November 26 - December 2, 2023: Issue 607


Mark Head Is Back On Patrol!

Mark Head is back at his beloved Avalon Beach. Photo: Roger Sayers OAM

Mark Head  was back on Patrol at Avalon Beach on Saturday morning, November 25 and welcomed home by all his fellow members at Avalon Beach SLSC, after a surf accident on September 16 2022 at south Avalon Beach.

Michael King, Director of Education, stated in the 2022-23 Avalon Beach SLSC annual report:

''The season started off on a sombre note with Mark Head’s accident at Avalon Beach in September. Mark has been an integral part of the training team for over five years. He became an Assessor last season and was an important part of our leadership group. Mark’s attitude and determination throughout his recovery journey has been a source of inspiration to the training team this season.''

Bernadette McKay, President at Avalon Beach SLSC stated in her report:

''Unfortunately, a Club member Mark Head was involved in a serious pre-season training accident. We are proud and thankful for the assistance provided by other members to affect a rescue and to all members that continue to support his recovery. This incident has left a lasting impression on all our members and emphasised why it is important that we remain proficient, continue to update our skills and create the strongest patrols so that we can be there when needed.

As a result of this incident, the Club is permanently leaving rescue boards on the beach at the Max Lookout North Avalon and at the fence opposite the Nipper canteen so that our response to an incident can be immediate. We have faith in our community understanding the intention being respected and we note that they have been used to assist people outside of patrol hours, which supports why we have done this. We will be working in the off season to reorganise the first aid room to make it easier to access rescue equipment and are currently exploring the installation of signal flags up on the southern headland to help raise attention to an incident.''

SLSA MERITORIOUS AWARDS were given to four Avalon Beach Surf Lifesavers and two local big wave surfers on Saturday night, November 4 2023, in recognition of their combined rescue of their fellow ABSLSC Surf Lifesaver who was brought back to life by them after drowning.

Avalon Beach SLSC members Michael Stanley-Jones, Andrew Clark, Stuart Cooper, and Lucas Molloy, along with Blaze Roberts and local surfers and friends Stuart Cooper and Karl Attkins carried out the rescue of Surf Club Trainer Mark Head.

More in: Surf Lifesaving Australia’s Awards of Excellence 2023: SLSA Meritorious Award for Avalon Beach Rescue

Mark has held the position of Registrar at the club, has been one of their great long term Trainers, equipping squad after squad of 'Bronzies' with the skills and knowledge to save lives.

At the 2019 Avalon Beach SLSC AGM he was awarded a NSW Government Premiers Volunteer Recognition for 40 years volunteering service. He was also awarded Avalon Beach SLSC's Steve Parkes Award for Achievement in Lifesaving Education that year.

Mark (centre with white shirt) with a new squad of Avalon Beach SLSC Bronze holders - April 2019. Photo: ABSLSC

In 2022 Mark received a SLS Long Service Award (30 years). 

Even during the quieter times he has worked to help others in the surf life saving movement. 

During 2018 he took part in the Beach To Bush Tour. SLS NSW records Tour 3: Young Region Lara Boyle (Whale Beach SLSC), Mike Stanley Jones (Avalon Beach SLSC), Mark Head (Avalon Beach SLSC).

Roger Sayers OAM, Life Member, Chair Club Heritage Committee, noted in his 2022-23 Heritage Committee report for Avalon Beach SLSC's Annua; Report:

''Over the last couple of years, a considerable amount of work has been undertaken by the Heritage Committee to catalogue the Club’s heritage items. Bob (Robert) Head, assisted by Mark Head, has been instrumental on this project...''

In fact, if he can do anything to help others in the surf life saving movement, he does it.

Mark is a loved member of the Avalon Beach community and was welcomed home on Saturday, after he'd finished his patrol, by a gathering of friends and family at the surf club.

Welcome home Mark! We've missed your cheeky smile and terrible stories - but can't wait for you to tell us some more.

Mark welcomed home by fellow ABSLSC Members on Saturday afternoon. Photos: Roger Sayers OAM


Plebiscite Bill Opens New Pathway To Pittwater Demerger 

Simon Dunn (left) with Dr Amanda Cohn (centre) and members of the Demerge NSW Alliance, including Cr Miranda Korzy (right).

A new pathway for a Pittwater council demerger has opened up following presentation of a bill to the NSW Parliament on Wednesday.

Pittwater council demerger campaigners joined others from across Sydney to hear Greens MP Amanda Cohn present the bill for deamalgamation plebiscites to the Upper House.

Pittwater Greens Councillor Miranda Korzy, a founder of the Protect Pittwater demerger group, attended the launch and later said:

“Pittwater residents have spent years fighting the amalgamation of Pittwater, Warringah and Manly Councils, but legal action after the event has so far proved impractical and the hurdles to a demerger via current legislation are sizable.

“The significance of this development for Pittwater is that it would create a clear pathway to a demerger via a plebiscite if passed into law,” Ms Korzy said.

“The plebiscite would not force a demerger if the community voted against it, however, it would automatically bind the government to re-establishing Pittwater as a standalone council if the majority want it.

“We would need to collect signatures from just over 10 per cent of electors from the former Pittwater Council area  - whose total population was around 60,000 at the time of the merger in 2016. This would be totally achievable.

“It would then automatically trigger a plebiscite where residents vote for or against a demerger.

“Residents were never given a say on the merger into Northern Beaches Council, despite a Pittwater Council survey showing 89 per cent of us wanted to remain in a standalone council.

“The legislation would ensure that democracy is restored to local government.

“I therefore call on our Pittwater MP Rory Amon, who along with Dr Cohn co-chairs the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Local Government, to advocate for this bill amongst his Liberal colleagues in Parliament.” 

Ms Korzy said the bill also provides for plebiscites for residents from the other two former council areas merged into a three-into-one council like Northern Beaches Council to be held simultaneously. 

Other deamalgamation campaigners in the public gallery on Wednesday included: Protect Pittwater President Simon Dunn; DNA member Brian Halstead; Canterbury Bankstown Councillor Barbara Coorey; and a number of Inner West residents. 

Dr Cohn consulted closely with DNA members, especially Mr Halstead, and Protect Pittwater in developing the bill to ensure the different circumstances in which former councils now find themselves are covered. 

Protect Pittwater has stated it is delighted that the Local Government Amendment (De-amalgamation Plebiscites) Bill 2023 was tabled in NSW Parliament this morning (22 November 2023). Upper House Member, Dr Amanda Cohn, tabled the private member’s Bill and referenced the plight of the Pittwater Community, together with 9 other disenfranchised NSW communities, in her passionate 2nd reading speech. 

Dr Cohn noted the closure of the Avalon Customer Service Centre as just one example of the reduction in services to Pittwater Community and echoed the concerns of many Pittwater Residents in relation to local issues being ignored by the amalgamated council as well as the significant loss of representation for the Pittwater Community. 

In her Second Reading Speech Dr Cohn stated:

‘’ Northern Beaches Council recently voted to close the council customer service centre at Avalon. One Pittwater resident said, "We went from our own council with nine councillors that represented the Pittwater area to three councillors in a council of 15. The concerns which are Pittwater specific are now basically ignored because of the numbers game. When we were amalgamated, 63,000 Pittwater residents were immediately disenfranchised. Local government is supposed to be a democratic system which provides a forum for citizens to vent their concerns on issues that directly affect them."

Protect Pittwater President, Simon Dunn, joined representatives of Demerge NSW Alliance (DNA) at NSW Parliament to welcome the tabling of the ground breaking legislation calling it “the missing piece of the Local Government Act.” 

Mr Dunn noted that “for the first time NSW communities have a potential pathway for binding plebiscites to be held instead of the next scheduled local government elections in September 2024 and thereby provide a mechanism for true local government to be restored.” 

He said “We express our sincere thanks to both Dr Cohn and to the Demerge NSW Alliance, in particular Brian Halstead for his tireless efforts to see this vital legislation finally tabled in Parliament.” 

Mr Dunn reiterated “The people of Pittwater were overwhelming opposed to amalgamation of their successful Council and outraged that the decision to do so was made arbitrarily by the then Minister for Local Government. This bill promises to take back the power to restore a Council from the desk of one minister and place it squarely in the hands of local communities, where democratically it must reside.” 

Protect Pittwater remains hopeful that both major parties will support Dr Cohn’s push to restore local democracy, so that the precious natural environment of Pittwater can be protected for generations to come.

Representatives of the Demerge NSW Alliance (DNA), made up of community advocacy groups from local government areas across New South Wales welcomed the tabling on November 22 of a series of amendments aiming to put democracy back into the Local Government Act.

“Cross bench Members of Parliament have indicated their support for communities’ views on deamalgamation to be respected,” DNA spokesperson Grantley Ingram said.

“The 2016 amalgamation of councils has been a failure,” Mr Ingram said.

“Communities have had seven years to weigh it up: we are suffering a loss of representation, a loss of accountability and our rates have gone up — sometimes exponentially.

“The Minister must take democracy seriously: if a majority votes in a plebiscite to deamalgamate their council, the Minister must direct the Office of Local Government to prepare a road-map to deamalgamate.”



Pittwater High School Alumni 1963 To 1973 Reunion For 2023: A Historic 60 Years Celebration + Some History

PHS Alumni: Gillies Family members with Tom Burlinson at the PHS 2023 Reunion
The first ten years of students, the Pittwater High School Alumni  of 1963 to 1973, gathered at the Royal Motor Yacht Club on Saturday November 25th for their annual Reunion, this time celebrating 60 Years since the first class commenced.

The site for the school was resumed in 1961.

Top photo: Bay View Road Mona Vale circa 1900-1905(current day Pittwater road right to Bayview and Church Point) looking north from Mona Street. St John's Church can be seen to the left of the photo - this had been moved there from the Mona Vale north headland in 1888. By 1904 the wooden church had deteriorated to such an extent that it had to be demolished and a small stone church was built by James Booth on the present site at 1624 Pittwater Road Mona Vale, much closer to the village centre and was built in 1906 and opened in 1907. The residents raised funds by holding entertainments in the now demolished 'Booths Hall' at Mona Vale as well as by other means.

The cottage at the right front, which appears to have a turret, is actually James Shaw's house on the hillside above the corner of Cabbage Tree and Bayview roads. The two Cabbage Tree Palms marked the old border between Bayview and Mona Vale.

Above; the Bayview road looking south towards Mona Vale.  Mona Vale was once called 'Rock Lily'; people born in the area even into the 1920's had their birthplace recorded as 'Rock Lily'. Images from State Library of NSW and State Library of Victoria

Mark Horton, whose family have lived in the Mona Vale and Bayview areas for three generations, says:

'The land in the top photo, right hand side, is the stretch of Bayview Road, now Pittwater Road running past the now Pittwater High School site. The houses on the right were on the Pittwater High School site and were demolished in an early morning clandestine action by the Department of Education in the 1970s. Instead of preserving a bit of local history on the school site two houses with historic significance were demolished. The area where they stood is still green space.'

Guy and Joan Jennings 'Mona Vale Stories' (Arcadia Publishing Newport NSW, 2007) records:

On the eastern side of Bayview Road here were three cottages. They were built by Tom Arter who was commissioned by the Esbank Estate in Lithgow to build them as Show Houses. Tom's grandson, George Johnson, recalls that the bricks came from the Wilcox family in Bassett Street, however a Mr. Shreinert remembers the bricks coming from the kiln near the Rock Lily (hotel). The roofing iron was delivered by steamer to Bayview Wharf. There is some evidence to suggest the cottages were let for short term holidays. However for most of the time they were associated with a number of permanent residents'.

The northern most at 1686 Bayview road was called 'Eskbank', a name that came from an old house at Lithgow. This is the cottage that Louisa Dunbar came to in 1909 after the death of her husband, with he three children. She ran the bakery there until the Maiseys took over around 1913. The Maiseys stayed until their father George died in 1931 and most of the family returned to Parramatta. Henry 'Joe' Johnson and his family became the residents during 1938-1940 and he worked as a groundsman at Bayview Golf Course for 47 years.

The family that spent the most time in the house were the Lewis' who bought the property in 1946 and stayed until 1973 when they sold to Mr and Mrs Symonds who planned to restore the home. It was demolished in suspicious circumstances in 1978.

The middle cottage, No. 1682, was owned by Sam, and Mabel Perry from around 1916 until the 1960's when it was taken by the Education Department and demolished.

The southernmost cottage, No. 1678, closest to the corner of Mona Street, was first owned by Richard and Margaret Reid. The next resident was John Thomas Hewitt, policeman and Shire Councillor who later owned the Mona Vale Hotel site, where they built a home, and acreage along present day Golf Avenue. This was then taken over by the Shreinert  family who at one time ran refreshment rooms here.

In 1961-62 the Education Department resumed around 2 acres each from the three homes; Lewis', Perrys and Shreinerts, leaving around half an acre to each house. When Mabel Perry passed away her house and remaining and were sold to the Education Department and the house was quickly demolished. By 1973 both the Lewis' and Shreinerts were weary of living surrounded by the school yard with no proper fences. The Shreinerts sold to the Education Department, and as recorded above, they sold to the Symonds, who also found the site too much and also sold.'

Local lore states that, keen to stop a heritage listing for this last cottage, which it was of course, the Department knocked down Eskbank on the October long weekend of 1978.

The land resumptions, officially published in the NSW Government Gazette, shows 15 acres were resumed at first.



NSW Champions Of Sport Awards 2023 Recognises Three Local Heroes 

Photo: L to R Mathew Helm, Layne Beachley, Heather Garriock and John Forbes. Image: Sport NSW
Three residents of our area, Layne Beachley, John Forbes and Jemma Cook, were recognised at the 2023 NSW Champions of Sport Ceremony at International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, on Monday, November 20.

The Ceremony saw seven-time world surfing champion, Layne Beachley, AO, become the 24th NSW athlete and the first surfer to be elevated to NSW Legend Status.

Layne is the 10th female athlete to be elevated to NSW Legend Status joining the likes of Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, Shane Gould, Louise Sauvage, Anne Sargeant, Heather McKay, Margaret Court, Betty Cuthbert, and Dawn Fraser.

Beachley is the first woman to win seven World Championships and in 2018 Layne won an eighth world title becoming the first female winner of the WSL World Masters Championship.

The Awards ceremony also saw John Forbes (Sailing), Heather Garriock (Football), Mathew Helm (Diving), Brett Lee (Cricket) and David Palmer, OAM (Squash) inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions. 

Collaroy resident and Netball umpire, Jemma Cook, was named Official of the Year after being appointed to the Netball World Cup and the 2023 Super Netball Grand-Final.

Layne has been inducted into the US and Australian Surfing Halls of Fame and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. She was five times Australian Surfing Life Magazine’s Surfer of the Year, three times NSW Sportsperson of the Year and won the coveted ESPN Surfer of the Year in 2001. She was 2003 Australian Female Athlete of the Year.

Besides her prowess in the surf, Beachley spent decades breaking down surfing barriers advocating for equality in and out of the water and funded the dreams of over 500 young girls and women to achieve their potential through her Aim for the Stars Foundation.

A champion for mental wellness, passionate environmental campaigner, Chair of Surfing Australia, plus 15 years on the Association of Surfing Professionals Board, and with half of all enrolments at Learn-to-Surf being women, Beachley has had an enduring impact on the sport.

Layne with her award. Photo: Sport NSW

John Forbes made history when he became the first Tornado catamaran sailor ever to win three World Championships. He went on to better that by completing his career with a total of seven catamaran World Championship wins.

Four-time Australian Sailor of the Year, and a veteran of three Olympic Games, Forbes won a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games with Mitch Booth. In 2000, they won silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

John won four European Championships, and 10 Australian Championships.

He still sails with daughter Bronte as a member of the Palm Beach Sailing Club, winning 1st place in their division at this year's PBSC's Beware the Bullets Regatta.

NSW Hall of Champions Committee Chair, Alan Whelpton AO, said the accomplishments of the five inductees during their distinguished careers earned them worthy selection.

“The five inductees John Forbes, Heather Garriock, Mathew Helm, Brett Lee, and David Palmer are recognised for their outstanding sports careers which saw them reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport. They represented their country, state, sport, and themselves with distinction and inspired a new generation of athletes to follow in their footsteps.”

Sport NSW Chief Executive, Stuart Hodge, paid tribute to the five new inductees.

“We welcome John, Heather, Mathew, Brett and David into the Hall of Champions. They join other NSW sports greats who have served NSW and Australian sport with honour and distinction,” added Hodge.

John with his award. Photo: Sport NSW

In 2023, Jemma Cook officiated at both Suncorp Super Netball level and the Netball World Cup. Suncorp Super Netball is the most prestigious and successful professional club netball competition in the world. The competition has 14 home and away rounds and 3 weeks of finals. It comprises the best national and international netball athletes and officials. 

The Netball World Cup is held every 4 years. Sixteen nations battle it out across 10 days, in the hope they will be crowned champions in netball’s most prestigious international event.

In 2023, the World Cup was held in South Africa. Jemma was one of 17 umpires selected from throughout the world to officiate this tournament. Jemma Cook was re-endorsed as an International Umpire Awardee in January 2023.

In 2023, Jemma was a member of the Netball Australia High Performance Umpire group who are allocated to the Suncorp Super Netball Competition and travel to matches across Australia on a weekly basis. 

Throughout the season Jemma displayed incredible performances which saw her appointed by Netball Australia to the final series, including the honour of officiating the 2023 Grand Final in Melbourne for the second year running. 

Jemma also received international honours being appointed to the Netball World Cup and also officiated an International Series between England v Jamaica. Jemma was the winner of the Netball Australia Lorna McConchie Umpire of the Year in early 2023, for her contribution to umpiring across the 2022 Suncorp Super Netball season.

Jemma with her award. Photo: Sport NSW

Lauren Jackson AO OLY, Australia’s greatest ever women’s Basketball player, was presented with the prestigious The Waratah award at the 2023 rebel NSW Champions of Sport Ceremony.

First presented in 2017, The Waratah acknowledges a career of extraordinary success and a commitment to sport that has extended beyond competition. Recipients are considered a role model, a highly respected member of the NSW sporting community, and a recognised ambassador for sport by the wider public.

Rugby League great Laurie Daley was the inaugural recipient in 2017. Netball legend Liz Ellis and champion cricketer Glenn McGrath were recipients of The Waratah in 2018 and 2019, and Netball’s remarkable Marcia Ella-Duncan received the honour in 2023.

A four-time Olympian and Australia’s Opening Ceremony flag bearer at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Lauren enjoyed a stellar international playing career between 1997-2016 before making a triumphant international comeback in 2022 to help the Australian Opals capture the bronze medal when they defeated Canada in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Third Place Game.

Lauren debuted for the Opals when she was just 16 and was Opals captain from 2008 to 2013. She won three consecutive Olympic silver medals between 2000 and 2008 and bronze in 2012. At World Championships, she won three bronze medals and, in 2006, a gold medal, the same year she collected gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Lauren’s legendary status extended beyond Australia with incredible performances in the WNBA, Europe, and Asia. Lauren played 12 seasons and 338 games in the WNBA, winning the league MVP in her third season when she led the competition for scoring. She is the only player to have their jersey retired by the Seattle Storm.

In her role as Head of Women at Basketball Australia, Lauren supports women and girls to play, coach, referee and administer the game, including through the She Hoops program which strives to empower women in Basketball through visible pathways, mentoring, connection, insights, participation, and education.

Sports NSW Chief Executive, Stuart Hodge, said Lauren was a leader and an outstanding role model for the NSW sports family.

“Lauren is Australia’s and NSW’s most decorated basketball player. Her overall contribution to Basketball and her role model for women in sport is immeasurable.  We honour and salute her with The Waratah,” said Mr Hodge.

The Waratah is only awarded in years when it is considered there is an outstanding candidate.

Lauren with her award. Photo: Sport NSW

The NSW Hall of Champions is located at Quaycentre at Sydney Olympic Park.

Layne Beachley and her exhibit

John Forbes and his exhibit



Pittwater Greens Councillor Calls For Moratorium On Seawalls

Collaroy seawall under construction. Photo: Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches 

Pittwater Greens Councillor Miranda Korzy will call for a moratorium on vertical seawalls at the November 28 council meeting.

Ms Korzy said her motion was triggered by the recent approval of a third section of seawall at Collaroy Beach, despite an overwhelming majority of residents opposing it.  

“The current seven metre high vertical seawall at Collaroy Beach is widely detested by residents,” she said. 

“It forms a massive concrete fortification rising above the beach, topped with a glass fence - surely a mistake at a site exposed to the open ocean - and complete with surveillance cameras.

“This monstrosity protects a handful of homes built on the sand dune.

“I don’t want this wall to become a precedent for any other beaches prone to erosion either on the Northern Beaches or elsewhere else.

“I’m therefore calling for the council to immediately enact a moratorium on vertical seawalls on open ocean beaches.

“The moratorium would not prevent the recently-approved seawall at Collaroy from going ahead - and could not interfere with assessment of any further DAs that might be submitted.

“It aims, however, to pause any council proposals for vertical seawalls until we have reviewed our current situation and other possibilities. 

“This includes revetments - sloping walls regarded by many experts as a superior solution resulting in less beach erosion.”

Collaroy on January 4th 2022. Image: Ian Bird Photography.

Collaroy on January 4th 2022. Image: Ian Bird Photography.

The Northern Beaches Local Planning Panel in September approved the Collaroy extension despite the council receiving 178 written submissions opposing it (93 per cent). 

The beach has also been the site of “line in the sand protests” against vertical seawalls in 2002 and more recently on November 27, 2021

Drawing a line in the sand in 2002. Photo: Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches photo.

Line in the Sand 2021 -  formed around the mounds of construction. Photo: Michael Mannington, Community Photography

NSW government projections indicate sea level rise will reach 2.3 metres by 2100 if we continue on our current trajectory, and 5.5 metres by 2150 if the Antarctic ice shelf melts, Ms Korzy said.

“The issue now is how to respond,” she said in Background to the motion.

“I believe giant seawalls along our most vulnerable beaches are not what most residents would regard as a clever or desirable solution.

“For that reason, I believe we need to stop and take stock before we do any more damage to these precious natural assets.”

Ms Korzy said the motion will not affect planning for the Manly Surf Life Saving Club, which already has a seawall in front of it.

She has also submitted a motion calling for discussion of advice about litigation regarding the Development Application for Newport Surf Lifesaving Club.

That motion will be discussed in closed session due to the legal action currently underway in which the council is involved. 


The Collaroy-Narrabeen beachfront in September 2021. Photo: Michael Mannington, Community Photography


Pittwater MP's Minerals Legislation Amendment (Offshore Drilling And Associated Infrastructure Prohibition) Bill 2023: Committee Recommends That The Bill Not Pass - Discussion Deferred Until March 2024 

On November 21, 2023 the Legislative Committee on Environment and Planning tabled its report into the Minerals Legislation Amendment (Offshore Drilling and Associated Infrastructure Prohibition) Bill 2023, which was referred to the Committee on 29 June 2023. 

The Bill was introduced to Parliament by Mr Rory Amon MP, Member for Pittwater, and sought to amend three Acts to prohibit offshore activities in NSW including drilling for petroleum.

The Bill was introduced in the context of strong community concern about Petroleum Exploration Permit (PEP-11). The Committee heard from various advocacy groups and members of the public who raised concerns about the environmental risks associated with offshore drilling and the importance of protecting NSW's coastlines. Mr Clayton Barr MP, Chair of the Committee, expressed his appreciation towards the inquiry participants.

"The Committee is incredibly grateful for the community's active engagement in this inquiry and understands the concerns that have been raised," said Mr Barr. "The Committee would like to sincerely thank everyone that took the time to participate in this inquiry, your insights have been incredibly insightful and have greatly helped to inform the report."

"We all support protecting our coastline and marine life and ecosystems. 

The NSW Government's 'Offshore exploration and mining' policy does not support petroleum exploration and mining. This position would be weighed into account when considering applications for potential petroleum projects in our State's waters."

The inquiry looked into a range of issues, particularly whether the Bill raises any potential constitutional issues and unintended consequences, and its report sets out its findings and proposed recommendations.

The Committee heard from legal experts and has found that aspects of the proposed legislation may be constitutionally invalid and have unintended consequences. The report makes 10 findings and 2 recommendations. These include that the Legislative Assembly not pass the Bill and that the NSW Government work with the Commonwealth to review environmental assessment standards that apply to offshore petroleum and mineral activities.

"The focus of this inquiry has been to examine the environmental impacts of offshore drilling and also identify risks with passing the legislation. The inquiry has revealed that the legal framework regulating offshore activities in the state is complex and there are serious risks that could result in negative consequences for the State."

"Amendments to the Bill were also considered. However, the majority of the Committee is of the view that amendments would undermine a core purpose of the Bill. Therefore, the Committee has recommended that the Bill not pass."

The Committee started this inquiry in July 2023, and received 49 submissions from a diverse range of stakeholders. It also heard from 18 witnesses including representatives from 11 organisations at a public hearing in October 2023. The report can be found on the Committee's webpage

PEP11 covers 4500sq/km of ocean from Manly through the Central Coast to Newcastle. 

In September 2020 Advent and Bounty Oil and Gas Company, which is 36% owned by BHP, began stating the project 'offers a substantial opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the reduction of CO2 emissions through CCS-Carbon Capture and Storage (geo-sequestration of CO2 emissions)' and have pursued this narrative along with seeking a renewal licence.

In its response this year to the Federal Government's Offshore renewable energy infrastructure area proposal: Pacific Ocean off Hunter, which ran for feedback from 23 February 2023 to 28 April 2023, Advent Energy Ltd stated;- 

'At this stage, in advance of proving up gas reserves by drilling, is it premature to identify the development strategy for PEP11 but it is likely that there would be installations at a number of locations across the PEP11 licence area.' and;

'A 2010 report on the areas prospectivity identified multiple potential locations. It is possible that in a success scenario, several locations would require gas production infrastructure.'

In September 2023 it was announced that the massive fossil oil and methane gas field stretching from offshore Sydney to Newcastle looks set to be exploited after all, with reports that the gas industry has made "good progress" in applying for test drilling.

Asset Energy Pty Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Advent Energy Limited, an investee of BPH Energy Limited) continues to progress the Joint Venture's applications for the variation and suspension of work program conditions and related extension of PEP-11.

PEP-11 continues in force and the Joint Venture is in compliance with the contractual terms of PEP11 with respect to such matters as reporting, payment of rents and the various provisions of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (Cth).

According to reports supported by BHP, the company has continued to undertake environmental assessments and has awarded contracts for drilling infrastructure.

Friends of the Earth Offshore Fossil Gas Campaigner, Jeff Waters, said PEP11 was an environmental disaster waiting to happen on many levels.

"It is disturbing to think that, in spite of all of the evidence of a climate catastrophe, Australians are willing to unlock yet another vast fossil fuel reserve," Jeff Waters said.

"The Federal Government is clearly allowing PEP11 to quietly proceed."

"Allowing this to go ahead will simply cancel out every new carbon initiative the government is implementing," he said.

"Then there is the seismic blasting that will need to take place for the development of the field — repetitive blasts of noise as loud as an atomic bomb — which will kill or disorient sea life and render whales and dolphins deaf."

"What will Migaloo think when the annual whale migration is disturbed?"

Waters also said that any oil spill would result in the destruction of a huge section of the NSW coastline.

"Beaches from Port Macquarie to Port Kembla could be impacted, and it's hard to remove oil from the golden sands of Bondi or Manly Beach," he said.

It should be remembered that current Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also campaigned during the last federal lection on a platform of not supporting PEP-11:

However, as we go to press, the project is still being assessed, or progressed, through NOPTA and NOPSEMA.

Mr. Rory Amon, Member for Pittwater, in response to the release of he Committees' report, stated, ''Labor claim they are against offshore oil and gas rigs - but when given a chance to stop them, they’re sitting on their hands. 

I will keep fighting for our community and keep you updated on how we can work together to stop offshore oil and gas mining.''

Surfers for Climate, an Australian charity dedicated to turning the tide on climate change, whose CEO Josh Kirkman spoke at the June 2023 press conference announcing the tabling of the Bill, stated on Tuesday, November 21:

'We are disappointed at the Environment and Planning Committee’s recommendation to block the NSW Minerals Legislation Amendment Bill that would ban all new oil and gas in NSW and surprised at the lack of commitment from the government to stop PEP-11 for good. 

If you want the government to stop floundering in the impact zone by stopping PEP11 and banning all new offshore oil and gas in NSW, head to the link in our profile to send a message to your NSW Labor representatives now asking them to back this bill when it comes to parliament.'



Palm Beach Sailing Club: Beware the Bullets Regatta 2023 wrap

PBSC's 2023 Bullets regatta. Photo: Dick Clarke

Great weekend, lots of breeze and a fair bit of action on Saturday - carnage even - but Sunday was just high speed champagne sailing. As well as local Palm Beach sailors, we had boats and crews from Kurnell, Toukley, and Vincentia. 

Classes represented were Hobie 14s which are making a big comeback for close match racing in a simple and very sturdy boat; the perennial Hobie 16s; a reinvigorated Hobie 18 known as the Hobie18 Reimagined; and the awesomely spectacular F16 and F18 spinnaker boats. We were blessed with a loaned start boat - a 30’ Prowler power cat ‘Castaway’, upon which the crew (including yours truly) had a great view of the action at the bottom of  the course. 

Most of the big action took place at the top of course, where as always in a nor-easter, Barrenjoey and the spit caused all sorts of bullets to come roaring down on boats and their crews, ready or not. That’s where the Regatta gets its name: always beware the bullets! If you see them coming and are in the right place, the advantage can be enormous. But if unaware, you can lose ten places in a matter of seconds, or worse, go for an involuntary swim with your daggerboards pointing skywards.


Saturday’s racing produced some great results before the wind speed topped out over 24kn, which really sorts the girls from the old men. A couple of old men and their long suffering crews ended up kissing the rocks on the western shore, there were multiple capsizes, including one boat that tumbled five times in one race alone. Several rescues were performed, including one by the ever chivalrous Race Officer Dave Fisher who donned a life jacket and dived off the start boat, swimming 30m to assist one solo sailor whose boat could not be righted on her own. Needless to say, the last race was cancelled. Back on the beach everyone had a laugh and story to tell.  

Sunday threatened to have even stronger wind, so racing was started early at 10am, and we were rewarded with a beautiful breeze that stayed below 20kn, which meant we saw only one capsize, one very close call (how they saved it is a mystery!) and no rescues. All boats were sailed at or close to their optimum speeds, as the photos show. The last race was over by 1pm, followed shortly after by the prize giving. Everybody had a seriously good time. If only the rest of the world could share in friendly competition where fun outweighs perceived fortune.

Photos and official results can be found on our Facebook page:

Palm Beach Sailing Club website:

Dick Clarke
Palm Beach Sailing Club


Ready for Action, Saturday November 18 2023. Photo: Trevor Gourlay


Spring Becomes Summer In Pittwater 

A bright blue Turimetta Morning - from Turimetta Moods. Photo by Joe Mills
North Turimetta Beach headland  - from Turimetta Moods. Photo by Joe Mills
Crimson rosella (Platycercus elegans) at Careel Bay, November 25, 2023. Photos: A J Guesdon.

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