Inbox and Environment News: Issue 291

November 27 - December 3, 2016: Issue 291

Community Declares War On Ocean Microplastics 

“If you eat seafood in any fashion whatsoever the plastic pollution and corresponding contaminant problem has relevance to you,” says prominent biologist Dr Jennifer Lavers. “Anything really that comes out of the ocean you cannot certify that as organic any longer.”

Microplastic pollution of our ocean is a menace to marine life and a growing health concern. Northern Beaches environment group Living Ocean is harnessing the community to act as Citizen Scientists, gathering microplastics data on our beaches so Jennifer and other research scientists around the world can work toward a solution. 

Jennifer, a renowned microplastics authority, is holding a free workshop on Avalon Beach for all interested volunteers, Sunday 4 December 12:30-3:00pm.

Commencing outside the Avalon Surf Life Saving Club, Jennifer will lead a workshop showing how to collect and classify microplastics. This workshop follows on from Living Ocean’s 10am Avalon Beach cleanup that morning, if you would like to be involved in that as well. Registration is not required, all welcome. Look for the Living Ocean banner. You’ll become qualified to participate in our monthly microplastics collections.

A further workshop, for prospective team leaders, will be at the Coastal Environment Centre, Narrabeen, on Saturday 3 December 1:00-3:30pm. Bookings Essential

For anyone appalled by pollution in the ocean but feeling powerless to help, here at last is an opportunity to make a real difference. Further details at

About Living Ocean
Living Ocean is a charity that promotes the awareness of human impact on the ocean, through research, education, creative activity in the community and support of others who sustain ocean health and integrity.

About Microplastics
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic, up to 5mm in size, that have broken down from larger pieces or are pre-production pellets. As they wash around in the ocean they gather and concentrate ocean pollutants, which pass into the bloodstream of marine animals that ingest them, ultimately entering the human diet.

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Forum

November 28, 2016 7pm: Forum
This is a most important forum where the Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes, MP, and the Administrator for Northern Beaches Council, Dick Persson, will each speak about Narrabeen Lagoon State Park and its future. 

Please make the effort to be there - reply to this email: giving the name/s of people wanting to attend and we will send you your ticket/s.

Enjoy the outdoors with one of these walks
Terrey Hills to Deep Creek Sunday 4/12/2016
3 hr walk starting 8am at Terrey Hills cross the Deep Creek
catchment valley and feeder creek and end in Oxford Falls.
See and identify spectacular Sydney sandstone flora. Bring a
screwdriver for 30 min weeding near the end of the walk.
Allow 4 hrs. Carpool required. Phone Conny 0432 643 295

Oxford Falls Triangle 15/1/17
3 hour bushwalk starting 4.00pm from Morgan Rd, Oxford
Falls. We identify plants in blossom and on the way home do
20 min weeding of Whisky Grass. Please bring a screwdriver
as a digging stick. Phone Conny 0432643295

Sea Shepherd Announces 11th Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign: Operation Nemesis

August 30, 2016
The marine conservation group Sea Shepherd Global is sending its vessels down to the Southern Ocean this December on its 11th direct-action whale defense campaign.

A 2014 landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague declared the Japanese whaling program in the Antarctic not scientific in nature, despite their claims of hunting the whales for scientific research. The Japanese were also found in contempt of the Australian Federal Court for killing protected whales in the Australia Whale Sanctuary.

"If we cannot stop whaling in an established whale sanctuary, in breach of both Australian Federal and International laws, then what hope do we have for the protection of the world's oceans?” said Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia. “We must make a stand and defend whales with everything we've got."
After a one-year hiatus from whaling, the Japanese whaling fleet returned to the Antarctic last season despite the rejection of their revised research program by the International Whaling Commission, and slaughtered 333 Minke whales, more than half of them pregnant females.

“The international community has had two years to ensure Japan's compliance with the International Court of Justice ruling,” says Captain Peter Hammarstedt, Chairman of Sea Shepherd Australia. “But at the end of the year, the Japanese whaling fleet will once against sail from Japan with whales in their harpoon sights.”

Disappointed by the lack of action from the international community, Sea Shepherd Global is preparing to return to the Southern Ocean to protect the whales with a new patrol vessel, the Ocean Warrior. Built with the financial support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the British People’s Postcode Lottery and the Svenska PostkodLotteriet, the Ocean Warrior is the fastest in the Sea Shepherd Global fleet.

“For the first time we will have the speed to catch and outrun the Japanese harpoon ships, knowing speed can be the deciding factor when saving the lives of whales in the Southern Ocean,” says Sea Shepherd Global CEO Captain Alex Cornelissen. They estimate to have already saved the lives of over 5,000 whales in their previous ten Antarctic campaigns.

The Ocean Warrior will arrive in Australia at the end of this year to undergo the final preparations for the 2016/2017 direct-action campaign in the Antarctic. “Sea Shepherd’s 11th Southern Ocean Whale Defense Campaign is named Operation Nemesis, after the Greek goddess of inescapable justice,” announced Hammarstedt.

Departure Of The Geelong Star From Australian Waters

22 November 2016: AFMA
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) can confirm that the mid-water trawler, the Geelong Star which has been operating in Australia waters since April 2015, is no longer under Australian jurisdiction.

Enquiries about the decision to leave Australian waters or future fishing operations of the Geelong Star, should be directed to the operator.

The Geelong Star is not currently subject to any investigation by AFMA for breaches of Commonwealth fishing regulations.

Most Species-Rich Coral Reefs Are Not Necessarily Protected

November 22, 2016: Leiden Universiteit
One-third of the corals of the Great Barrier Reef are dead. This was the sombre conclusion drawn by Australian scientists six months ago. Pollution, shipping and climate change are destroying the world's largest continuous reef, and other coral reefs seem to be facing the same fate.

Home country
PhD candidate Zarinah Waheed studied coral reefs in her home country Malaysia over recent years. She looked specifically at the coral diversity of these reefs and also at the connectivity between the reef locations. She found that the areas with the highest numbers of coral species are not necessarily protected.

94 species
During her research, Waheed examined how many species of three coral families -- Fungiidae, Agariciidae and Euphylliidae -- occur in different reefs spread throughout Malaysia. She made a number of diving trips in the region, together with her co-supervisor and coral expert Dr Bert W. Hoeksema of Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden. Before the diving trips, she first examined all specimens of the target species in the extensive coral collection held by Naturalis.

Coral Triangle
'The eastern part of Malaysian Borneo is part of the so-called Coral Triangle,' Waheed explained. 'This is a vast area that is home to the highest diversity of corals in the world. Scientists have long suggested that diversity diminishes the further away you get from this Coral Triangle. This hypothesis had never been thoroughly examined as far as Malaysia is concerned. My research shows that this holds true based on the coral species we examined.'

Paradise for divers
Waheed discovered, for example, that Semporma, a paradise for divers in the eastern part of the country, has a total of 89 species of coral of the three families she studied. If you go further west -- that is, further away from the Coral Triangle -- the number of species drops to only 33 in Payar on the west coast of the Malaysian mainland.

Finally, Waheed investigated how the different Malaysian reefs are connected to one another. She did this by establishing how one species of mushroom coral (Heliofungia actiniformis), the blue starfish (Linckia laevigata) and the boring giant clam that goes by the name of Tridacna crocea are genetically related within each of their populations.

Water circulation pattern
The three model species Waheed studied exhibit different levels of connectivity among the coral reefs. She suspects that this may well be due to the effect of water circulation patterns in the research area. 'The larvae of the coral, the starfish and the clam can survive for a while before they have to settle on the reef. In the meantime they are carried by the currents and may settle in other coral reefs from where the originate.'

Coral reef conservation
Surprisingly enough, reef areas that have the greatest diversity are not necessarily the best protected. For example, only a limited part of the coral reefs in Semporna are protected under a marine park. 'Reefs outside the park boundary are not protected. During our diving trips we regularly heard dynamite explosions. Blast fishing is an illegal practice and it causes enormous damage to the coral reef but it is nonetheless a way of catching fish.' Blast fishing occurs not only in Semporna, but also in other coral reef areas of Sabah, Malaysia, and the Coral Triangle.

Materials provided by Leiden, Universiteit

Australia Falling Behind On Reef Promises

November 24, 2016: Fight for the Reef
A new analysis finds that Australia has failed on a promise to control tree clearing to protect the Great Barrier Reef, is falling behind on other key commitments, and risks being called before the World Heritage Committee again in 2017.

The Reef Probation Report, prepared by Fight For The Reef, calls on Australia to urgently lift its game on tree clearing, water pollution, investment in Reef repair, and responding to climate change.

With Australia due to give the World Heritage Committee a progress report on its Reef 2050 rescue plan by December 1, FFTR partners WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society have prepared their own assessment.

The fact that Australia lived up to its promise to ban sea-dumping of industrial dredge spoil in the Reef World Heritage Area and limit port development is a landmark win for the Reef and proof that big actions can be taken to save the Reef.

But the failure on tree clearing, slow progress on water pollution targets, insufficient funding for reef repair, and inadequate action on climate change are cause for major concern.

“Global warming, caused by the mining and burning of fossil fuels like coal, has just triggered the worst bleaching event in recorded history,” said Imogen Zethoven, Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director at the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“Huge sections of the northern Reef have died, and its World Heritage value has been seriously damaged.

“Despite this, Australia is not doing its fair share to tackle global warming and prevent coral bleaching events becoming more frequent and severe.

“A bigger effort is urgently needed on climate change and the other reef promises where Australia is falling behind,” she said.

Latest government figures show that 108,000 hectares of bushland was cleared in Great Barrier Reef catchments in 2014-15 – an increase of 46% since 2011-2012 – despite the crucial role of bushland in preventing sediment smothering the Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce this year welcomed the efforts so far by farmers and land managers to reduce water pollution, but concluded that “the resulting changes have not been rapid or widespread enough to improve or even maintain water quality on the Reef”.

A government study shows there is a funding gap of about $6 billion between what the Australian and Queensland Governments have committed so far to achieve water quality targets, and what’s needed over the next ten years.

“The Australian and Queensland governments have not met their promise to control tree clearing in Reef catchments, and need to do more to meet their promises to cut farm pollution and invest the funds required to repair the Reef catchment,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.

“We need innovation and immediate action. If not, we’re not meeting UNESCO’s probation, and our governments are risking the Reef’s World Heritage status. The world is watching,” he said.

WWF-Australia and AMCS say urgent action is needed to:
  • Control tree clearing in Reef catchments
  • Make a rapid shift to renewable energy, with no new coal mines
  • Stop farm pollution harming the Reef
  • Commit the funds needed to implement the Reef 2050 Plan’s promises
  • Create a strong, independent champion for the Reef (by empowering and better resourcing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority)
Download the report here A report by WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society, November 2016 (PDF: 2.5MB)

World Heritage Centre Update On Great Barrier Reef Protection

Joint media release
25 November 2016
The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP
Minister for the Environment and Energy
The Hon. Steven Miles MP
Queensland Minister for Environment
The Australian and Queensland Governments will next month update the World Heritage Centre on the significant progress being made through joint measures to protect and improve the Great Barrier Reef.

Providing a status update to the World Heritage Committee is required as part of its decision not to list the Reef as "in danger" in June 2015.

The update will provide a factual summary of progress made on specific actions of the Reef 2050 Plan, and will include an Investment Framework and an update on the coral bleaching response.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said the Governments were proud of what had been achieved in the first 18 months of the 35 year plan, which will see both governments invest $2 billion in the Reef over the next decade.

"The first Reef 2050 Annual Report released earlier this year illustrates for UNESCO's World Heritage Committee our staunch commitment to conserving this amazing natural asset," Minister Frydenberg said.

"It showed we've already completed 29 of the plan's 151 actions including an historic ban on the sea-based disposal of capital dredge material within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area."

Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef, Dr Steven Miles, said early efforts under the plan would help to build the resilience of the Reef.

"We have used legal and policy levers to improve water quality including new compliance measures on cane farming and grazing," Dr Miles said.

"We have established a strong partnership approach based on the best available science and momentum is really building for a new era in Reef protection.

"Over and above the 2050 plan, additional work has been undertaken including gully remediation on priority Cape York properties, Springvale Station was recently purchased and funding for crown-of-thorn starfish control has been boosted."

The Australian and Queensland Governments are confident in the progress already made through the Reef 2050 Plan and both recognise this is against the backdrop of the recent coral bleaching event, which was caused by a culmination of El Niño and climate change effects.

An update on the event and response was provided at today's Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum.

As a result, the Ministers have today directed their departments to provide advice on what additional measures can be taken in the northern part of the Reef, most affected by bleaching, once full monitoring results on the extent of the damage are known early next year.

Ministers also agreed to a Reef 2050 Plan Investment Framework that highlights existing levels of funding, details future investment priorities for the Reef, and outlines possible new sources of funding, including from the private sector.

Mountain Bike Riders Dig In To Maintain Garigal’s Popular Tracks

Media release: 23 November 2016
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) together with the local mountain biking community have started an innovative program for maintaining the very popular mountain bike tracks in Garigal National Park.

NPWS Area Manager Robin Aitken said it’s been two years since the Gahnia and Serrata Mountain bike tracks opened in the Bantry Bay area of Garigal National Park.

“More than 45,000 laps of the two circuits have been completed by riders since the new mountain bike tracks were opened in 2014,” Ms Aitken said.

“The tracks have held together remarkably well over the past two years, even during severe east coast low events, but this program of involving the mountain biking community will mean we are ahead of the issues well into the future.

“As part of the mountain bike community’s commitment to the NPWS Mountain Bike Project, ten Trail Care volunteers will learn the skills to identify issues and how to rectify them. 

“The day will give these important volunteers the skills to supervise ongoing maintenance days of the tracks into the future.”

The two popular tracks replaced a number of illegal tracks in the area.

“NPWS undertook extensive strategies in June 2015 to close a series of unauthorised mountain bike tracks in the Bantry Bay area,” Ms Aitken said.

“Due to the strong support of the local mountain bike riders, none of the unauthorised tracks have been reopened or new unauthorised tracks constructed in Garigal National Park at Bantry Bay over the past 18months.

“This has been a fantastic result which has protected the unique natural and cultural heritage values of the park such as the endangered coastal upland swamp and nearby significant Aboriginal sites,” she said.

The two new tracks were designed and constructed using international best practice, minimising impacts on the surrounding environment through a combination of diverting the route away from vulnerable areas and techniques to prevent erosion, siltation and water flow.

The first track maintenance training day was held on Sunday 20th November conducted by NPWS and the original trail building contractor, TrailScapes

Climate Change Fund To Subsidise Land Clearing

23 November, 2016: Nature Conservation Council NSW
Media reports today reveal the Baird government plans to use money from the state’s Climate Change Fund to subsidise the increased land clearing that will result from laws it rammed through parliament last week. [1]

The Climate Change Fund’s Draft Strategic Plan 2017-2022, release on November 3, revealed $240m would be spent to “help landholders and land managers reduce the impacts of climate change on natural systems”. [2]

“It turns out that is the same $240m for private-land conservation the government included as part of its package of weaker land clearing laws last week,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.

“Mike Baird’s plan to raid the NSW Climate Change Fund to subsidise land clearing is breathtaking in its cynicism, even for him.

“We support paying landholders to protect bushland and wildlife, but not at the expense of destruction elsewhere and urgent action on climate change.

“This is a sneaky piece of accounting that cuts investment in renewable energy while facilitating increased land clearing, a leading source of emissions.”

The Climate Change Fund
The Climate Change Fund (CCF) has since 2007 been used to reduce the state’s reliance on coal-fired electricity by boosting investment in renewable energy. The CCF funded the Solar Bonus Scheme that spent $200 million a year helping 146,000 households and small businesses to install solar. [3] That scheme is being wound up in December 2016.

The $240m private-land conservation
The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists warned in a letter to state MPs in June that the $240m pledged for private-land conservation will operate as a “taxpayer subsidy to degrade land”. “The increased greenhouse gas emissions that will result [from increased clearing] will mean that taxpayers will be hit twice, because it will make our national commitments to reduce Australia’s emissions more difficult, resulting in higher costs to taxpayers and other sectors of the economy.” 

Endangered Stockrington Ecological Communities Protected 

Friday November 18, 2016: Media Release - Mark Speakman,
Minister for the Environment 
Five endangered ecological communities will be protected under an agreement to transfer more than 2200 hectares of land in Stockrington to the NSW Government, Environment Minister Mark Speakman announced today.

The 2250 hectares of land at Stockrington is now part of the NSW national park system and helps complete a green corridor from Stockton Bight to the Watagans in the Hunter Valley.

“Reserving this land will help ensure the long term survival of threatened species, including koalas and masked owls,” Mr Speakman said.

The green corridor connects ecological reserves. The five endangered ecological communities found within the reserve are the Sydney
Basin Bioregion freshwater wetlands, the lowland redgum forest, the spotted gum ironbark forest, the swamp mahogany paperbark forest and the swamp oak bushland forest.

Coal and Allied transferred the land to the government as part of its approval for a housing development at Minmi and an industrial development at Black Hill

NSW's Rarest Banksia Doing The Three-Step

Media release: 24 November 2016
A three-step insurance plan to save Australia’s rarest Banksia ramps-up after ten plants have been returned to the wild at Vincentia in the Shoalhaven.

Wild plant of Banksia vincentia Photo OEH

Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Threatened Species Officer Dr David Bain said the trial planting of ten propagated Banksia vincentia plants, close to the only wild population, is a priority action to save this endangered species.

“The trial planting will provide a better understanding of planting techniques; the survival of different genotypes and the susceptibility of the reintroduced plants to known pathogens,” said Dr Bain.

“This project is a partnership approach led by the Office of Environment and Heritage, with vital support from the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan, Booderee Botanic Gardens, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Wollongong Botanic Gardens.

“This project, a three-step insurance plan for the Banksia, includes the establishment of an ex-situ insurance population, the trial planting and important seed collection which will ultimately lead to the reintroduction of large numbers of plants into the wild.

“An important goal in saving Banksia vincentia is almost complete, with cuttings now in the hands of experts at a number of botanic gardens across NSW creating an important insurance population.

“Cuttings have been distributed to Booderee Botanic Gardens, Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra and Wollongong Botanic Gardens,” said Dr Bain.

Australian Botanic Gardens Curator Manager John Siemon said staff from the Australian PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Garden are part of this project and they successfully collected six hundred seeds from Banksia vincentia’s wild population earlier this year.

“Six hundred seeds is very low but a vitally important collection to save this endangered Banksia. As a comparison, a seed collection from a non-threatened species normally results in about ten thousand to fifty thousand seeds,” Mr Siemon said.

“Half of the 600 seeds have been shipped to the Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England as part of our risk mitigation strategy.

“At the Australian Botanic Garden, we are also germinating some of the seeds and twenty-four seedlings have now progressed to our Nursery.”

Dr Bain said we now have plant cuttings and seeds of Banksia vincentia across southeast NSW and even as far afield as the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England creating a strong three-step insurance plan. 

“The challenge of saving Banksia vincentia is an investment by the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program which aims to protect almost a thousand animals and plants at risk of extinction, for the next 100 years in the wild,” Dr Bain said.

To learn more about Banksia vincentia

Green Day For Southern Highland's Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Media release: 24 November 2016
More than 700 trees are being planted across backyards in the Southern Highlands as part of a grassroots plan to save the glossy black-cockatoo.

Glossy Black cockatoo flying to belahs Casuarina cristata which is an Australian sheoak part of an environmental planting at Gunnedah Research Centre - photo courtesy OEH.

Earlier this month Allocasuarina littoralis or black sheoak trees were provided free to locals at a ‘hand-out’ day at Bundanoon organised by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

NPWS Area Manager Graham Bush said one of the best ways to ensure the survival of this iconic, yet threatened bird is to secure its habitat and food trees.

“We know that glossy black-cockatoos favour seeds of mature casuarina trees so over the past year staff have organised the collection and propagation of local seed, growing 700 flourishing plants,” Mr Bush said.

“The idea was that locals would take these young trees home and plant them in their yards or on their properties to expand healthy habitat and food supply for the cockatoos.

“What we didn’t expect was the overwhelming demand for these trees and genuine enthusiasm from people willing to do their small part to help this species.

“These trees are now in people’s gardens, hedges and even being used as boundary and wind breaks,” Mr Bush said.

On the day, locals were also provided with canes, tree guards, instructions on planting, cards for recording cockatoo sightings and offers of assistance from the Wingecarribee Shire Council Bush Care team and Friends of Morton Volunteer Group.

“From a relatively small seed collection project, we have reached a point where our combined actions with the community are having a direct impact,” Mr Bush said.

“It just goes to show how a seed of an idea has literally flourished into a practical solution to save this extraordinary bird.

“More of the propagated trees will be planted in the Bundanoon section of Morton National Park, Bungonia National Park, Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve and Council Reserves from early next year.

“Special thanks goes to the community for their overwhelming support of the project and our valuable partners: Wingecarribee Shire Council Bush Care, Lions Club (Bundanoon), Friends of Morton National Park Volunteer Group and Bundanoon Community Association,” Mr Bush said.

The NSW Government’s $100 million Saving our Species program aims to secure threatened species such as the glossy black-cockatoo in the wild for at least 100 years.

For more information about what we are doing to help this and other species, please visit the Saving our Species website.

New Report Confirms Fears On Fracking And Health

November 22, 2016: Lock The Gate Alliance
The latest compilation of research into the health effects of fracking and unconventional gas reveals a growing body of evidence is confirming fracking and unconventional gas are a major health risk and regulation has been ineffectual in preventing harm. Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility released their fourth compendium late last week, summarising the most recent research into the health effects of fracking and unconventional gas.

The report reveals that people living near fracking and unconventional gasfields in the United States are experiencing a range of a range of health problems including asthma, migraine headaches, chronic nasal and sinus
symptoms, rashes and fatigue. Research indicates increased risk of pre-term births and perhaps even childhood leukaemia.

According to the report, regulation has not been able to prevent health impacts associated with air pollution and drinking water contamination as a result of unconventional gas has now been confirmed.

Lock the Gate Alliance national coordinator Phil Laird said, “With every year that passes, we learn more about health damage being inflicted on communities by the great unconventional gas fracking gamble. Australia
should never have experimented with this technology without knowing the risks.

“The more we learn, the more pressing the case to stop before it’s too late. In Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia and rural New South Wales, we have the chance to stop this harm before it happens. In
Queensland and western Sydney, all proposals to further expand this dangerous industry must be halted, and urgent assistance provided to families living amongst the toxic fumes of unconventional gas wells.

“Now that the evidence is accumulating that this industry is highly risky and harmful, we need to ban fracking
nation-wide and we need a moratorium on all forms of unconventional gas.”

The Concerned Health Professionals of New York & Physicians for Social Responsibility fourth Compendium of
scientific, medical, and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking is available here:   

Clean Air For NSW Consultation Paper

Have your say on how we can improve air quality across NSW
The Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper presents a proposed approach and actions for government to meet its goal of improving average air quality results across NSW. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is seeking community and stakeholder feedback on whether you think NSW is proposing the right actions to improve air quality.

Your submission can assist us in finalising Clean Air for NSW and improving air quality and public health.

Key questions to consider:
  1. Do you have any comments on the proposed actions in the Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper to improve air quality? (Please use headings to identify each action)
  2. Are there other issues and actions that Clean Air for NSW should cover?
  3. How do you want to be informed about and involved in improving air quality?
  4. Do you have any other comments or ideas on improving air quality in NSW?
Please include headings for specific actions where appropriate throughout your submission.

Make sure you include the following information at the top of your submission:
  • First name 
  • Last name
  • Organisation you represent (if applicable)
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Postcode
Submit your feedback by Friday 20 January 2017

Email your comments to: 

Post your submission to:
EPA Air Policy
PO Box A290
Sydney South, NSW 1232

The EPA is committed to transparent processes and open access to information. The EPA may draw upon the contents of the submissions and quote from them or refer to them in publications. The EPA will treat the submission as public unless you indicate that you wish your submission to remain confidential.

The EPA will email an acknowledgment of submissions received by email within 72 hours of receipt.

Middle Head Management Plan (Draft Amendment 2)

Date published: 03 November 2016 by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
Invitation for public comment
The Harbour Trust has prepared a Draft Amendment to the Middle Head Management Plan to guide the revitalisation and management of Middle Head – Headland Park, Mosman.

The Draft Amendment to the Management Plan is on public exhibition from 3 November 2016 to 16 December 2016. Comments are invited until 5.00pm AEST, on Friday 16 December 2016.

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust is asking people for their feedback on the Draft Amendment to its Middle Head Management Plan (Draft Plan), which went on public exhibition today.

Harbour Trust Acting Executive Director Dr Susan Culverston said one of the main aims of the Draft Plan, which is open for public comment from Thursday 3 November to Friday 16 December, was to include more information about coordinated management of the natural environment with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

“We have worked closely with NPWS in the preparation of our Draft Plan. Both agencies want to improve public access to the headland by establishing a connected network of paths.

“Our Draft Plan proposes creating an accessible circuit path around the Harbour Trust’s Middle Head precinct, which will link up with the NPWS walking tracks.

Dr Culverston said that extensive community consultation had played an important role in the preparation of the Draft Plan for Middle Head.

“We were pleased with the very positive response to our joint community consultation activities with over 800 responses to the survey conducted earlier this year.

“We are now looking forward to seeing this strong community engagement with the site and the ideas for its future continue through this public exhibition process.

Please click here for more information about the Draft Amendment how to provide your comments.

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.

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 - November - December 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 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! 

Avalon Community Garden

Community Gardens bring people together and enrich communities. They build a sense of place and shared connection.


Avalon Community Garden is a community led initiative to create accessible food gardens in public places throughout the Pittwater area. Our aim is to share skills and knowledge in creating fabulous local, organic food. But it's not just about great food. We also aim to foster community connection, stimulate creative ideas for community resilience and celebrate our abundance. Open to all ages and skills, our first garden is on the grounds of Barrenjoey High School (off Tasman Road). Become part of this exciting initiative to change the world locally. Contact us or Visit us artwork:

Create a Habitat Stepping Stone!

Over 50 Pittwater households have already pledged to make a difference for our local wildlife, and you can too! Create a habitat stepping stone to help our wildlife out. It’s easy - just add a few beautiful habitat elements to your backyard or balcony to create a valuable wildlife-friendly stopover.

How it works

1) Discover: Visit the website below to find dozens of beautiful plants, nest boxes and water elements you can add to your backyard or balcony to help our local wildlife.

2) Pledge: Select three or more elements to add to your place. You can even show you care by choosing to have a bird appear on our online map.

3) Share: Join the Habitat Stepping Stones Facebook community to find out what’s happening in the natural world, and share your pics, tips and stories.

What you get                                  

• Enjoy the wonders of nature, right outside your window. • Free and discounted plants for your garden. • A Habitat Stepping Stone plaque for your front fence. • Local wildlife news and tips. • Become part of the Pittwater Habitat Stepping Stones community.

Get the kids involved and excited about helping out!

No computer? No problem -Just write to the address below and we’ll mail you everything you need. Habitat Stepping Stones, Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University NSW 2109

This project is assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust

Coastal Reforms

NSW Department of Planning & Environment
The NSW coast provides a multitude of values and uses for the community. This competition for use and enjoyment places our coast under increasing pressure. The environmental and lifestyle benefits of coastal living continue to attract new residents and tourists.
Planning for coastal communities must carefully balance the need to provide jobs, housing, community facilities and transport for a changing population whilst maintaining the coast's unique qualities and managing risks associated with developing along our coastlines.
Coastal reforms - Planning for our future on the coast
We are improving the way we plan for development and natural hazards along our coastline.
The Department of Planning and Environment, together with the Office of Environment and Heritage, is developing a new coastal management framework. The framework responds to existing and emerging coastal challenges and opportunities, with the aim of having thriving and resilient communities living and working on a healthy coast now and into the future. 
The Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) will establish a new, strategic land use planning framework for coastal management. It will support implementation of the management objectives set out in the Coastal Management Act 2016.
The Coastal Management SEPP will integrate and improve current coastal-related SEPPs and ensure that future coastal development is appropriate and sensitive to our coastal environment, and that we maintain public access to beaches and foreshore areas. Once published, the Coastal Management SEPP will be the single land use planning policy for coastal development and will bring together and modernise provisions from SEPP 14 (Coastal Wetlands), SEPP 26 (Littoral Rainforests) and SEPP 71 (Coastal Protection).
The Coastal Management SEPP will also better equip councils and coastal communities to plan for and effectively respond to coastal challenges such as major storms, coastal erosion and climate change impacts, through more strategic planning around coastal development and emergency management.

Community information session
Monday, 5 December: 5.30 – 7pm Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club, Corner of East Esplanade & Stuart Street, Manly, 2095

Please RSVP to attend one of this session by contacting We are also keen to hear any questions you may have, or specific topics of interest for your local session, so please let us know when you RSVP.
Have your say on the draft Coastal Management SEPP
Consultation is now underway on the draft Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) and draft maps of the coastal management areas that make up the coastal zone. The public consultation period for the draft SEPP and maps is from 11 November 2016 to 23 December 2016. We encourage our stakeholders and interested community groups to take a look at the reforms and have a say:
online using the submission form below; and by mail to:
Director, Planning Frameworks
NSW Department of Planning and Environment 
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001
The Department is also seeking feedback from the public on the draft Ministerial (‘section 117’) direction relating to rezoning land in the coastal zone and amending the coastal zone maps. The documents for consultation can be accessed below:

How we are progressing coastal reforms
The release of the draft Coastal Management SEPP is the next step in finalising the Government coastal reforms program.
Documents previously released for public consultation include:
Thank you to all who have taken the time to provide feedback on various aspects of the coastal reform program to date.
Taking into account public submissions, the new Coastal Management Act 2016 was passed by Parliament on 31 May 2016 and will commence following consultation on the draft Coastal Management SEPP.
The Office of Environment and Heritage is currently finalising the Coastal Management Manual and a Toolkit of technical resources and advice for coastal managers.
More information about the NSW coastal reforms, including analysis of public submissions from the previous consultation round, can be found on the Office of Environment and Heritage’s Coastal reforms webpage.
The Department of Planning and Environment has recently issued a Planning Circular (PS 16-003) on the Coastal Management SEPP. This advice clarifies that where land is partly or wholly mapped by the draft Coastal Management SEPP, a planning certificate issued for that land should record that the draft SEPP applies to that land. PS 16-003 can be accessed here (PDF 266KB).

Coastal SEPP Mapping Tool Instructional Video

$45 Million To Bolster Protection Of The Reef

Joint media release
25 November 2016
The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP
Minister for the Environment and Energy
The Hon. Steven Miles MP
Queensland Minister for Environment
The Australian and Queensland Governments are investing $45 million in an Australian first to improve water quality and reduce sediment run-off across the Great Barrier Reef.

The $45 million Great Barrier Reef Gully and Streambank Joint Program will deliver a cohesive program of restoration work in key catchments including Burdekin, Fitzroy and Cape York.

The joint program between government, the private sector, research institutions and conservations groups includes scientific investigation to understand the nature of gullies and the restorative activities required to fix them.

Other work will include physical remediation, mulching, revegetation, fencing, native grass seed production and grazing land management improvements.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said this was an unparalleled opportunity.

"This is the first time existing and new programs have been brought together under a collaborative approach to tackle one of the biggest issues facing the reef," Mr Frydenberg said.

"The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia's and the world's greatest natural wonders and we must all work together through programs like this to protect the reef for generations to come.

"Gully and streambank erosion contributes significantly to the sediment entering the Reef with fine sediment smothering corals and reducing the light available to seagrass ecosystems. The nutrients attached to sediments are also linked to outbreaks of the coral eating crown-of-thorns starfish."

Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef, Dr Steven Miles, said the program provided a step forward in efforts to improve reef water quality.
"The Program will work with organisations including the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, natural resource management organisations and Greening Australia to build on and deliver a range of projects and programs," Dr Miles said.

"These types of investments that also respond to the findings and recommendations of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce and associated costings reports.

"As stated in the Taskforce's report, the immediate focus must be on reducing all pressures to improve the Reef's resilience to the long-term challenges it faces. Action that improves water quality now is key to ensuring this outcome"

Key investments from the program include:
  • A project between Greening Australia and the Queensland Government to trial innovative gully remediation techniques funded through the Great Barrier Reef Innovation Fund, $2 million each;
  • $8 million through the Australian Government Reef Trust phase 2 for gully restoration projects in priority areas in the Burdekin, Fitzroy, Burnett Mary and Cape York natural resource management regions;
  • $20 million through the Australian Government Reef Trust phase 4 competitive grants round for gully and streambank restoration in priority areas - now open for grant applications;
  • a northern reef recovery project focused on remediation in Cape York, delivered through a partnership between the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and the Queensland Government, $3 million each;
  • $5 million in Queensland Government funding for gully and streambank management and remediation as part of the major integrated project in the Bowen-Bogie-Broken catchment;
  • $700,000 through the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Programme, with contributions of $820,000 from CSIRO and $130,000 from Griffith University; and
  • $1 million through the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality Science Program for sediment management projects in the Fitzroy and Burdekin catchments from 2015-2019.
Applications are now open for the Reef Trust Phase 4 Gully and Streambank Erosion Control Program. We are looking for delivery partners to carry out on-ground works from 2016 to 2022 and interested groups are invited to apply by 15 December 2016.

Further information on the program and how to apply for the grants is available at:

For more information about the Great Barrier Reef Gully and Streambank Joint Program:

Endangered Australasian Marsupials Are Ancient Survivors Of Climate Change

November 24, 2016: Uppsala Universitet
In a new paper, published in Scientific Reports, an international team of researchers has analysed fossils and DNA from living and recently extinct species to show that conservation sensitive Australasian marsupials are much older than previously thought.

"We used bandicoots as a model to examine the radiation of marsupials relative to climate change through time. Bandicoots are the marsupial equivalents of rodents and rabbits that today occupy a spectrum of desert through to rainforest habitats across Australia, New Guinea and surrounding islands. Alarmingly, however, most bandicoot species are under dire threat of extinction from introduced predators, habitat loss, and human hunting," says Dr Benjamin Kear from the Museum of Evolution at Uppsala University, and lead author on the study.

Bandicoot fossils are important for understanding how Australia's unique biodiversity has reacted to climate change in the past. They suggest that a shift towards drier conditions 5-10 million years ago drove ancient species into extinction, while simultaneously prompting the emergence of modern groups.

"The evolution of Australia's mammals has long been linked to aridity. Yet this hypothesis is based upon only a few distinguishing features found in the teeth and skulls of modern species," says Dr Ken Aplin of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Dr Aplin recovered the remains of a remarkably archaic new fossil bandicoot, Lemdubuoryctes aruensis, from the Aru Islands of Eastern Indonesia.

The earliest bandicoot fossils are more than 25 million years old, but isolated teeth over 50 million years old hint at a deeper ancestry. In contrast, the first demonstrably modern bandicoots appeared less than 5 million years ago, while their most ancient relatives seemingly inhabited rainforests some 20 million years ago.

"The Aru Islands fossils are very primitive and resemble the most archaic extinct bandicoots, but amazingly are only 9,000 years old," says Dr Kear.

Lemdubuoryctes also did not live in a primordial rainforest, but rather a vast savannah plain that stretched between Australia and New Guinea during the last glacial maximum.

"While retreating rainforests and spreading grasslands did provide a backdrop for ecosystem change 5-10 million years ago. The Australian fauna likely adapted via changing its distribution rather than undergoing wholesale extinction and replacement," says Emeritus Prof. Michael Westerman from La Trobe University in Australia.

"This agrees with our results from DNA, which indicate that modern desert-living bandicoot groups pre-date the onset of aridity by as much as 40 million years," says Prof. Westerman.

Pointedly, such timeframes coincide with increasing seasonality and the proliferation of open Eucalyptus woodlands in the Australian continental interior.

"Bandicoots, like other Australasian marsupials, probably occupied a range of different habitats over many millions of years. However, our study has further implications for future conservation. Arid zone bandicoots are amongst the most vulnerable mammals in Australasia today, with multiple species having gone extinct within the last 100 years. By demonstrating their profound evolutionary antiquity we can thus serve to highlight how extremely urgent it is to protect these living fossils as part of Australia's unique biodiversity," says Dr Kear.

Benjamin P. Kear, Ken P. Aplin, Michael Westerman. Bandicoot fossils and DNA elucidate lineage antiquity amongst xeric-adapted Australasian marsupials. Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 37537 DOI: 10.1038/srep37537

Murray-Darling Basin Plan Doomed For Wildlife And Communities

22 November, 2016: Nature Conservation Council NSW
Key environment groups in NSW condemn the recommendation of theNorthern Basin Review to reduce environmental flows by 70GL, calling on the Turnbull Government to reject the findings. A reduction in water flows is a backward step that jeopardises the environmental health of the Murray-Darling wetlands, birds, fish and downstream communities.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has today released the Northern Basin Review, a 4 year project to assess the environmental, economic and social impact of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. The review has recommended to reduce the volume of water available for the environment by 70 GL putting at risk the gains made by the Basin Plan.

‘Stripping 70 gigalitres of water from the environment and downstream communities is the next nail in the coffin of a once successful Murray-Darling Basin Plan,’ said Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski.

‘Our Federal and State Government’s responsibilities under international treaties will be compromised if less water is returned to improve the health of Ramsar wetlands and important migratory waterbird habitat,’

‘The Ramsar listed Narran Lakes, Macquarie Marshes and Gwydir wetlands are particularly threatened by the proposed reduction of water from the Northern Basin. The health of the Darling River, its Aboriginal cultural heritage connections and the downstream communities such as Wilcannia are sacrificed by this poor decision.’

‘The NSW Government has been a key player in blocking successful environmental outcomes for the Basin Plan’, said Inland Rivers Network President, Bev Smiles.

‘The Basin Plan is a $15 billion natural resource management strategy that dedicates significant funds to private property and irrigation schemes to improve efficient water use on farms. The saved water is to return past over-allocations back to the rivers.’

‘The bias towards the socio-economics of up-river communities that still rely on wasteful flood irrigation is sacrificing the future health of downstream communities.’

‘The aim of the Basin Plan was to restore the balance of over-extraction so that rivers, wetlands and their dependent native animals could recover from a serious level of decline. The proposal to remove 70 GL from the environment in the Northern Basin is not a balanced outcome.’

‘This decision will further compromise the Basin Plan and not meet the Turnbull Government’s promise to meet the plan in full and on time,’ concluded Bev Smiles.

Taronga Western Plains Takes Top Tourisim Gong 

Friday, 25 November 2016: Media Release - Mark Speakman
Minister for the Environment 
Taronga Western Plains Zoo was recognised as the state’s top tourist attraction at the NSW Tourism Awards at Luna Park last night.
The Dubbo zoo was awarded a Gold Award in the Tourist Attractions category, and a Gold Award for Unique Accommodation, claiming a place in the Awards Hall of Fame as a third-time winner in this category.

Four remarkable NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) tourism experiences were also recognised at the awards.

NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman said the awards recognised the contribution Taronga Western Plains Zoo and NPWS made to the state’s tourism industry, both in Sydney and regional NSW.

The four NPWS winners were:
  • Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, Port Macquarie, received a Silver Award in the Visitor Information Services category 
  • The Wild About Whales tourism campaign received a Silver Award in the Destination Marketing category 
  • Arakwal Dolphin Dreaming, Byron Bay, received a Silver in the Qantas Award for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism category
  • The Hilltop, Weemelah and Reid’s Flat Cottages at Royal National Park received a Bronze Award in the Standard Accommodation category
“Taronga Western Plains Zoo is a remarkable facility both for regional tourism and for conservation science,” Mr Speakman said. 

“The NPWS award winners demonstrate the hidden treasures in our state’s national park estate and also highlight the work NPWS staff do to inform visitors about our incredible natural environment.”

A full list of winners is available at

More information about NPWS tourism at the state’s 225 national parks is available at 

Environmental Future Funding Package

The NSW Government has released a new NSW Climate Change Policy Framework(External link). The policy provides important context for the government’s approach to climate change. It sets two aspirational objectives:
  • achieving net zero emissions by 2050
  • NSW being more resilient to a changing climate.
The government has also announced a $500 million funding package and released two draft climate change and energy savings plans for public consultation:

To ensure that the community is part of this important process, the government is seeking feedback on the two draft plans.

The submission form and information on how the community can have a say is available on the Make a submission page. Public submissions are due by 16 December 2016.

Information briefings
The NSW Government will run webinar briefings to provide more information about new funding opportunities under these two draft plans, the public consultation process and the new climate change policy framework.

To register for a webinar briefing, click on the relevant date 

Date                                                  Time
16 November 2016                        11am – 12:30pm
23 November 2016                         11am – 12:30pm
1 December 2016                                11am – 12:30pm

Have Your Say On A Modification To Hunter Valley Operations North Coal Mine

November 17, 2016: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment

A proposal by HV Operations Pty Limited for a modification to the Hunter Valley Operations North coal mine is on exhibition from today for community consultation.

The Department of Planning and Environment is keen to hear the community’s views on the proposed modification, which seeks consent to partially fill the existing void within the mine’s Carrington Pit with fine reject from the mine’s coal preparation plant, rather than waste rock.

After coal is extracted from the pit it is then washed to separate the coal from other material called rejects. Two forms of reject material are produced, coarse and fine.

This modification is expected to provide an additional eight years of fine reject storage capacity for the mine, which is located 24 kilometres northwest of Singleton.

The waste rock originally planned to be used to fill the Carrington Pit will now be incorporated into HVO’s existing waste strategy, and be allocated to existing approved waste rock piles throughout the site. There is no change to the HVO North waste emplacement area heights associated with this modification.

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 Request and accompanying documents, visit

Submissions can be made from Thursday 17 November 2016 until Thursday 1 December 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 & Environment: Information Centre, Level 22, 320 Pitt Street, Sydney

Singleton Council: Administration Centre, Corner of Queen Street and Civic Avenue, Singleton

Nature Conservation Council: Level 14, 388 Pitt Street, Sydney.

Cowal Gold Mine Mod 13 - Mine Life Extension

The Cowal Gold Operations Mine Life Modification (the Modification) involves continued operations at the existing CGO within ML 1535 for an additional 8 years to allow an additional 1.7 million ounces (Moz) of gold production (i.e. a total of approximately 5.5 Moz over the life of the modified

Existing CGO infrastructure would continue to be used for the Modification, with some alterations where necessary, including modification of the
existing tailings storage facilities to maximise/increase tailings storage capacity (Figure ES-2) and upgrades to the existing leach circuit within the process plant.

The proposed changes to the tailings storage facilities include connection of the existing two tailings storage facilities to utilise the area in between for additional tailings storage. The existing tailings management and seepage control measures would be replicated for this additional tailings storage area. 

Project is currently on public exhibition and opportunity for public submissions is available
Exhibition Start 18/11/2016
Exhibition End 08/12/2016

View Documents and Make a Submission at:

Documents Reveal BHP's Coal Mines In Breach Of Rehabilitation Guidelines

November 23, 2016: Lock the Gate Alliance
Information released to the Lock the Gate Alliance reveals a gaping flaw in Queensland's environmental legislation that is allowing mining companies in the state to avoid having to do the progressive rehabilitation of their sites, as required by law.

A government study of the ten coal mines owned by BHP showed that, of the 51,000 hectares disturbed at these sites, rehabilitation had commenced on only 4,800 hectares. This represents less than 10 per cent of land disturbed by mining.

BHP is Australia's largest coal producer and operates such Queensland coal mines as Goonyella Riverside, Broadmeadow, Daunia, Peak Downs, Saraji, Blackwater and Caval Ridge.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson, Drew Hutton, said these figures show BHP is in breach of the environmental authorities for its coal mines which usually stipulate that rehabilitation occur on land that becomes available within two or three years.

However regulators are reluctant to prosecute companies like BHP because of the ambiguity surrounding the word "available".

The financial assurances lodged by BHP for its ten mines come to $1.2bn although this is after the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection estimated the liability at $1.7bn. The short-fall of $0.5bn is the result of discounts given to the company.

"It is disgraceful that BHP, one of the largest companies in the world, can show such appalling disregard for its responsibilities to rehabilitate mine sites” Mr Hutton said.

“BHP is ripping billions of dollars of profit out from Queensland and leaving behind a blighted mess that Queenslanders will have to live with forever.

"These government documents show that BHP has rehabilitated less than 10% of the areas it has disturbed by mining, despite getting a special discount on the assurances it must hold.

“It’s clear that the rules controlling mine rehabilitation are failing dramatically and the world’s biggest miners are spectacularly rorting the system.

“Queensland’s management of mine rehabilitation needs root and branch reform, and it needs it now.

"The alternative is that this scandal continues to be swept under the carpet for future governments and taxpayers to address" he said.

In the period 2016-17 the amount of disturbance is forecast to be 2,500 hectares for all ten BHP sites with only 110 hectares "available" for rehabilitation. This means BHP regards this 100ha as the only area free from mining operations that could be rehabilitated out of the 51,000 ha they have already disturbed.

In other words, BHP will consider doing rehabilitation on only 0.2 per cent of the area requiring this work during the next couple of years.

Letter To The Editor Regarding Bellingen Shire Courier Sun Article About Koala Habitat Protection

24.11.2016 - Author: Department of Planning and Environment
Dear Editor,
The Department of Planning and Environment is working to better conserve the natural habitat of koalas (NEFA: “Stop Baird exterminating koalas”).

Contrary to what is suggested in the article, we are proposing to strengthen the controls in the State Environmental Planning Policy to better preserve areas that are vital to koala survival. 
The proposed policy improvements will support councils to prepare comprehensive management plans, make it clearer to assess proposals that may impact koala habitat, and ensure their habitat is considered early in the strategic planning process.

We are not removing the need for developers to survey their site for koalas and vegetation. They will be required to fulfil the criteria set out in the guidelines and councils will then assess them on this.

We’re improving koala protection by strengthening the definition that will identify their habitat. This will be supported by the expansion of the list of tree species recognised as supporting koalas from 10 to 65.

We are also preserving, not removing, the ability for councils to appropriately zone key areas of koala habitat by updating the Local Planning Directions. This will ensure koala habitat is raised and addressed early in the plan making process.

We’ve worked with councils and key non-government organisations including koala protection groups, to inform these proposed updates. We welcome community feedback while the proposed changes are on public exhibition until 16 December. The package can be viewed

Alison Frame 
Deputy Secretary Policy & Strategy
Department of Planning and Environment 

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.

University Of Sydney Uncovers World Of Viruses: Lyme-Like Diseases To Be Analysed

November 23, 2016: University of Sydney
A groundbreaking study of the virosphere of the most populous animals -- those without backbones such as insects, spiders and worms and that live around our houses -- has uncovered 1445 viruses, revealing people have only scratched the surface of the world of viruses -- but it is likely that only a few cause disease.

The meta-genomics research, a collaboration between the University of Sydney and the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, was made possible by new technology that also provides a powerful new way to determine what pathogens cause human diseases.

Professor Edward Holmes, from the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases & Biosecurity and the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, who led the Sydney component of the project said although the research revealed humans are surrounded by viruses in our daily lives, these did not transfer easily to humans.

"This groundbreaking study re-writes the virology text book by showing that invertebrates carry an extraordinary number of viruses -- far more than we ever thought," Professor Holmes said.

"We have discovered that most groups of viruses that infect vertebrates -- including humans, such as those that cause well-known diseases like influenza -- are in fact derived from those present in invertebrates," said Professor Holmes, who is also based at the University's multidisciplinary Charles Perkins Centre.

The study suggests these viruses have been associated with invertebrates for potentially billions of years, rather than millions of years as had been believed -- and that invertebrates are the true hosts for many types of virus.

The paper, "Redefining the invertebrate RNA virosphere," is published tonight in Nature.

"Viruses are the most common source of DNA and RNA on earth. It is all literally right under our feet," Professor Holmes said.

The findings suggest viruses from ribonucleic acid, known as RNA -- whose principal role is generally to carry instructions from DNA -- are likely to exist in every species of cellular life.

"It's remarkable that invertebrates like insects carry so very many viruses -- no one had thought to look before because most of them had not been associated with human-borne illnesses."

Although insects such mosquitoes are well-known for their potential to transmit viruses like zika and dengue, Professor Holmes stressed that insects should not generally be feared because most viruses were not transferable to humans and invertebrates played an important role in the ecosystem.

Importantly, the same techniques used to discover these invertebrate viruses could also be used to determine the cause of novel human diseases, such as the controversial 'Lyme-like disease' that is claimed to occur following tick bites.

"Our study utilised new techniques in meta-genomics, which we are also using to provide insights into the causes of human-borne diseases," said Professor Holmes, who is also a National Health and Medical Research Council Australia Fellow.

"The new, expensive technologies available to researchers which have allowed us to do this landmark project, provide the ultimate diagnostic tool."

Professor Holmes and his collaborators are conducting human studies using these new techniques to analyse Lyme-like disease and other clinical syndromes.

Mang Shi, Xian-Dan Lin, Jun-Hua Tian, Liang-Jun Chen, Xiao Chen, Ci-Xiu Li, Xin-Cheng Qin, Jun Li, Jian-Ping Cao, John-Sebastian Eden, Jan Buchmann, Wen Wang, Jianguo Xu, Edward C. Holmes, Yong-Zhen Zhang. Redefining the invertebrate RNA virosphere. Nature, 2016; DOI:10.1038/nature20167

Launch Of Report - Change Of Heart: Time To End Cardiovascular Complacency

22 November 2016
The Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP spoke at the launch of the report Change Of Heart: Time to End Cardiovascular Complacency.

I’d like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today, and I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present. I’d also like to acknowledge any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today.

The Australian Government is well aware of the significant burden associated with cardiovascular disease, and we appreciate the role of organisations – such as the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute – in drawing attention to this issue.

Government action on chronic conditions
Deaths from this disease have fallen by about 80 per cent during the past four decades. But, cardiovascular disease still accounts for just over a quarter of all deaths in Australia, and it’s the second biggest cause of disease burden behind cancer. We appreciate that there is still more work to be done – and this report by Baker IDI offers some valuable insights into areas where we may focus our efforts in the future.

The Australian Government is committed to reducing both the prevalence and burden of chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease. 

Research is the key to increasing our knowledge and the best way to reduce its impact. Since the year 2000, we have invested more than $1.3 billion on research into this disease through National Health and Medical Research Council grants. We have also allocated more than $132 million since 2006 to Baker IDI to support its research endeavours.

But we have also been taking a more holistic look at how we approach the management of chronic conditions, which often share risk factors and co-morbidities. Work is underway on the National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions, which considers how we can best provide coordinated, integrated and multidisciplinary care for people with chronic conditions. This approach is also at the heart of Health Care Homes. 

This initiative aims to improve health outcomes for people with chronic or complex conditions by creating a tailored shared care plan that coordinates access to medical, allied health and out-of-hospital services. About 65,000 patients in up to 200 general practices and Aboriginal Medical Services are expected to take part in Stage One from July 2017, and we will be watching the results with interest.

More broadly, the Government has been taking a multi-factored preventive health approach to tackle obesity and lifestyle-related chronic diseases, and empower consumers to take action. Examples of this include:
  • Health Star Rating System – a voluntary front-of-pack labelling scheme to help consumers make healthier food choices.
  • Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines – which provide guidance to all Australians on the type and intensity of physical activity required for a health benefit.
  • The Girls Make Your Move campaign – which encourage girls and young women to harness the benefits of sport and physical activity for their health and well-being.
  • Tobacco control measures – including increases in tobacco excises, plain packaging and graphic warnings, and quit campaigns.
Daily smoking rates are falling and we are tracking well to reduce the national adult daily smoking rate to 10 per cent by 2018 and halve the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult daily smoking rate.
Effecting change is an ongoing process, and we appreciate the support of the community, government and non-government organisations in helping us reach these goals. 

The Baker IDI report contributes to the variety of views on cardiovascular disease – all of which help to increased awareness. The Australian Government will continue to work with prominent non-government organisations – including Baker IDI – to seek better outcomes for all Australians affected by, or at risk of, cardiovascular disease.

New President To Deliver For Australian Farmers​

24 November 2016: Media Release
Fiona Simson has been elected as the first female president of the National Farmers’ Federation in its 37 year history, succeeding Brent Finlay.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, today welcomed Ms Simson to the role and said he looked forward to working with her in the new role.

“Congratulations to Ms Simson who will not only bring great practical knowledge to the role as a mixed farmer and grazier on the Liverpool Plains in NSW, but also has a considerable experience representing farmers.

“Ms Simson is well respected and has served as a director of the NFF since 2011, Vice President of the NFF for the last two years and served a full four-year term as NSW Farmers president from 2011 to 2015.

“She was the first woman to be elected president of the NSW Farmers’ Federation, first female vice-president of the NFF and now the first woman to be president of the NFF.

“I have had many dealings with Fiona during my time in the Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio. Until the July election she was a constituent of mine in the New England electorate. She’s got the experience and drive to lead our national peak farming body and I look forward to working with her.

“I also welcome Les Gordon’s election to the role of vice-president. I would also like to thank the outgoing President for his significant contribution and wish Mr Finlay all the best.”

Fast Facts:
Fiona Simson
Director of Plantation Trading Pty Ltd, a 5500ha mixed family farming enterprise near Premer on the Liverpool Plains in NSW.
First woman elected as NFF President.
Vice-president of the NFF since November 2014.
President of NSW Farmers’ Federation from 2011 to 2015—first woman in the role.

Deua Catchment Parks Plan Of Management

The Deua Catchment Parks Draft Plan of Management is on exhibition until 13 February 2017. The draft plan of management covers Berlang and Majors Creek State Conservation Areas and Frogs Hole Nature Reserve.

Parks and reserves established under the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 are required to have a plan of management. The exhibition of the draft plan provides members of the community with the opportunity to have a say in the future management directions for Berlang and Majors Creek State Conservation Areas and Frogs Hole Nature Reserve.

Submit your written feedback on the draft plan by 13 February 2017 by:

using the online submission form on the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website
writing to–
NPWS Planner
Deua Catchment Parks PoM
PO Box 707
Nowra NSW 2541

The Voice Of Cricket Commemorated In Marvellous Fashion On Australian Currency

November 24, 2016: Media Release - Royal Australian Mint
With the toss of a coin to start the Australia v South Africa test match in Adelaide today, it is only fitting that the coin commemorates the ‘voice of cricket’ Richie Benaud, who played his last test cricket match against the South Africans back in 1964.

Commemorated on a special collectible coin released today by the Royal Australian Mint (the Mint), Benaud was one of Australia’s greatest all-rounders holding a remarkable playing record as the first test player to score 2000 runs and take 200 wickets, never losing a test as captain followed by an illustrious career as a commentator.

Federal Small Business Minister Michael McCormack, who has responsibility for the Mint, said it was fitting to be commemorating Richie Benaud at today’s test match leading into summer.

“With Richie Benaud being the voice of summer and his name synonymous with cricket, it is with great pleasure that we honour Richie with this new coin,” said Mr McCormack.

“Seeing Richie’s face artistically displayed on this coin brings back happy memories for me and I’m sure for most Australians as we remember what he did on the field and in the commentary box for Australian sport.”

Daphne Benaud said that the Benaud family was pleased to have Richie’s life and influence on cricket forever commemorated on Australian currency with this collectible 50 cent coin.

“The Royal Australian Mint’s concept for a coin depicting Richie’s life was an idea enthusiastically endorsed by the Benaud family. It is a quality product and we are delighted he has been honoured in this way,” said Daphne Benaud

Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid said that it was an honour to feature Benaud on Australian currency, remembering the legend on and off the field, from an explosive batsman and consistent leg spin bowler to the iconic Australian voice of cricket.

“As a truly iconic Australian household name in his career as a cricketer and commentator, Richie Benaud’s cricketing statistics are legendary, leading the Australian team to hold the position in the sport’s top spot,” said Mr MacDiarmid.

“Featuring Benaud’s portrait surrounded by the atmosphere of a match with a focus on the fan group ‘The Richies’, the coin design commemorates his reputable career in the many layers, from the Australian cricket team captain to his renowned status in the commentary box.”

This collectible 50 cent coin design has a strictly limited product mintage of 95 929, inspired by statistics from Richie’s unforgettable cricket career and honouring his internationally renowned status as the voice of cricket.

As an Australian inspiration, Benaud’s legend will be forever commemorated on the 2016 50c Uncirculated Coin, available for purchasehere: or limited stock on ground at the Adelaide Oval during the test match.

184300 Homes Over Five Years With New Infrastructure

November 21, 2016: Ministerial Media Release - The Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning
A strong NSW economy and new public transport links have opened the way for an expected 184,300 new dwellings over the next five years – easily surpassing previous records.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes said a forecast by the Department of Planning and Environment based on development already under construction, approved or under assessment and on land already zoned for residential purposes reveals an unprecedented housing, apartment and terrace boom was underway. 
“This is a housing construction boom the likes of which Sydney has never seen before,” Mr Stokes said. 
“The increased supply will allow more Sydneysiders to buy new homes, improve housing affordability and help close an undersupply gap estimated at about 100,000 dwellings,” he said.
Mr Stokes said there has been a strong focus on planning for new land releases and urban renewal projects where there is infrastructure either in place or planned, including the new Sydney Metro North West, Sydney Metro City and Southwest rail links.
“This is the first time in generations that Sydney is delivering the appropriate infrastructure in place to enable new housing,” he said.
The Sydney Housing Supply Forecast 2016 shows the 184,300 new dwellings forecast to be built in the period 2016-17 to 2020-21 is a huge 84 per cent increase on the 100,650 dwellings constructed in the previous five years and dwarfs the 69,650 dwellings in the 2006-07 to 2010-11 period.
The previous record for completions for a five year period was between 1968-69 and 1972-73, at the time fuelled by the expansion of strata title provisions.
The forecast shows that new housing is going ahead across all of Sydney.
The Parramatta Local Government Area will get more housing than anywhere else with 21,450 dwellings, followed by the City of Sydney with 18,250 and Blacktown with 13,600 dwellings. 
Mr Stokes said the NSW Government was getting on with the job of planning to accommodate another 2.7 million residents by 2036 when 6,421,850 people are expected to call Sydney home.
NSW was the state of opportunity and more people were migrating to Sydney to find work and fewer people were leaving. 
He said infrastructure investment was occurring at the same time as the NSW Government was creating a simpler, more efficient planning system to make it easier to build the required homes.
Improved housing supply was only one part of the city’s housing challenges – the city also needed to ensure there was a diversity of housing choice available at a variety of price points.
“The NSW Government is taking an innovative approach to addressing Sydney’s housing needs, making it easier to build different types of homes like townhouses, terraces and dual occupancies,” Mr Stokes said.

Now’s The Time To Have Your Say On Egg Labelling

14 November 2016: Media release - The Hon. Michael McCormack, Minister for Small Business
The text of a draft for the new information standard for free-range egg labelling was released for public consultation today, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack has announced.

Following extensive consultation with industry and consumer stakeholders, Australia’s State and Territory Consumer Affairs Ministers agreed to the introduction of an information standard on 31 March 2016.

“This information standard will give consumers more information about the ‘free-range’ eggs available on supermarket shelves, making it simpler to compare brands. It will also remove uncertainty faced by producers who choose to label their eggs ‘free-range’,” Mr McCormack said.

The information standard will require eggs labelled ‘free-range’ to have been laid by hens which had meaningful and regular access to the outdoors and with an outdoor stocking density of 10,000 hens, or less, per hectare. The stocking density will need to be prominently displayed on the packaging.

Mr McCormack said the Federal Government is focused on achieving a balance which ensures consumers can access better information about eggs on supermarket shelves whilst complying producers are protected from claims of misleading or deceptive conduct.

“Feedback from stakeholders helped form the draft and the Government encourages further consultation to ensure Australia’s egg labelling laws reflect producer and consumer opinions,” Mr McCormack said.

“Hundreds of submissions and comments were received in response to the policy design public consultation earlier this year. The release of the information standard draft text will give stakeholders another opportunity to comment on the technical aspects of the text.

“I encourage all interested parties to make a submission. It is important that both consumers and business benefit from the clarity the information standard will provide.”

The consultation paper is available on the Treasury website. Submissions can be lodged until 9 December 2016.

Telecommunications Competition Law Amendments

24 November 2016: Media Release - Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications
Minister for the Arts
Manager of Government Business in the Senate

The Turnbull Government today announced new legislation will be introduced to repeal the telecommunications-specific anti-competitive conduct laws of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The changes follow the Government’s decision to strengthen the general misuse of market power law in section 46.

The telecommunications sector-specific anti-competitive conduct rules are set out in Divisions 2 and 3 of Part XIB of the Act. With some key elements of the Part XIB rules now being reflected in the proposed changes to section 46, it is an appropriate time to repeal the Part XIB rules and streamline regulation for the sector.

Part XIB was introduced in 1997 to support the development of competition in the telecommunications sector. The rules were always intended to be transitional, supplementing general competition law until competition grew and general competition law could apply.

The telecommunications sector has changed significantly in the past 20 years and competition is much further advanced than it was at that time.

The Government is confident that broader competition law will be effective in preventing anti-competitive conduct in the telecommunications sector.

In addition, the ACCC continues to have several other regulatory mechanisms available under the access regime in Part XIC of the same Act and Telstra structural separation arrangements to address issues that may arise.

The Harper Review of Australian competition law supported the consequential repeal of Divisions 2 and 3 if section 46 is amended as proposed. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also supports repeal of the provisions.

This decision follows the Government’s consultation process on the future operation of telecommunications laws in Part XIB in light of the changes to section 46 and consideration of submissions. These can be found

ESafety Commissioner Appointed To Combat Non-Consensual Sharing Of Intimate Images

23 November 2016: JOINT MEDIA RELEASE - Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister For Communications and Senator The Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister For Women

The Turnbull  Government today announced the appointment of a new Children's eSafety Commissioner with expanded responsibilities to take a lead role in combatting  the non-consensual sharing of intimate images (commonly referred to as ‘revenge  porn').

Online safety expert Julie Inman Grant has been announced as the new Children's eSafety Commissioner, and will commence in January.

"The  appointment of Julie Inman Grant is an important milestone in the work of the Turnbull Government to help keep Australians safe online,” said the Minister for Communications Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield.

The Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner will also be renamed the Office of the  eSafety Commissioner, reflecting the office's expanded responsibility for online safety issues affecting adults.

As part of a comprehensive range of measures to combat the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, the Office of the eSafety Commissioner will develop a new  online reporting tool which will allow victims to report incidents as well as  access immediate and tangible support.

“This is about empowering women to take control online. The expanded role for the eSafety  Commissioner will help women manage technology risks and abuse, and give women the tools they need to be confident when online,” said the Minister for Women  Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash.

The Turnbull Government will also conduct a public consultation process on a proposed civil  penalties regime targeted at both perpetrators and sites which host intimate images and videos shared without consent.
A discussion  paper will be released in early 2017 and feedback will be sought from the eSafety Commissioner, Federal and State police, women's safety organisations, mental health experts, schools and education departments, the Online Safety  Consultative Working Group and others.

In parallel, the Commonwealth Government is working with states and territories through COAG to support a nationally consistent approach to criminal offences relating to the non-consensual sharing of intimate images.
Importantly, the Commissioner's existing legislated powers regarding cyberbullying material  targeted at an Australian child will remain solely focussed on children, while the Office's work regarding online safety for adults will be centred around  advice and online reporting.

Minister  Fifield paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of acting Children's eSafety Commissioner Andree Wright and former Commissioner Alastair MacGibbon.  Under the leadership of Ms Wright and Mr MacGibbon the Office has already provided assistance to victims of non-consensual sharing of intimate images in cooperation with police and other relevant agencies.

For a range of online safety resources and advice for those who may have experienced non-consensual sharing of intimate images, visit

About Julie  Inman Grant
Ms Inman Grant  has worked at the intersection of technology, public policy and online safety for the past 25 years. From helping shape the first Online Safety Summit for Children in 1996 to playing an important role in the development of the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act of 2015, she brings a unique and deep wealth of experience in online safety policy.

Ms Inman Grant  has been an active participant in the Online Safety Consultative Working Group, which is chaired by the Children's eSafety Commissioner, and has worked with Australian law enforcement to roll out programs like ThinkUKnow, the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) and Computer Facilitated Crimes Against Children training.  

Whilst at Twitter, Ms Inman Grant created the Twitter Rules & Tools and developed the #PositionofStrength safety and empowerment program for women in Australia, which were adopted by the company globally as flagship education and awareness  programmes.

50 Years Of Heart Health Success In Jeopardy

November 22, 2016: Baker IDI
Australia is on the cusp of reversing the gains made in combatting cardiovascular disease over the past half century, risking a resurgence of Australia’s number one killer, according to a new report.

Researchers from Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute warn that a deadly duet of 'diabesity' — obesity and type 2 diabetes — combined with growing rates of irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) and heart failure is fuelling 'a new era of heart disease across all generations'.

The report Change of Heart – time to end cardiovascular complacency calls for cardiovascular health to be prioritised among community, health professionals and governments and will be launched today at Parliament House.

Baker IDI Director, Professor Tom Marwick said that the life expectancy of Australians has increased by more than a decade over the last half century, with around 70 per cent of this improvement attributed to fewer deaths from heart, stroke and blood vessel disease but “these achievements are now in jeopardy”.

'This report is a wake-up call to end cardiovascular complacency. We have the tools at our disposal to treat Australians at risk better, and to tackle the root causes of obesity and type 2 diabetes,' he said.

Report co-author and Head of Population Health at Baker IDI, Professor Jonathan Shaw said 'Our analysis reveals that the decline in the death rate from cardiovascular disease has flattened over the past five years. This stagnation was being fuelled by rising rates of type 2 diabetes and obesity and a new epidemic of age-related heart conditions.'

Professor Marwick said, 'Adding further fuel to the fire, too many Australians with risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes remain untreated or not treated to recommended targets'.

'There are many actions that Government can take but the cost of ignoring these challenges will be increasing health costs and more strain on the hospital system.'

The report warns that cardiovascular disease now affects more than 3.7 million Australians, accounts for more than 45,000 deaths each year and is Australia’s most costly health condition.

Professor Marwick said that there was a perception that cardiovascular disease was under control in Australia, but there is a 'new face of heart disease' with an alarming increase projected in the number of Australians affected by irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation, and heart failure.

'Irregular heartbeat increases the risk of stroke five-fold and the number of Australians affected is projected to increase by 60 per cent over the next 15 years. Heart failure, which is already a leading cause of hospitalisation in Australia, is set to further increase as the population ages,' he said.

'Heart disease, stroke and blood vessel diseases continues to be a major problem in Australia and it’s vital that concerted effort is made to prevent loss of life.'

Chief Medical Adviser at the Heart Foundation, Professor Garry Jennings, said the report's findings provide further evidence that governments, healthcare professionals and the community need to be reminded of the need for action.

'For the first time in nearly ten years, we’ve seen a rise in heart disease deaths this year, which tells us that this is no time for complacency.'

'Heart disease continues to claim the lives of one Australian every 12 minutes — so cardiovascular disease should be a top priority in Australia,' Professor Jennings said.
Professor Marwick said that without decisive action, the impact of the expected resurgence in cardiovascular disease on the health system will be significant within the next decade.

'With an ageing population and projected increases in atrial fibrillation and heart failure — which have some of the highest rates of hospitalisation — the strain on the hospital system will be immense.'

'It is imperative that we end cardiovascular complacency. All Australians have a role to play,' he said.

The report calls for the following:
  • Development of a national cardiovascular disease strategy.
  • Regulation and public policy to prevent overconsumption of sugar and salt.
  • Support for health professionals to ensure Australians with known risk factors for heart disease are treated to recommended medical targets.
  • Introduction of preventative lifestyle strategies at an early age.
The Baker IDI report Change of Heart — time to end cardiovascular complacency was commissioned by MSD Australia, Amgen Australia, Pfizer Australia and Sanofi Australia.

Statement Regarding The Commissioner, The Hon. Megan Latham

Wednesday 23 November 2016: ICAC
Today the Commissioner, the Hon Megan Latham, notified the Governor of her resignation, effective 30 November 2016.

In the light of the passage of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment Act 2016, it is not in the best interests of the Commission that the Commissioner continues to exercise the functions of the Commission, particularly when decisions in relation to those functions are liable to be revisited by a re-constituted Commission at a later time. In those circumstances, it is appropriate that the Commissioner returns to the Supreme Court and that strategic decisions await the appointment of the new Commissioners.

The Commissioner has put the appropriate delegations in place so that the Commission can continue to function, on the basis that the present Assistant Commissioner, the Hon Reginald Blanch AM QC, continues in office. However, this is a matter for the Government.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked at the Commission. I am particularly privileged to have observed first-hand the skill and dedication of the Commission’s staff who deserve great credit for the exposure of corruption in this State” the Commissioner said.

As the Commissioner will be returning to the Supreme Court, she will not be making any further comment.

Proposed Upgrade Parramatta Wharf, Cockatoo Island 

Date published: 23 November 2016
The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has received an application from Roads and Maritime Services for the proposed replacement of the existing public ferry wharf on the northern side of Cockatoo Island.

Documentation about the proposed action will be on public exhibitionbetween Wednesday 23 November and Wednesday 21 December 2016.

Submissions are invited until 5 pm Wednesday 21 December 2016 and can be sent to:
Submission – Proposed Upgrade – Cockatoo Island Wharf
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
PO Box 607

Click here for more information about the proposed works.

Have Your Say On The Future Sandstone Hotels

22.11.2016: Type Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
A proposal by Tristar Sandstone to develop the former Department of Lands and Education Buildings into a hotel is on exhibition for community consultation.

The Department of Planning and Environment is keen to hear the community’s views on the proposal, which seeks:
  • works at the roof level of the Lands Building
  • construct three storeys on top of the Education Building
  • excavate and construct three basement levels below the Education building
  • excavate and construct a link between the two buildings beneath Loftus Street
  • provide lighting to illuminate the outside of the building.
A modification request has also been lodged to increase the approved height limit of the Education Building by 1.35 metres and amend the features of the Lands Building’s roof.

Sandstone precinct site map
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) or Environmental Assessments, visit

Submissions can be made until Friday, 16 December 2016.
Draft Medium Density Design Guide and Explanation of Intended Effect for the new Medium Density Housing Code

The NSW Government is seeking your feedback on the draft Medium Density Design Guide. It has been prepared to help achieve better design outcomes for low rise medium density housing. 

We are also seeking feedback on the Explanation of Intended Effect that explains the proposed complying development standards to be included in a new Medium Density Housing Code. The draft Code will allow some medium density housing as complying development. These changes give effect to the Design Guide for complying development applications. 

The draft Design Guide has been prepared to: 
  • assist developers, planners, urban designers, architects, landscape architects, builders and other professionals when designing homes and preparing a complying development proposal or a development application 
  • assist planning professionals in local and state government with strategic planning, the preparation of local planning controls and the assessment of development proposals 
  • set the benchmark and inform the community on what is required to achieve good design for medium density housing developments. 
It is proposed that the Design Guide be used for both complying development and development applications to promote good design outcomes for medium density housing types across NSW. 

We welcome your feedback on the draft Design Guide and Explanation of Intended Effect. Submissions can be made until 12 December 2016: 

- by email to: 
- by mail to: 
Director, Codes and Approval Pathways 
NSW Department of Planning and Environment 
GPO Box 39, Sydney, NSW 2001 

You can read more about the benefits of medium density housing

Department Of Justice Officers And Contractors Found Corrupt

Tuesday 22 November 2016: ICAC
The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that a former assistant director at the Department of Justice engaged in serious corrupt conduct by agreeing to improperly exercise his official functions by awarding contracts to two companies that were paid almost $1.3 million despite doing little or no work.

In its report, Investigation into the conduct of a senior officer of the Department of Justice and others, released today, the Commission finds that during 2013, Anthony Andjic, the assistant director of the Capital Works unit at the then Department of Attorney General and Justice Asset Management Branch, awarded contracts to Triton Group Co Pty Ltd and SAFF Projects Pty Ltd, contrary to relevant departmental procurement rules. The companies were owned by Shadi Chacra, who was in a personal relationship with Fayrouz Hammoud, the sister of Fatima Hammoud, another employee of the Department, who was in a personal relationship with Mr Andjic.

The Commission found that Mr Andjic, Mr Chacra and Fayrouz Hammoud engaged in serious corrupt conduct by agreeing that Mr Andjic would improperly exercise his official functions to financially benefit Mr Chacra and Fayrouz Hammoud by arranging for the awarding of the departmental project management contracts and construction work contracts for upgrade works to various courthouses, and a consultancy services contract, to Mr Chacra’s companies. This was although, contrary to departmental policy, neither Triton nor SAFF were on the NSW Department of Finance and Services list of pre-qualified contractors. It also contravened the Department’s project delivery methodology, which required the project manager to be independent of the construction contractor.

The Commission found that Mr Andjic arranged for project management contracts to be awarded to Mr Chacra and Fayrouz Hammoud, although he knew that neither of them had qualifications or experience as project managers. He also arranged for construction contracts to be awarded to Triton, despite knowing that Mr Chacra had limited construction experience. Mr Chacra and Fayrouz Hammoud submitted inflated invoices, including for work not actually done, without any apparent concern that this might be discovered by Mr Andjic and action taken against them, and Mr Andjic failed to scrutinise the Triton and SAFF invoices to ensure that the Department received value for money for the payments made to those companies.

At all relevant times, Mr Andjic knew that Fayrouz Hammoud was employed by SAFF and would benefit financially from any contracts awarded to SAFF. In her dealings with the Department, Fayrouz Hammoud used the alias “Fay Rouz”, with the knowledge of Mr Andjic, to disguise from departmental scrutiny that Triton and SAFF were owned by the same person, and that there was a connection between herself, Fatima Hammoud and Mr Andjic.

Mr Andjic and Fatima Hammoud engaged in serious corrupt conduct by agreeing to financially benefit Fatima Hammoud through the preparation and submission to the Department of an application by Fatima Hammoud for employment as a project development officer, which they both knew contained false information, with the intention that the false information would assist her to obtain a higher paying position within the Department, and Mr Andjic would improperly favour her in the selection process by recommending she be appointed to the position.

The Commission has made six corruption prevention recommendations to the NSW Department of Justice to help it prevent the recurrence of the behaviour that was examined in this investigation. These include that the Department ensures that the implementation of its upcoming capital works program contains a mechanism to periodically review the program to ensure that its projects remain consistent with its business strategy and operating environment, and that the Department develops a framework for governing its procurement activities that assigns governance roles and responsibilities for different types of procurement, and has mechanisms to detect non-compliance with procedural controls, such as the mandated use of pre-qualified suppliers.

The ICAC is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of Mr Andjic, Mr Chacra, Fayrouz Hammoud, Fatima Hammoud and Hakime Hammoud for various offences.

New ARC College Of Experts Members For 2017

November 24, 2016: Media release - Australian Research Council
58 new members of the Australian Research Council (ARC) College of Experts for 2017 have been announced today, each to play an important part in assessing research proposals for funding under the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP).

The 176-member ARC College of Experts plays a key role in identifying research excellence, moderating external assessments of research grant proposals, and recommending projects to be funded. ARC College of Experts members are appointed for up to a three-year term and are announced annually, ensuring a constant source of expertise.

Acting ARC Chief Executive Officer, Ms Leanne Harvey, said the ARC College of Experts is comprised of a wide range of experienced and highly qualified people of international standing, drawn from across academia, industry and public sector research organisations.

“The new members I have welcomed to the ARC College of Experts today ensure the College has a balance of research expertise across disciplines, males and females, and small and large Australian universities,” Ms Harvey said.

“In this latest nomination round, strong emphasis was placed on interdisciplinary expertise, as well as interest in a wide range of research areas. I am pleased to see the College has such wonderful representation, with members selected from a very competitive field of applicants.

“Together with 118 continuing members of the College of Experts, the new members will meet throughout the year to review and assess the numerous ARC proposals submitted through the NCGP—providing valuable advice and perspective, and making funding recommendations on proposals across broad discipline areas.

“I would like to take this opportunity to also extend my thanks to the outgoing College of Experts members who have enthusiastically contributed their time and efforts, and shown their commitment to the ARC’s peer review process and the advancement of Australian research.”

Full membership of the 2017 ARC College of Experts is available on theARC website.

Design Competition For Missing Middle Housing

04.11.2016: Ministerial Media Release - The Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning
Architects and building designers are being called upon to showcase their visions for the future of housing in NSW through a design competition.

The Missing Middle Design Competition is seeking high-quality, innovative design solutions for low-rise medium density housing. The competition has a prize pool of $50,000 and seeks entries in three categories: terraces, dual occupancies and manor homes.

These housing types are known as “the missing middle” because they provide an alternative housing option for residents that bridges the gap between free-standing houses and apartment buildings. Terraces are undersupplied within the NSW housing market, despite their popularity and versatility for different lifestyles and household structures.

Entries will be used to road test the NSW Government’s new draft Medium Density Design Guide, which is currently on exhibition.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the competition will assist the NSW Government’s efforts to improve supply, choice and design of these popular housing types.

“Medium density homes such as terraces are highly sought after, efficient and versatile forms of housing, but are in short supply compared with traditional quarter-acre blocks and high-rise apartments.” Mr Stokes said.

"We want to know whether our design guide works in practice, or if aspects such as the width of the homes could be reduced in line with their historical design.

“By encouraging creative design we hope to see architects and building designers ranging from students through to established practices take up the challenge and share their ideas with us.”

The competition is open to architects, building designers, students and other industry experts. Entries will be assessed by a jury led by NSW Government Architect Peter Poulet.

Winners will receive $10,000 and runners-up will receive $5,000.Competition entries will close on 16th December.

Iconic Australian Houses

Thursday, 24 November 2016: Media release - National Archives of Australia
One of Canberra architect Enrico Taglietti's designs has been included in an exhibition that brings to life iconic Australian houses of the past 60 years – now on show at the National Archives in Canberra.

The Palm House, architect Richard Leplastrier.
The Dingle House in Hughes, designed by Taglietti in the 1960s, was chosen as one of 30 iconic houses across Australia selected for their innovation, design and response to climate and place.

The exhibition begins in the 1950s with the works of a new breed of Australian architects and culminates in key works from some of Australia's contemporary masters. Looking beyond physical structures, the exhibition also reveals stories of the architects and their clients.

'Many of the architects represented in this exhibition, including Taglietti, designed houses and also public and government buildings for the National Capital,' said Louise Doyle, Assistant Director-General of the National Archives. 'We are pleased to have the opportunity to host the exhibition here in Canberra.'

Curated by Karen McCartney for Sydney Living Museums, Iconic Australian Houses is an intimate portrait of the design, building and lived experience of the iconic house.

The selected houses represent some of the best architectural talent and thinking that Australia has produced over the past six decades.

Using material drawn from her best-selling books, Karen McCartney brought the featured houses to life with vivid photography, rich illustrations, 3D models and film interviews with the architects and their clients.

She says the pioneering architects of the 50s, 60s and 70s took international design influences and reinterpreted them to suit the Australian landscape and climate.

The exhibition brings together some of the great names in Australian architecture including Harry Seidler, Neville Gruzman, Glenn Murcutt, Ken Woolley and Canberra architect Enrico Taglietti.

The exhibition continues until 13 March 2017.

Eco And Nature-Based Tourism To Benefit From Cuts To Red Tape

23 November 2016: Media Release - The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
Western Australia has launched a major new project to help boost investment and create jobs by cutting unnecessary red tape in the vital eco and nature-based tourism sector.

This important project comes after the Turnbull Government last week struck a landmark agreement with state and territory governments for a new National Business Simplification Initiative.

The WA Government’s 90 Day Regulatory Mapping project is part of the state’s strategy to achieve rapid, meaningful reforms to support business, create jobs and diversify the economy.

The project will involve the state and federal governments working together to find ways to cut red tape and reduce duplication in legislation at state and national levels.

It is designed to benefit eco and nature-based tourism – which is one of Western Australia’s major growth areas.

Improving conditions for business is a key priority to support a strong economy, a strong budget and growth in productivity and jobs.

Launched last week, the Turnbull Government’s National Business Simplification Initiative is designed to reduce the complexity of regulation for businesses and make dealings with government easier.

The initiative will help businesses save time and money, allowing them to focus on their businesses and families rather than on overly complex government processes and regulations.

By making it simpler to do business, we’re helping existing businesses to grow by removing the barriers to new business creation, which in turn allows innovation to flourish and, most importantly, creates more jobs.

Government Seeks Public And Industry Input On Value Capture

16 November 2016: Media Release - The Hon.Paul Taylor, Minister for Urban Infrastructure, andThe Hon. Angus Taylor, Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation
Using ‘value capture’ to help deliver more infrastructure is the subject of a discussion paper released today by Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher and Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor.

New transport infrastructure delivers economic value—for example property prices typically jump near a new rail station. Tapping some of that value to help fund the cost of the infrastructure is an increasingly common technique.

The discussion paper examines the potential to more widely use value capture funding to supplement the billions of dollars each year already spent by all three levels of Australian governments on infrastructure.

It sets out a range of options for the Australian Government to action to stimulate the use of value capture in the development and delivery of infrastructure and describes various potential value capture approaches—including tools already in use by state and local governments.

Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher said the Australian Government was seeking public and industry input on the value capture concept.

“Many states and territories already use value capture funding models to support major upgrades,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Similarly, developer charges are commonly used by local government authorities to help deliver utilities for new housing developments.

“If we are to make better use of value capture, governments must first understand why beneficiaries might be willing to pay for projects; identifying who these beneficiaries are and when they might materially gain from projects funded through this method.”

Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor said there was a need to find new funding models within the constrained fiscal environment.

“Government is getting smarter about linking transport investment with long term planning for affordable homes, closer to where people work and closer to services like schools and hospitals,” Mr Taylor said.

“Through City Deals, we are looking at changing the way we fund infrastructure.

“Encouraging public private partnerships to pay for road and rail corridors where land values will increase, can be a wise way to invest taxpayers' money.”

Submissions on the discussion paper will be open until 3 February 2017.

For more information on how to provide a submission, visit

Government Response To The Productivity Commission's Report Into Public Safety Mobile Broadband

24 November 2016: JOINT MEDIA RELEASE - Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister For Communications, Minister for the Arts
The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter Terrorism

The Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, and the Minister for Justice Michael Keenan, today announced the Australian Government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s report on public safety mobile broadband (PSMB).                  

The Australian Government requested the Commission undertake a ‘first-principles’ analysis of the best way to deliver a mobile broadband capability for the state and federal public safety agencies by 2020. The Government’s response is informed by state and territory feedback  on the report’s recommendations.                          

The Government supports in principle the Commission’s findings and recommendations.                                    

The Commission’s study found that commercial mobile networks are the most efficient, effective and economical way of delivering a public safety mobile broadband capability.                                              

The Government recognises that mobile broadband offers significant potential to improve the efficiency of the emergency services and the safety of its officers.                                                        

We are committed to working with all states and territories towards achieving an interoperable PSMB capability, and will establish a committee of Commonwealth, State and Territory officials to consider fully scoped proposals and report to the Council of Australian Governments in 2017.                                                                  

The Australian Government thanks the Commission for its comprehensive report and the thorough and consultative approach used in undertaking the commissioned study.                                                                              

Government Delivers On Fairer, More Sustainable Superannuation

23 November 2016: Joint media release with The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia and The Hon. Kelly O'Dwyer MP, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services
The Turnbull Government today secured parliamentary passage of the most comprehensive suite of superannuation reforms in a decade, delivering on our commitment to improve the fairness, sustainability, flexibility and integrity of the superannuation system.

The superannuation reform package better targets tax concessions to make our superannuation system fair and sustainable, as the population ages and fiscal pressures increase. The reforms include the introduction of a $1.6 million transfer balance cap, which places a limit on the amount an individual can transfer into the tax-free earnings retirement phase and the introduction of the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset, which is expected to boost the retirement incomes of around 3.1 million low income earners.

The passage of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Superannuation) Bill 2016 and Superannuation (Excess Transfer Balance Tax) Imposition Bill 2016 will improve the underlying cash balance by $2.8 billion over the forward estimates.

To reflect how people work and save in our modern economy the reforms provide more flexibility to help Australians save for their retirement. The two key measures that deliver this improved flexibility are:
  • the removal of the ‘10 per cent rule’ which will ensure a level playing field for access to superannuation tax concessions irrespective of their employment situation. This will particularly help contractors who also draw income from salary and wages. In 2017-18, it is estimated this change benefit 800,000 individuals; and
  • the ability for individuals with superannuation balances below $500,000 to make ‘catch up’ concessional contributions, which will help those with broken work patterns – the overwhelming number of whom are women – better save for their retirement. In 2019-20, this change is expected to help around 230,000 people.
These important changes level the playing field and provide more Australians with the opportunity to make full use of their concessional contributions cap.

Ninety-six per cent of individuals with superannuation will either not be affected by these changes or will be better off. The majority of the 4 per cent of individuals that are adversely affected by these changes are unlikely to rely on the Age Pension in retirement.

The passage of the package will make it possible for Australians to manage their superannuation and plan their retirement with certainty. It will also provide certainty for the superannuation industry, allowing it to implement the reforms by 1 July 2017.

The Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016, which will enshrine the objective of superannuation in legislation, is being considered by the Economics Legislative Committee. The Committee is due to report on 14 February 2017.

The objective set out in the Bill has been an important anchor for the reforms that passed today. The Turnbull Government remains committed to ensuring the objective of superannuation is legislated to ensure all future superannuation proposals are consistent with the purpose of superannuation, providing greater stability for our important superannuation system.

Further details on the Government’s superannuation reform package are available on the treasury website.

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.