to stop Japan's whaling programme. Japan has previously said it would abide by the ruling.

We are taking legal advice on the implications of Japan's actions.

We are disappointed by Japan's decision and we hope that Japan does not undertake so-called 'scientific' whaling this summer in the Southern Ocean.

Australia remains opposed to all forms of commercial whaling and we assert that research can be conducted using non-lethal methods.

Australia will continue to pursue the issue through the International Whaling Commission and in direct discussions with Japan.

 New amendments to help simplify the planning system go on exhibition

20.10.2015: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment today announced the public exhibition of proposed amendments to the Standard Instrument for Local Environmental Plans (SILEP).

The proposed amendments are part of the Department’s ongoing approach to improving planning policy to make it easier to use and understand. 

The five proposed amendments in the SILEP aim to cut red tape and give councils, local businesses and the community greater clarity and certainty on the:

• zoning of hardware and building supplies

• zoning of garden centres

• zoning of places of public worship

• meaning of the ‘minimum subdivision lot size’ rule

• definitions of ‘building height’ and ‘livestock processing industry’.

The revised definition of ‘livestock processing industry’ helps processors to do business with suppliers from beyond their surrounding districts and encourages more specialised processors to trade with a broader base of customers.

A Departmental spokesperson encouraged interested parties to have their say on the proposed changes, which are on exhibition until Wednesday 18 November. 

“These proposed amendments are intended to improve the clarity, performance and implementation of the SILEP, while cutting red tape,” the spokesperson said.

The proposed changes can be viewed at:


• The offices of the Department of Planning and Environment at 23-33 Bridge St, Sydney.

Submissions can be made until Wednesday 18 November:

• at

• by post to the Director, Policies and System Implementation, GPO Box 39, Sydney, NSW 2001.

 Draft Community Consultation Code

What's the draft about?

draft of the Exploration Code of Practice: Community Consultationhas been prepared by the Division of Resources and Energy (DRE).  (PDF 325.10 kb)

It provides detailed requirements and guidelines to assist coal, mineral and petroleum title holders to fulfill their community consultation obligations.

The draft Code can be viewed on the DRE’s website.

Have your say

Submit your feedback on the draft Exploration Code of Practice: Community Consultation by 30 November 2015 online, via or post to: 

NSW Department of Industry, Division of Resources and Energy, Po Box 344, Hunter Region Mail Centre, NSW 2310 1

Formal Submission: Date: Oct. 9 - Nov. 30, 2015


Agency Website  Consultation Website

Economic assessment of mining guidelines

What's this about?

The NSW Government is seeking feedback on draft Guidelines for the Economic Assessment of Mining and Coal Seam Gas Proposals.

The guidelines have been updated to ensure economic assessments are more robust and consistent across NSW. In particular, the guidelines will have a greater focus on the impact of the project on the local community, as well as the state.

Economic assessments are used to inform consent authorities about the economic impacts of a major project, and are one of a number of factors considered in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

View and comment on the revised guidelines on the NSW Planning and Environment  website until 24 November 2015.

Have your say

Submit your written feedback online  or post to:

Deputy Secretary, Growth, Design & Programs Division, Department of Planning and Environment, GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001

Exhibition Date: Oct. 14 - Nov. 24, 2015

Department of Planning & Environment - 23-33 Bridge Street,Sydney 2000

More Information:

 1300 305 695 

 Agency Website  Consultation Website 

 Have your say on a liquid fuels storage terminal at Port Botany

21.10.2015: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment

A proposal by Vopak Terminals to construct a liquid fuels storage terminal at Port Botany 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:

• construct seven liquid fuel storage tanks holding up to 200 mega litres of flammable and combustible fuels, such as petrol and diesel

• construct new pipelines under Friendship Road to an existing Vopak terminal

• install fire protection systems.

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, visit

Submissions can be made from Wednesday 21 October to Friday 20 November 2015. 

Written submissions can also be made to:

Department of Planning and Environment, Attn: Director – Industry Assessments, 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

• Randwick City Council, Administration Building and Customer Service Centre, 30 Frances Street, Randwick

• Malabar Community Library, 1203 Anzac Parade, Matraville

 Two degree Celsius warming locks in sea level rise for thousands of years

October 18, 2015: University of New South Wales

A jump in global average temperatures of 1.5°C-2°C will see the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves and lead to hundreds and even thousands of years of sea level rise, according to new research published in Nature.

The research highlights the moral significance of decisions made now about mitigating climate change.

An international team led by Dr Nicholas Golledge, a senior research fellow at New Zealand's Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre, published the study 'The multi-millennial Antarctic commitment to future sea-level rise', which predicts how the Antarctic ice-sheet will respond to future atmospheric warming.

Using state-of-the-art computer modelling, Dr Golledge and his colleagues including researchers from UNSW simulated the ice-sheet's response to a warming climate under a range of greenhouse gas emission scenarios. They found in all but one scenario (that of significantly reduced emissions beyond 2020) large parts of the Antarctic ice-sheet were lost, resulting in a substantial rise in global sea-level.

"The long reaction time of the Antarctic ice-sheet -- which can take thousands of years to fully manifest its response to changes in environmental conditions -- coupled with the fact that CO₂ lingers in the atmosphere for a very long time means that the warming we generate now will affect the ice sheet in ways that will be incredibly hard to undo," Dr Golledge said.

The 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicted that the Antarctic ice sheet would contribute only five centimetres to global sea-level rise by the end of this century even for its warmest emissions scenario.

But Professor Tim Naish, who worked with Dr Golledge on the study and was also a lead IPCC author, said that when the report was written there was insufficient scientific knowledge about how the Antarctic ice sheet might respond to future warming. Those sea-level projections could have been too modest.

"Our new models include processes that take place when ice sheets come into contact with the ocean, he said.

"Around 93% of the heat from anthropogenic global warming has gone into the ocean, and these warming ocean waters are now coming into contact with the floating margins of the Antarctic ice sheet, known as ice shelves. If we lose these ice shelves, the Antarctic contribution to sea-level rise by 2100 will be nearer 40 centimetres."

To avoid the loss of the Antarctic ice shelves, and a long-term commitment to many metres of sea-level rise, atmospheric warming needs to be kept below 2°C above present levels.

"Missing the 2°C target will result in an Antarctic contribution to sea-level rise that could be up to 10 metres higher than today," Dr Golledge said.

"The stakes are obviously very high -- 10 percent of the world's population lives within 10 metres of present sea level."

What makes the report particularly compelling is the way the results were reached.

"The striking thing about these findings is that we have taken the most conservative estimates possible," said co-author of the paper, Dr Chris Fogwill from UNSW Australia's Climate Change Research Centre.

"In all IPCC global warming scenarios, only one (RCP2.6) saw Antarctic ice shelves avoid ongoing collapse. In every other case we saw significant collapse and rising sea levels continue for hundreds to thousands of years.

"The results suggest Antarctic ice shelf stability has a tipping point dependent on a critical temperature threshold that can lead to substantial sea level rise even if we reduce emissions after that threshold has been reached."

The findings raise an ethical decision for us all, according to Dr Golledge.

"Without significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next couple of decades, we will commit the Antarctic ice sheet to ongoing and widespread melting for the next few thousand years. Is that something for which we really want to be responsible?"

Dr Golledge said the time has come for some serious questions to be answered.

"It becomes an issue of whether we choose to mitigate now for the benefit of future generations or adapt to a world in which shorelines are significantly re-drawn.

"In all likelihood we're going to have to do both, because we are already committed to 25 centimetres by 2050, and at least 50 centimetres of sea-level rise by 2100."

According to Dr Golledge the last time CO₂ concentrations in the atmosphere were similar to present levels was about three million years ago.

"At that time average global temperatures were two or three degrees warmer, large parts of the Antarctic ice-sheet had melted, and sea-levels were a staggering 20 metres higher than they are now."

"We're currently on track for a global temperature rise of a couple of degrees which will take us into that ballpark, so there may well be a few scary surprises in store for us, possibly within just a few hundred years."

Journal References:

1. N. R. Golledge, D. E. Kowalewski, T. R. Naish, R. H. Levy, C. J. Fogwill, E. G. W. Gasson. The multi-millennial Antarctic commitment to future sea-level rise. Nature, 2015; 526 (7573): 421 DOI: 10.1038/nature15706  

2. Alexander Robel. Climate science: The long future of Antarctic melting. Nature, 2015; 526 (7573): 327 DOI: 10.1038/526327a 

 Dr Jane Elith, Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science:  Oct 18, 2015

Jane Elith is one of the most influential environmental scientists in the world, though she rarely ventures into the field.

She develops and assesses species distribution models, which are used by governments, land and catchment managers and conservationists around the world—in short, for applying the lessons of ecology.

In Australia for example her models can help farmers restore damaged soils, map the spread of cane toads, and compare the implications of development options in the Tiwi Islands for threatened plants and animals that have largely disappeared from the mainland.

Jane is an early career researcher, yet in the field of environment and ecology, she is the 11th most cited author worldwide over the past 10 years, and is the only Australian woman on the highly cited list, according to the information company Thomson Reuters.

Jane is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s School of Biosciences and a member of the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis.

For her contributions to environmental management worldwide Dr Jane Elith receives the 2015 Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year.

It’s not surprising that Jane Elith ended up doing something practical towards managing the environment. With a chemical engineer for a father and a mother who was a practising psychologist, she was always interested in science and a good student at school. And Jane has always been passionate about the bush.

“I love getting out into the wilderness—hiking, canoeing, and camping. And now I use statistical models to describe the patterns of species we see, where and how frequently they occur in the environments they encounter. It’s a niche that fits me well. I’ve ended up in an area which links my interest in nature and my liking for data and models.”


Caring for Mullet Creek

Saturday 31 October, 8:30am – 12noon

Bushcare planting day at Irrawong Reserve. Come and join us for a fun family morning and help plant a tree. It’s a great opportunity to get involved with this positive environmental project. 

This six year project, now in its 4th year, aims to protect the biodiversity of Mullet Creek and tributaries from Elanora Heights down to Warriewood through Ingleside Chase and Irrawong Reserves. 

Where: Meet at the end of Irrawong Road near the main walking track. 

Please bring a hat, water bottle and wear enclosed shoes. Morning tea provided. No bookings are required for this activity. 

Wetlands to waterfall walk 

Saturday 31 October, 9 – 11am

Come and join us for a spring walk through the Warriewood Wetlands. Spring is an outstanding time to experience our wetlands come alive with wildlife and flowering plants. With a range of native vegetation communities this area provides significant habitat for many larger fauna species now lost in the Sydney region. This is a great opportunity to discover more about our amazing plants and wildlife from our expert guide. If interested you can also be part of the bushcare planting day. 

Where: Warriewood Wetlands and Irrawong Reserve (meet point provided on booking) Bookings Essential! 

Online: In person: Coastal Environment Centre, Lake Park Road, North Narrabeen. Phone: 1300 000 232 (Reception – Option 1)

 Industry and community confidence in mining boosted

23.10.2015: Departmental Media Release; Department of Planning and Environment

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment today announced the publication of the first four Integrated Mining Policy guidelines.

These whole of Government guidelines aim to:

• improve the regulation and assessment of major mining projects

• help manage the environmental and social impacts of mining

• ensure the community has access to relevant and timely information about mining projects.

A Departmental spokesperson said the NSW Government had listened to community and industry stakeholders who raised concerns that the system is too complicated and difficult to navigate.

“Importantly, the Integrated Mining Policy does not reduce environmental standards or community consultation requirements in an industry that creates thousands of NSW jobs and stimulates the economy,” the spokesperson said.

The following guidelines were finalised today:

• Mine Application Guideline – requires proponents to describe their mining proposal, both to the Government and the community, in a way that more clearly explains what is being proposed and how the

• mine design has been developed to avoid, minimise or mitigate potential impacts.

• Web based Reporting Guideline – encourages operators to publish appropriate operational details on their website in a clear and transparent manner.

• Independent Audit Guideline – ensures that independent audits (used by the Government to help ensure that approval conditions for mining operations are being complied with are conducted in a consistent and transparent manner.

• Water Regulation Overview – provides a summary of water policy, legislation and regulation that applies to resources developments in NSW.

The Integrated Mining Policy products were exhibited for public comment in two stages in mid-2015. The final guidelines take these comments into account and have been amended as appropriate.

The other Integrated Mining Policy guidelines from Stage 1 and 2 are currently being finalised while the Economic Guidelines – which form the final component of the Policy are on exhibition until 24 NovemberHERE

Further information:

 Economic assessment of mining guidelines

What's this about?

The NSW Government is seeking feedback on draft Guidelines for the Economic Assessment of Mining and Coal Seam Gas Proposals.

The guidelines have been updated to ensure economic assessments are more robust and consistent across NSW. In particular, the guidelines will have a greater focus on the impact of the project on the local community, as well as the state.

Economic assessments are used to inform consent authorities about the economic impacts of a major project, and are one of a number of factors considered in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

View and comment on the revised guidelines on the NSW Planning and Environment  website until 24 November 2015.

Have your say

Submit your written feedback online  or post to:

Deputy Secretary, Growth, Design & Programs Division, Department of Planning and Environment, GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001

Exhibition Date: Oct. 14 - Nov. 24, 2015

Department of Planning & Environment

23-33 Bridge Street

Sydney 2000

More Information:

 1300 305 695 

 Agency Website  Consultation Website 

 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




24th NSW Coastal Conference 2015 and The Annual NSW Coastal Management Awards

11 - 13 November 2015, Forster, NSW

The NSW Coastal Conference Committee invites you to participate in our annual state Conference, hosted this year by Great Lakes Council.

Conference Background

The Conference has been held annually for the past 23 years and has grown to become one of the most successful coastal industry events held in Australia.

The conference attracts over 220 delegates each year, who are interested in or working within the field of coastal and estuary management research, education, service provision and policy.

Representatives from the three tiers of government, user groups and community volunteer organisations also have a high level of attendance and participation. 

Past conferences have been held in Ulladulla (2014), Port Macquarie (2013), Kiama (2012), Tweed (2011), Batemans Bay (2010), Ballina (2009), Wollongong (2008), Yamba (2007), Coffs Harbour (2006) and Narooma (2005). 

The three day event is comprised of plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, field trips (addressing some of the local coastal, estuary and marine management issues), networking events and the Annual NSW Coastal Management Awards

The Annual NSW Coastal Management Awards: Nominations Now Open

The Annual NSW Coastal Management Awards are presented to publicly recognise and acknowledge the contributions of individuals, groups, organisations and agencies toward the ecologically sustainable management of the NSW coastal zone. The Awards will be presented on the evening of Thursday 12th November at the NSW Coastal Conference Dinner. 

Find out more at: 

 Tweed Shire Koala Endangered Population Preliminary Determination



The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, has made a Final Determination to REJECT a proposal to list a population of the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus (Goldfuss, 1817) in the Tweed local government area east of the Pacific Highway as an ENDANGERED POPULATION in the Schedules of the Act. NOTICE OF PRELIMINARY DETERMINATION 

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, has made a Preliminary Determination to support a proposal to list a population of the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus (Goldfuss, 1817) between the Tweed and Brunswick Rivers east of the Pacific Highway as an ENDANGERED POPULATION in Part 2 of Schedule 1 of the Act. 

Any person may make a written submission regarding the Preliminary Determination. Send submissions to: Scientific Committee, PO Box 1967, Hurstville BC 1481. Attention Suzanne Chate. Submissions must be received by 4 December 2015. 

Copies of these Determinations, which contains the reasons for these determinations, may be obtained free of charge on the Internet, by contacting the Scientific Committee Unit, PO Box 1967 Hurstville BC 1481. Tel: (02) 9585 6940 or Fax (02) 9585 6606, or in person at the Office of Environment and Heritage Information Centre, Level 14, 59–61 Goulburn Street, Sydney. 

Copies of the determination may also be obtained from National Parks and Wildlife Service Area Offices and Visitor Centres, subject to availability. 

Dr Mark Eldridge 

Chairperson NSW Scientific Committee.

From New South Wales Government Gazette – Published online October 9th, 2015:

 Australia seeking to ensure sustainable krill fishery

19th October 2015

Ensuring the effective and sustainable management of krill fisheries in the Southern Ocean is one of Australia’s top priorities for the 34th annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), starting in Hobart today.

Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, Dr Nick Gales, will lead Australia’s delegation as Commissioner and will be joined by representatives from 23 nations and the European Union for the 10-day meeting. 

Dr Gales said Australia will continue to promote the orderly and precautionary development of the krill fishery.

“Krill are a cornerstone of the Antarctic ecoysystem and the staple diet of many animals, including seals, whales, fish, squid, penguins and other seabirds,” Dr Gales said.

“While current harvests are well below the total allowable catch set by CCAMLR, demands on the fishery are expanding as krill is increasingly recognised as a valuable resource in medical products and supplements, and as fish meal.”

“The krill management system is still under development and Australia is working closely with all CCAMLR nations to ensure larger predators can continue to rely on krill as their main food source.”

Dr Gales said Australia has played a leading role in the development of sustainable fisheries and is well recognised for its expertise in krill research and management.

Ensuring the impacts of climate change are factored in to CCAMLR management decisions will also be an Australian priority.

“Australia will be joined by Norway in proposing the establishment of a climate change focused group to provide information, advice and recommendations on how best to integrate climate change considerations into the work of the Commission.”

“This follows a symposium hosted by Australia, Chile and the United States earlier this year at which the impact of climate change on Antarctic marine living resources was a key topic of discussion.”

Australia will continue its efforts to establish a system of marine protected areas in East Antarctica.

“Alongside France and the European Union, Australia will be seeking agreement to a system of marine protected areas (MPAs), totalling approximately one million square kilometres,” Dr Gales said.

“The proposed MPAs seek to conserve examples of the region’s biodiversity, and would offer important reference areas that will help us to monitor and understand the effects of fishing outside the MPAs, as well as the consequences of climate change on Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems.”

The proposal provides for managing multiple uses, including fishing.

 North Coast environmental zone reforms

20.10.2015: Ministerial Media Release - The Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning

Planning Minister Rob Stokes today released a range of reforms for environmental zones across the North Coast to protect the region’s most environmentally sensitive areas and safeguard farmland.

Mr Stokes said today’s announcement means local councils now have the clarity needed to identify the most appropriate zone for environmentally important areas.

“Today’s reforms resolve a longstanding challenge for the North Coast community in protecting the region’s pristine local environment while respecting and safeguarding its rich farmland,” Mr Stokes said. 

“We’ve been very careful to make sure the primary use of the land, whether it’s for conservation or agriculture, is the key driver behind the zoning decision so farmers and the community can proceed with confidence.”

The reforms come from recommendations of an independent review undertaken into the use of environmental zones by North Coast councils in their Local Environmental Plans. 

The reforms clarify that:

• Zoning decisions will reflect the existing primary use of the land

• Environmental zones will only be applied to places on the North Coast where the primary use of the land is environmental conservation (E2) or environmental management (E3)

• Before proposing an E2 or E3 zone, the council will need to validate the ecological evidence that supports the rezoning

• Councils can use vegetation maps to recognise environmentally sensitive land on farms without having to rezone land or impose new restrictions

• Member for Lismore Thomas George and Member for Tweed Geoff Provest welcomed the reforms.

“This is an important step in ensuring landholders and the community have certainty in what is permitted in different areas throughout our community,” Mr George said.

“We want to make sure we strike the right balance to protect our environment and our local economy,” said Mr Provest.

The recommendations will initially apply to the five North Coast councils of Ballina, Byron, Kyogle, Lismore and Tweed. There will be further public consultation to consider a similar approach for environmental zoning in other NSW council areas.

For more information

 Marine park zoning maps proving popular

19 Oct 2015: DPI

More than 1400 copies of electronic maps have been downloaded since the NSW Marine Park Zoning Maps were made available for smart phones and tablets via the Avenza PDF Maps app.

The maps allow people to identify where they are in a marine park and what types of activities are permitted in that zone.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) District Fisheries Officer, Brett Vercoe, said those who had downloaded the maps had valuable information at their fingertips.

"The app uses the GPS in your mobile device to show you exactly where you are in a marine park and what types of activities you can do," Mr Vercoe said.

"With more than 1400 maps downloaded, members of the community have the ability to access important information on the water, without the need for expensive chart plotting systems.

"They can now easily ensure they only fish in zones where fishing is permitted, and don't accidentally creep into sanctuary zones."

The Avenza PDF Maps App and the Marine Park Zoning Maps are free for download from the iTunes Store or Google Play.

Once the app is installed, you can go to the map store to search for and download the desired marine park map.

You can search for maps by marine park name, for example 'Jervis Bay Marine Park' or 'NSW DPI Fisheries' for all available maps, but must ensure you enable location services for the App.

The maps are stored locally on your device and phone reception isn't required to use them, making them ideal for offshore use.

Paper zoning maps and user guides are still available from Marine Park offices, bait and tackle stores, service stations and tourism information centres.

 Print your own 3D solar field

CSIRO: 20 Oct 2015

Captions available: print your own solar field/video-transcript

Australia captures the highest volume of solar irradiance (ideal for the production of solar thermal energy), of any country in the world. How will we capture and convert it to electricity? Take a peek with our 3D printable model from the Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI), led by CSIRO. 

ASTRI is an eight year international collaboration with leading research institutions, industry bodies and universities that will position Australia in concentrating solar thermal (CST) technologies. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing up to $35 million to support the $87.3 million initiative.

Visit for more information.

 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

 Proposed land resources legislation

On 15 October 2015, the NSW Government introduced a legislative package (PDF: ) in Parliament as part of its reform of the regulation of resource exploration and production in NSW. 

The proposed reforms include the strategic release framework, land access framework, Harmonisation Bill, work health and safety framework, and the EPA as lead regulator.

Strategic release framework 

The proposed Strategic Release Framework for Coal and Petroleum exploration resets coal and gas exploration in NSW through the use of strategic release and competitive allocation of exploration licences and assessment leases.

Cross-agency input and community consultation will enable upfront assessment of the known regional geological, social, environmental and economic factors prior to any areas being released for exploration.

A competitive allocation process for licences will safeguard against claims of corruption and ensure better outcomes for the people of NSW.

The proposed reform implements recommendations of theIndependent Commission Against Corruption, the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer (PDF 243.59kb: Final Report of the Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW - September 2014),  the Coal Exploration Steering Group and the commitments made in the Strategic Statement on NSW Coal (PDF 240. 86kb :Strategic Statement on NSW Coal - August 2014 ) and the NSW Gas Plan

Land access framework

The proposed land access framework offers a fairer, more efficient, consistent and transparent land access arbitration process.  

Features of the framework include:

• a rigorous selection process for arbitrators

• performance measures for arbitrators

• capped negotiation, mediation and arbitration costs to be met by the explorer

• guidance on timeframes and procedures

• the use of legal representation and site inspections

• clearer guidance on 'significant improvements'.

The reform implements the legislative components of the recommendations in the report by Bret Walker SC on land access arbitration.

Harmonisation Bill

The Harmonisation Bill brings the Mining Act 1992 and the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 into closer alignment in matters to do with the administration of titles, conditions, and compliance and enforcement. It is the first stage in delivering a single resources act in NSW, in line with the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer's recommendations.

Work health and safety framework

This reform will establish a consistent legislative framework for work health and safety (WHS) across the petroleum and mining sectors by extending the WHS (Mines) Act to apply to petroleum workplaces. It promotes best practice risk-based WHS standards and provides clarity for industry looking to implement effective WHS measures in line with their legal requirements.

EPA as lead regulator

The Bill provides a legislative basis for the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) becoming the State's sole authority for compliance and enforcement of all non-work, health and safety consent conditions for gas exploration and production.


MEDIA RELEASE Thursday, 15 October 2015: Anthony Roberts Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Mark Speakman Minister for the Environment

Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts and Environment Minister Mark Speakman, today said the NSW Government has taken a major step in delivering the recommendations of the independent NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer around coal seam gas and the NSW Gas Plan, with the introduction of new legislation into State Parliament. Mr Roberts said the new laws build on the reforms already introduced by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government to better regulate the state’s resources sector. “This Government has made a priority of resetting the regulation of the resources sector and we are delivering,” Mr Roberts said. “We needed to do this to ensure that we have the safe, sustainable and secure access to the state’s natural resources.” 

Environment Minister Mark Speakman said on 1 July 2015, the EPA became responsible for compliance with and enforcement of conditions of approval for gas activities in NSW (excluding work health and safety matters). 

“As the sole independent regulator of gas activities in NSW, the EPA will provide effective and robust regulation of the gas industry,” Mr Speakman said. 

“The Bills provide clearer guidance for communities and industry, help reduce land use conflict, provide upfront community consultation and better recognition of the true value of resources,” Mr Roberts said. “They also provide a vastly enhanced level of transparency and accountability and serve as the first stage in delivering a single resources Act for the state, as recommended by the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane.” 

The new frameworks proposed in the Bills include: 

1. Strategic Release Framework– Restores confidence in the NSW coal and gas exploration sectors through the use of strategic release and competitive allocation of exploration licences and assessment leases. This will ensure economic, environmental and social factors are considered, with community consultation conducted upfront, before a proposed exploration area is released for a competitive process. 

2. Land access negotiations – A fairer, more efficient, consistent and transparent land access arbitration for both landholders and explorers, as recommended by Mr Bret Walker SC. 

3. Legislative harmonisation – Provides greater clarity by bringing the Mining Act 1992 and the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 into closer alignment. It also offers a wider range of enforcement tools, including new directions powers, enforceable undertakings and a broader range of penalty notice offences. 

4. Workplace health and safety (WHS) – A new framework promoting best practice risk-based WHS standards in the petroleum and mining sectors. 

5. Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as lead regulator – The Bill enshrines the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as the State’s lead regulator for compliance and enforcement of all non-work, health and safety consent conditions for gas exploration and production. 

The five Bills submitted to Parliament today will join the recently introduced Improved Management of Exploration Regulation (IMER) framework in providing an integrated approach to ensuring the efficient, competitive and transparent allocation and the safe use of the state’s natural resources. 

For more information visit:

Creative writing boosts kids' confidence and creativity

20 October 2015: University of Sydney

Study reveals the power of creative writing for children

Initial findings from an evaluation of Redfern's Sydney Story Factory reveal the value of creative writing experiences in fostering children's imagination and writing.

Established four years ago, Sydney Story Factory is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to nurture the creativity, confidence and wellbeing of young people, aged 7 to 17, through creative writing and storytelling workshops.

Designed particularly for Indigenous students and children from non-English speaking backgrounds, Sydney Story Factory’s workshops are open to all, with each student receiving one-on-one assistance from volunteer tutors. Workshops are designed to foster creative thinking and engagement in learning, improve writing skills and boost confidence in a fun environment.

A team of academics from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education and Social Work is currently undertaking an evaluation of the impact of Sydney Story Factory workshops.

“The Sydney Story Factory evaluation focuses on the importance of creative writing in helping to develop children’s imagination, creativity, confidence and writing skills over time,” said Robyn Ewing AM, Vice President of Sydney Story Factory and Professor of Teacher Education and the Arts.

Strong creative thinking and learning skills are critical to students’ social and emotional wellbeing, academic achievement and lifelong learning

Professor Robyn Ewing

Professor Ewing is overseeing the research project undertaken by colleagues Associate Professor Jackie Manuel and Honorary Associate Professor David Smith. Researcher Amy Mortimer, a Sydney primary school teacher, will also complete her PhD on Sydney Story Factory later this year.

The team’s evaluation is underpinned by the five dimensions that research suggests are essential in fostering the development of creativity: inquisitiveness, imagination, collaboration, discipline and persistence.

Analysis of students’ writing samples, self-report questionnaires, student interviews and observation schedules are being used by the researchers to develop 10 case studies of children that will illustrate the flow-on effects of regular participation in Sydney Story Factory workshops over a minimum two-year period.

Early findings point to the positive impact of participation in Sydney Story Factory workshops for children, including:

significant improvement in writing quality

increased engagement with writing, for longer

better planning, organisation and ideas

enhanced ability to reflect and self-evaluate

increased confidence to work with others, and

more willingness to talk to people, particularly adults.

Professor Ewing said these results had clear implications for current classroom approaches to creativity and problem-solving, and provided rich research-based evidence to transform how writing is taught in schools.

“In many schools storytelling and creative writing are not prioritised as much as they should be, given the emphasis on high-stakes tests like NAPLAN. These interim findings suggest that providing time for the creative writing process is imperative in every classroom. Strong creative thinking and learning skills are critical to students’ social and emotional wellbeing, academic achievement and lifelong learning,” she said.

“Sydney Story Factory provides a much-needed respite to the institutionalised, over-structured and often reductionist literacy focus currently being mandated by both state and federal governments.”

Preliminary findings from this evaluation and future research plans will be explored at a Sydney Ideas panel discussion on Wednesday 28 October.Sydney Story Factory: igniting creativity in children and young people one story at a time will explore how Sydney Story Factory is achieving its vision to help young people find their voice. The event will be chaired by Dr Catherine Keenan, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Sydney Story Factory and Honorary Associate in the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education and Social Work.

The Sydney Story Factory evaluation project will be completed in mid-2016.

 Study finds health system needs overhaul to allow people to die at home

21 October 2015

A five-year research project  (PDF: 17.5MB) from the Western Sydney University is calling for an overhaul of the health system to cater to the overwhelming desire by most Australians to die in their own homes.

Up to 80% of Australians would prefer to spend their last days in the comfort and intimacy of their own homes, yet only 20% manage to fulfill this wish.

To help address this profound gap, the Caring at End of Life research team, led by Associate Professor Debbie Horsfall, interviewed over 200 carers, caring networks and service providers under an Australian Research Council grant.

The participants were interviewed individually, or in focus groups across eight urban and regional locations in NSW and ACT.

Associate Professor Horsfall says as long as family and friends provided support, caregivers could provide in-home palliative care, even when they had no prior knowledge or skill set.

"The participants demonstrated they could learn the complex physical and emotional end-of-life skills they needed to care for people in their dying days," she says

"You can't do this job alone, you need the help and support of friends, family, neighbours, workplaces and service providers. When there was this network of support, people were able to care for each other and the dying person and do this well.'

"Even though the help of formal service providers was necessary and appreciated, they were identified as marginal to the caring network."

Associate Professor Horsfall says dying at home is more common in many other countries, including those in Europe, the study highlighted how Australians often mistakenly assume you simply aren't allowed to make this decision.

"A common pattern was found where people believed they needed permission to take the patient home for their final days, but found it almost impossible to escape the formal health care system," she says.

"For example, family members often asked doctors for their permission to leave hospital and head home, but many experts simply denied the request."

Associate Professor Horsfall says with additional structured support and formal assistance, home carers can make even better use of the informal arrangements they already use, including:

• Family, friends and neighbours networks

• Community and volunteer services

• Digital media, such as online health care forums and social media

"What we need are services and informal carers working together to help people die at home if they want," she says.

"There is room for improvement in relationships between service providers and home based caring networks, and much of this is about the health system supporting people's choices and giving them the information and resources they need, where and when they need them."

Associate Professor Horsfall says while more services would of course be welcomed, what is needed right now is simply a re-orientation of the services already available.

"If we can do this it's a win-win: people get to die where they want to; carers well-being is looked after, the burden on hospitals is eased, and the community builds the skills it needs," she says.

"People said caring for someone made them stronger, better people and often strengthened connections in the community. So caring for someone at home can be good for everyone involved."

Hashtag Stupidity has Gone Too Far: Costumers 

 CSI RO Glowing fingerprints

Published on 20 Oct 2015

Following a burglary, materials scientist Dr Kang Liang has taken crime scene investigation into his own hands. Kang has developed a new on the spot forensics technique that makes fingerprints glow in only 30 seconds. The method could enhance investigations as the ‘glow’ effect provides higher resolution images for better, more accurate analysis.

 Glowing Fingerprints to Fight Crime

20 October, 2015

A CSIRO scientist who had his home broken into has developed a new crime scene identification technique to help fingerprint criminals.

By adding a drop of liquid containing crystals to surfaces, investigators using a UV light are able to see invisible fingerprints "glow" in about 30 seconds.

The strong luminescent effect creates greater contrast between the latent print and surface enabling higher resolution images to be taken for easier and more precise analyses.

The research was published in the Advanced Materials journal today.

CSIRO materials scientist Dr Kang Liang believes that this technique could be used for more challenging evidence where conventional 'dusting' is not appropriate.

"While police and forensics experts use a range of different techniques, sometimes in complex cases evidence needs to be sent off to a lab where heat and vacuum treatment is applied," Dr Liang said.

"Our method reduces these steps, and because it's done on the spot, a digital device could be used at the scene to capture images of the glowing prints to run through the database in real time."

CSIRO's study shows that tiny crystals rapidly bind to fingerprint residue, including proteins, peptides, fatty acids and salts, creating an ultrathin coating that's an exact replica of the pattern.

"Because it works at a molecular level it's very precise and lowers the risk of damaging the print," Dr Liang said.

CSIRO tested the method on nonporous surfaces including window and wine glass, metal blades and plastic light switches, with successful results.

Fingerprint identification has been used as a key method by law enforcement and forensic experts for over 100 years. Adding CSIRO's method to the mix could save valuable time, costs and enhance investigations.

"When my house was broken into I saw how common practice fingerprinting is for police," Dr Liang said.

"Knowing that dusting has been around for a long time, I was inspired to see how new innovative materials could be applied to create even better results.

"As far as we know, it's the first time that these extremely porous metal organic framework (MOF) crystals have been researched for forensics."

MOF crystals have a number of benefits in that they are cheap, react quickly and can emit a bright light. The technique doesn't create any dust or fumes, reducing waste and risk of inhalation.

The method could have other valuable applications including new biomedical devices and drug delivery.

CSIRO is now looking to partner with law enforcement agencies to apply the technique. The full research paper can be accessed from Advanced Materials

Below: Different colours can be achieved by altering the chemistry of the solution. This photo shows the method on the blades of two knives.

Stephen Wan - can an algorithm sense our emotions?

Published on 19 Oct 2015

Transcript available: /CSIROseven/Youtube/Stephen Wan/video-transcript

With over 100 million tweets posted every 24 hours, Stephen can take the pulse of Australia to learn about public opinion on the topics of the day. He creates algorithms that can turn the bottomless sea of social media data into something that is useful, developing programs that are sensitive to the subtle nuances of language. 

Learn more about Stephen and the #CSIROseven

 Next stop top five for Matildas

19 Oct 2015

Captain Lisa De Vanna is confident the next crop of Matildas will establish Australia as a top five nation in women’s football by the next World Cup.

Australia has been a consistent top 10 country since 2011 but the recent World Cup performance in Canada, headlined by the Matildas’ second round victory over Brazil, has given the team a new level of belief and appreciation from the Australian public.

“The World Cup in Canada has given us more status and I can see in four years’ time with the group we have that the interest in women’s football is going to be massive,” said De Vanna, during a  recent Matildas training camp at the AIS.

“It’s great that the public got behind us. That’s what we need, especially the young girls who have Snapchat and Instagram and all that social media. It really gives them the encouragement and self- belief to go out and perform.

“I know people doubted me when I said before the last World Cup that they will be very surprised by the way we took on the world. But we really did take it to the world in the last World Cup and I’m confident we are going to be in the top five in the next four years.”

The Matildas start a tour of China October 19-28, playing against the host nation and England in what is currently the last scheduled international practice matches before the Olympic qualifiers in Japan between February 29 and March 9 next year.

With only 12 countries qualifying for Rio, the Matildas have to overcome some of world’s best football nations in the Asian confederation before they even think about the Olympic Games.

To qualify for Rio Australia needs to finish in the top two in the round robin tournament against Japan (ranked fourth), North Korea (sixth), China (15th), South Korea (17th) and Vietnam (33rd).

Coach Alen Stajcic is under no illusion about how difficult qualifying for Rio will be and is banking on his players continuing to develop through the new W-League season and the various team camps between now and the end of summer.

“Asia is without a doubt the strongest confederation in the world in terms of women’s football so for us to qualify is almost harder than it will be when you get there,” he said.

“Qualifying for the tournament is massive. Whichever countries get there from Asia will be in medal contention.

“I certainly see with this team, that if it can grow and improve from the World Cup, there is no reason it can’t compete for medals at this Olympics and the next World Cup.”

 Australia’s Candidacy to the Human Rights Council

19 October 2015 - Joint media release: Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP

Today we officially launch Australia’s candidacy for membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2018–20 term.

This is the first time Australia has sought membership of the Human Rights Council.

Our inaugural candidacy embodies our commitment to the aims and purposes of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the ongoing promotion and protection of human rights, both here in Australia and around the world.

On the Council, Australia would focus on advancing the rights of women and girls, governance and democratic institutions, freedom of expression, religious freedoms, human rights for indigenous peoples around the globe, and national human rights institutions.

We would continue to be a strong advocate for global abolition of the death penalty, one of Australia’s core human rights objectives.

Australia would aim to advance human rights in practical, sensible ways that have far-reaching systematic effects over time–with a focus on our Indo-Pacific region.

We would bring a principled and pragmatic approach to our term on the Human Rights Council, the same approach we demonstrated during our recent membership of the UN Security Council.

 Western Sydney Airport's draft Airport plan and draft EIS

Media Release: 19 October 2015

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss today delivered a major milestone in the development of an airport for Western Sydney—releasing the draft Airport Plan and the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public consultation.

“The new airport will create tens of thousands of jobs for the people of Western Sydney through the construction phase and during operations. As a full-service international airport, it will be a business and tourism hub, creating long-term jobs and economic prosperity for the region,” Mr Truss said.

“The Australian Government is committed to a robust assessment of environmental, social and economic impacts to ensure the proposed airport can deliver the best outcomes for the Western Sydney community.

“The draft Airport Plan and the draft EIS have been released together today to ensure that all issues surrounding the airport development can be considered simultaneously. The community has 60 days to comment, with submissions closing on 18 December 2015.

“Ending decades of uncertainty and indecision, the Australian Government is getting on with the job of making a new airport for Western Sydney a reality, officially declaring the airport site in July and improving the road network servicing the region as part of our $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan.

“Importantly, we are moving to a position where construction of the new airport could be underway next year, with the airport commencing operations in the mid-2020s.

“With Western Sydney's population set to balloon from two million to three million people over the next two decades, a Western Sydney airport is about planning for that future.

“I encourage interested members of the community to make a submission on the draft Airport Plan and the draft EIS. Following the 60-day consultation period, the Airport Plan and EIS will be finalised, taking account of submissions received.”

To find out more about the submission process and community consultation activities for both the draft Airport Plan and draft EIS, visit:

 Diamonds triumph in opening Constellation Cup Test

October 20, 2015: Netball Australia -

The Australian Diamonds have taken an early lead in the 2015 Constellation Cup series after defeating arch rivals New Zealand 50-44 in the opening Test at Christchurch’s Horncastle Arena.

The six-goal win was the Diamonds ninth straight Constellation Cup victory and 11th from the past 12 meetings between the two countries.

In their first meeting since the final of the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 final, the Diamonds found their groove after a sluggish start and won every quarter to deny Silver Ferns coach Wai Taumaunu a win in her 50th Test.

Caitlin Bassett was again a dominant figure in the goal circle for Australia, shooting 38 goals at 86 per cent accuracy and was well fed by Natalie Medhurst (12 goals, 13 assists) and Paige Hadley.

Medhurst was named the player-of-the match.

Sharni Layton took over the goal defence bib from the retired Julie Corletto and her combination with captain Laura Geitz down back was rock solid after the Silver Ferns got away to a strong start.

Layton’s timing and judgement was impeccable, pulling off a game-high four intercepts along with six deflections.

Kim Ravaillion enjoyed a solid four-quarter contest in the centre with her New Zealand counterpart Laura Langman.

Gabi Simpson became Australia’s 164th Test player when she made her international debut after coming into wing defence mid-way through the second term to replace vice-captain Renae Ingles, who was forced off the court with a leg complaint.

Clare McMeniman was also given a run at wing defence in the final quarter as Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander began to trial new combinations.

Geitz said it was an encouraging performance by the Diamonds but knows there’s still plenty to work on ahead of the second Test in Auckland on Thursday night (5.30pm, AEDT).

“It was a bit of a scratchy game but that’s to be expected. We haven’t been on court in a Test match for quite some time so we knew it would be a bit backwards and forwards,” Geitz said after the match.

“Just really happy with the guts and determination the girls showed out there and definitely still a lot we can improve on.”

The Diamonds took control of the match early in the second term and withstood a Silver Ferns fightback either side of half-time.

Australia led by as much as eight goals early in the final quarter and the Silver Ferns were unable to make a late rally as they did in August’s final of the Netball World Cup.

Geitz was pleased to see Simpson earn her first Test cap and McMeniman return to the international arena after making her international debut late last year.

With the retirements of Corletto, Kimberlee Green and Rebecca Bulley following the Netball World Cup, there are opportunities for the next group of athletes to stamp themselves as world-class performers.

“We’ve lost 150 Tests worth of experience with girls that have retired and the biggest thing we told the new girls was just to play the game they play best and not try to be a Julie Corletto or a Kimberlee Green,” Geitz said.

“That’s what they did really well. It’s a great opportunity to blood some young players and get some different combinations out there.

“We had Gabs (Simpson) out on court for her first game tonight and hopefully we can see Gretel Tippett out there soon as well.”

Official Result & Statistics

Australian Diamonds (50) defeated New Zealand (44)

Australian Diamonds shooting statistics

Caitlin Bassett 38/44 (86%)

Natalie Medhurst 12/14 (85%)

New Zealand shooting statistics

Bailey Mes 24/28 (85%)

Jodi Brown 20/25 (80%)

Pictures Constellation Cup- Test One, Christchurch NZ

Diamonds (50) defeated Silver Ferns (44) in the opening Test of the Constellation Cup. Photography: Michael Bradley

 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. AND HERE 

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

Additional comments can be sent to 

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

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.