Inbox and Environment News: Issue 257 

 March 27 - April 2, 2016: Issue 257

Pittwater's Environment This week:

Barrenjoey Headland Slated To Be Changed for Accommodation and Conferences Again(March2016):Public to Be Excluded From Keepers, Boatmans and Fishers Cottages and Areas Around These

Barrenjoey Head historic buildings use

The concept plans illustrate options for the adaptive re-use of the historic buildings within the Barrenjoey Head precinct and the provision of toilets for the estimated 200,000 annual visitors to the headland.  The proposals are consistent with the Barrenjoey Headland Conservation Management Plan and the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Plan of Management.  The headland is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register.

The buildings considered for adaptive re-use are:

The Head and Assistant Lightkeepers’ cottages

The Boatman’s Cottage and Red Boat Shed

The two former fishermens’ cottages.

Feedback provided during the exhibition will be considered prior to finalising the concept plans and submitting a Section 60 Application to the Heritage Council of NSW for approval to carry out an activity to an item or land listed on the State Heritage Register.

Have your say

Submit your feedback on the concept plans by Friday 20 April 2016via online consultation or

Draft NPWS Fossicking in Parks Policy

The Draft NPWS Fossicking in Parks policy maintains the current position that fossicking is generally inappropriate in national parks. Fossicking generally involves disturbing soil, rocks and vegetation to find and potentially remove minerals, gemstones and historical objects.  These activities are prohibited in parks without consent under the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009.

The draft policy identifies areas where fossicking is allowed and proposes that consideration of any additional areas will be subject to an appropriate level of environmental assessment.

When will the policy be finalised and implemented?

Following the public exhibition period, NPWS will consider all submissions and make necessary changes to the draft policy. A final draft of the policy will be adopted by NPWS and published on the OEH website. 

Have your say

We are asking park visitors, fossickers and other stakeholders to have their say on fossicking in parks. Please provide comments by 8 April 2016 via email 

Find out more about the policy at the Office of Environment and Heritage website.

Have your say on Illawarra Coals application for further Subsidence Management Plan approval

Date: 14.03.2016 Type: Departmental Media Release  Author: Department of Planning and Environment

The Department of Planning and Environment is seeking community feedback on Illawarra Coal’s application for further approval under the Subsidence Management Plan (SMP) for Area 3B of the Dendrobium Coal Mine, west of Wollongong.

The existing SMP was approved in 2013 and covers all underground mining within Area 3B, including Longwalls 9 to 19. However, the conditions of the SMP allowed only for extraction of coal from Longwalls 9 to 13, and specifically required further assessment and approval to be granted for extraction from the remaining longwalls.

The current application from Illawarra Coal seeks approval for extraction of coal from Longwalls 14 to 18. 

A spokesperson for the Department said the Department is aware of community interest in the project and is encouraging everyone to take a look at the plan and have their say.

“Community consultation is an integral part of the planning process and the applicant will have to respond to the feedback we receive,” the spokesperson said.

“Feedback from the community and other government agencies will be carefully considered by the Department during its assessment.”

To make a submission or view the policy, visit 

Submissions can be made from Monday, 14 March until Monday, 11 April 2016.

Written submissions can also be made to:

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

The application and EIS are also available to view in person at:

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

Wollongong City Council, 41 Burelli Street, Wollongong

Wingecarribee Shire Council, 68 Elizabeth Street, Moss Vale

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

Direct Link:

Department approves application to expand operations at Ulan Coal Mine

21.03.2016: Departmental Media Release  Author: Department of Planning and Environment

The Department of Planning and Environment has approved a modification application to expand underground mining operations at Ulan Coal Mine northeast of Mudgee.

The Department publicly exhibited the application between April and May 2015 and closely consulted with key Government agencies. 

There were seven submissions received by the Department including one public objection, five submissions from Government agencies and one submission from the Wellington Valley Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation.

There were no objections received from Government agencies on this proposal.

The key assessment issues included potential subsidence impacts, groundwater and surface water impacts, and effects on Aboriginal heritage sites and biodiversity values.

The Department has closely assessed all issues raised during consultation and addressed these concerns in its assessment and conditions of approval.

The Department’s assessment has found potential subsidence levels would not substantially increase at the mine. 

The company is required to meet strict subsidence performance measures and update all approved management plans to reflect the changes to the mine, including the Water, Biodiversity, and Heritage Management Plans.

In addition to the strict protection for Aboriginal heritage sites in the mine’s Heritage Management Plan, the Department has imposed conditions requiring the company to prepare a Salvage Research and Impact Mitigation Strategy in consultation with the local Aboriginal community for a number of cultural heritage sites.

The mine’s approved Biodiversity Offset strategy has also been strengthened through increasing the size of the offset areas.

The proposal would also reduce expected impacts to native vegetation by changing the location of some of the mine’s infrastructure. The amount of White Box Woodland trees affected by mine infrastructure would decrease from 22 hectares to 8.5 hectares.

The proposal is unlikely to increase the noise impacts of the mine and strict noise levels would continue to apply to the project. All other impacts of the mine would not materially change under the modification.

The approved modification application to expand Ulan Coal Mine will allow:

changes to the layout of Ulan Main West area to extract a further 13 million tonnes of coal

increasing the project area by 275 hectares

the addition of two years to the operation of the project, up until 2033

changes to some mine infrastructure to allow the expansion to occur.

More information can be found at

Extinct mouse resurfaces in state’s west

March 24, 2016: UNSW

A plains mouse found at the UNSW Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station

A big-eared native mouse declared extinct in NSW after not being seen for more than 80 years has been found at the UNSW Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station near Broken Hill.

A young female of the species Pseudomys australis – commonly known as the plains mouse – was caught by UNSW scientists surveying for small mammals on the property, which is the only research station in the arid zone of NSW.

“It was very exciting to come across an animal we thought had gone for good in this state,” says UNSW biologist Dr Keith Leggett, who found the mouse with his UNSW Science honours student, Thanuri Welaratne.

“NSW has a dreadful record of extinctions of native mammals, and the reappearance of the plains mouse shows the benefit of carefully maintaining the conservation areas we have at Fowlers Gap,” says Dr Leggett, who is director of the research station.

The identity of the native mammal was confirmed by scientists including UNSW biologist Associate Professor Mike Letnic, who has caught them in the South Australian desert where they still occur in small numbers.

“The plains mouse is quite distinctive looking. It is one of the largest rodents in the arid zone and has relatively big ears and big feet,” says Associate Professor Letnic.

Native rodents play an important role in the Australian ecosystem, but since European settlement many species have declined dramatically in numbers and range, or become extinct.

“The decline is thought to be largely due to introduced predators such as red foxes and feral cats – particularly in areas where foxes flourished because they had lots of rabbits to feed on,” says Associate Professor Letnic.

“Overgrazing by sheep, cattle, kangaroos and goats has also probably contributed to the reduction in native rodents by degrading their habitats.

“The plains mouse in particular has disappeared from huge areas of the continent, so the find at Fowlers Gap is very unusual and great news.

“It may suggest they are recovering due to a decrease in the number of rabbits following the introduction of the calicivirus in the late 1990s. Fowlers Gap also has very few foxes, due to intensive controls on their numbers there,” says Associate Professor Letnic.

Dr Leggett and his colleagues have been surveying for small mammals at the research station for the past six years. Captures are recorded and then the animals are quickly released back into the wild.

Last year, a suspected male plains mouse was found in the same ungrazed conservation area of the property by UNSW Emeritus Professor Terry Dawson and Dr Steve McLeod of the NSW Department of Primary Industry, but it was not formally identified.

“This second capture and positive identification confirms their existence at Fowlers Gap, which is a pretty big deal,” says Dr Leggett.

The last recorded sighting of the plains mouse in NSW listed in the Atlas of Living Australia was in 1932, from the Liverpool Plains.

Fowlers Gap is used by scientists from UNSW and other local and international institutions for a wide range of studies on birds, kangaroos, reptiles, other flora and fauna, soil conservation and groundwater management.

Some areas of the 39,000-hectare property have been continuously monitored for 50 years, providing a unique ecological record that earned the station a place on the Register of the National Estate in 1996.

Artists are also attracted to the dramatic landscape at the station, which has several artists’ retreats.

Money doesn't grow on trees

22 March 2016: The Australia Institute

The Forestry Corporation of NSW (‘Forestry Corporation’ or ‘the Corporation’) is a state-owned corporation that manages more than two million hectares of commercial native and plantation forests in NSW for the primary purpose of timber production.

Forestry Corporation has two operating segments; the Softwood Plantations Division, and the Hardwood Division (which is primarily engaged in native forest logging). For the six years between FY09 and FY14, the Softwood Plantations Division cross-subsidised loss making native forestry logging to the order of $79m. Through significant headcount reductions in FY14, the division broke even in FY15, but this was before making any contribution to the Corporations $8m interest charge. Furthermore, a declining outlook for demand of native forestry products will make this result hard to repeat.

In response to declining volumes, the native forestry industry has increasingly lobbied for forest waste products to be sold to biomass electricity generation plants as a feedstock. In the current economic and regulatory environment, however, the economics of biomass power generation are not likely to provide any meaningful new demand for the Hardwood Division of the Forestry Corporation.

Given that native forest logging currently struggles to generate a profit, that demand is declining, and that supplying biomass power plants will not provide the uplift required, potentially the highest economic use of native forestry would be to leave the trees standing. Although the Emissions Reduction Fund does not currently recognise the protection of native forest from logging as a method for which revenue can be claimed, if the industry were to push for inclusion, Forestry Corporation could finally begin generating decent earnings by simply ceasing native forest logging.

If native forest logging were to be discontinued in NSW, existing grants and avoided losses could provide funding for ongoing management by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Furthermore, the impact on jobs is likely to be minimal, as approximately only 600 people are directly employed in the native forestry industry in NSW, less than 0.1% of the total workforce.

Download Publication: 

P209 Money doesn't grow on trees - NSW Forestry Final Final.pdf (768.73 kb)

Money doesn’t grow on trees - The financial and economic losses of native forestry in NSW

Discussion paper Roderick Campbell and Richard McKeon March 2016

Native forest logging by the Forestry Corporation of NSW generated losses of $79m over the last seven years - discontinuing the practice could deliver significant benefits to the state of NSW

Department approves proposal to extend the life of sand quarry in Maroota

21.03.2016:  Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment

The Department of Planning and Environment has approved a proposal to extend the life of the Roberts Road Sand Quarry in Maroota for another nine years.

The sand, pebble and clay quarry is now permitted to operate until 2025.

The quarry will also update the way materials are excavated on the site to simplify and improve processes. 

The proposed modification was exhibited by the Department in October 2015.

There were four submissions received, including three from Government agencies and one public objection.

The key concerns raised during consultation were the existing effects on groundwater and potential effects on noise, as well as visual impacts on a neighbouring property.

The Department’s assessment found groundwater levels vary across the site over time. It concluded the quarry must improve its groundwater monitoring and create a detailed map showing groundwater levels to ensure extraction does not take place within two metres of groundwater. 

In response to the issues raised and as a result of a thorough assessment the Department has recommended a range of conditions including a comprehensive and strict management plan for groundwater monitoring. 

The Department has imposed the following conditions on its approval:

detailed management of groundwater levels at the quarry which will be checked regularly for compliance by the Department

an interim groundwater study to address varying groundwater levels

a requirement for at least five bores across the site to monitor groundwater data before the continued extraction process begins

an updated Noise Management Plan to include a Noise Reduction Strategy

a requirement to reduce high levels of noise during irregular times of increased extraction, by limiting quarry work hours and notifying nearby properties

updates to the Rehabilitation and Landscape Management Plan and lodgement of a Conservation and Rehabilitation Bond.

A Department spokesperson said the approval was granted after thorough assessment against clear and consistent rules. 

“Consultation with the community and stakeholders is enshrined into the process for assessing projects like these and the Department has addressed the issues raised,” the spokesperson said. 

“The proposal was thoroughly assessed against clear rules and policies, which are the same for every applicant. 

“The site will be subject to on-going audits and site inspections by the Department’s compliance officers to ensure the company is adhering to its consent conditions.”

The approved modification request will allow:

an extension of the life of the quarry by nine years, allowing extraction to continue until 31 May 2025

permission to change the way the water supply dam is constructed at the quarry site

permission to change the way the quarry extracts material in stages and simplifying this phased extraction process

permission to change the way sandstone material is transferred from the extraction area to the mixing tank for processing, allowing an easier process.

More information can be found at

Vehicles prohibited from Smiths Lake foreshore

24 March, 2016

The Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park today issued a reminder that it is illegal to drive vehicles on the foreshores of Smiths Lake, south of Forster on the State’s mid north coast.

Marine Park manager Luke Erskine said the ban on vehicles is in place to stop damage being done to high conservation value saltmarsh and foreshore vegetation.

"We would like people to enjoy the busy Easter holiday season and at the same time protect our marine vegetation.

Fisheries Officers will be patrolling the foreshores of Smiths Lake this coming Easter long weekend and holiday season and have warned that offenders will be prosecuted.

"A $500 infringement notice applies,” he said.

Mr Erskine said Smiths Lake is an intermittently open coastal lake within the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park.

"When the lake is opened to the sea, the lake level recedes, exposing large areas of the lake foreshores.

"This means important aquatic habitats including seagrass, mangrove, and saltmarsh areas are more exposed.

"These habitats provide shelter and food for fish and they act as a buffer and filter of nutrients, reducing erosion and maintaining water quality.

"Because of their importance these habitats are protected under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 and the Marine Estate Management Act 2014."

Mr Erskine said he is encouraging the public and recreational fishers to enjoy their Easter holidays and at the same time protect our marine vegetation, including by keeping their vehicles off the foreshores of the marine park.

Government to invest in new research into coral bleaching

Media release: 20 March 2016 - The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment

The Australian Government will provide financial and logistical support for new research into coral bleaching events impacting the Great Barrier Reef.

The University of Queensland's Global Change Institute (GCI) surveyed 40 sites in the Far Northern section of the Reef in 2012 and repeat surveys at 30 of these sites were undertaken by the GCI at the same sites in 2014, following Tropical Cyclone Ita.

In light of the current bleaching event, the Australian Government will support a repeat survey of the 40 sites in September 2016 through the provision of a suitable vessel and associated costs associated with data analysis and interpretation.

The GCI, in collaboration with GBRMPA, will undertake the survey using highly repeatable and semi-autonomous survey methodologies in conjunction with advanced image recognition

This data will provide valuable information regarding the mortality associated with these recent impacts, and provide insights into the future resilience and recovery potential of the reefs in the Far Northern sector.

The imagery provides extensive engagement and outreach opportunities, that will allow Australians to experience and learn about the future of the Reef under a changing climate.

This information is particularly important for the future understanding of the Reef given that the frequency of coral bleaching events and the severity of tropical cyclones are predicted to increase in the future.

Continuing to invest in reef science is critical for ongoing management of our iconic natural wonder.

This is particularly important, with the current coral bleaching event now reaching level three.

This support builds on the unprecedented steps taken by the Australian Government to strengthen the long-term health of resilience of one of world's most amazing natural icons - the Great Barrier Reef.

Like all reefs around the world, the Great Barrier Reef faces challenges. That's why we've developed the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan - the most comprehensive plan ever to secure the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef for generations to come.

We are continuing to monitor the current bleaching event through a combination of community and industry partnerships, rigorous science and advanced technology.

With El Nino conditions there remains a risk and we must continue to monitor and protect the reef.

Scientists from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University are currently conducting scientific surveys in remote areas of the Park, and continue to monitor heat stress through satellites and temperature loggers.

The tourism industry and broader community are providing valuable reports through the Government's 'Eye on the Reef' program.

Coral can recover from bleaching if it doesn't remain stressed for too long. The most effective way to protect the reef is to ensure it is healthy, which will help it withstand the effects of climate change.

In the short-term, Government is working to boost coral health through actions such as culling the predator crown-of-thorns starfish on high value reefs and ensuring reef users comply with the rules so biodiversity is protected.

Improving water quality is a focus of the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan which will increase reef resilience in the medium term, while global efforts to tackle climate change will improve the long-term outlook for coral reefs around the world.

Our work to protect the great Barrier Reef resulted in the World Heritage Committee declaring last July that Australia was a global role model for the management of World Heritage properties and that the Reef would not be listed 'in danger' but rather was returned to the highest status level on the World Heritage list.

Australian and Queensland governments are investing a projected $2 billion over the next decade to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Draft Joint Management Agreement for the Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program - Have Your Say

What's this about?

The Department of Primary Industries and the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) have reviewed the 2009 Joint Management for the Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) program and drafted a new agreement, which is now on public exhibition.

In accordance with the Joint Management Agreements, those agreements from 2009 have been reviewed after five years, which recommended numerous amendments to the agreements, including consolidating the two agreements into one draft agreement  and updating the Management Plan.

Before entering into a Joint Management Agreement, the Minister for Primary Industries and the Chief Executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage must give the public an opportunity to make submissions on the draft agreement. All written submissions received before the closing date must be considered prior to finalising the Joint Management Agreement. The draft agreement may be amended to take into account any submissions received.

For more information visit the NSW Department of Primary IndustriesShark Meshing Page

Have your say

Submit your feedback by 5pm Thursday 31 March 2016 via email or post to:

JMA Review Submissions, NSW DPI, Locked Bag 1, Nelson Bay NSW 2315

Investing in a Bureau of Meteorology for Australia's future

Media release: 23 March 2016 - The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment

The Bureau of Meteorology touches every facet of Australian life, from severe weather warnings that alert individuals and communities to protect themselves and their property, to forecasts that support emergency services, and marine and ocean services that help keep people safe on the water.

Today on World Meteorological Day, I thank the Bureau for the critical work it does for Australia - for which it is held in high regard internationally.

The Bureau's aviation and defence forecasts facilitate safe air travel and support our defence operations in Australia and overseas.

Industry sectors as wide-ranging as agriculture, tourism, retail, construction, insurance and power and water utilities rely on the Bureau's services every day.

The Australian Government is equipping the Bureau for a future in which meteorological information and intelligence is becoming increasingly important.

We are investing in a supercomputer which has 16 times the capacity of the computer it will replace in mid-2016.

The new supercomputer will allow the Bureau to issue forecasts and warnings more regularly and precisely, particularly before and during severe weather events such as thunderstorms, fires, floods and tropical cyclones.

Since September last year, the Bureau has made available to the public near real-time imagery from the Japanese Himawari-8 satellite.

Before it had access to this satellite, the Bureau received a satellite image once every hour; now it receives a detailed scan of the globe every 10 minutes.

The data from Himawari-8, combined with the power of the supercomputer, will allow the Bureau to continue improving its forecasting.

We all benefit from the work the Bureau of Meteorology undertakes everyday, and its importance will only continue to grow greater over time.

Spotlight On Sustainability Of Pittwater Estuary

29 February 2016

Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes today announced the NSW Government is commencing consultation on the future of commercial fishing within the Pittwater estuary.

The NSW Marine Estate Management Authority has put forward a range of management initiatives to help improve marine conservation and maximise community benefits in key coastal areas.

The Pittwater estuary has been identified due to evidence of resource-use conflict between commercial net fishing and other user groups and the threats posed to the estuary’s long-term environmental sustainability and social value.

“The Pittwater estuary is our community’s most valuable natural asset,” Rob Stokes said today.

“Boating, fishing, kayaking, sailing and swimming are key parts of our community’s lifestyle and are all supported by this incredible waterway.

“Countless marine based businesses, tourism operators and retail providers also heavily depend on the estuary’s attractiveness and sustainability.

“Managing risks and conflicts is vital to help protect this valuable community asset and the continuation of commercial netting is now squarely under the spotlight.

“Various controls such as closures to commercial netting on weekends have been implemented but concerns still remain.

“For the first time an extensive threat and risk assessment has been undertaken and our community is now being asked to have our say on the future of commercial netting and the best ways forward.

“Community feedback will help inform further evaluation of the management responses and final recommendations to the NSW Government later this year.

“Copies of the report, and details on how to provide feedback, are available by visiting .

“Submissions close on 24 April – so I encourage everyone who uses and enjoys the Pittwater to get involved and have their say,” Rob Stokes said.


Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment

Have your say

The NSW Government is inviting your comments on suggested management initiatives to enhance marine biodiversity in the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion while achieving balanced community outcomes, including opportunities for a wide range of recreational and commercial uses. These initiatives are described in the Marine Estate Management Authority’s Discussion Paper.

The Discussion Paper (4.8 MB, PDF) summarises the outcomes of community engagement, the findings of the threat and risk assessment and presents eight suggested management initiatives being considered to address the priority threats.

Supporting the discussion paper are seven background reportsincluding the Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Threat and Risk Assessment (TARA) Report. A series of frequently asked questions are also available.

The feedback you provide will help inform the final package of management initiatives that MEMA will present to the NSW Government in mid-2016.

You can also provide new evidence about the threats that affect your use and enjoyment of the bioregion. New evidence could include scientific data, research outcomes or reports, including unpublished data.

Online submissions are welcome from 28 February 2016 until Sunday 24 April 2016.

Hard copy submission forms are also available at NSW DPI Fisheries offices and completed forms can be posted to:

Submission - Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion initiatives

NSW Department of Primary Industries, Locked Bag 1, Nelson Bay NSW 2315

If you would like to receive newsletters or notifications on the project, please email with your name, email address and postcode to be included on our mailing list.

Pittwater Councils Environment Newsletter - Cooee March/April 2016

A Compilation of current local Environment News and upcoming Events issued bi-monthly

HERE (PDF - 2.65 MB) - Subscribe to receive HERE

A few Important Extracts from the Current - March/April edition:


Native to tropical America and member of the Asteraceae family, Singapore Daisy (Sphagneticola trilobata) is a vigorous ground cover with lush glossy green leaves in pairs up the stem, usually three lobed (hence the species name) but mostly with irregular toothed margins. Yellow to orange-yellow single daisy flowers about two centimetres across are produced from spring to summer and although variable amounts of seeds are produced, it is mainly spread vegetatively by cuttings via slashing and pruning.

Singapore Daisy colonises rapidly with stems rooting at the nodes, forming thick spreading mats up to two metres in length and 70 centimetres high that smother native groundcover, shrubs and seedlings.

Sphagneticola trilobata - photo by Wedelia

This garden escapee is already a declared Class 3 noxious weed in Queensland and well established in a variety of different environments including riparian areas, drains, roadside, wetlands and rainforest edges. However, in NSW Singapore Daisy has only recently been documented in a drainage area in Wyong Council and most recently in Pittwater, colonising a section of native groundcover in the Bush to Bay reserve, Careel Bay. This first known local incursion is highlighted for control as soon as funding is available to halt spreading.

If you think you have seen Singapore Daisy and certainly before commencing weed control, please contact Council’s Noxious Weed Officer on 9970 1111 to ensure that you have correctly identified this new weed as there are a few similar native daisy plants includingEnhydra fluctuans and Melanthera biflora that may be mistaken for this aggressive weed species. 



Come along and give the local community volunteers a hand to restore the coastal heath at the northern area of Bilgola Beach. This project is part of a Federal Government funded Salty Communities Grant for the ‘Biodiversity Protection of Bilgola Creek Catchment’.

The aim is working to restore and repair weed infested coastal bushland to a healthy viable state. Bush regeneration and weed control works are being undertaken along the walkway from Allen Avenue up to the Serpentine.

The morning event will help to replace weed infestation with local native coastal heath species. Can you give an hour or two on this morning? Want some more information about the project? Please contact the Bushland Management Officer on 9970 1390.

When: Monday 21 March, 8 – 11am

Where: Meet at the end of Allen Avenue, Bilgola Beach (northern end).



Sunday 3 April, 9 – 11:30am

Come and join us for a walk through Ingleside Chase Reserve, Pittwater’s largest continuous piece of bushland that contains many beautiful plant communities and threatened fauna.

The walk will commence at Irrawong-Epworth Reserve and climb to Ingleside Park. At the park we will have a morning tea break and then head back down.

The track is 1.5km one-way and is a little steep in parts so although we will be taking it at a gentle pace, a reasonable level of fitness is required.


Sunday 10 April, 7 – 9am

Come for a morning with the birds. We will take you for a fantastic guided walk to learn more about our feathered friends. Our birding mornings are guided by local experts and are a great opportunity to get a better look at our local bird life. A great activity for those people interested to learn more as well as passionate birdwatchers. It’s a great morning out for everyone!


Saturday 23 April, 9 – 11am

Come and join us for a tour of the headlands of Narrabeen and Warriewood. This is a spectacular walk suitable for the whole family. Discover new places and secret beaches.


Saturday 14 May, 9 – 11am

Avalon. Meeting point provided on booking.

Join us for a relaxing morning walk taking in the beautiful views and coastal bushland of Bangalley Head.

Bangalley Head stands as the highest point and one of Pittwater’s largest bushland reserves on its clifftop coastline. This – together with the great variety of native plants and beautiful ocean views – makes Bangalley Head a haven for bushwalkers and wildlife alike. Native birds and marsupials – such as ringtail possums, honeyeaters, spinebills, finches and wrens – feed, breed and shelter among the dense thickets of coastal scrub and pockets of rainforest plants.

This is a fun walk for all the family and a great opportunity to learn more about our amazing flora and fauna!

Bookings essential for all events!

Online -

In person: Coastal Environment Centre, Lake Park Road, North Narrabeen Phone: 1300 000 232


Would you like to know more about our local birds and explore our bushland reserves? Then join us on one of our bird walks:

17 April, Deep Creek Reserve, near Narrabeen Lagoon

21 August, Chiltern Track, Ingleside (birds and wildflowers)

25 September, Irrawong Reserve, North Narrabeen

27 November, Warriewood Wetlands

Most walks start at 7.30 or 8am and last a couple of hours. Bring binoculars and morning tea for afterwards if you like. for details of each walk.

Wild Things Talk At Warriewood: Get Native Bee Hives, Nest Boxes For your Own Backyard

Thursday 21 April, 7:15pm

Nelson Heather Centre, Banksia Room, 5 Jacksons Road, Warriewood

If you are passionate about our wildlife and their presence in our local areas – why not get help in your own backyard?

The Wild Things program, based at Ku-ring-gai Council, aims to protect urban wildlife and create suitable habitat in our backyards to encourage the return of wildlife. Wild Things work with Permaculture Northern Beaches and supply native bee hives. They also supply native fish, nest boxes as well as promote swimming pool conversions to aquaponics.

For more information please contact

Hollows as Homes Citizen Scientist Project: Sydney and NSW

Launched March 3rd, 2016: Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and University of Sydney

With the help of the community this project aims to assess the availability of tree hollows and their use by wildlife across the Sydney region. The Hollows as Homes team wants you to report tree hollow(s) in your backyard, street, park and/or paddock through

Find out more and Register at:

Facebook page

Participants will take measurements of the hollow-bearing tree and periodically conduct monitoring and report wildlife using the hollow(s). Training is available through workshops and the website.


Around 300 animal species rely on tree hollows in Australia, including birds, possums, gliders, microbats, frogs, lizards, snakes, insects and spiders. Changes to the landscape from urbanisation and agriculture not only reduce the amount of trees and homes for animals, but also create big gaps between the remaining trees and bushland. In New South Wales, of terrestrial vertebrate species that are reliant on tree hollows for shelter 40 species are listed as threatened with extinction.

Why does tree hollow loss matter?

Tree hollows are so important to our native wildlife, that their loss has been classed as a Key Threatening Process to biodiversity in New South Wales. It can take decades for a tree hollow to form. In Australia, there are no animals that are able to create tree hollows (e.g. wood pecker), thus hollow creation is a slow process that relies on fungus to eat away at the tree. What can we do to help?Cities and agricultural areas provide habitat for endangered animals and plants. We can encourage animals to share our cities, suburbs and farms by retaining:

Large, hollow bearing trees

Remnant patches of bushland that surround these trees which make it easier for them to move through the environment

Dead trees which provide important habitat whether they are standing or on the ground.

Top: Lorikeet in Angophora, McKay Reserve, Palm Beach

Report illegal dumping

NSW Government

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

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA), councils and Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) squads will use this information to investigate and, if appropriate, issue a fine or clean-up notice.

Penalties for illegal dumping can be up to $15,000 and potential jail time for anybody caught illegally dumping within five years of a prior illegal dumping conviction.

This is the first time RIDonline has been opened to the public. Since September last year, the EPA, councils, RID squads and public land managers have used it to report more than 20,000 tonnes of illegally dumped waste across more than 70 local government areas.

The NSW Government has allocated $58 million over five years to tackle illegal dumping as part of its $465.7 million Waste Less Recycle More initiative. NSW Premier Mike Baird has also committed to reducing the volume of litter by 40%, by 2020 to help keep NSW's environment clean.

Microneedle patch delivers localized cancer immunotherapy to melanoma

March 24, 2016

Fluorescence imaging of a microneedle patch. Biomedical researchers have developed a technique that uses a patch embedded with microneedles -- like the patch pictured here -- to deliver cancer immunotherapy treatment directly to the site of melanoma skin cancer. In animal studies, the technique more effectively targeted melanoma than other immunotherapy treatments. Credit: Yanqi Ye

Biomedical engineering researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a technique that uses a patch embedded with microneedles to deliver cancer immunotherapy treatment directly to the site of melanoma skin cancer. In animal studies, the technique more effectively targeted melanoma than other immunotherapy treatments.

According to the CDC, more than 67,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanoma in 2012 alone -- the most recent year for which data are available. If caught early, melanoma patients have a 5-year survival rate of more than 98 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute. That number dips to 16.6 percent if the cancer has metastasized before diagnosis and treatment. Melanoma treatments range from surgery to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. A promising new field of cancer treatment is cancer immunotherapy, which helps the body's own immune system fight off cancer.

In the immune system, T cells are supposed to identify and kill cancer cells. To do their job, T cells use specialized receptors to differentiate healthy cells from cancer cells. But cancer cells can trick T cells. One way cancer cells do this is by expressing a protein ligand that binds to a receptor on the T cells to prevent the T cell from recognizing and attacking the cancer cell.

Recently, cancer immunotherapy research has focused on using "anti-PD-1" (or programmed cell death) antibodies to prevent cancer cells from tricking T cells.

"However, this poses several challenges," says Chao Wang, co-lead author of a paper on the microneedle research and a postdoctoral researcher in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill. "First, the anti-PD-1 antibodies are usually injected into the bloodstream, so they cannot target the tumor site effectively. Second, the overdose of antibodies can cause side effects such as an autoimmune disorder."

To address these challenges, the researchers developed a patch that uses microneedles to deliver anti-PD-1 antibodies locally to the skin tumor. The microneedles are made from hyaluronic acid, a biocompatible material.

The anti-PD-1 antibodies are embedded in nanoparticles, along with glucose oxidase -- an enzyme that produces acid when it comes into contact with glucose. These nanoparticles are then loaded into microneedles, which are arrayed on the surface of a patch.

When the patch is applied to a melanoma, blood enters the microneedles. The glucose in the blood makes the glucose oxidase produce acid, which slowly breaks down the nanoparticles. As the nanoparticles degrade, the anti-PD-1 antibodies are released into the tumor.

"This technique creates a steady, sustained release of antibodies directly into the tumor site; it is an efficient approach with enhanced retention of anti-PD-1 antibodies in the tumor microenvironment," says Zhen Gu, an assistant professor in the biomedical engineering program and senior author of the paper.

The researchers tested the technique against melanoma in a mouse model. The microneedle patch loaded with anti-PD-1 nanoparticles was compared to treatment by injecting anti-PD-1 antibodies directly into the bloodstream and to injecting anti-PD-1 nanoparticles directly into the tumor.

"After 40 days, 40 percent of the mice who were treated using the microneedle patch survived and had no detectable remaining melanoma -- compared to a zero percent survival rate for the control groups," says Yanqi Ye, a Ph.D. student in Gu's lab and co-lead author of the paper.

The researchers also created a drug cocktail, consisting of anti-PD-1 antibodies and another antibody called anti-CTLA-4 -- which also helps T cells attack the cancer cells.

"Using a combination of anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 in the microneedle patch, 70 percent of the mice survived and had no detectable melanoma after 40 days," Wang says.

"Because of the sustained and localized release manner, mediated by microneedles, we are able to achieve desirable therapeutic effects with a relatively low dosage, which reduces the risk of auto-immune disorders," Gu says.

"We're excited about this technique, and are seeking funding to pursue further studies and potential clinical translation," Gu adds

Chao Wang, Yanqi Ye, Gabrielle M. Hochu, Hasan Sadeghifar, Zhen Gu. Enhanced Cancer Immunotherapy by Microneedle Patch-Assisted Delivery of Anti-PD1 Antibody. Nano Letters, 2016; DOI:10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b05030


Wednesday 23 March 2016: Media Release

Health Minister Jillian Skinner has congratulated the largest cohort of Aboriginal student midwives to commence work in NSW public hospitals.

At NSW Parliament House, Mrs Skinner was joined by Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Leslie Williams and local MPs to meet six of the nine Aboriginal student midwives beginning postgraduate midwifery training at Blacktown, Royal North Shore, Westmead, Port Macquarie, Lithgow, Nepean, Fairfield, Wagga Wagga and Broken Hill hospitals.

The student midwives successfully applied for the training positions via the Midwifery Student Application for Recruitment and Training (MidStART) webpage.

“NSW has the highest number of Aboriginal midwives, at 79, and we are outperforming all other states,” Mrs Skinner said.

“We are committed to increasing the Aboriginal nursing and midwifery workforce even further through our Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Strategy. I hold all our nurses and midwives in the highest esteem for choosing two of the most rewarding careers in the public health sector.”

Mrs Williams said providing support to Aboriginal student midwives creates a culturally competent and safe midwifery workforce, which helps drive improvements in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal mothers and babies.

“This year’s cohort of nine Aboriginal postgraduate midwifery students is the highest since the Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Strategy began in 2005. As a former nurse, I understand the invaluable role they play in their local communities,” Mrs Williams said.

As well as the Aboriginal postgraduate students, more than 2,000 graduate nurses and midwives (including 40 Aboriginal graduates) have this year begun careers at 132 NSW hospitals and health services, with just over a quarter working in rural and regional hospitals.

Prior to coming to Government in March 2011, the NSW Liberals & Nationals promised to boost the nursing and midwifery workforce by 2,475 in the first four-year term. There are now 5,300 extra nurses and midwives working in the NSW public health system, taking the state’s nursing and midwifery workforce to more than 49,000.

For more information on the MidStART program, visit:

Malaria family tree has bird roots

March 24, 2016

A study published this week in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution reveals a new hypothesis on the evolution of hundreds of species of malaria -- including the form that is deadly to humans.

Extensive testing of malarial DNA found in birds, bats and other small mammals from five East African countries revealed that malaria has its roots in bird hosts. It then spread from birds to bats and on to other mammals.

"We can't begin to understand how malaria spread to humans until we understand its evolutionary history," said lead author Holly Lutz, a doctoral candidate in the fields of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at Cornell University. "In learning about its past, we may be better able to understand the effects it has on us."

Lutz and her colleagues took blood samples from hundreds of East African birds, bats, and other small mammals and screened the blood for the parasites. When they found malaria, they took samples of the parasites' DNA and sequenced it to identify mutations in the genetic code. From there, Lutz determined how different malaria species are related based on differences in their genetic code. Having large sample sizes from many species was key.

"Trying to determine the evolutionary history of malaria from just a few specimens would be like trying to reconstruct the bird family tree when you only know about eagles and canaries," explained Lutz. "There's still more to discover, but this is the most complete analysis of its kind for malaria to date."

Humans cannot contract malaria directly from birds or bats. And while the study doesn't have direct implications for malaria treatment in humans, co-author and Field Museum Curator of Mammals Bruce Patterson noted, "Malaria is notoriously adaptive to treatment, and its DNA holds a host of secrets about how it's able to change and evolve. Having a better understanding of its evolutionary history could help scientists anticipate its future."

Holly L. Lutz, Bruce D. Patterson, Julian C. Kerbis Peterhans, William T. Stanley, Paul W. Webala, Thomas P. Gnoske, Shannon J. Hackett, Michael J. Stanhope. Diverse sampling of East African haemosporidians reveals chiropteran origin of malaria parasites in primates and rodents. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 2016; 99: 7 DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.03.004

No more washing: Nano-enhanced textiles clean themselves with light

March 22, 2016

Close-up of the nanostructures grown on cotton textiles by RMIT University researchers. Image magnified 150,000 times. Credit: RMIT University

A spot of sunshine is all it could take to get your washing done, thanks to pioneering nano research into self-cleaning textiles.

Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a cheap and efficient new way to grow special nanostructures -- which can degrade organic matter when exposed to light -- directly onto textiles.

The work paves the way towards nano-enhanced textiles that can spontaneously clean themselves of stains and grime simply by being put under a light bulb or worn out in the sun.

Dr Rajesh Ramanathan said the process developed by the team had a variety of applications for catalysis-based industries such as agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and natural products, and could be easily scaled up to industrial levels.

"The advantage of textiles is they already have a 3D structure so they are great at absorbing light, which in turn speeds up the process of degrading organic matter," he said.

"There's more work to do to before we can start throwing out our washing machines, but this advance lays a strong foundation for the future development of fully self-cleaning textiles."

The researchers from the Ian Potter NanoBioSensing Facility and NanoBiotechnology Research Lab at RMIT worked with copper and silver-based nanostructures, which are known for their ability to absorb visible light.

When the nanostructures are exposed to light, they receive an energy boost that creates "hot electrons." These "hot electrons" release a burst of energy that enables the nanostructures to degrade organic matter.

The challenge for researchers has been to bring the concept out of the lab by working out how to build these nanostructures on an industrial scale and permanently attach them to textiles.

The RMIT team's novel approach was to grow the nanostructures directly onto the textiles by dipping them into a few solutions, resulting in the development of stable nanostructures within 30 minutes.

When exposed to light, it took less than six minutes for some of the nano-enhanced textiles to spontaneously clean themselves.

"Our next step will be to test our nano-enhanced textiles with organic compounds that could be more relevant to consumers, to see how quickly they can handle common stains like tomato sauce or wine," Ramanathan said.

The research is published on March 23, 2016 in the high-impact journalAdvanced Materials Interfaces.

Samuel R. Anderson, Mahsa Mohammadtaheri, Dipesh Kumar, Anthony P. O'Mullane, Matthew R. Field, Rajesh Ramanathan, Vipul Bansal.Robust Nanostructured Silver and Copper Fabrics with Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance Property for Effective Visible Light Induced Reductive Catalysis. Advanced Materials Interfaces, 2016; DOI: 10.1002/admi.201500632

ABC’s investigative journalism wins at the Quill Awards

March 21, 2016

ABC News won the night for investigative journalism at last night’s Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards for Excellence in Victorian Journalism, with flagship Four Corners taking three top honours.

Four Corners reporters Caro Meldrum-Hanna and Sam Clark won the Grant Hattam Quill for Investigative Journalism for “Making A Killing”, their expose on the use of live-baiting in the greyhound industry.

The judges said: “This was a compelling and confronting investigation that continues to have far-reaching consequences for the greyhound racing industry. The team demonstrated extraordinary investigative skills and determination.”

The joint Four Corners/Fairfax team of Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker and Klaus Toft won Best TV Or Video Current Affairs/Feature over 10 Minutes for their report “True Detectives”. The result of years of dogged investigative reporting, it revealed evidence that the investigations of key gangland murders in Victoria were deeply flawed.

Another Four Corners/Fairfax team, of Adele Ferguson, Sarah Danckert and Klaus Toft, won Best Business Story in any Medium for  their report “7-Eleven: The Price of Convenience”, which blew the lid off the exploitation of workers at convenience chain 7-Eleven.

Said the judges: “The 7-Eleven expose has the lot. A billion-dollar private company, a global brand, whistleblowers, undercover surveillance and explosive documents.”

Ferguson also won the Gold Quill and the Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year Award for her work, including the 7-Eleven story.

ABC winners and highly commended:

Best Business Story in any Medium: Winner: Adele Ferguson, Sarah Danckert & Klaus Toft (ABC Four Corners/The Age)

Highly commended: Josie Taylor & Alison Branley (7.30, ABC Television)

The Victorian Government Quill for Reporting on Disability Issues: Highly commended: Rachel Carbonell (ABC Radio National)

Best Three Headlines in any Medium: Highly commended: Barrie Cassidy, Kate Coghlan, Kellie Mayo (Insiders, ABC)

Best Use of Digital or Social Media: Highly commended: Russell Skelton (ABC Fact Check)

Best TV Or Video Current Affairs/Feature over 10 Minutes: Winner: Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker & Klaus Toft (ABC Four Corners/The Age) - Highly commended: Belinda Hawkins (Australian Story, ABC TV): 

Best Radio Current Affairs Report: Winner: Jon Faine, Daniel Ziffer & Tess Armstrong (774 ABC Melbourne)

Grant Hattam Quill for Investigative Journalism: Winner: Caro Meldrum-Hanna & Sam Clark (ABC Four Corners)Call of The Surf: 1932


From the National Collection. Directed by Jack Fletcher 1932. Shot famous Bondi Beach the film reflects on the prominence of beach culture in Australia. It includes demonstrations of surf lifesaving and carnivals as well as recreational pastimes such as body surfing, or "body shooting" as it is referred to here, rubber surf mats and early wooden surf boards with reference to their Hawaiian origins. Another unusual pastime is that of "duck diving" where the the participant hurls themselves on the hard, wet sand and slides along on their stomach.

Breakthrough technology to improve cyber security 

22 March 2016: University of Sydney

Interdisciplinary global photonics research is set to revolutionise our ability to exchange data securely.

An international team of researchers has made a breakthrough in generating single photons – the single quanta of light particles – as carriers of quantum information in security systems. The findings are set to revolutionise cybersecurity, along with advancing quantum computing, which can search large databases exponentially faster. Work will be continued through the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, which launches at the University of Sydney in April 2016.

Photons are generated simultaneously in pairs, each in one of the photon streams. The detection of photons in one stream indicates the timing information of those in the other. Using this information, a proper timing control is dynamically applied to those photons so they appear at regular intervals. This new technique increases the rate of photons at the regular interval, which is extremely useful for quantum secure communication and quantum photonic computation. Credit: University of Sydney.

With enough computing effort most contemporary security systems will be broken. But a research team at the University of Sydney has made a major breakthrough in generating single photons (light particles), as carriers of quantum information in security systems.

The collaboration involving physicists at the Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS), an ARC Centre of Excellence headquartered in the School of Physics, and electrical engineers from the School of Electrical and Information Engineering, has been published last night in Nature Communications. 

The team’s work resolved a key issue holding back the development of password exchange which can only be broken by violating the laws of physics. Photons are generated in a pair, and detecting one indicates the existence of the other. This allows scientists to manage the timing of photon events so that they always arrive at the time they are expected.

Lead author Dr Chunle Xiong, from the School of Physics, said: “Quantum communication and computing are the next generation technologies poised to change the world.”

Among a number of quantum systems, optical systems offer particularly easy access to quantum effects. Over the past few decades, many building blocks for optical quantum information processing have developed quickly,” Dr Xiong said.

“Implementing optical quantum technologies has now come down to one fundamental challenge:  having indistinguishable single photons on-demand,” he said.

“This research has demonstrated that the odds of being able to generate a single photon can be doubled by using a relatively simple technique – and this technique can be scaled up to ultimately generate single photons with 100% probability.”

CUDOS director and co-author of the paper, Professor Benjamin Eggleton, said the interdisciplinary research was set to revolutionise our ability to exchange data securely – along with advancing quantum computing, which can search large databases exponentially faster.

“The ability to generate single photons, which form the backbone of technology used in laptops and the internet, will drive the development of local secure communications systems – for safeguarding defence and intelligence networks, the financial security of corporations and governments and bolstering personal electronic privacy, like shopping online,” said Professor Eggleton.

“Our demonstration leverages the CUDOS Photonic chip that we have been developing over the last decade, which means this new technology is also compact and can be manufactured with existing infrastructure.”

The research will be furthered at the new Sydney Nanoscience Hub - part of the Australian Institute of Nanoscale Science and Technology, which launches next month.

Co-author and Professor of Computer Systems, Philip Leong, who developed the high-speed electronics crucial for the advance, said he was particularly excited by the prospect of further exploring the marriage of photonics and electronics to develop new architectures for quantum problems.

“This advance addresses the fundamental problem of single photon generation – promises to revolutionise research in the area,” Professor Leong said.

The group – which is now exploring advanced designs and expects real-world applications within three to five years – has involved research with University of Melbourne, CUDOS nodes at Macquarie University and Australian National University and an international collaboration with Guangdong University of Technology, China. 

Read: Active temporal multiplexing of indistinguishable heralded single photons

Should doctors boycott working in Australia's immigration detention centers?

March 23, 2016

In The BMJ this week, two experts debate whether doctors should boycott working in Australia's immigration detention centres.

Dr David Berger at Broome Hospital in Western Australia, argues that however compassionate their intentions, "doctors who treat people who have been tortured and then acquiesce in the continuation of torture themselves are supporting torture."

On the other hand, Professor Steven Miles, Chair of Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, says these egregious circumstances "do not justify a boycott that would further isolate internees from adequate care."

Since 2015's Border Force Act, healthcare professionals have risked imprisonment by speaking out about appalling conditions in centres that have been likened to gulags and concentration camps, explains Berger.

Last month, the president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) finally denounced Australia's appalling treatment of asylum seekers, calling it "state-sanctioned child abuse."

He stopped short of calling for a medical boycott of these facilities because, he said, it is less evil to be inside the system bearing witness and providing medical care, and public opinion would not support such a boycott.

But Berger argues that "doctors cannot work ethically within the present system" and says healthcare leaders "must take a firm stand and send a clear message to the Australian government that doctors will not support such a system."

He points out that detainees have not committed any crime, and says: "It is long past time for Australia to treat people seeking its protection in a manner commensurate with its status as a modern, democratic nation."

"If it will not do so then doctors must refuse to continue to be complicit but should do everything in their power to deliver ethical healthcare to these most vulnerable of people."

But Steven Miles argues that Australian physicians "should not boycott clinical care positions in Australia's offshore immigrant deportation centres to raise public awareness or promote redress of egregious human rights abuses."

Many Australian medical professionals are rightfully shamed and angered by the flagrant abuses being committed by their government, he writes.

But he believes that the proposed "boycott" is really a labor action -- and that rather than standing down from their posts, "Australian physicians should live up to the duties of their station."

He says the AMA should buttress its commendable reports and ethics codes with more aggressive action. "It should help frontline clinicians to transmit reports, pictures, and data through encrypted and anonymous web channels to international human rights organisations"

The AMA should also establish a legal defence fund "to defend any physician whose free speech in the service of patients is prosecuted under the Orwellian Border Force Act."

"If Australian physicians choose to undertake a labor action, this should target the government rather than the detainees," he explains, adding that "physicians should not target the desperately underserved and isolated people whose welfare they are advocating for."

David Berger, Steven H Miles. Should doctors boycott working in Australia’s immigration detention centres? BMJ, 2016; i1600 DOI:10.1136/bmj.i1600

Cricket players more successful when batting the 'wrong' way

March 22, 2016

Cricket batsmen who bat the 'wrong' way have a stunning advantage according to new research published in the scientific journal Sports Medicine. Batsmen who adopt a reversed stance (right-handed people who bat left-handed, and left-handers who bat right-handed) are far more likely to reach the first-class and international level, with professional batsmen being seven times more likely to adopt a reversed stance than the rest of the population. These are the results of research on professional and inexperienced cricket batsmen conducted by David Mann at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, in collaboration with Oliver Runswick (St Mary's University, UK) and Peter Allen (Anglia Ruskin University, UK). The results suggest that a reversed stance leads to greater success and questions the way that similar sports (e.g. golf and baseball) are taught and performed.

A reversed stance may provide technical advantages

The reason for the advantage appears to be that the reversed stance places the dominant hand at the top rather than the bottom of the bat handle. VU-scientist David Mann: "The top hand is typically responsible for controlling and guiding the path of the bat to hit the ball, so it appears to be an advantage for the dominant hand to perform this role. The results suggest that by teaching batsmen to use a conventional stance, coaches may be inadvertently teaching players to bat 'back-to-front' and could be harming their players' chances of developing expertise. By adopting the conventional stance, batsmen may have been unintentionally taught to bat 'back-to-front' and might not have maximized their potential in the game."

Why do we bat the way we do?

When playing cricket, baseball or golf, people are usually taught to adopt a 'right-handed' or 'left-handed' stance that places their dominant hand closer to the striking end of the bat. David Mann: "Surprisingly, it is not clear why this is the case, and until now it has been unknown whether doing so provides the best chance of developing skill."

Professional cricket players already use a reversed stance

The list of batsmen who have used a reversed stance over recent years at the international level is striking. In particular, some of the greatest batsmen of the modern era including Brian Lara, Clive Lloyd, David Gower, Adam Gilchrist, Alistair Cook, Michael Hussey, Kumar Sangakkara, and Matthew Hayden all bat left handed yet are actually right-hand dominant. The reversed-stance advantage also extends to people who are left-hand dominant but bat right-handed, with famous examples including Michael Clarke, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Adam Voges. Even Sachin Tendulkar, probably the best batsmen of the modern era, batted and bowled right-handed, but is known to write with his left hand. It appears that in many cases the players adopted the reversed stance by chance. Mann: "Michael Hussey, one of Australia's finest cricketers, is right-hand dominant but learned to bat left handed to emulate his childhood idol, Allan Border."

The effect is present in the ICC T20 World Cup currently being played in India

The number of reversed-stance batsmen competing in the ICC T20 World Cup presently taking place in India is compelling, with the list including David Warner and Usman Khawaja (Australia); Chris Gayle (West Indies); Suresh Raina and Shikhar Dhawan (India); JP Duminy (South Africa); Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka); Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes (England); Colin Munro (New Zealand), and Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh). Surprisingly, half of the Australian batsmen/all-rounders bat using a reversed stance, as do 40% of the English and 33% of the South African, Sri Lankan, and Bangladesh batsmen/all-rounders.

David L. Mann, Oliver R. Runswick, Peter M. Allen. Hand and Eye Dominance in Sport: Are Cricket Batters Taught to Bat Back-to-Front? Sports Medicine, 2016; DOI: 10.1007/s40279-016-0516-y

Greenhouse gas mitigation potential from livestock sector revealed

March 22, 2016: CSIRO

Scientists have found that the global livestock sector can maintain the economic and social benefits it delivers while significantly reducing emissions, and in doing so help meet the global mitigation challenge.

The global livestock sector supports about 1.3 billion producers and retailers around the world, and is a significant global economic contributor. New analysis, published in Nature Climate Change, estimates that livestock could account for up to half of the mitigation potential of the global agricultural, forestry and land-use sectors, which are the second largest source of emissions globally, after the energy sector.

The lead author of this study, CSIRO's Dr Mario Herrero, said this new account of the mitigation potential for the global livestock sector is the most comprehensive analysis to date as it considers both the supply and demand sides of the industry. A key finding is that we can get the best mitigation potential from the livestock sector if we take an integrated view of land use and practice change that considers the whole of agriculture and forestry as well as looking at dietary patterns and how we address the needs of global nutrition.

"Livestock has a role in a healthy and sustainable diet, and the sector has an important economic and social role, particularly in developing countries," Dr Herrero said.

"We need to balance these health outcomes and the economic and social benefits, while also capturing the mitigation potential the livestock sector can offer."

Dr Herrero said sustainably intensifying livestock production is one way this can be done.

"We've found that there are a number of ways that the livestock sector can contribute to global greenhouse gas mitigation," he said.

"New management practices such as rotational grazing and dietary supplements can increase livestock production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

"We need to increase the adoption of these different strategies by making sure that we have the right incentives. If appropriately managed with the right regulatory framework, these practices can also achieve improved environmental health over and above the greenhouse gas benefits delivered, for example through improved ground cover and soil carbon."

Mario Herrero, Benjamin Henderson, Petr Havlík, Philip K. Thornton, Richard T. Conant, Pete Smith, Stefan Wirsenius, Alexander N. Hristov, Pierre Gerber, Margaret Gill, Klaus Butterbach-Bahl, Hugo Valin, Tara Garnett, Elke Stehfest. Greenhouse gas mitigation potentials in the livestock sector. Nature Climate Change, 2016; DOI:10.1038/nclimate2925

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.