Inbox and Environment News: Issue 284

October 9 - 15, 2016: Issue 284

Saving Grevillea Caleyi This Monday At Ingleside  

Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA): October 3, 2016
Saving endangered Grevillea caleyi at the Baha'i Temple. Bush care volunteers will be there again on Monday October 10, 8.30- 12. 

Tools, morning tea and good company, lots of interesting spring flowers and of course, this lovely grevillea. 
More information call David on 0404 171 940. 

Nature In Cities: Can Urban Planners Enhance Human Well-Being Using Biodiversity?

The University of Sydney is conducting a survey on how diverse communities interact with components of nature and biodiversity in cities, and how this affects their well-being. 

The results will help urban planners to prioritise specific elements of greenspace in order to maximise the community’s benefit.

Please take a short survey to help with this research.

Floating Landcare In The Pittwater/Hawkesbury Area 

Volunteers needed:
Where: Hungry Beach, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
When: Saturday 15th October 2016
Time: 8:30am start and return 1:30pm
Meet at: Cottage Point Wharf, Cottage Point
Cost: FREE

RSVP: Essential by Thursday 13th October! Please email your name and phone number to or call Rebecca Mooy at Greater Sydney Local Land Services on 02 4724 2120. Confirmation details will be sent to all volunteers via email on 13.10.2016
8 volunteers so far, keen to take another 12.

Excellent progress was been made from previous Floating Landcare visits on the Mother of Millions on the dune behind the beach and Asparagus Fern on the upper slopes by previous Floating Landcare visits since 2012. Usually an opportunity for a quick swim at the end of the activity!

Where: Portugese Beach, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
When: Tuesday 8th November 2016
Time: 8:15am start and return 2:00pm
Meet at: Taylors Point Wharf, Clareville
Cost: FREE

RSVP: Essential by Friday 28th October! Please email your name and phone number to or call Rebecca Mooy at Greater Sydney Local Land Services on 02 4724 2120. Confirmation details will be sent to all volunteers via email on 1.11.2016
8 volunteers so far, can take another 12.

Amazing progress on the Lantana on the steeper slopes at the southern end of the beach and a sweep through the dune for Aspargus Fern, Cotton Bush and litter. Looking for a few more volunteers to enjoy this trip and help with some follow up. This Beach could also be ideal for a swim in November.

Return transport on an oyster barge will be included as will morning tea, lunch, tools, gloves and bush regen knowledge from Judy Morris and Natasha Funke from NPWS.

To find out more about Floating Landcare: 

Aussie Backyard Bird Count 2016

This year, the Aussie Backyard Bird Count will be back, bigger and better than ever. With more than a million birds counted last year, how many will we see in 2016? It’s all happening during Bird Week, 17–23 October.Let’s make every bird count!  

Discover the Aussie Backyard Bird Count app!
A 'how to' guide for using the Aussie Backyard Bird Count app.
The app is currently available on:


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

Our last walk of the year is at 7.30am on Sunday 27 November at Warriewood Wetlands. The summer migratory species will have arrived and the Wetlands will be home to nesting birds and birds with young. there should be plenty to see.Meet at Katoa Close, North Narrabeen. 

Most walks last a couple of hours. Bring binoculars and morning tea for afterwards if you like. Contact for details of each walk.

Colourful New Australian Tree Frog Leaps Into The Spotlight

30 September, 2016   AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM/UNSW

Cape York Graceful Treefrog (Litoria bella) Photo: Jodi Rowley ©

A new species of green treefrog – with distinctive orange hands, orange feet and iridescent purple inner thighs – has been discovered in northern Cape York Peninsula.

Named Litoria bella, or the Cape York Graceful Treefrog, the striking animal was identified by a team including Dr Jodi Rowley, Curator of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Biology at the Australian Museum Research Institute and UNSW.

The small frog had previously escaped scientific scrutiny because it had been mistaken for a southern relative called the Graceful Treefrog, which is commonly heard calling after rain in Spring and Summer along the east coast of Queensland and north eastern NSW.

This species was thought to occur as far north as the top of Cape York Peninsula. However, the researchers became suspicious that more than one species was involved, due to the subtle differences between the Cape York frogs and their southern counterparts.

They decided to investigate and compared the appearances, calls and DNA of the two groups. Their study concluding that the frogs on northern Cape York Peninsula are a distinct species is published in the journal Zootaxa.

The known range of the Cape York Graceful Treefrog stretches from Moa Island in the Torres Strait, in the north, to about 20 km south of Coen on Cape York Peninsula, in the south.

The northern-most record of a Graceful Treefrog is 220 kilometres further south, in the Endeavour Valley near Cooktown.

Identification of the new species brings the total number of known frog species in Australia to 239.

“We were also surprised to discover that the new species is more closely related to similar frogs in New Guinea than to its southern relative,” says Dr Rowley, of the Centre for Ecosystem Science in the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“The discovery of this little green gem of the frog world is further evidence that we have a long way to go to fully document and understand the amazing biodiversity of northern Australia.”

The team includes Keith McDonald, an Honorary Associate at Queensland Museum; Stephen Richards of the Herpetology Department at the South Australian Museum; and Greta Frankham, Manager of the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics in the Australian Museum Research Institute.

Nature Conservancy Writing Prize 2017

Enter The Nature Conservancy Australia Nature Writing Prize today!
Calling all writers! The Nature Conservancy Australia is delighted to open the fourth biennial Nature Writing Prize. 

$5,000 will be awarded to an essay of between 3,000 and 5,000 words in the genre of ‘Writing of Place’. The prize will go to an Australian writer whose entry is judged to be of the highest literary merit and which best explores his or her relationship and interaction with some aspect of the Australian landscape. The competition’s judges are award-winning journalist, author and editor Jo Chandler and novelist and critic James Bradley. The winning entry will be published in Griffith Review online as a multimedia essay.

The prize has been made possible thanks to a generous donation from the McLean Foundation, which promotes and celebrates the art of nature writing in Australia.

The deadline for submissions is January 27, 2017Click here to learn more about the prize and review the terms and conditions of entry.

Have Your Say On The Rocky Hill Coal Project Application

17.08.2016 : Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
An amended development application by Gloucester Resources Limited for the Rocky Hill Coal Project will be on exhibition from today for community consultation.

The Department of Planning and Environment is keen to hear the community’s views on the amended proposal which involves:
  • developing and operating an open-cut coal mine to produce up to two million tonnes of coal per year for up to 21 years
  • constructing and operating a private coal haul road linking the Rocky Hill Coal Project with the Stratford Coal Complex, approximately nine kilometres to the south
  • using the private haul road to transfer coal between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm only, Monday to Saturday
  • using the private coal haul road to deliver heavy equipment and construction materials to the mine area
  • rehabilitating the site
A spokesperson for the Department said the public should also view the modification application for the Stratford Extension Project, which is being exhibited simultaneously with the amended Rocky Hill Coal Project proposal.

“The public should also note the changes from a previous Rocky Hill Coal Project proposal which was exhibited in 2013,” a spokesperson said.

“Key changes in the amended proposal include three open cut pits instead of four and no night-time hours of work. Additionally, it proposes no evening hours of work for the first three years of the project.

“In the new proposal, coal would be hauled on a private haul road to the nearby Stratford Coal Mine. The Rocky Hill project would therefore not need a Coal Handling and Preparation Plant or a rail loop and train loading bin, or a coal conveyor.
The amended proposal does not include:
  • constructing and operating an on-site Coal Handling and Preparation Plant 
  • constructing and operating a Rail Load-out Facility, including a rail loop and overhead loading bin, to dispatch the product coal to the Port of Newcastle
  • developing a three kilometre partially-enclosed overland conveyor, to link the CHPP to the Rail Load-out Facility
  • operating the mine during night-time hours
  • operating the mine during evening hours for the first three years of the mining operations.
A spokesperson for the Department said the local community always has an opportunity to share their views.

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

“This feedback is taken into consideration as part of the assessment.
“It’s easy to participate by going online and we encourage everyone to take a look and have their say.” 

To make a submission or view the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), visit 

Submissions can be made from 17 August until 14 October 2016.

Written submissions can also be made to: 
Department of Planning and Environment
Attn: Director – Resource Assessments
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
Nature Conservation Council, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney 
Mid Coast Council Offices:
- 89 King Street, Gloucester 
- Breese Parade, Forster
- 2 Pulteney Street, Taree
- Customer Service Centre, 6 Church Lane, Stroud (9 am to noon)

Have your say on the modification application for Stratford Extension Project
17.08.2016 : Departmental Media Release  Author: Department of Planning and Environment

A modification application for the Stratford Extension Project will be on exhibition from today for community consultation.

The Department of Planning and Environment is keen to hear the community’s views on Stratford Coal Pty Ltd’s modification application which seeks to:
  • use a private haul road to transfer coal from the Rocky Hill Coal Project to the Stratford Coal Mine site
  • construct an extension of the existing coal stockpile to accommodate Rocky Hill’s coal, and process coal from this stockpile through the existing Stratford Coal Handling and Preparation Plant
  • place Rocky Hill product coal on the existing Stratford product coal stockpile
  • load and dispatch Rocky Hill product coal from Stratford’s existing rail loop and coal load-out system
The community can also view the related but separate Rocky Hill Coal Mine amended development application also on exhibition currently, and make a submission.

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

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

"This feedback is taken into consideration as part of the assessment.
"It’s easy to participate by going online and we encourage everyone to take a look and have their say." 

To make a submission and the view the modification application visit 

Submissions can be made from 17 August to 14 October 2016.
Written submissions can also be made to:
Department of Planning and Environment
Attn: Director – Resource Assessments
GPO Box 39 
Sydney NSW 2001
The application is also available to view in person at:
Department of Planning and Environment, 23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney
Nature Conservation Council, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney 
Mid Coast Council Offices:
- 89 King Street, Gloucester 
- Breese Parade, Forster
- 2 Pulteney Street, Taree
- Customer Service Centre, 6 Church Lane, Stroud (9 am to noon)

Some Birds Behave Like Human Musicians

October 6, 2016

The pied butcherbird. Credit: Image courtesy of New Jersey Institute of Technology

The tuneful behavior of some songbirds parallels that of human musicians. That's the conclusion presented in a recent paper published by an international team of researchers, among them David Rothenberg, distinguished professor of philosophy and music in NJIT's Department of Humanities. Other members of the team are from the City University of New York (CUNY), the Freie Universität Berlin and Macquarie University in Australia.

"Temporal regularity increases with repertoire complexity in the Australian pied butcherbird's song" was published online in Royal Society Open Science.

A Very Musical Species
The pied butcherbird, a very musical species, provided a wealth of intriguing data for analysis by co-author Eathan Janney, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Psychology at CUNY's Hunter College. Janney based his analysis upon years of data collected and also analyzed by violinist and biomusicologist Hollis Taylor of Macquarie University, who has previously published extremely detailed analyses of butcherbird songs. "Since pied butcherbird songs share so many commonalities with human music," Taylor writes, "this species could possibly revolutionize the way we think about the core values of music."

In the past, claims that musical principles are integral to birdsong were largely met with skepticism and dismissed as wishful thinking. However, the extensive statistical and objective analysis of the new paper demonstrates that the more complex a bird's repertoire, the better he or she is at singing in time, rhythmically interacting with other birds much more skillfully than those who know fewer songs. The accompanying video includes a sample of a butcherbird's solo song, as well as the song of another butcherbird and an Australian magpie.

Co-author Ofer Tchernichovski, professor in the Hunter College Department of Psychology, finds that the butcherbirds "balance their performance to keep it in a sweet spot between boredom and confusion." Constance Scharff, a co-author who directs the animal behavior laboratory at the Freie Universität Berlin, says "pied butcherbirds, not unlike jazz musicians, play around with their tunes, balancing repetition and variation." This finding suggests that such musical virtuosity may signify more than just the evolution of a way for birds to establish territorial dominance and facilitate mating. It may also provide evidence that musical ability in birds was a precursor to the evolution of the many dimensions of musical ability in humans.

Inclusive Multidisciplinary Research
The paper is the product of inclusive multidisciplinary research. It integrates input from biologists, neuroscientists, musicians and engineers, including co-author Lucas C. Parra, a member of CUNY's Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Rothenberg, who provided his unique perspective, says, "Science and music may have different criteria for truth, but sometimes their insights need to be put together to make sense of the beautiful performances we find in nature."

Rothenberg has written extensively about the bond between humans and our surrounding natural world, a world we share with myriad other creatures. An earlier paper that he co-authored, "Investigation of Musicality in Birdsong," published in Hearing Research touched upon aspects of the same topic explored in the recent Royal Society publication. Rothenberg's book Why Birds Sing is an in-depth look at the subject that challenges neuroscientists to seriously consider music as a tool to help understand birdsong.

As a musician -- he plays the clarinet and saxophone -- Rothenberg has added the dimension of music to research connecting the living sounds of the natural world to traditions of global rhythmic innovation and improvisation. His book Thousand Mile Song is about making music with whales, and Bug Music, How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise offers the provocative premise that listening to cicadas, as well as other humming, clicking and thrumming insects, fostered an innate sense of musical rhythm and synchronization over the long history of human evolution.
Eathan Janney, Hollis Taylor, Constance Scharff, David Rothenberg, Lucas C. Parra, Ofer Tchernichovski. Temporal regularity increases with repertoire complexity in the Australian pied butcherbird's song. Royal Society Open Science, 2016; 3 (9): 160357 DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160357

Closing Submissions Acland Mine Case: Water, Air Quality And Farming At Risk

5 OCTOBER 2016: EDO QLD. Media Release
Evidence for a landmark public interest case in the Land Court, objecting to New Hope’s controversial New Acland Coal mine expansion, comes to an end this week when lawyers for community group Oakey Coal Action Alliance and 12 of the 33 objectors deliver their closing oral submissions.

The Environmental Defenders Office Qld is representing Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA), a community group with more than 60 farmers and residents. The Land Court began hearing evidence from OCAA and other objectors on 7 March. See below for more detail about mine impacts and key findings revealed in evidence.

Jo-Anne Bragg, CEO of Environmental Defenders Office Qld said: “The Land Court objection to the New Acland Coal mine expansion is possibly the largest environmental public interest case Australia has ever seen*.

“Farmers and local residents are passionate about stopping this controversial mine expansion as they believe it will rip the heart out of their community, risk precious groundwater and make their children’s economic future precarious.

“This size of this court case and number of objectors largely reflects the detrimental effects this mine has already had on locals, who have suffered the impacts for over a decade.

“The court case scrutinised whether the social, environmental and economic impacts on Queensland of expanding the mine justify the claimed benefits of the 12-year coal mine expansion. In our opinion, the evidence put forward shows the mine expansion cannot be justified”, Ms Bragg said.

Ms Bragg said during the 84 hearing days of the case, evidence challenged various claims made by New Acland mine owners New Hope, exposing:

  • Faulty groundwater modelling: The case showed faulty and unreliable groundwater modelling, potentially placing farmers’ critical groundwater supplies at risk.
  • Noise and dust risks and complaints: Evidence showed there was a high risk of the project exceeding air quality limits unless controls were in place. The Court heard the community’s complaints about coal dust and noise levels and requests for data have fallen effectively on deaf ears for the past decade, including more than 100 complaints to New Hope and 30 to the state environment department.
  • Over-inflated job figures: The project’s original environmental impact statement stated the project would produce an average of 2,953 jobs per annum, yet in court this figure was reduced to 680 net jobs nationally.
  • Limited royalties to QLD government: In Court it was revealed an estimated $500M in royalties from the expansion would flow to the coal company and a small number of property owners, instead of to the Queensland Government which would receive just 7% of this, severely limiting financial benefits from royalties to taxpayers.
“This hearing has been the community’s chance to present clear evidence to the Land Court, the government and the public as to why the proposed project is damaging and should not proceed.

“Without this case, and without hard work by non-profit lawyers at EDO Qld over the very lengthy hearing, the costs and benefits of this massive project for the local community and the environment would not have been properly scrutinised.

“The case showed up in stark relief problems everyday people face in gaining access to justice, with community objectors lacking the financial resources of big miners and struggling to adequately prepare, in the timeframes set, for what was an intense, complex and lengthy trial.

“The Land Court will come back to parties with a recommendation to the State Government.”

*The Land Court of Queensland challenge involved approximately: 40 individual objectors (on 35 objection forms, three of which were withdrawn); 27 expert witnesses (eight of which were called by objectors); 38 lay witnesses; 14 active parties; 84 hearing days; two site inspections; 1,892 exhibits; and 7,452 pages of court transcripts.

Many from the local and broader community are opposed to the expansion by New Acland Coal, as is evidenced by the roll call of 40 individual objectors including a local community group of more than 60 members, the Oakey Coal Action Alliance.

The area of Acland has been settled since the 1850s and the town formed in 1913. The existing mine commenced in 2000 and has been a great concern to those living under the shadow of its impacts. Objectors fear any further expansion would be an unsustainable blow to the community and the region.

Many farmers, like award-winning dairy farmer Noel Wieck whose family has lived and worked the land in the region for nearly a century, and nearby residents, like those who grew up in the once thriving town which was an inaugural winner of the Queensland Tidy Town awards, are proud locals who contribute to their community and make improvements to their farm in the hopes to pass on the farms and community spirit to their children and grandchildren.

Yet the mine expansion, known as Stage 3, will see an increase in the annual production of coal from 5.2 to 7.5 million tonnes for just 12 years to 2029 – but potentially will leave a legacy of major ongoing impacts to the health of residents and integrity of the community, productive food-growing farmland, and vital water resources.

Oakey Coal Action Alliance has argued that the expansion will permanently disturb over 1,361 hectares (13.61km2) of prime agricultural country identified by the government as ‘strategic cropping land’. It will potentially drop groundwater levels up to 47 metres on the mine site and one metre or more across a 21 kilometre wide area around the site; and seriously degrade air and noise quality in the area. This further threatens local residents, some who are already suffering the impacts of coal dust from the current operation.

In Court, evidence showed the economic benefits that might usually make such a project viable (jobs, royalties and economic benefits to Queensland) were challenged by the impacts and risks the 12-year expansion would cause. Evidence (listed in the media release, above) also showed faulty groundwater modelling – risking vital groundwater supplies to farmers – as well as high risks of exceeding air and noise quality limits after locals complaints had effectively fallen on deaf ears for nearly a decade.

The case is significant because it brings into focus the battle between mining and agriculture and the community’s need to have the Land Court as an independent umpire to scrutinise the costs and benefits of such projects, as well as hold government and industry to account.

University Of Sydney Robotics Centre To Revolutionise Australian Horticulture

6 October 2016: Media Release - Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, will today open Australia's first horticultural robotics learning and development hub at the University of Sydney.

Located within the University's Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR), Senator Ruston said the Horticulture Innovation Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (HICRIS) will become a hub for horticulture robotics in Australia.

"A future generation of students will be trained right here and will take their place as leaders in the horticulture industry, and researchers here will oversee the creation of world-leading technological advancements," Minister Ruston said.

"The centre will support the horticulture industry in defining and monitoring its strategic objectives around robotics and related technologies, and provide opportunities to interact with other agricultural industries interested in robotics.

"Innovation and science are critical for Australia in driving growth and creating jobs—and I'm certainly proud to be part of the Turnbull Coalition Government that has a focus on exactly that." 

The centre will initially host two projects, funded by Horticulture Innovation, worth $9 million, in robotics and autonomous technology that aims to increase farm efficiencies:

  • the robotics project Evaluating and testing autonomous systems developed in Australian vegetable production systems, will involve designing, building, demonstrating and evaluating robotic platforms and technologies for different farming operations across varied growing regions in order to prove operational effectiveness
  • the decision support project Using autonomous systems to guide vegetable decision-making on-farm, which will further develop technologies to reduce production costs and increase on farm productivity in the vegetable industry, in particular Brassica, Lettuce and Baby Leaf.
Minister Ruston said both of these projects build upon previous work by the ACFR, which developed a robotic system named Ladybird—an engineering prototype that has been successfully deployed on-farm to demonstrate crop intelligence and crop manipulation.

​"There are already tangible outcomes from the work done right here. I know there will be many more in the years to come," Minister Ruston said.

"All industries now face an increasingly fast-paced technological landscape. Horticulture is certainly no exception.

"The results of the work you do here will have broad-reaching benefits for Australian horticultural industries—they will benefit from improved information about production, more precise application of inputs, increased productivity and ultimately, reduced costs and higher returns at the farmgate."

Wilderness Horse Riding

Draft amendments to plans of management
Draft amendments to the plans of management for Far South Coast Escarpment Parks, Kosciuszko National Park and Mummel Gulf National Park and State Conservation Area are on public exhibition until 31 October 2016.

The plans of management for the above parks were amended in 2014 to enable a pilot program to trial horse riding in wilderness areas. The trial concluded in April 2016 and is currently being evaluated. The draft amendments propose to allow horse riding to continue in the same locations until 31 December 2017 while the evaluation is undertaken.

Have your say
To view the draft amendments, visit the Environment NSW website.

Online Consultation
Date: Sep. 16 - Oct. 31, 2016
Time: 9:00am — 5:00pm

More Information

Katandra Sanctuary

Katandra is a sanctuary for flora and fauna where the wildflowers are their most colourful during spring but all year round there are opportunities for bird watching. The sanctuary covers 12 hectares and is situated on the Ingleside/Warriewood escarpment. Choose to follow a short walk of about 1km or the longer 2km track through rainforest remnants with creeks and fern-fringed pools. Visit:

Bushcare in Pittwater 

For further information or to confirm the meeting details for below groups, please contact Council's Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367
Council's Cooee Newsletter - September - October 2016 HERE

Where we work                      Which day                              What time 

Angophora Reserve             3rd Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Dunes                        1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Golf Course              2nd Wednesday                 3 - 5:30pm 
Careel Creek                         4th Saturday                      8:30 - 11:30am 
Toongari Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon (8 - 11am in summer) 
Bangalley Headland            2nd Sunday                         9 to 12noon 

Winnererremy Bay                 4th Sunday                        9 to 12noon 

North Bilgola Beach              3rd Monday                        9 - 12noon 
Algona Reserve                     1st Saturday                       9 - 12noon 
Plateau Park                          1st Friday                            8:30 - 11:30am 

Church Point     
Browns Bay Reserve             1st Tuesday                        9 - 12noon 
McCarrs Creek Reserve       Contact Bushcare Officer     To be confirmed 

Old Wharf Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      8 - 11am 

Kundibah Reserve                   4th Sunday                       8:30 - 11:30am 

Mona Vale     
Mona Vale Beach Basin          1st Saturday                    8 - 11am 
Mona Vale Dunes                     2nd Saturday+3rd Thursday     8:30 - 11:30am 

Bungan Beach                          4th Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
Crescent Reserve                    3rd Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
North Newport Beach              4th Saturday                    8:30 - 11:30am 
Porter Reserve                          2nd Saturday                  8 - 11am 

North Narrabeen     
Irrawong Reserve                     3rd Saturday                   2 - 5pm 

Palm Beach     
North Palm Beach Dunes      3rd Saturday                    9 - 12noon 

Scotland Island     
Catherine Park                          2nd Sunday                     10 - 12:30pm 
Elizabeth Park                           1st Saturday                      9 - 12noon 
Pathilda Reserve                      3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon 

Warriewood Wetlands             1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 

Whale Beach     
Norma Park                               1st Friday                            9 - 12noon 

Western Foreshores     
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay      2nd Sunday                        10 - 1pm 
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay           1st Monday                          9 - 12noon

Long Reef Guided Walks 

Below is the Fishcare Volunteers’ upcoming Walks and Talks which might be of interest to readers.  We have been offering this free service now for about 15 years.  Most days see somewhere round 30 people, young and old, and we even get people from places like Auburn and further afield.  I add my bit as a former Australian Museum person and we also have a geologist to talk about the landward side of Long Reef.  We’re dictated by tides, hence the irregular times, but always on a Sunday.
Phil Colman

Free guided walks 
with Fishcare Volunteers 
Sunday 18 Sept 2016  2 pm – 4 pm 
Sunday 16 Oct 2016  2 pm – 4 pm 
Sunday 13 Nov 2016  1 pm – 3 pm 
Sunday 11 Dec 2016  12 noon – 2 pm 
Sunday 29 Jan 2017  3.30 pm – 5.30 pm 
Sunday 26 Feb 2017  2.30 pm – 4.30 pm 
Sunday 26 Mar 2017  1.30 pm – 3.30 pm 
Sunday 9 Apr 2017  12.30 pm – 2.30 pm 
• Subject to weather conditions 
• Bookings and enquiries by email:

Long Reef Fishcare Educational Walks 
Long Reef Aquatic Reserve, on Sydney’s northern beaches is a unique environment due to its geology and exposure to all four points of the compass. Protecting a huge variety of marine animals, birds and plants, it’s a great place to enjoy learning about our natural environment. 

Department of Primary Industries NSW Fishcare Volunteers offer free, guided, educational walks onto the rock platform where in just two hours you’ll observe some of the vast variety of marine life. 

You’ll also gain an understanding of the geographical features of the area, look at trace fossils and learn why some migratory birds travel tens of thousands of kilometres from Siberia and Japan to spend time at Long Reef. 

An ideal family outing! 

Call For Heritage Council To Protect The Iconic Tarwyn Park Property 

October 05, 2016: Lock the Gate Alliance
The NSW Heritage Council is meeting in Sydney today to make a decision on an urgent Interim Heritage Order application to protect Tarwyn Park in the Bylong Valley.

Lock the Gate Alliance recently submitted a nomination of the property for NSW’s State Heritage Register.

“The outstanding heritage values of this place clearly emerged from the nomination process,” said Lock the Gate spokesperson Nic Clyde.

“Tarywn Park is uniquely valuable in NSW as the birthplace of Natural Sequence Farming and for the property’s long and very colourful association with champion race horse breeding.”

In 2015, the ABC's Australian Story described Tarwyn Park as “the famous Hunter region property where horse breeder Peter Andrews created a land care revolution that has impressed everyone from retailer Gerry Harvey to garden guru Don Burke”.

Lock the Gate spokesperson Nic Clyde said, “We are calling on the Heritage Council today to recommend listing of this property on the State Heritage Register and to provide immediate protection by granting the internationally renowned property an Interim Heritage Protection order.

“Tarwyn Park is the cradle of Natural Sequence Farming, a unique land restoration system developed by Peter Andrews and his son Stuart. KEPCO's proposed Bylong Coal Project must not be allowed to ruin this laboratory of sustainable agriculture with an enormous open-cut and underground coal mine,” Mr Clyde said.

The Natural Sequence farming method - now in operation at Mulloon near Braidwood - was recently recognised by a United Nations initiative, established to tackle the challenges of making ambitious changes to our global agriculture and food systems. 

In August 2013, the National Trust recognised the “scientific significance … of Peter Andrews’ development of his Natural Sequence Farming at Tarwyn Park based on the principle of reintroducing natural landscape patterns and processes as they would have existed in Australia prior to European settlement”.

Tarwyn Park has also long been associated with the Hunter’s thoroughbred horse breeding being the home of champion racehorses Heroic and Rain Lover.

Come To The Harvest Festival On Liverpool Plains

Join the people of the Liverpool Plains and their supporters for a fun family-friendly weekend, bringing people together from far and wide to protect our food bowl and cultural heritage from Shenhua’s mega coal mine.
Harvest Festival against Shenhua, Friday 6th Nov – Sunday 8th Nov, at Breeza on the Liverpool Plains. 
There will be live music, tours, kids activities, food, plus workshops on local farming, Gomeroi culture and heritage, the risks posed by the Shenhua mine, the skills to defend the Liverpool Plains against the mine… and more!
To ensure you have the most up to date information about Harvest Festival, and to help organisers with numbers, it is important register to attend. Registering is quick and easy, simply click the "register here" link and fill out the form.
Harvest Festival against Shenhua is taking place at “West Garawan” (next to the proposed Shenhua mine site) at Breeza on the Liverpool Plains. The program kicks off at 7pm Friday 6 November, and runs through to 4pm Sunday 8 November. Gates open 12pm Friday for camping set-up.
Toilets and adequate showers will be provided, otherwise come self-sufficient to camp on a hot open plain (eg. bring your tent, sleeping bag, torch, water bottle, and personal items). There are a range of alternative accommodation options in the nearby towns and villages of Quirindi, Gunnedah, Werris Creek or Spring Ridge. All of these options are roughly 20-30 minute drive from the event site. Food will be available on-site either to purchase or via suggested donation to cover costs.
A full program detailing speakers, workshops, and other activities will be posted here once it is available.
Each day there will be workshops, talks, tours, and fun for the kids throughout. It will be an inspiring and memorable weekend of good times, learning, and the chance to meet new people. On Friday and Saturday evenings there will be quality country music and the option to relax over dinner and a drink on your picnic rug.
The workshop program will:
  • Offer education by locals and key experts in: local farming practices, water impacts and other threats of the mine, and local ecology – including koalas.
  • Provide Gomeroi culture and heritage education by Gomeroi traditional owners.
  • Sightseeing and photography tours of the beautiful and iconic Liverpool Plains.
  • Focus on building capacity, preparedness and next steps to take action against Shenhua.
  • Provide skills sharing in peaceful direct action.
From Sydney: 4 ½ hours, via Pacific Motorway and New England Hwy
From Newcastle: 3 hours 15 minutes, via New England Hwy
From Tamworth: 50 minutes, via Werris Crk Rd
From Armidale: 2 hours, 10 minutes, via New England Hwy
From Lismore: 6 hours, via New England Hwy
From Brisbane: 7 1/2 hours, via New England Hwy
From Melbourne: 12 hours, via Newell Hwy
From Canberra: 7 hours, via Pacific Motorway and New England Hwy
There is also a daily train service available from Sydney to Gunnedah.

NSW Government Seeks To Reclaim The Liverpool Plains

While on the Liverpool Plains and the Shenhua Mine, those following the campaign by farmers to save this food bowl would be aware that the NSW Government is currently negotiating with the Chinese company to reduce the size of the coal mine to the ridges of the Liverpool Plains, an area and mine which has been approved by Federal former Environment Minister Greg Hunt and which may now be the focus for further protest as it is feared allowing even this part of the adjacent area to be 'black holed' willcontaminate groundwater.

This follows on from the NSW Government's recent buyback, at $220 million, of the BHP Caroona coal licence - issued by the then Labor Government in 2006 for $100 million.

Interesting statements have been made (see pages 18-20) regarding the government's approach to coal mining in this state, and, what can now be expected by those applying for exploration licences, when the Shenua negotiations were recently raised:

"With the strategic release framework, the Government is saying that we need to think case by case right from the beginning about what are the social, economic and environmental factors before we even open it up for exploration. A lot of the old exploration rights were really mine planning exercises. That is why we saw, for example, people paying big money to get an exploration licence; they had reasonable expectations that they would be able to put in a mine, so the planning process was compromised." - Mr. Smith, from page 18:
Wednesday, 31 August 2016

As each week brings more listings of 'have your say' on yet another coal project or an extension of one, and these proceeding after the required exhibition period despite objections (in the case of Shenhua 7 pages of these with only 4 listed as 'supports') will each have to prove it's 'black soil country' status, go through a decade of protests via the community, not always successful, for these places to be saved?

An example of what your fellow Australians are breathing in just a short distance from here this week, under brilliant sunshine in formerly pristine air and countryside:

Breathe This In - Taste It!

Filmed at Putty Road today: blast from Rio's Warkworth coal mine. The people of Bulga get to breathe this in.
October 5 at 4:14pm 

Have Your Say On Increased Coal Production At The Mandalong Southern Extension Project

06.10.2016: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
A proposal by Centennial Mandalong Pty Ltd for an increase in maximum coal production at the Mandalong Southern Extension Project will be on exhibition from today for community consultation.

The proposed modification seeks to increase the maximum annual production of unprocessed coal from six to six-and-a-half million tonnes.

The Department of Planning and Environment is keen to hear the community’s views on the proposed modification for the mine near Morisset, approximately 35 kilometres southwest of Newcastle.

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

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

“This feedback is taken into consideration as part of the assessment.

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

To make a submission or view the Modification Application and accompanying documents, visit

Submissions can be made from Thursday 6 October until Monday 24 October 2016.

Written submissions can also be made to:

Department of Planning and Environment
Attn: Director – Resource Assessments
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001

The Modification Application and accompanying documents are also available to view in person at:
Department of Planning and Environment: Information Centre, Level 22, 320 Pitt Street, Sydney
Central Coast Council: 2 Hely Street, Wyong
Lake Macquarie City Council: 126-138 Main Road, Speers Point
Nature Conservation Council: 14/338 Pitt Street, Sydney.

Have Your Say On Modifications To The Bengalla Continuation Project

06.10.2016: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
A proposal by Bengalla Mining Company Pty Ltd for modifications to the Bengalla Continuation Project will be on exhibition from today for community consultation.

The proposed modifications seek to change the locations of explosive storage and reloading facilities, a water supply pipeline from the Hunter River and top soil stockpiles from fixed positions to more flexible locations within the mine’s approved disturbance boundary.

The Department of Planning and Environment is keen to hear the community’s views on the proposed modifications for the project located four kilometres west of Muswellbrook.

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

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

“This feedback is taken into consideration as part of the assessment.

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

To make a submission or view the Modification Application and other accompanying documents, visit

Submissions can be made from Thursday 6 October until Monday 24 October 2016.

Written submissions can also be made to:

Department of Planning and Environment
Attn: Director – Resource Assessments
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001

The Modification Application and other accompanying documents are also available to view in person at:
Department of Planning and Environment: Information Centre, Level 22, 320 Pitt Street, Sydney
Muswellbrook Shire Council: Administration Centre, 157 Maitland Street, Muswellbrook
Nature Conservation Council: 14/338 Pitt Street, Sydney.

Have Your Say On The Springvale Mine Water Treatment Project

26.09.2016: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
A proposal by Springvale Coal Pty Limited for a water treatment project will be on exhibition from today for community consultation.

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

• construct a pipeline to transfer mine water to Mount Piper Power Station
• treat this water at a new desalination plant at the power station
• use treated water in the power station’s cooling water system
• discharge any excess treated water through the Springvale Coal Services site
• place remaining by-products from the treatment process at the Springvale Coal Services site.
The Planning Assessment Commission granted Springvale coal mine a 13-year extension of its operations last September.
As part of its approval, the Commission required the mine to reduce the salinity of its discharges into the water catchment over the long term.

This proposal would allow the mine to achieve these water quality improvements while also supplying the power station with most of the water it needs to operate.

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

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

“This feedback is taken into consideration as part of the assessment.

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

To make a submission or view the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), visit  

Submissions can be made from Tuesday 27 September until Tuesday 8 November 2016.

Written submissions can also be made to:

Department of Planning and Environment
Attn: Director – Resource Assessments
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001

The application and EIS are also available to view in person at:
• Department of Planning and Environment: Information Centre, Level 22, 320 Pitt Street, Sydney
• Lithgow City Council: 180 Mort Street, Lithgow
• Nature Conservation Council: Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney.

Have Your Say Invincible Coal Mine - Southern Extension Modification

Exhibition Start 27/09/2016
Exhibition End 08/11/2016

"Castlereagh Coal are seeking approval for the extension of mining to occur over a period of up to 8 years to provide for flexibility in the supply of nut coal through: 
• providing an option for Manildra to source all required nut coal directly from Invincible 
• continuing to source nut coal from a range of other existing sources supplemented by supply from Invincible where necessary or cost effective to do so 
• utilising a blended product using coal from the other seams within the Southern Extension Area where this can be used at the Shoalhaven Starches Plant. 

The mining of coal in the target Lithgow Seam will necessarily involve the extraction of coal from the Lidsdale and Irondale Seams which are located above the Lithgow Seam. In total, there is an estimated 2.7 Million tonnes (Mt) of run-of-mine (ROM) coal in all seams down to, and including, the Lithgow Seam. 

Investigations are currently being undertaken to assess whether coal from the Lidsdale or Irondale Seams can be used at the Shoalhaven Starches Plant when washed and blended with coal from the Lithgow Seam. Surplus coal from the Lidsdale and Irondale Seams which is unable to be used in the Shoalhaven Starches Plant will be sold to Mt Piper Power Station for energy production consistent with the previous mining operations at Invincible."

Message from the Director of National Parks: Release of Review reports and preparation of reserve management plans

Australia is a leader in marine management, with one of the largest marine protected areas in the world.

State Governments and the Commonwealth are committed to establishing a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas. By doing this we are protecting amazing marine biodiversity and a full range of ecosystems and habitats that will provide us with multiple community and environmental benefits for years to come.

As the Director of National Parks I have commenced the statutory process to develop draft management plans for 44 of these important reserves managed by Parks Australia on behalf of the Commonwealth Government and her peoples. 

Together with Parks Australia staff I will be developing draft management plans for the marine reserves in the North, North-west, South-west and Temperate-east networks and the Coral Sea reserve. These reserves are located in Commonwealth waters, typically beyond the 3 nautical mile coastal waters of the States and the Northern Territory. They are adjacent to waters managed by State and Territory governments and a number are adjacent to marine parks and reserves managed by State agencies. 

I plan to use recommendations contained in the recently released independent Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review reports from the Expert Scientific Panel and Bioregional Advisory Panel and comments sent during this first phase of the statutory process to prepare the draft management plans. The reports are the product of extensive consultation and provide an important reference point as we move towards finalisation of Australia’s national network of Commonwealth marine reserves. 

The public notice that outlines this process is here.

Management plans provide for the protection and conservation of the marine reserves by setting out the arrangements for management of activities within reserves for a period of 10 years. They state how natural features, heritage and other values are to be protected and conserved and set out the rules about what activities can be done in reserves and where. The plans also provide certainty to communities by recognising where actions may be needed to support local and regional economies and industries and provide opportunities for people to experience and enjoy these areas within a well managed and balanced system. Management plans also recognise the long term connection of Indigenous people to these seascapes and their cultural obligations to look after these special areas. 

To make these places as successful as possible we need your input and feedback on the recommendations in the review in this first phase of consultation. 

Once we have reviewed all of the comments in this first phase we will finalise the draft management plans. These draft plans will be put out for public comment too so we can double check them with you before we present them to the Minister for his consideration and approval.

I strongly encourage you to read the reports and provide me with your feedback on the independent review’s recommendations. 
The easiest way to make a submission is to can send feedback until 11 October 2016. 

During the planning and consultation processes, activities can continue to be conducted in the same way they have since the reserve networks were declared, until the new management plans come into effect. The management plan for the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network is already in place and it won’t be part of this process. 

I am very much looking forward to hearing from you about what you think should be included in the draft management plans. I am also looking forward to finalising the plans and working with you on the important job of managing Australia’s marine parks – an amazing and inspirational initiative that will make us proud for generations to come.

Sally Barnes
Director of National Parks

Upper Namoi Valley FMP

Public Exhibition of the draft Floodplain Management Plan for the Upper Namoi Valley Floodplain

What's this about?
The proposed Upper Namoi Valley Floodplain Management Plan (FMP) will manage the development of flood works on the Upper Namoi Valley floodplain.

Once the plan commences, all new flood works and amendments to existing flood works will require approval in line with the Upper Namoi Valley FMP prior to their construction. The FMP provides management zones, rules and assessment criteria for determining flood work applications. 

Have your say
Public submissions are now invited on the Draft Upper Namoi Valley FMP.

The draft plan and additional information can be obtained from the DPI Water website -

The exhibition period is open until 28 October 2016 and written submissions must be received by this date. 

Date: Sep. 19 - Oct. 28, 2016
Time: 9:00am — 11:59pm

More Information

Email Rebecca Ballard:
 02 6774 9583 

Community Housing Providers To Manage Social Housing

6th October, 2016: NSW Government Dept. of Family & Community Services
Delivering better outcomes for tenants and the community is the focus of reform which will see social housing in four areas of NSW managed by Community Housing Providers (CHPs).

Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard said Family and Community Services (FACS) would transfer, on a long leasehold basis, management of approximately 18,000 properties to the community sector to ensure a better experience for tenants in social housing.

The NSW Government is committed to increase community housing’s management of social housing under its Future Directions reforms of social housing. Today’s reforms deliver on a 2009 COAG agreement by NSW to transfer up to 35 per cent of social housing to community housing providers. Currently 19 per cent of social housing in NSW is managed by CHPs.

Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard said the reform aims to improve services for tenants and ensure more money comes in, to provide supports for social housing tenants.

“Already more than 28,000 social housing homes are managed by community housing and tenants report very high satisfaction with the level of services offered by community providers,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Community housing has shown it is innovative and can help vulnerable tenants to achieve positive outcomes such as securing employment and education.

“Tenants’ lease length and lease conditions will remain the same, their income after rent will remain the same and FACS will keep tenants fully informed as their areas transition to community housing providers.

“It’s also estimated an extra $1 billion will come in over the next 20 years as the Commonwealth supports tenants with rent assistance, which will allow community providers to give more supports to vulnerable people.

“Currently tenants in state government managed housing get no additional funds from the Commonwealth.”

Legislation will be introduced to achieve better outcomes for tenants.

There are 82 CHPs in NSW and they will be able to bid to manage portfolios of properties in four areas across the State in: the Shoalhaven, Northern Sydney, Mid North Coast and Hunter New England (excluding Newcastle and Lake Macquarie LGAs). The procurement process is expected to commence in early 2017.

The Aboriginal Housing Office will undertake a separate procurement process to select Aboriginal community housing providers in these locations to manage Aboriginal Housing Office owned properties.

As areas transfer to the community housing providers, approximately 190 Government housing jobs will go. FACS is consulting with the Public Service Association and staff will be given the opportunity to take up jobs in the expanded community housing sector.

“This is a landmark opportunity for not-for-profit community housing providers to grow and diversify and help more people in need,” Mr Hazzard said.

ACCC Invites Feedback On News Corporation’s Proposed Acquisition Of APN's Australian Regional Media Division

6 October 2016: ACCC - Media Release
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released a Statement of Issues on the proposed acquisition of Australian Regional Media (ARM) from APN News and Media (ASX: APN) by News Corporation (ASX:NWS).

The proposed acquisition would combine the two main newspaper publishers in Queensland, adding ARM’s community and regional publications in Queensland and northern New South Wales to News’ extensive portfolio of community, regional, state, and national publications. The ACCC is investigating the effect that this would have on competition for both readers and advertisers.

“One area of focus is the loss of competition between ARM’s paid regional newspapers and News’ The Courier Mail. If the proposed acquisition proceeds, News will own both The Courier Mail and the local paid newspaper in nearly every city or town in Queensland. This may result in a reduction of quality and diversity of content available to readers. Reinforcing that concern is that both News and ARM have a strong presence in online news through their websites associated with the Queensland newspapers,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The ACCC is seeking to understand whether the competitive tension between News and ARM is an important factor in maintaining quality and range of content, or whether the threat of readers shifting to alternatives, particularly alternative online news sites, will competitively constrain News after the acquisition.”

ARM publishes paid daily regional papers in Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Gympie, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Ipswich and Warwick. The ACCC will be looking closely at these areas.

“In particular the ACCC will test how important diversity of content and opinion is to readers when assessing the extent of competition between papers,” Mr Sims said.

ARM and News both also publish overlapping community papers in Caboolture/Bribie Island, south west Brisbane, Brisbane northern bayside, Logan, and Tweed Heads/southern Gold Coast. These are mostly free papers with a strong local focus. The ACCC is seeking to assess the effect on readers and local advertisers in those areas, and to assess whether the reduction in competition is significant. 

“The ACCC will be assessing the importance of diversity of local content in these competing community publications.  The ACCC is also seeking to understand whether advertising opportunities on other media platforms, such as local radio, pamphlets, and online, will constrain prices for advertising in the ARM and News community newspapers,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC invites further submissions from industry participants in response to the Statement of Issues by 27 October 2016. 
Submissions should be forwarded electronically (preferably in PDF format) to with the title Submission re News/ARM proposed acquisition (attention Lisa Campbell/David Wang).

Alternatively submissions may be forwarded by fax to 02 92315652 or by mail to Mergers Branch, ACCC, GPO Box 3648, Sydney NSW 2001.
The ACCC expects to announce its final decision on 1 December 2016.

Further information and the ACCC’s Statement of Issues is available on the public register:

News is a global media company with subscription television, magazines, newspapers and publishing operations and interests. In Australia, News publishes a number of state, regional and community newspapers as well as its national publication The Australian. It also publishes websites associated with many of its newspapers as well as

APN is an ASX-listed Australian company with media, radio, publishing and digital assets in Australia, and outdoor advertising assets in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. The ARM division of APN, which is proposed to be sold to News, includes a large number of mostly regional publications in Queensland and northern NSW, including 12 paid daily, 14 paid non-daily and 32 free non-daily community newspapers.

APN's radio and outdoor assets are not part of the proposed acquisition and will be retained by APN.

A full list of ARM’s print publications is set out below:

North Queensland (Mackay region)
Daily Mercury, The Midweek, Whitsunday Times, and Whitsunday Coast Guardian.

Central Queensland
The Morning Bulletin, The Observer, Capricorn Coast Mirror, Central Telegraph, and Central Queensland News.

Wide Bay Burnett
NewsMail, Fraser Coast Chronicle, The Gympie Times, Guardian, Isis Town & Country, Central & North Burnett Times, Hervey Bay Observer, The Maryborough Herald, Cooloola Advertiser, and Hervey Bay Independent.

South-East Queensland - Sunshine Coast
Sunshine Coast Daily, Sunshine Coast Sunday, Noosa News, Coolum & North Shore News, Maroochy Weekly, Kawana Weekly, Caloundra Weekly, Nambour Weekly, and Buderim Chronicle.

South-East Queensland (Greater Brisbane and Ipswich)
Caboolture News, Bribie Weekly, The Logan Reporter, The Satellite, Bayside Northern Suburbs Star, The Queensland Times, and The Ipswich Advertiser.

South-West Queensland
Warwick Daily News, The Chronicle, Stanthorpe Border Post, Dalby Herald, Gatton, Lockyer and Brisbane Valley Star, Laidley Plainland Leader, South Burnett Times, Southern Downs Weekly, Balonne Beacon, The Western Star, Western Times, Chinchilla News and Murilla Advertiser.

Northern NSW (Gold Coast, Tweed and northern NSW)
Tweed Daily News, Tweed Daily News – Community Edition, The Northern Star, The Daily Examiner, The Woolgoolga Advertiser, Byron Shire News, Ballina Shire Advocate, Lismore Echo, The Richmond River Express Examiner, Coastal Views, and The Coffs Coast Advocate.

Specialist publications
Surat Basin News, Rural Weekly (five editions, including a Northern Territory edition), Big Rigs, CQ Industry, Style Magazine, Seniors Newspaper (eight different editions distributed in South-East Queensland and NSW), and APN Educational Media publications (business-to-business publisher of Education Review, Nursing Review, Aged Care Insite and Campus Review).

Immigration Scam Targets Migrants

4 October 2016: ACCC
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning migrants to watch out for scammers pretending to be from the ‘Department of Immigration’, threatening deportation and demanding money.

The ACCC has received 300 reports about this scam since March, with more than $150,000 reported lost.

“The scammers target migrants and temporary visa holders, claiming there are problems with their immigration paperwork or visa status and they need to pay a fee to correct the problem and avoid deportation. These scammers often glean personal information from social media, making the demands seem more legitimate,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard warned.

“Recently, these scams have been going one step further, threatening the arrest of loved ones, or claiming they have already been arrested or detained. They demand payment through wire transfers or iTunes gift cards.”

“Scammers may try to pressure you by calling incessantly and harassing you, even threatening to send the police to your house. Simply hang up and do not respond. If you give your money to a scammer, you will never see it again,” Ms Rickard said.

“The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will never ask for wire transfers or iTune cards as a payment option.”

“If in doubt, don’t use any contact details provided by the caller, instead look up the government department or organisation yourself in the phone book or online and phone or email them.”

Protect yourself
• If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the ‘Department of Immigration’ or any government agency telling you that you will be deported unless you pay a fine, hang up
• If you have any doubts about someone who says they are from a government department, contact the department directly. Don’t use any phone numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
• Never send any money via wire transfer or any other means to anyone you do not know or trust.
• Never give your personal information, bank account or credit card details over the phone unless you are sure you are speaking with a trusted source and you understand why the person is calling you. If you think you have provided your details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
• Be aware of DIBP fees and charges and make sure you know why you have been asked to pay more You can check DIBP’s fees and charges at:
• Know your visa status and entitlements. The DIBP may not have any need to contact you so if you receive a call from someone claiming to represent the DIBP and you are concerned, do not provide your personal information and end the call.
You can report immigration fraud matters to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection through their Immigration Dob-In Service. 

You can report scams to the ACCC via the Scamwatch Report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.

ACCC Invites Industry Comment On ‘Complex, Fascinating And Vital’ Telecommunications Issues

4 October 2016: Media Release - ACCC
Amid extraordinary change and stronger than ever consumer demand for better connectivity, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Rod Sims invited the telecommunications industry to have its say on regulatory issues.

At the CommsDay Congress held in Melbourne today, Mr Sims said the Australian telecommunications industry continues to undergo changes relating to rapidly evolving technology, structural change, product innovation, and changing consumer preferences.

“While the ACCC stays abreast of the changing environment to ensure our regulatory decisions are in the best interests of consumers, we occasionally need to take stock to identify emerging issues to ensure that our regulatory framework keeps pace with the rate of change,” Mr Sims said.

He said the ACCC’s new market study into the sector will examine a wide range of issues in communications markets to provide a strong overview of the changing telecommunications landscape.

“A key outcome will be whether the current form and level of regulation is appropriate.”

Mr Sims also said it is time to re-examine the need for declaring a domestic mobile roaming service, but stressed the ACCC had not formed any views.

“On the one hand, we understand that mobile coverage and choice of mobile service provider and competitively priced retail offers are important issues for consumers living and working in regional areas.”

“On the other hand, the ACCC is well aware the mobile network operators have all made significant investments in their mobile networks. We also understand there are real economic challenges for investing in mobile networks in some areas of Australia, and we understand the importance of incentives for continued investment,” Mr Sims said. 

In the second part of his speech, Mr Sims discussed the ACCC’s consultation on broadband speeds advertising and information for consumers.

“We asked for comment because we believe there is a distinct lack of clear information about broadband performance in advertising and other material available to consumers; and there may be a range of factors contributing to this,” Mr Sims said.

“There have been suggestions from industry, however, that consumers have unrealistic expectations about broadband speeds. Let me be clear; I think that industry advertising has contributed to this problem.”

Mr Sims said a fundamental advantage of the ACCC’s proposed Broadband Monitoring Program is to avoid disputes over whether poor performance is the fault of the NBN, or ISPs. 

“With so much being spent on the NBN we need to know if it is delivering, or whether problems are due to ISPs purchasing insufficient capacity to service their customers.”

Mr Sims also spoke about competitive broadband networks and explained the regulatory approach to the Local Bitstream Access Service and the Superfast Broadband Access Service.

“The ACCC considers that non-NBN network operators should not be constrained from deploying networks in competition with NBN Co, unless there are particular circumstances which overwhelmingly suggest it would not be in the long-term interests of end-users,” Mr Sims said.

“I urge all of you to engage with the ACCC as we address some of these complex, fascinating and vital telecommunications issues,” Mr Sims said.
The Chairman’s speech is available: Keynote Address: CommsDay Congress 

International Prize For Quantum Computing Leader

October 4, 2016 By Deborah Smith - UNSW

Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons. Image: Britta Campion/News Corp

For her pioneering research in quantum physics, UNSW Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons has been honoured with a €100,000 international L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award.

Professor Simmons, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, CQC2T, is one of five eminent female researchers from around the world named overnight as 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO laureates in the Physical Sciences.

She is the winner of the Asia-Pacific region, “for her pioneering contributions to quantum and atomic electronics, constructing atomic transistors en route to quantum computers”.

The five women, representing Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America, will receive their awards and prize money worth $146,000 at a ceremony to be held in Paris in March next year.

Professor Simmons’ team is the only one in the world that can make atomically precise devices in silicon. They have produced the world’s first single-atom transistor as well as the narrowest conducting wires ever made in silicon, just four atoms of phosphorus wide and one atom high.

“Trying to control nature at its very smallest scale is such an exciting and rewarding field to be in,” says Professor Simmons, of the UNSW School of Physics.

“This has been my passion for many years and has such tremendous potential. I am honoured by this recognition and hope it inspires others.”
As director of CQC2T, she heads a team of more than 180 researchers across six Australian universities, including UNSW. Centre scientists and engineers are leading the international race to build the world’s first quantum computer in silicon, and hope to produce a 10-qubit circuit within five years.

The federal government has contributed $25 million over five years towards a consortium to develop and commercialise this ground-breaking quantum computing research through its National Innovation and Science Agenda. The grant complements $25 million from UNSW and $10 million each from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Telstra.

In September, the Australian Research Council also extended funding to CQC2T as a Centre of Excellence for the next seven years, with a grant of $34 million from the federal government and $103 million in cash and in-kind support from participating organisations.

Professor Simmons has previously been awarded two Australian Research Council Federation Fellowships and currently holds a Laureate Fellowship.

She has won both the Australian Academy of Science’s Pawsey Medal (2005) and Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal (2015) for outstanding research in physics. She was named NSW Scientist of the Year in 2012, and in 2015 she was awarded the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science.

Earlier this year she was awarded a prestigious international Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, named in honour of the late Nobel Prize winning American physicist Richard Feynman.

In 2014, she had the rare distinction for an Australian researcher of becoming an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the first Nature Partner Journal based in Australia, npj Quantum Information.

Through its For Women in Science program, the L’Oréal  Foundation, in partnership with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, supports women researchers and rewards excellence in scientific fields where women remain under-represented.

The program also helps motivate girls in high school to pursue scientific careers.

On 27 October, UNSW Science will host a Girls in Science Forum where more than 180 school students will hear from the three Australian winners of the $25,000 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowships.

The school students will also tour science laboratories and carry out a variety of hands-on experiments.

The five 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO international laureates were selected from international nominees by an independent international jury of 12 prominent scientists presided over by Professor Christian Amatore, a member of the French Academy of Sciences.

Read more about Professor Simmons' work in Research@ UNSW in 15 women changing our world.

Strength Of Earth's Outer Shell Can Be Measured, Weak Spots Pinpointed

A composite image of a topographical map covers portions of Nevada and Utah and the corresponding magnetotelluric image reveals where magma upwelling and weak spots in the crust correlate to topographical features on the surface. Credit: Image by Lijun Liu

October 3, 2016
An advanced imaging technique used to map Earth's outer shell also can provide a measure of strength, finding weak spots and magma upwellings that could point to volcanic or earthquake activity, according to a new study by geologists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Adelaide in Australia.

The researchers developed a method for measuring strength and finding weak spots in the lithosphere, the outer layers of earth that include the crust and the outer mantle -- the molten rock lurking just under the surface that can well up and create volcanoes. The researchers found that calculating lithosphere strength using magnetotelluric imaging maps of the southwestern United States can more accurately describe the rough terrain and volcanic and seismic activity observed on the surface than can standard geologic models.

The study by U. of I. geology professor Lijun Liu and Adelaide professor Derrick Hasterok is reported in the journal Science.

"According to plate tectonics, the standard theory of earth science, the lithosphere is supposed to be rigid. But we know that is not the case," Liu said. "We know that a lot of places like the western U.S. have frequent fault-slip earthquakes and very rough surface topography, and are tectonically active. In this paper, we propose a new way to describe the mechanical properties of Earth's lithosphere."

Magnetotelluric imaging is a high-resolution mapping technique that the National Science Foundation has used to scan the lithosphere beneath much of the U.S. It provides information about the electrical conductivity of the lithosphere, which Liu and Hasterok were able to use to calculate strength and its variations from place to place.

"The same factors that affect electrical conductivity -- temperature, water content and the presence of molten material -- also affect the viscosity or strength. The hotter, wetter or more molten, the weaker the structure," Liu said.

The detailed models produced using the MT imaging data of the southwestern U.S. more accurately portrayed surface structures at a scale of less than 100 kilometers, Liu said, which is important because features like volcanoes and faults are localized phenomena that are harder to predict using larger-scale models. The models depicted upwellings in the mantle and peaks in the topography that correlated to features in the terrain and active volcanoes.

The researchers believe that analyzing lithosphere strength using MT images now being collected around the world can open new avenues of understanding the dynamic mechanisms of the Earth and its seismic activity.

"This method will aid our understanding of the processes that cause earthquakes and volcanic activity," Hasterok said. "We'll be able to see why earthquakes and volcanoes have occurred in the past and look for places where they might potentially happen in the future."

L. Liu, D. Hasterok. High-resolution lithosphere viscosity and dynamics revealed by magnetotelluric imaging. Science, 2016; 353 (6307): 1515 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6542

Have Your Say On A Mixed Use Development At Barangaroo South

29.09.2016: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
Three separate proposals by Lend Lease Pty Ltd for residential buildings at 51A Hickson Road, Barangaroo will be on exhibition from today for community consultation.

The Department of Planning and Environment is keen to hear the community’s views on the proposals, which seek to construct three residential buildings of 72, 60 and 29 storeys.

These will provide 775 new apartments, of which 39 apartments will be for key worker housing in the 29 storey building.

Each of the buildings will provide retail space and will include underground car spaces, storage and rubbish facilities.

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

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

“This feedback is taken into consideration as part of the assessment.

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

To make a submission or view the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), visit

Barangaroo South
Barangaroo South
Barangaroo South

Submissions can be made from Thursday 29 September until Monday 14 November 2016.

Written submissions can also be made to:
Department of Planning and Environment
Attn: Director – Key Sites Assessments
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001

The application and EIS are also available to view in person at:
Department of Planning and Environment:
Information Centre, 23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney, until 30 September 2016
Information Centre, 320 Pitt Street, Sydney, from 4 October 2016
City of Sydney Council: Town Hall House, Level 2, 456 Kent Street, Sydney.

First Look At High-Tech Coroners Court 

Tuesday 4 October 2016: Media Release - Hon. Jillian Skinner, Minister for Health and Hon. Gabrielle Upton, Attorney General
The new $91.5 million Forensic Pathology and Coroner’s Court the NSW Government is building at Lidcombe will incorporate world’s best practice design and be double the size of the current Glebe facility.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Attorney General Gabrielle Upton today unveiled new fly-through footage that reveals the spaciousness of the Lidcombe complex.

The purpose-built facility will be constructed on the old Lidcombe Hospital site along Joseph Street. It will include four large courtrooms for coronial hearings and a better working environment for coronial and forensic medicine teams.

Mrs Skinner said the development will be a major improvement on the Glebe facility, where forensic services and the Coroner’s Court have operated for more than 30 years.

“The Lidcombe facility will deliver a modern workplace for our professional staff who help deliver answers to families about thousands of unexpected and unexplained deaths and disappearances each year,” Mrs Skinner said.

Ms Upton said integrating the state’s coronial and forensic pathology services on one large purpose-built site will provide effective justice services now and into the future.

“The new state-of-the-art complex will improve forensic and coronial services in NSW and continue to provide closure and justice for victims of crime and their families,” Ms Upton said.

Site preparation works will begin this year and, subject to approvals, main construction works will begin in 2017. The new facilities are expected to be up and running by 2019.

No decisions have been made at this stage regarding the future of the current site at Glebe, which will be decommissioned after the new facilities are operational.

The 2016-17 NSW Budget included a $4 million boost towards continued planning for the project, which is a joint initiative between NSW Health and the NSW Department of Justice.

Watch the fly-through footage here:

Australians Over 40 More Likely To Receive Treatment For Alcohol - But Young Adults At Most Risk

Canberra, 7 October 2016
Young adults are more likely than any other age group to drink at risky levels, but are the least likely to receive treatment for alcohol use, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Trends in alcohol availability, use and treatment 2003-04 to 2014-15, shows that 18 to 24 year olds are the group most likely to report having consumed alcohol at risky levels. These young adults were the largest group to report risky drinking levels on several measures-including  risky single occasion drinking on a regular basis (making up 47% of the total), yearly (33%) and monthly (18%).

Despite this, it is older age groups who are more likely to receive treatment, with almost half (49%) of clients receiving treatment for alcohol aged in their forties.

'Overall, the use of alcohol treatment has increased, at 30 treatment episodes per 10,000 people in 2013-14-an increase of 20% from a decade ago,' said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.

While treatment for alcohol use has been consistently rising, alcohol consumption has fallen.

'In 2013-14, consumption of alcohol was 9.7 litres per person, down from 10.8 litres in 2008-09. On the same note, the proportion of Australians who abstain from drinking alcohol has also risen in recent years, from 17% in 2004 to 22% in 2013,' Mr Beard said.

There have also been some positive trends in risky alcohol consumption-between 2004 and 2013 there was an 11% fall in the rate of Australians drinking at risky levels on a single occasion (from 2,950 to 2,640 per 10,000 population), and a 13% fall in those drinking at risky levels over their lifetime (from 2,080 to 1,820 per 10,000 population).

These results suggest strategies such as increasing the price of alcohol, restricting trading hours and reducing outlet density can have positive outcomes in reducing the overall consumption levels of alcohol.

Mr Beard said that while there are positive drinking patterns emerging overall, patterns of risky drinking and alcohol dependence continue to be significant issues in Australia, with less favourable patterns seen among some groups of Australians.

'For example, in Remote and very remote areas, rates increased across several measures of risk in the decade from 2004 to 2013, including single occasion risk, lifetime risk and monthly drinking at very high levels,' Mr Beard said.

Rates of alcohol treatment also increased in Remote and very remote areas, from 13 episodes per 1,000 in 2007-08 to 16 in 2013-14.

As a risk factor, alcohol was the leading cause of burden of disease for Australians under the age of 45 in 2011 while alcohol use disorders, were responsible for   1.5% of the total burden of disease in 2011.

Monash Research Discovery Aids Fight To Reduce Post-Stroke Infection Deaths

04 October 2016: MU stroke research

Dr Connie Wong, Monash School of Clinical Sciences
Monash University research has found that gut bacteria are the culprit in deadly post-stroke infections such as pneumonia, heralding a new approach to stroke patient management.

Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers affecting one in six people, with the condition killing more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer. In addition to brain injury, bacterial pneumonia infections are common in stroke patients, often leading to death.

Monash research has found gut bacteria are the major cause of post-stroke infections, with bacteria able to take advantage of a stroke patient’s weakened immune system to travel through the body causing infection.

Published in the prestigious Nature Medicine journal, the research was led by Dr Connie Wong from the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health.

Dr Wong said the research explained why current treatments in fighting post-stroke infections were ineffective and provided stroke doctors with evidence that antibiotics were unhelpful.

“We’ve known for a long time that stroke patients are highly susceptible to infections but we didn’t really understand why,” Dr Wong said.

“Our research has shown for the first time that stroke compromises the immune system, enabling bacteria to take an opportunistic journey from the gut into other organs, including the lungs.

“We’ve shown that stroke injury can cause cellular changes which lead to barrier dysfunctions in the gut. This allows gut bacteria to spread throughout the body.

“This is a huge concern when the gut bacteria are antibiotic-resistant, and especially when they get into other organs such as the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia and other dangerous infections,” Dr Wong said.

Head of Stroke at Monash Health, Associate Professor Henry Ma, said the research had the potential to change clinical practice in managing stroke patients.

“We know that patients are susceptible to infection after a stroke, but this particular pathway for infection is not something we’d seen before. We often prescribe antibiotics for patients after a stroke but sometimes this is not effective at preventing or treating infection.”

Dr Wong said our hugely diverse gut bacteria outnumbered our own cells ten-to-one, and had 100 times more genes than the human genome and contained many pathogens.

“Usually our immune system keeps these gut bacteria under control. However a shock to the system, such as in a stroke, can compromise immunity, enabling bacteria to travel from the gut into organs including the lungs, liver and spleen,” Dr Wong said.

This discovery may change the management of stroke patients, reducing the use of unnecessary and ineffective antibiotics.

This pivotal research has been supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC), National Heart Foundation and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Early Marijuana Use Associated With Abnormal Brain Function, Lower IQ

October 5, 2016
In a new study, scientists in London, Ontario have discovered that early marijuana use may result in abnormal brain function and lower IQ.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance in the world. Previous studies have suggested that frequent marijuana users, especially those who begin at a young age, are at a higher risk for cognitive dysfunction and psychiatric illness, including depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, a Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute and the Dr. Joseph Rea Chair in Mood Disorders at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University, is a Canadian leader in studying both mood and anxiety disorders and the effects of marijuana.

"Many youth in our program use marijuana heavily and, despite past research, believe it improves their psychiatric conditions because it makes them feel better momentarily," said Dr. Osuch, who is also the Medical Director of the First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP) at London Health Sciences Centre. "For this reason, we decided to study the effects of marijuana and depression on psychiatric symptoms, brain function and cognitive function."

Dr. Osuch and her team recruited youth in four groups: those with depression who were not marijuana users; those with depression who were frequent marijuana users; frequent marijuana users without depression; and healthy individuals who were not marijuana users. In addition, participants were later divided into youth who started using marijuana before the age of 17 and those who began using it later or not at all.

Participants underwent psychiatric, cognitive and IQ testing as well as brain scanning. The study found no evidence that marijuana use improved depressive symptoms; there was no difference in psychiatric symptoms between those with depression who used marijuana and those with depression who did not use marijuana.

In addition, results showed differences in brain function among the four groups in areas of the brain that relate to reward-processing and motor control. The use of marijuana did not correct the brain function deficits of depression, and in some regions made them worse.

Of additional interest, those participants who used marijuana from a young age had highly abnormal brain function in areas related to visuo-spatial processing, memory, self-referential activity and reward processing. The study found that early marijuana use was also associated with lower IQ scores.

"These findings suggest that using marijuana does not correct the brain abnormalities or symptoms of depression and using it from an early age may have an abnormal effect not only on brain function, but also on IQ," said Dr. Osuch.

With past research suggesting a genetic role between marijuana use and depression, Dr. Osuch and her collaborators at Western University's Robarts Research Institute also conducted genetic testing on participants. They discovered that a certain genetic variation of the gene that produces Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) was found in greater proportion in youth who used marijuana from an early age. BDNF is involved in brain development and memory, among other processes.

"This is a novel finding that suggests this genetic variation may predispose youth to early marijuana use," said Dr. Osuch. However, Dr. Osuch notes that this study had a small number of participants. These genetic results are therefore tentative and need to be verified with a larger study with more participants.

E. A. Osuch, K. Manning, R. A. Hegele, J. Théberge, R. Neufeld, D. Mitchell, P. Williamson, R. C. Gardner. Depression, marijuana use and early-onset marijuana use conferred unique effects on neural connectivity and cognition. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 2016; DOI:10.1111/acps.12629

Breast Density Matters In Detection Of Breast Cancer

Associate Professor Wendy Ingman looking at the white and bright regions on a mammogram. Breast density is shown as white and bright regions -- but so too are potential tumors. Credit: The Hospital Research Foundation

October 4, 2016: University of Adelaide
Almost 8% of women have extremely high breast density, which can make it harder for health professionals to detect breast cancer on a screening mammogram. These women are also more likely to develop breast cancer in the future.

This is the warning from a new Australian alliance of breast cancer researchers, who are working together to raise awareness of the issue in the hopes of improving cancer diagnosis and health outcomes for women.

The group, called INFORMD (INformation FORum on MammographicDensity), comprises leading Australian breast cancer researchers from the Universities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Western Australia, Queensland University of Technology and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria.

"We've grown concerned that Australian women are not aware of the significance of breast density in the diagnosis and prevention of breast cancer," says INFORMD spokesperson and THRF Breast Cancer Research Fellow, Associate Professor Wendy Ingman from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute, and Lead Researcher, Breast Biology and Cancer Unit, Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research.

Dense breasts have less fatty tissue and more non-fatty tissue, such as more glands that make and drain milk, compared to breasts that aren't dense.

Almost 8% of women aged between 40-74 years have extremely dense breasts. It is estimated that women with extremely high breast density have a four-to-six-fold increased risk of breast cancer compared to women with very low density.

"Breast cancer is more likely to develop in women with dense breast tissue, but not many women know if they have dense breast tissue. We believe it's important to inform women about breast density so they can make the right choices for their health," Associate Professor Ingman says.

On a mammogram, breast density is shown as white and bright regions. But unfortunately, potential tumors are also shown as white and bright on a mammogram.

"With the technology currently available, it is harder to see tumors in breasts with denser tissue on a mammogram. The danger is that these women are at risk of having tumors missed at the time of screening," Associate Professor Ingman says.

As yet, no single method or tool for measuring breast density has been agreed upon within the medical and medical technology communities. However, the researchers say breast density cannot be assessed based simply on how breasts feel during a self-exam or a doctor's physical exam.

Associate Professor Ingman says that although dense breast tissue is a risk factor for breast cancer, not all women with dense breasts will develop breast cancer.

Dr Alessandra Muntoni, Director of Research Investment, National Breast Cancer Foundation, says: "More details on the association of breast density with breast cancer are emerging as researchers learn more about this complex disease. In addition to funding research in this area, it is important to ensure that knowledge is shared with women so they can make more informed decisions in future."

"Our ultimate aim is to save women's lives," says Associate Professor Ingman. "We hope to do this by increasing prevention and early detection of breast cancer, and by increasing the understanding and better utilization of breast cancer screening in Australia, to lower the impact of this disease."

The INFORMD alliance believes that women with dense breasts should in the future be able to make informed decisions about how to manage their breast cancer risk. The researchers have identified these key actions required to achieve this aim:

• Development of evidence-based guidelines for general practitioners (GPs) and other health professionals so they can assist women to make informed decisions. • Implementation of improved methods for quantifying breast density, and improved methods of predicting which women are most likely to develop breast cancer in the future. This is so breast density can be reported to all women attending screening programs, along with evidence-based recommendations for their management.

What can women do now?

• Mammography remains the gold standard for breast cancer screening. In Australia, the researchers encourage women to use the opportunity to have free regular mammograms through BreastScreen services across the nation.

• Women can have their breast density assessed through a mammogram, which can be arranged through their GP.

• Supplementary screening methods, including ultrasound and MRI, are available for women to be used in addition to mammography. However, it is important that women consider the costs, both emotional and financial, and the risk of false positive results associated with these other technologies.

• Be breast aware. All women, regardless of age, can be familiar with their breasts and check them regularly. Any changes should be reported to their doctor.

The INFORMD alliance has established a new website to help keep women up to date on new information about breast density and breast cancer.More information can be found at:

Materials provided by University of Adelaide. 

Saturn’s Moon Dione Harbors A Subsurface Ocean

Representation of the interior of Enceladus with icy crust, ocean and solid core. ROB researchers think that Dione may also have a subsurface ocean. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

October 5, 2016: Royal Observatory of Belgium
A subsurface ocean lies deep within Saturn's moon Dione, according to new data from the Cassini mission to Saturn. Two other moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, are already known to hide global oceans beneath their icy crusts, but a new study suggests an ocean exists on Dione as well.

In this study, researchers of the Royal Observatory of Belgium show gravity data from recent Cassini flybys can be explained if Dione's crust floats on an ocean located 100 kilometers below the surface. The ocean is several tens of kilometers deep and surrounds a large rocky core. Seen from within, Dione is very similar to its smaller but more famous neighbor Enceladus, whose south polar region spurts huge jets of water vapor into space. Dione seems to be quiet now, but its broken surface bears witness of a more tumultuous past. The study is published online this week in Geophysical Research Letters.

The authors modeled the icy shells of Enceladus and Dione as global icebergs immersed in water, where each surface ice peak is supported by a large underwater keel. Scientists have used this approach in the past but previous results have predicted a very thick crust for Enceladus and no ocean at all for Dione. "As an additional principle, we assumed that the icy crust can stand only the minimum amount of tension or compression necessary to maintain surface landforms," said Mikael Beuthe, lead author of the new study. "More stress would break the crust down to pieces."

According to the new study, Enceladus' ocean is much closer to the surface, especially near the south pole where geysers erupt through a few kilometers of crust. These findings agree well with the discovery last year by Cassini that Enceladus undergoes large back-and-forth oscillations, called libration, during its orbit. Enceladus' libration would be much smaller if its crust was thicker. As for Dione, the new study finds it harbors a deep ocean between its crust and core. "Like Enceladus, Dione librates but below the detection level of Cassini,'' said Antony Trinh, co-author of the new study. "A future orbiter hopping around Saturn's moons could test this prediction."

Dione's ocean has probably survived for the whole history of the moon, and thus offers a long-lived habitable zone for microbial life. "The contact between the ocean and the rocky core is crucial," said Attilio Rivoldini, co-author of the study. "Rock-water interactions provide key nutrients and a source of energy, both being essential ingredients for life." The ocean of Dione seems to be too deep for easy access, but Enceladus as well as Jupiter's moon Europa are generous enough to eject water samples in space, ready to be picked up by a passing spacecraft.

The club of "ocean worlds" -- icy moons or planets with subsurface oceans in common parlance -- gains new members with each new mission to the outer solar system. Three ocean worlds orbit Jupiter, three orbit Saturn and Pluto could also belong to the club, according to recent observations of the New Horizons spacecraft. The approach to modeling planetary bodies used in this study is a promising tool to study these worlds if we can measure their shape and gravity field, according to Mikael Beuthe. "Future missions will visit Jupiter's moons, but we should also explore Uranus' and Neptune's systems," he said.

Mikael Beuthe, Attilio Rivoldini, Antony Trinh. Enceladus' and Dione's floating ice shells supported by minimum stress isostasy.Geophysical Research Letters, 2016; DOI: 10.1002/2016GL070650

The Nobel Prize In Chemistry 2016

5 October 2016: Press release by Nobel
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 to:

Jean-Pierre Sauvage
University of Strasbourg, France

Sir J. Fraser Stoddart
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA


Bernard L. Feringa
University of Groningen, the Netherlands

"for the design and synthesis of molecular machines"

They developed the world's smallest machines
A tiny lift, artificial muscles and miniscule motors. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 is awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for their design and production of molecular machines. They have developed molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added.

The development of computing demonstrates how the miniaturisation of technology can lead to a revolution. The 2016 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have miniaturised machines and taken chemistry to a new dimension.

The first step towards a molecular machine was taken by Jean-Pierre Sauvage in 1983, when he succeeded in linking two ring-shaped molecules together to form a chain, called a catenane. Normally, molecules are joined by strong covalent bonds in which the atoms share electrons, but in the chain they were instead linked by a freer mechanical bond. For a machine to be able to perform a task it must consist of parts that can move relative to each other. The two interlocked rings fulfilled exactly this requirement.

The second step was taken by Fraser Stoddart in 1991, when he developed a rotaxane. He threaded a molecular ring onto a thin molecular axle and demonstrated that the ring was able to move along the axle. Among his developments based on rotaxanes are a molecular lift, a molecular muscle and a molecule-based computer chip.

Bernard Feringa was the first person to develop a molecular motor; in 1999 he got a molecular rotor blade to spin continually in the same direction. Using molecular motors, he has rotated a glass cylinder that is 10,000 times bigger than the motor and also designed a nanocar.

2016's Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have taken molecular systems out of equilibrium's stalemate and into energy-filled states in which their movements can be controlled. In terms of development, the molecular motor is at the same stage as the electric motor was in the 1830s, when scientists displayed various spinning cranks and wheels, unaware that they would lead to electric trains, washing machines, fans and food processors. Molecular machines will most likely be used in the development of things such as new materials, sensors and energy storage systems.

Jean-Pierre Sauvage, born 1944 in Paris, France. Ph.D. 1971 from the University of Strasbourg, France. Professor Emeritus at the University of Strasbourg and Director of Research Emeritus at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France.

Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, born 1942 in Edinburgh, UK. Ph.D. 1966 from Edinburgh University, UK. Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.

Bernard L. Feringa, born 1951 in Barger-Compascuum, the Netherlands. Ph.D.1978 from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Professor in Organic Chemistry at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.


Prize amount: 8 million Swedish krona, to be shared equally between the Laureates.

America And Australia Form New Partnership In Particle Physics Research

4 October 2016: The University of Melbourne
Fermilab, the USA’s major high energy physics laboratory, CoEPP, Australia’s primary centre for particle physics research and the University of Melbourne have forged a new research partnership.

The aim of the partnership is to create an exchange of complimentary expertise to discover more about the universe and its origins.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and the University of Melbourne on behalf of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP) formalised the international scientific cooperation this week with the signing of an international Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).

The collaboration will enable researchers, technical staff and students to travel to partner institutions and collaborate on shared challenges. Potential shared activities include advanced theoretical physics, precision measurement techniques, advanced research computation methods, underground experimentation and accelerator R&D.

“This is a welcome alliance between our two organisations,” says Professor Geoffrey Taylor, Director of CoEPP.

“Scientists at Fermilab have previously discovered three fundamental particles – the top quark, the bottom quark and the tau neutrino. Their research complements and feeds into the work being done here at CoEPP which includes understanding more about the origins of our universe and the search for dark matter. This partnership will give scientists from both our organisations the opportunity to develop unique skillsets in fundamental physics research.” Prof Taylor said.

“Whilst CoEPP is part of the ATLAS experiment at the LHC and Fermilab is the lead CMS laboratory in the US, there is a great deal that can be done on developing techniques, tools and detector technology beyond the confines of these experiments. Also, the underground laboratory experience of Fermilab with the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE ) project finds synergy with CoEPP developments at the new Stawell underground facility.”

This alliance will initially see exchange from the Monash and Melbourne nodes of CoEPP, with Adelaide and Sydney universities to join in the foreseeable future. CoEPP has a vigorous research program that aligns well with that of the US laboratory. 

“This agreement widens the collaboration opportunities of CoEPP by linking it to this most prestigious High Energy National Lab in the US,” says A/Prof Csaba Balazs, CoEPP Monash Node Director. 

“Since particle physics is a highly collaborative, international science, this agreement is a vital anchoring the CoEPP to the US, complementing our already strong connections to CERN in Europe.”

 Since 1967, Fermilab has been working to answer fundamental questions about the universe and its origins. Scientists working at Fermilab discovered three fundamental particles – the top quark, the bottom quark and the tau neutrino – and the laboratory is gearing up to host the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, the largest long-distance neutrino experiment in the world.

“We’re glad to deepen our relationship with CoEPP as we move forward into a new era of physics research,” said Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer

Health Determined By Social Relationships At Work

October 3, 2016
Whether you're an engineer, a nurse, or a call center worker, you are likely to spend an average of one third of your day on the job. In a new meta-analysis covering 58 studies and more than 19,000 people across the globe, psychologists have shown that how strongly we identify with the people or organization where we work is associated with better health and lower burnout.

The work appears in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

While many people assume that finding the right job that fits your personality and skills is the key to a healthy work life, this meta-analysis shows that health at work is determined to a large extent by our social relationships in the workplace -- and, more particularly, the social groups we form there.

Previous studies on the relationships between people and their workplaces focus on issues of satisfaction, motivation, and performance in organizations, but much less on health and well-being.

"This study is the first large-scale analysis showing that organizational identification is related to better health," says lead researcher Dr. Niklas Steffens (University of Queensland, Australia). "These results show that both performance and health are enhanced to the extent that workplaces provide people with a sense of 'we' and 'us.'"

Prof. Alex Haslam and Prof. Jolanda Jetten (both University of Queensland), Dr. Sebastian Schuh (China Europe International Business School, China), and Prof. Rolf van Dick (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany) also collaborated on the study. The team reviewed 58 studies covering people in a variety of occupations, from service and health to sales and military work, in 15 countries.

While the type of job was not a significant factor in the link between social identification and health benefits, several factors influenced the relationship.

"Social identification contributes to both psychological and physiological health, but the health benefits are stronger for psychological health," says Steffens.

The positive psychological benefit may stem from the support provided by the work group but also the meaning and purpose that people derive from membership in social groups.

"We are less burnt out and have greater well-being when our team and our organization provide us with a sense of belonging and community -- when it gives us a sense of 'we-ness,'" summarizes Steffens.

The authors also found that the health benefits of identifying with the workplace are strongest when there are similar levels of identification within a group -- that is, when identification is shared. So if you identify strongly with your organization, then you get more health benefits if everyone else identifies strongly with the organization too.

The team was surprised to find that that the more women there were in a sample, the weaker the identification-health relationship.

"This was a finding that we had not predicted and, in the absence of any prior theorizing, we can only guess what gives rise to this effect," says Steffens. "However, one of the reasons may relate to the fact that we know from other research that there are still many workplaces that have somewhat 'masculine' cultures. This could mean that even when female employees identify with their team or organization, they still feel somewhat more marginal within their team or organization."

As part of their work, the researchers have several recommendations for future research.

"One important area where we need to do much more work is making use of this research in applied settings." says Steffens. "In particular, it is important to examine whether health may actually precede changes in performance and what role identification plays in this."

The team also recommends exploring the role of leadership. This is because other findings that emerge from the same program of research indicate that how leaders manage teams and groups has a strong influence on the social identification-health connection. "Leaders play a key role in shaping a sense of group identity in the workplace," Steffens said, "and this is important not only for team performance but also for the mental and physical health of employees."

N. K. Steffens, S. A. Haslam, S. C. Schuh, J. Jetten, R. van Dick. A Meta-Analytic Review of Social Identification and Health in Organizational Contexts. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2016; DOI:10.1177/1088868316656701

Honorary Doctorate Awarded To Former PM John Howard

30 September 2016: University of Sydney
Former PM and alumnus of the University, John Howard, receives a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa).

For his leadership on gun law reform, foreign relations and economic policy, former Prime Minister John Howard OM AC accepted an honorary degree from the University of Sydney today.

Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson, former Prime Minister John Howard and Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence.

“Mr Howard is a great example of an alumnus of the University who has shown outstanding leadership for and on behalf of our nation,” said Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Belinda Hutchinson AM. 

“He remained true to his principles over the reform of gun control laws, and today we have a firearms law system that is the envy of the world. His strong economic policy and his diplomatic skill also left a lasting legacy for Australia.”

Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the wider community or achieved exceptional academic or creative excellence. Mr Howard will receive a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa).

Mr Howard graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Laws in 1961.

Early in his first term as Prime Minister and in response to the Port Arthur massacre, Mr Howard introduced a proposal for uniform gun laws throughout Australia, limiting the availability of firearms and incorporating a federally funded buy-back scheme. This decisive action, which was highly unpopular in sections of Prime Minister Howard’s political support base, is now seen throughout the world as one of the most successful examples of a gun-control system.

Over the course of his four terms in office, Mr Howard made a number of important contributions to Australian foreign affairs including his skilful response to the East Timor crisis in 1999, the restoration of relations with Indonesia and the development of a strong trade and pragmatic relationship with China.

The Howard Government established a reputation for strong economic policy, including the reformation of the Australian tax system through the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax, which broadened the country’s tax base.

“I congratulate Mr Howard on his doctorate and the many achievements it commemorates. I am delighted to welcome Mr Howard into the eminent company of the many alumni and community members who have been honoured in this way,” said Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney.

“I am very touched that the University has conferred this special honour on me. I remain most grateful for the education I received at the University,” said Mr Howard. 

Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson, former Prime Minister John Howard, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence. 

Speaking at an event after the ceremony the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull commented:

“It’s an honour to be asked to pay tribute to a man that I admire so much, and wonderful to be back on the campus of the University that gave us both… such a great springboard into the world. We are always in debt to this University.”

He observed that Mr Howard “was instrumental in bringing back a style and a substance of government that is absolutely crucial to our continued success and prosperity.”

Since the first official honorary degree was awarded by the University in 1952, several former Australian prime ministers have been recognised with the accolade, including Robert Menzies, Gough Whitlam, Stanley Bruce and William Hughes.

Sandcastle Or Beach Cricket Wicket?

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.