Inbox and Environment News: Issue 307

April 2 - 8, 2017: Issue 307

Climate Change Review Discussion Paper Released

The Federal Government has released a discussion paper for public consultation as part of the 2017 review of climate change policies.

The discussion paper follows the Government’s commitment to review its climate change policies when it set Australia’s target to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Government invites submissions on the discussion paper by 5 May 2017.

Fellowship Aims To Protect Threatened Australian Night Parrots

29 March 2017: University of Queensland
Ensuring one of Australia’s most high-profile threatened bird species does not disappear a second time is the mission of a University of Queensland researcher.

PhD student Nick Leseberg’s passion for the night parrot, a cryptic and nocturnal species from arid Australia, has won him one of two inaugural environmental fellowships from the Australian Academy of Science.

Mr Leseberg from UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences has won has won a Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award, valued at almost $19,000, to study night parrots.

“The night parrot was recorded occasionally during the second half of the 19th century, before undergoing a severe decline in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” he said.

“After numerous attempts to rediscover it throughout the 20th century, some even thought it may be extinct.

“In 1990 and in 2006, dead night parrots were found in western Queensland, and in 2005, a sighting of three night parrots from the Pilbara region, Western Australia, indicated the species still existed.
“Finally, in 2013 naturalist John Young revealed he had discovered a population of night parrots in western Queensland. The species has subsequently been detected on another cattle station, and also in the Diamantina and Goneaway national parks.”

Last week there was a further sighting in Western Australia, shocking the birdwatching world.

Until now, little was known about night parrot ecology, with most information based on late 19th century anecdotal reporting.

Mr Leseberg said this lack of information meant conservation decisions were difficult.

“After the parrot’s rediscovery, Bush Heritage Australia quickly established Pullen Pullen Reserve in western Queensland to protect that population of birds,” he said.

“The discovery also permitted the start of research into their ecology and conservation biology by Dr Steve Murphy, perhaps Australia’s premier rangeland field ecologist.

“Steve coordinated and executed the first ever field study of the night parrot following their discovery in western Queensland.”

Mr Leseberg said night parrot research was difficult, given the birds live in remote and rugged country, and they are extremely shy and nocturnal, but there had been considerable progress with the discovery of several nests.

Preliminary data suggested that breeding success rates were low.

“My project will build on Dr Murphy’s work, to learn more about night parrot ecology, their survival in arid landscapes, resource requirements, and the threatening processes they face,” he said.

Achieving these objectives would improve the ability to find other night parrot populations, determine the true status of the species, and undertake effective action to conserve it.

“The research equipment to study this species is specialised and expensive, and includes GPS/radio tracking tags, mist nets, radio and video surveillance equipment and acoustic recorders,” he said.

“This is an exceptionally expensive project, and beyond the limits of most PhD budgets.

“Although significant in-kind support and funding has been contributed by Bush Heritage Australia, the Max Day Environmental Fellowship Award will contribute substantially to covering the cost of this research.

“Birds are my passion, and being given the opportunity to conduct essential research into one of Australia’s most high profile threatened bird species promises to be the experience of a lifetime,” Mr Leseberg said.

His study is receiving additional support from Bush Heritage Australia, the Green Fire Science Lab, Birds Queensland and the Threatened Species Recovery project that is part of the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Programme.

Images: (top) the reclusive night parrot, and (above) Nick Leseberg at work.

Poor Outlook For Biodiversity In Antarctica

March 29, 2017

These are Cabeater seals on an ice floe in the Antarctic Peninsula area.
Credit: Steven L. Chown

The popular view that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are in a much better environmental shape than the rest of the world has been brought into question in a study publishing on March 28 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, by an international team lead by Steven L. Chown and Monash University scientists.

The study compared the position of Antarctic biodiversity and its management with that globally using the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) Aichi targets. The Aichi targets are part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, adopted under the CBD, to assess progress in halting global biodiversity loss. Yet they have never been applied to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean -- areas which together account for about 10% of the planet's surface.

The study found that the difference between the status of biodiversity in the Antarctic and the rest of the world was negligible.

"The results have been truly surprising," said lead author and Head of the School of Biological Sciences at Monash, Professor Steven Chown.

"While in some areas, such as invasive species management, the Antarctic region is doing relatively well, in others, such as protected area management and regulation of bioprospecting, it is lagging behind," he said. "Overall, the biodiversity and conservation management outlook for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is no different to that for the rest of the planet."

"Despite our findings, there are great opportunities for positive action," said Monash co-author Professor Melodie McGeoch. "The agreements under the Antarctic Treaty System lend themselves to effective action, and nations have recently reinforced their desire to protect the region's biodiversity."

This latest analysis by scientists ensures that future assessments made under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 will be truly global.

"It will also help inform global progress towards achieving the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals," Professor McGeoch said.

Steven L. Chown, Cassandra M. Brooks, Aleks Terauds, Céline Le Bohec, Céline van Klaveren-Impagliazzo, Jason D. Whittington, Stuart H. M. Butchart, Bernard W. T. Coetzee, Ben Collen, Peter Convey, Kevin J. Gaston, Neil Gilbert, Mike Gill, Robert Höft, Sam Johnston, Mahlon C. Kennicutt, Hannah J. Kriesell, Yvon Le Maho, Heather J. Lynch, Maria Palomares, Roser Puig-Marcó, Peter Stoett, Melodie A. McGeoch.Antarctica and the strategic plan for biodiversity. PLOS Biology, 2017; 15 (3): e2001656 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2001656

The End Festival 2017: A Celebration Of Arts, Culture And Heritage

Media release: 24 March 2017: NPWS
Hill End’s festival of arts, culture and heritage is back by popular demand for a second year this April.

The End’ festival will be held from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 April in the historic gold-mining village of Hill End.

Presented by NSW National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) with support from program partner Bathurst Regional Council, the unique festival will feature cabaret and music shows, live music, art exhibits and installations, and the best of the region’s wine, craft beer and food.

The market, of artisan wares and regional produce, will also feature exhibitions of rare trades including leather and woodwork.

NPWS Central West Area Manager Sarah Carr said ‘The End’ is a one-of-a-kind eclectic event in an extraordinary location with something for everyone.

“This festival is a chance for locals and visitors alike to explore the charming Hill End Historic Site and enjoy the wide variety of things on offer,” said Ms Carr.

“Festival-goers can book a ticketed show in the Royal Hall, or wander freely around the village, sampling produce from the Bathurst, Mudgee and Orange regions in the Golden Age garden while taking in great live folk, country and bluegrass acts and the free art installations and exhibitions that will really bring the town to life.”

A great program of free music will take place on the Golden Age Stage on Saturday and Sunday. Indie-folk singer-songwriters ‘All Our Exes Live in Texas’ will headline the outdoor stage on Saturday, supported by seven piece bluegrass band ‘The Morrisons’.

On Friday night, the festivities kick off with ‘The Beginning of The End’, a variety spectacular in The Royal Hall featuring a diverse array of musical and cabaret talent. This ticketed show includes ‘Man of Constant Sorrow: A tribute to the music from the film O Brother Where Art Thou’ and ‘Cabaret Sasquatch’. The shows will feature again on the Saturday night. Tickets can be booked via Moshtix.

“Tours of the historic village are also on offer during the festival period, including evening ghost tours,” said Ms Carr.

“We’re inviting people from near and far to join in this unique festival weekend. Local accommodation is available at the Village Campground and the Glendora Campground, and a tent-town with set-up camping is also available to book.”

For more details about ‘The End’ festival, including the full program of events, accommodation options, and to purchase tickets for the Royal Hall shows, go to

Federal Senate Inquiry: The Rehabilitation Of Mining And Resources Projects As It Relates To Commonwealth Responsibilities

On 8 February 2017, the Senate referred the following matters to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry andreport by 23 August 2017:

The rehabilitation of mining and resources projects as it relates to Commonwealth responsibilities, for example under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), with regard to:
  • the cost of outstanding rehabilitation obligations of currently operating projects;
  • the adequacy of existing regulatory, policy and institutional arrangements to ensure adequate and timely rehabilitation;
  • the adequacy and transparency of financial mechanisms, including assurances, bonds and funds, to ensure that mining and resources projects are rehabilitated without placing a burden on public finances;
  • the effectiveness of current Australian rehabilitation practices in safeguarding human health and repairing and avoiding environmental damage;
  • the effectiveness of existing abandoned mines programs, with regard to repairing environmental damage and safeguarding human health;
  • whether any mining or resources companies have engaged in conduct designed to avoid fulfilling their rehabilitation obligations;
  • the potential social, economic and environmental impacts, including on matters of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act, of inadequate rehabilitation;
  • the potential social, economic and environmental benefits of adequate rehabilitation, including job opportunities in communities affected by job losses in the mining and resources sectors;
  • international examples of effective rehabilitation policy and practice;
  • proposals for reform of rehabilitation of mining and resources projects; and any other related matters.
The closing date for submissions is 10 April 2017.

Aphids And Other Green Profit Suckers

March 28, 2017: Media Release - Australian Government's Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)
A leading entomologist is warning grain growers and agronomists in New South Wales and Queensland they will need to be actively ‘searching and detecting’ for pests this winter, rather than just monitoring crops.
The call for increased vigilance is due to the potential spread of the high priority pest Russian Wheat Aphid (RWA), as well as growing awareness of the benefits of early detection in protecting yield when it comes to insect pests, like winter cereal aphids and green mirids in faba beans.

Speaking at Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) updates in Queensland and New South Wales recently, entomologist Melina Miles said growers and advisors needed to be alert and ready to take action to reduce the profit risk of insect pests, particularly RWA.

Dr Miles, from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) said while RWA has not yet been detected north of Rankin Springs in the Riverina of NSW, vigilance is required to ensure early detection of further outbreaks in the northern grain growing region.

“RWA is a high priority pest because of its potential to cause significant yield losses in wheat and barley if not well managed. Triticale and rye are also susceptible but oats are considered relatively resistant,” Dr Miles said.

“It is inevitable that RWA will establish in the northern grains region, but we don’t know when we will start to see it in crops, so it is critical that crops are monitored more frequently during the 2017 season in case it does occur this year.

“Growers should sample for the RWA in the same way they do for other cereal aphids. Concentrate on the field margins and in areas of the paddock which are stressed, looking for both the symptoms and presence of aphids.”

Key symptoms include striking symptoms in wheat and barley, rolled leaves or rolling of the flag leaf. Plant damage is in response to direct aphid feeding, so only the leaves and/or tillers infested show symptoms.

Should control of RWA be needed, an Emergency Use Permit (APVMA PER82792) is in place for chlorpyrifos and pirimicarb and is valid until June 2018. Pirimicarb will kill aphids but not the beneficial insects in the crop so should be used in the first case, as the beneficials may suppress further outbreaks.

“Meanwhile, other things to watch for are winter cereal aphids, which can be managed successfully, with nominal thresholds and an understanding of their damage potential,” she said.

“Field trials attempting to determine the impact aphids have on winter cereals over the past ten years and proven extremely difficult, but a combination of some Northern Grower Alliance work and some glasshouse trials, whilst not being able to confirm an economic threshold, has been useful in developing a greater understanding of the aphids and a reasonable approach to management.

“Weather, crop conditions and natural enemies all play a role in influencing aphid numbers. The damage potential of aphids in cereals seems to be based on the relationship between crop stage at infestation, density and duration of infestation.”

Seed treatment is an option for districts where aphid pressure is high in most seasons, although the use of neonicotinoid seed dressing poses some risks to the build-up of natural enemies and potential insecticide resistance. It’s also worth noting the potential impact of late infestations on yield, particularly from grain-fill on, is low. The exception is RWA where infestations from stem elongation can prevent heads from emerging normally and impact on grain set and filling.

“The other research we have undertaken is to understand conclusively whether mirid feeding cause spotting on the seed, and hence if mirids warranted further research as a faba bean pest,” Dr Miles said

“We have found that green mirids do cause spotting on faba bean seed and impact on seed size and yield. Both adult and late instar nymphs are damaging and warrant control in faba beans crops.

“All of these pests directly relate back to growers yield and profits, so continuous monitoring and detection is certainly one of the keys to a bumper season.”

For more detail on this research, go to Dr Miles’ Research Update paper 'Aphids and other green profit suckers'.

Information on RWA preparedness, specifically for the northern region, is available on the Beatsheet blog.

AVGT's 2nd Ever Sustainability Day!

Sunday, April 2 at 10 AM - 3 PM
Coastal Environment Centre
1 Lake Park Road -Pelican Path, Narrabeen.

The Av Green Team are hosting our second ever sustainability day! Partly because last time was so fun and also because we are eager to learn more! It will be on the Sunday from 10am until about 3pm. 

We have a range of awesome expert speakers and workshops covering soil and composting, permaculture, off-grid living, recycling and more! The day will be full of environmentally-friendly stalls and food. 

Come along (it's free) and will be a great day of learning/eating/moving!

Bird Walks And Talks 2017: PNHA

Come and see and hear some of our fantastic native birds, many of which you'll never see in your garden. Join in a Sunday guided bird walk with Pittwater Natural Heritage Association. All walks  start at 8am and end about 10am.

May 28, Warriewood Wetlands, meet at End of Katoa Close, north Narrabeen.
August 27 Chiltern Track. Meet at gate, off northern of Chiltern Rd Ingleside.
September 17 Irrawong reserve. Meet at corner Irrawong Rd and Epworth Rd.
November 26 Warriewood Wetlands. Meet end of Katoa Close, north Narrabeen. 

Bring binoculars if possible. Drink, hat and comfortable shoes.
More information contact or 
Ph Kerry on 0402605 721.

You don't need to book but if we know you're coming we'll watch out for you. Call if in doubt about weather as we won't go out if it's raining.

Australia’s Key Biodiversity Areas: Discover Nature’s Hotspots

Published on 20 Mar 2017 by BirdLife Australia
Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are nature’s hotspots. They are the most important places left for life on earth. Australia's KBAs are the irreplaceable homes of birds and other wildlife that make our country unique – they are places we love. And many are closer than you might think. Despite their global significance, many KBAs don't receive the protection they deserve. As a result, the health of these special places is in decline. But we can turn this around. BirdLife Australia is working with local communities to improve recognition of the value of these places, and finding solutions to the threats they face. Everyone can play a role in safeguarding the future of Australia’s nature hotspots – will you join us? 

Thanks to the BirdLife staff and volunteers who generously donated footage for this video: Dan Weller, Andrew Silcocks, Dean Ingwersen, Glenn Ehmke, Wes Cooper, Matt Herring and Reuben Warren.

Environment Is In Worse Shape After Two Years Of Coalition Government

23 March, 2017: NSW Conservation Council
The environment in NSW has suffered significantly in the two years since the Coalition was re-elected in March 2015, a review of the government’s performance by leading environmental groups has found.

“Our analysis shows the Coalition has been bad for the environment on several fronts,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.

“It has weakened land-clearing laws, failed to protect farms and wildlife from coal and gas, subsidised native forest logging, reduced funding for national parks, conservation and research, and undermined the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“The number of threatened species has grown to more than 1000 and greenhouse gas emissions from power stations spiked 7% in the year to June 2017.

“It is a pretty terrible legacy, however, the new premier and environment minister can turn things around before the election in two years’ time.
“The government could quickly earn credits by declaring a Sydney Marine Park and developing a credible plan for meeting their goal of a carbon neutral NSW by 2050.”

The government worst environmental failures since 2015 included:
  • Gutting down strong land-clearing laws, which will drive species extinctions
  • Allowing expansion of coal and gas projects on farmland and in special natural areas, including in Sydney drinking-water catchment
  • Subsidising native forest logging, which is driving koalas towards extinction
  • Reducing national parks funding, slowing reserve acquisitions to a trickle and reducing conservation work and research
  • Undermining the Murray Darling Basin plan, which will result in less water for river and wetlands health
Waste and pollution was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise bad report card. The groups marked the government up for progressing the Container Deposit Scheme to reduce litter and for expanding recycling infrastructure.

Results in the “Climate and Energy” and the “Planning and Development” categories were a mix of positive and negative decisions and initiatives. 

Pollution and Waste Good
Climate and Energy Mixed
Planning and Development Mixed
National Parks and Wilderness Bad
Forests, Woodlands, Grasslands and Wildlife Bad
Marine Conservation Bad
Coal and Gas Bad
Rivers and Wetlands Bad
Total Environment Centre Director Jeff Angel: “The government deserves full credit for staring down the powerful drinks lobby and committing to introducing a container deposit scheme in NSW. This move will significantly reduce litter and the flow of harmful plastics into the marine environment. Of course, there is more to do and the next step should be a ban on single use lightweight plastic bag.” 

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “The government’s commitment to a zero carbon emissions target last year was a great step forward, but it still does not have binding milestones or a plan for the rapid, just closure of the state’s five polluting coal-fired power stations.” 

North Coast Environment Council spokesperson Jim Morrison: “Despite promises to fix up the NSW planning system, the government has simply tinkered around the edges. The system still favours the big end of town, while the environment and communities continue to take a back seat. Real change is needed to ensure the ongoing pressures of growth are balanced with the need to plan for an ecologically sustainable future.”  

Colong Foundation for Wilderness Director Keith Muir said: “In the 50th anniversary year of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the government scores a Fail for protected areas by underfunding park management, planning resort development in Kosciuszko National Park, erosion of wilderness protection and inaction on reserve establishment right across NSW.” 

South East Region Conservation Alliance spokesperson Harriett Swift: "The NSW Government has continued to use our taxes to pay for the destruction of our native forests, sacrificing our unique biodiversity, water quality and many of our threatened species. After seven consecutive years of losses in native forest logging under its hand, it’s only response is more of the same – more intensive logging and weaker measures to protect wildlife." 

NSW National Parks Association CEO Kevin Evans: "The government has still not restored protections for 10 marine sanctuary zones after the ill-thought-out amnesty introduced by Barry O'Farrell in 2013. This is a drop of roughly one third in the area protected in our marine parks and as such is a major backwards step on marine protection. We're also waiting for a Sydney Marine Park to protect the Hawkesbury Shelf bioregion, the only bioregion in NSW to lack formal marine park protection, and to recognise the extraordinary marine diversity that exists in our capital city."  

Central West Environment Council spokesperson Bev Smiles said: “The NSW Government has placed long-term health of our inland rivers and wetlands at risk by reducing environmental water and opposing federal water buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin. The Coalition has taken every opportunity to obstruct and delay measures to restore the Murray-Darling to health, compromising the recovery of wetlands, water birds and freshwater fish.” 

Blue Mountains Conservation Society Madi Maclean: “The government has comprehensively failed to deliver on its promise to protect critical agricultural and environmental assets, leaving productive farmland, water resources and iconic natural areas at risk. Coal mines, such the Clarence Colliery near Lithgow, continue to pollute the region’s waterways and even the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.”  

Before the 2015 NSW Government elections, environment groups compiled a report listing the top 25 actions required to conserve nature and protect the environment during the 2015-2019 term of government. The report Our Environment, Our Future - Policies for the 2015 NSW Election and Beyond urged all parties and candidates to incorporate those actions in their environmental policy platforms. This Report Card assesses the performance of the Coalition government halfway through its term against those 25 key indicators.

Our full analysis, a two-pager and the earlier report, Our Environment, Our Future, are available at:

Water Releases At Mathoura Aim To Boost Murray Cod

Media release: 28 March 2017 - NPWS
A group of recreational anglers recently took the opportunity to learn first-hand how environmental water releases near Mathoura are boosting populations of one of their most prized catches - the Murray Cod.

Earlier this month Paul Childs from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) accompanied fishing enthusiasts on a field trip to the Millewa forest to see first-hand how environmental water is being managed for the benefit of native fish.

“Water managers are aiming to create breeding habitat for large native fish by more effectively managing the way we manage flows into the forest creek systems,” Mr Childs said.

“Regulators that deliver water into the creeks in the forest help to restore natural wetting and drying cycles but they can pose a problem for native fish trying to access breeding and refuge habitat.

“The fish that do make it through to the creeks might then get ‘stuck’ and unable to move back into the River.

“This project is looking at different ways to manipulate flows through these regulators, tagging cod and tracking their movements between the creek and the river,” Mr Childs said.
The information will be used to develop operating protocols for flows into the forest to help build native fisheries in the central Murray River region. 
Wayne McPherson from the Bidgee Classic Fishing Competition said OEH’s field trip was a great way to see and hear how water flow patterns effect fish movements.

“Getting Murray Cod to breed in creek systems could make a big difference to increasing native fish numbers in the Murray,” said Mr McPherson.

“An increase in fish numbers will not only benefit local tourism, it will also make for great fishing and improve the natural environment,” he said.

This project, using an allocation of environmental water, is part of a broader partnership between the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW DPI Fisheries, Water NSW, Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and the Murray–Darling Basin Authority.

These agencies are working together to deliver water at various points along the River Murray for ecological outcomes.

For more information about environmental water delivery to the Murray River, visit

Dunmore Quarry Extension

To enable to long term viability of the quarry, Boral must access additional hard rock resources by extending the existing Croome Farm Pit further to the west as rock reserves in the existing section of the quarry become depleted. Assuming an average extraction rate of 2 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa), the proposed modification will allow Dunmore Quarry to continue extracting hard rock from the quarry up to 2034.

To enable continued operation of the quarry, it is proposed to extend the existing Croome Farm Pit by approximately 13.74 hectares (ha) to enable extraction within the ‘Croome West Pit’. All other aspects of the approved operations will remain the same (ie operating hours, employee numbers, production rates and traffic generation).
This application is Modification 9 and is referred to in this document as ‘the proposed modification’. An application for Modification 8 was approved by the Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) on 17 November 2016. It sought approval for the removal of overburden within the Croome Farm Pit and its use to create a visual and acoustic bund around the proposed Croome West Pit (subject of this application).

Project is currently on public exhibition and opportunity for public submissions is available:
Exhibition Start       20/03/2017
Exhibition End  10/04/2017

Call To Local Councils As Floodplain Management Grants Open For Applications

Media release: 16 March 2017
Grant funding to assist councils in carrying out floodplain management projects to help manage flood risk open for applications today, announced the NSW Government.

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Executive Director Ian Hunter said grant funding is available to assist local government with flood studies, flood risk management studies and plans and major projects such as flood levees, gates, warning systems and house raising and purchase in high risk areas, under the 2017-18 Floodplain Management Program.

“This grant program funds important projects that assess risk and help reduce flood impacts across NSW,” Mr Hunter said.

“I encourage local councils to apply for this funding round. Applications close on 27 April 2017.

“The last funding round supported forty-four projects which shared $6.72 million.

“This grant program supports the implementation of the NSW Flood Prone Land Policy which aims to reduce the impacts of flooding and flood liability on communities,” Mr Hunter said.

Local councils, county councils and other government bodies with floodplain risk management responsibilities (refer to program guidelines) equivalent to those of local councils are eligible to apply.

Further information and application forms are available here: 

Public Comment Open: Dolphin Mitigation Strategies For The SPF And SESSF

15 March 2017: AFMA
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is seeking comments on two draft strategies with the objective of minimising interactions between commercial fishing and dolphins.

AFMA is required to minimise interactions with protected species, while the Commonwealth commercial fishing industry is required to take all reasonable steps to avoid interactions with protected species. The SPF and Gillnet Dolphin Mitigation Strategies are aimed at pursuing these objectives.

The new strategies have a broad scope and incorporate all SPF trawl methods and the entire Gillnet Fishery. They also apply a consistent set of principles for managing dolphin interactions that are consistent with bycatch principles approved by the AFMA Commission in pursuit of AFMA’s objectives.

Public comment on both draft strategies will close on 12 April 2017.

Call For Public Comment On Draft Seabird Threat Abatement Plan

15th March 2017
Public comment is now being sought on the draft Threat abatement plan for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations (Threat abatement plan for incidental catch of seabirds). The public consultation period is open until 30 June 2017.

The draft Threat abatement plan for incidental catch of seabirds provides a national strategy to guide the activities of government, industry and research organisations in abating the impact of oceanic longline fishing operations on seabirds in Commonwealth fisheries.

The consultation paper and related documents are available on theDepartment of the Environment and Energy website. Your comments on this consultation paper are welcome.

Further information about the existing Threat abatement plan 2014 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations is available at the Threat Abatement Plan – seabirds page

A black-browed albatross with chick, on Macquarie Island. (Photo: Kim Kliska)

Draft Threat Abatement Plan For The Impacts Of Marine Debris On Vertebrate Marine Species (2017)

Marine debris, particularly plastic, is harmful to marine wildlife, with impacts caused through entanglement, ingestion and contamination. This complex problem is increasing globally.

Marine debris impacts have been documented for seabirds, marine turtles, cetaceans, sharks and other Australian marine wildlife, including many species listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The draft Threat abatement plan for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine species provides a national strategy to abate the threat posed by marine debris and guide investment and effort by the Australian Government, jurisdictions, research organisations and non-government organisations in addressing the impacts of marine debris on native species.

Public consultation
The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy has released the draft Threat abatement plan for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine species (2017) for public comment. The public comment period closes on 13 April 2017.

The consultation paper and related documents are available on the Department of the Environment and Energy website

As part of our 60th Anniversary celebrations, NPA is running a photo competition! This competition will be running over most of the year. Winners will have their photos printed and displayed in an exhibition and a voucher for private photography lessons with Smart digital.

Enter the Photo Competition
If you are a keen nature photographer or have a great photo in one of the categories below please share it with us. This competition is open to everyone.

Categories can include:
  • National Parks or other naturally significant areas
  • Underwater and Marine Photography (NSW only)
  • Bushwalking or outdoor activities (NSW only)
  • Animals and Wildlife (Australian wildlife only)
  • Historic photos related to NPA, nature conservation or wildlife in NSW
Photo Competition Rules HERE

Av. Green Team Back At Work

Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative from Avalon in Sydney. Trying to keep our area green and clean!

Keep up to date with and join in their next cleansvia their facebook page

$100M Solar Farm Boost For New South Wales

28 March 2017: Medisa Release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
Electricity supply in New South Wales is set to be boosted with the construction of a new $100 million 42MW solar farm in Manildra.

Supported by up to $9.8 million in Turnbull Government funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the project will begin construction in the first half of 2017.

The project is part of the Turnbull Government’s technology neutral, non-ideological approach to provide affordable, reliable electricity as we transition to a lower emission future.

The solar farm will generate more than 120,000 megawatt-hours of clean electricity a year or enough to supply up to 14,000 homes.

First Solar will deliver the project, which will use 466,000 thin-film photovoltaic modules and NEXTracker single-axis tracking technology.

First Solar has entered into a 13-year power purchase agreement with EnergyAustralia for the generated electricity and large-scale generation certificates.

Manildra is one of the 12 projects announced in September 2016 under ARENA’s large-scale solar round which will deliver 480 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity.

The Manildra solar farm is expected to be completed in 2018.

If Victoria Can Ban CSG, NSW Can Too!

By The Wilderness Society
Coal seam gas (CSG) threatens our water, our health and our climate. Many jurisdictions around the world are permanently banning this dangerous industry, most recently Victoria. We do not need or want risky coal seam gas in NSW. 
It’s clear that the industry has no social licence in our state, yet vast and critical areas—as well as human health—are still under threat from CSG across the state.

Call on the new Premier Berejiklian and the new Planning Minister Roberts to follow Victoria's lead and ban this harmful and risky industry in NSW. 

Department Seeks Community Views On Narrabri Gas Project Proposal

20.02.2017: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
The Department of Planning and Environment will today place on public exhibition Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project Environmental Impact Statement and is inviting the community to share its views.

Given the high level of public interest in the proposal, the Department has extended the normal exhibition period to more than 60 days. It closes on April 24.

Mike Young, Director of Resource Assessments, said the Department will be consulting broadly on the proposal and is keen to hear from all individuals and groups interested in the proposal.

“We are making every effort to make sure people have an opportunity to hear about the project and give us feedback during this assessment,” Mr Young said.

“There will be a number of opportunities to provide feedback including community information sessions and meetings with local landowners and interest groups.

“We want to hear people’s views - farmers, landholders, locals, Aboriginal groups, industry groups, councils. Everyone is welcome to make a submission and all will be read and considered in our assessment.”

Mr Young said as part of the assessment the Department will be establishing a panel of eminent scientific experts to provide independent advice on the proposal.

“These experts will be an integral part of the assessment process. Much of the information is of a scientific and technical nature and we are keen to get the best independent advice possible in assessing this project,” he said.

“In addition, we will be working with other key NSW Government agencies and seeking advice from the Commonwealth’s Independent Expert Scientific Committee.

“Any issues raised in submissions will be looked at and taken into account.”

Given the high level of public interest in the proposal, the Department has extended the normal exhibition period to more than 60 days. It closes on May 22nd.

Following the exhibition period, the Department will comprehensively assess the submissions and the EIS.

The Narrabri Gas Project proposal involves a coal seam gas field with up to 850 gas wells to be developed progressively over 20 years, and a gas processing and water treatment facilities.

Santos’ Environmental Impact Statement is available on the Department’s website, and at all major centres in the region including Narrabri, Wee Waa, Gunnedah, Coonabarabran and Coonamble

Related information: 
  • Environmental Impact Statement for the Narrabri Gas Project
  • NSW Chief Scientist 2014 Coal Seam Gas Review
  • NSW Gas Plan
Narrabri Gasfield

Exhibition Start 21/02/2017
Exhibition End  22/05/2017

Bushcare in Pittwater 

For further information or to confirm the meeting details for below groups, please contact Council's Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367

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

Spotted Tree Frog Fighting Back From Extinction

Media release: 27 March 2017 - NPWS
The critically endangered Spotted Tree Frog reintroduced into Kosciusko National Park is surprising researchers by showing outstanding survival rates and breeding sooner than expected.

Spotted Tree Frog re-introduction project - NPWS Photo

Four hundred of the elusive grey-green coloured amphibians were released into the park three years ago and this month monitoring shows that more than 50 percent of the frogs have survived and are breeding.

David Hunter, Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Senior Threatened Species Officer, is thrilled by the latest survey results as previous attempts to reintroduce this species into the park have failed.

"We took a calculated risk when we reintroduced the frogs - bred in captivity at the Amphibian Research Centre in Melbourne - by placing them at a site that is outside their known range," Dr Hunter said.

"But this experiment is paying off and the survival rate for the frogs at this new site is extremely encouraging not only for these individuals but the entire species.

"The frogs introduced at other sites in Kosciuszko National Park in the past have been heavily impacted by Amphibian Chytrid Fungus a fatal pathogen that is the kryptonite of frogs," Dr Hunter said.

David Hunter releasing Spotted Tree Frog Kosciuszko NP

The endangered frog, also known as Litoria spenceri, was extinct in the wild in 2001 in NSW, a result of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus wiping out the last known wild population.

For now, this introduced population has managed to avoid this disease - a major breakthrough for frog conservation here and around the world.

"We think the recent success is largely due to the fact that the new re-introduction site was selected to be much warmer than the frogs' previous known location," Dr Hunter added.

"The disease flourishes in cooler, moist environments so in this case it seems we have found the right conditions for the frogs to not only fight off the disease, but also to breed - this may be the only hope for maintaining the species in NSW, and helping them fight back from extinction.

"We are quietly confident our approach will prove successful in the long term and that this research will provide management options for other frog species also threatened with extinction by this killer pathogen," Dr Hunter said.

This NSW Government Saving Our Species and Environmental Trust Project aims to secure critical populations of this species in NSW in the long-term through reintroducing captive bred animals.

For more information on the Spotted Tree Frog and its conservation, visit the OEH website.
One-Year-old Spotted Tree Frog - photo courtesy David Hunter

'Australia's Jurassic Park' The World's Most Diverse

March 27, 2017: University of Queensland
An unprecedented 21 different types of dinosaur tracks have been identified on a 25-kilometre stretch of the Dampier Peninsula coastline dubbed "Australia's Jurassic Park."

A team of palaeontologists from The University of Queensland's School of Biological Sciences and James Cook University's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences braved sharks, crocodiles, massive tides and the threat of development to unveil the most diverse assemblage of dinosaur tracks in the world in 127 to 140 million-year-old rocks in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Dinosaur tracks in the Walmadany area are shown. Credit: Damian Kelly
Lead author Dr Steve Salisbury said the diversity of the tracks around Walmadany (James Price Point) was globally unparalleled and made the area the "Cretaceous equivalent of the Serengeti."

"It is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia's dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period," Dr Salisbury said.

"It's such a magical place -- Australia's own Jurassic Park, in a spectacular wilderness setting."

In 2008, the Western Australian Government selected Walmadany as the preferred site for a $40 billion liquid natural gas processing precinct.

The area's Traditional Custodians, the Goolarabooloo people, contacted Dr Salisbury and his team, who dedicated more than 400 hours to investigating and documenting the dinosaur tracks.

"We needed the world to see what was at stake," Goolarabooloo Law Boss Phillip Roe said.

The dinosaur tracks form part of a song cycle that extends along the coast and then inland for 450 km, tracing the journey of a Dreamtime creator being called Marala, the Emu man.

"Marala was the Lawgiver. He gave country the rules we need to follow. How to behave, to keep things in balance," Mr Roe said said.

"It's great to work with UQ researchers. We learnt a lot from them and they learnt a lot from us."

Dr Salisbury said the surrounding political issues made the project "particularly intense," and he was relieved when National Heritage listing was granted to the area in 2011 and the gas project collapsed in 2013.

"There are thousands of tracks around Walmadany. Of these, 150 can confidently be assigned to 21 specific track types, representing four main groups of dinosaurs, " Dr Salisbury said.

"There were five different types of predatory dinosaur tracks, at least six types of tracks from long-necked herbivorous sauropods, four types of tracks from two-legged herbivorous ornithopods, and six types of tracks from armoured dinosaurs.

"Among the tracks is the only confirmed evidence for stegosaurs in Australia. There are also some of the largest dinosaur tracks ever recorded. Some of the sauropod tracks are around 1.7 m long."

"Most of Australia's dinosaur fossils come from the eastern side of the continent, and are between 115 and 90 million years old. The tracks in Broome are considerably older."

The research has been published as the 2016 Memoir of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Steven W. Salisbury, Anthony Romilio, Matthew C. Herne, Ryan T. Tucker, Jay P. Nair. The Dinosaurian Ichnofauna of the Lower Cretaceous (Valanginian–Barremian) Broome Sandstone of the Walmadany Area (James Price Point), Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 2017; 36 (sup1): 1 DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2016.1269539

‘Australia’s Jurassic Park’ The World’s Most Diverse

from The University of Queensland

Global Money Week: ASIC Offers Practical Tips And Resources To Teach Youngsters About Money

Tuesday 28 March 2017 - from ASIC
To mark Global Money Week (27 March – 2 April 2017), ASIC's MoneySmart offers practical tips and resources for parents to help them teach children about money to establish good money habits for life.

'The dynamic development of mobile banking and online shopping money reinforces the importance of teaching children and young people about money matters from an early age to ensure they develop sound financial habits and behaviours to help them navigate the financial decisions and challenges they'll face throughout life', said Peter Kell, ASIC's Deputy Chairman said.

'For parents, there are many situations in everyday family life that present opportunities to talk to children about managing money, including the basics such as how to budget, spend and save', Mr Kell said.

ASIC's MoneySmart offers the following practical tips to help parents have money conversations with kids:
  • At the ATM – explain where the money's from and how you've earned it; it's not just a hole in the wall where money comes out.  
  • At the supermarket – prepare a list, research prices and how you can save money if you shop around.
  • Budgeting – involving kids in discussion about family budgeting can prompt learning about differentiating between needs and wants, costs and spending.  ASIC's MoneySmart Budget Planner is a great tool you can use.
  • Pocket money or income from a part-time job present opportunities to discuss setting financial goals and saving up for them and understanding the value of money.
  • Mobile phones – discuss options for phone plans and checking and managing data usage to control costs.
  • Encourage older children to visit ASIC's MoneySmart website and use its free calculators, apps and resources, as well as tailored information for young people starting out.        
Mr Kell said supporting the teaching of financial literacy skills in schools is also a strategic priority for ASIC.

'Research tells us many teenagers already have experience with financial matters, with over 80 per cent of 15 year olds having a bank account and 73 per cent earning money from work such as outside school hours work or occasional informal jobs[1], and about 90 per cent of 14-17 year olds owning a mobile phone[2]', Mr Kell said.

ASIC's MoneySmart Teaching program, delivered in partnership with state and territory education departments around Australia, aims to support financial literacy in schools through teacher professional development and quality teaching resources aligned to the Australian Curriculum. 

About ASIC

ASIC is the Australian Government agency responsible for financial literacy, consistent with its strategic priority to promote confidence and trust in the financial system.  We support the financial capability of Australians to improve their financial knowledge and skills and develop the attitudes and behaviours to make good financial decisions. 

ASIC leads and coordinates the National Financial Literacy Strategy, which sets out a national framework for financial literacy work in Australia.  The Strategy highlights the importance of providing people with tailored resources and tools, and of responding to the financial issues facing vulnerable sectors of the community.  People experiencing high financial stress and crisis are identified as one of a number of priority audiences in the National Strategy.

ASIC's MoneySmart website provides trusted and impartial financial guidance and tools to help Australians of all ages manage their money and make informed financial decisions.

ASIC's MoneySmart Teaching program builds the financial literacy capabilities of young Australians in relation to five basic financial principles: planning, spending, saving, donating and investing.

ASIC's MoneySmart Teaching program:
  • promotes a curriculum based approach to teaching financial literacy in Australian schools
  • builds teacher capability through professional development and personal learning
  • provides free teaching resources, aligned to the Australian Curriculum, that use real life consumer and financial contexts to build student capability
  • supports partnerships with education departments and schools to progress financial literacy around Australia.
Global Money Week is an international annual money awareness campaign, run by the Child and Youth Finance International Secretariat that teaches children about money.  The theme for Global Money Week 2017 is 'Learn. Save. Earn.'

[1] Financing the Future: Australian students' results in the PISA 2012 Financial Literacy Assessment, Australian Council for Educational Research, 2014

[2] Aussie Teens Online, Australian Communications and Media Authority, 2014

'Medicinal Food' Diet Counters Onset Of Type 1 Diabetes

March 27, 2016: Monash University

Monash University researchers, Dr. Eliana Mariño and Professor Charles Mackay. Credit: Monash University
Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute researchers have led an international study that found -- for the first time -- that a diet yielding high amounts of the short-chain fatty acids acetate and butyrate provided a beneficial effect on the immune system and protected against type 1 or juvenile diabetes.

Autoimmune type 1 diabetes occurs when immune cells called autoreactive T cells attack and destroy the cells that produce insulin -- the hormone that regulates our blood sugar levels.

The specialised diet developed by CSIRO and Monash University researchers uses starches -- found in many foods including fruit and vegetables -- that resist digestion and pass through to the colon or large bowel where they are broken down by microbiota (gut bacteria). This process of fermentation produces acetate and butyrate which, when combined, provided complete protection against type 1 diabetes.

"The Western diet affects our gut microbiota and the production of these short-chain fatty acids," researcher Dr Eliana Mariño said.

"Our research found that eating a diet which encourages the gut bacteria that produce high levels of acetate or butyrate improves the integrity of the gut lining, which reduces pro-inflammatory factors and promote immune tolerance," Dr Mariño said.

"We found this had an enormous impact on the development of type 1 diabetes," she said.

The findings, which attracted considerable interest at the International Congress of Immunology in Melbourne last year, were published today in the journal Nature Immunology.

Professor Charles Mackay, who initiated the research said the study highlighted how non-pharmaceutical approaches including special diets and gut bacteria could treat or prevent autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.

"The findings illustrate the dawn of a new era in treating human disease with medicinal foods," Professor Mackay said.

"The materials we used are something you can digest that is composed of natural products -- resistant starches are a normal part of our diet.

"The diets we used are highly efficient at releasing beneficial metabolites. I would describe them as an extreme superfood," he said.

Professor Mackay said that the diet was not just about eating vegetables or high-fibre foods but involved special food and a special process, and would need to be managed by nutritionists, dietitians and clinicians.

The researchers are hoping to gain funding to take the findings into type 1 diabetes into clinical research. Professor Mackay, Dr Mariño and collaborators around Australia are expanding their research to investigate diet's effect on obesity and other inflammatory diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, food allergies and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

This research was supported by JDRF, the Diabetes Australia Research Trust and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.

Read the full paper titled, Gut microbial metabolites limit the frequency of autoimmune T cells and protect against type 1 diabetes', published today in Nature Immunology.

Eliana Mariño, James L Richards, Keiran H McLeod, Dragana Stanley, Yu Anne Yap, Jacinta Knight, Craig McKenzie, Jan Kranich, Ana Carolina Oliveira, Fernando J Rossello, Balasubramanian Krishnamurthy, Christian M Nefzger, Laurence Macia, Alison Thorburn, Alan G Baxter, Grant Morahan, Lee H Wong, Jose M Polo, Robert J Moore, Trevor J Lockett, Julie M Clarke, David L Topping, Leonard C Harrison, Charles R Mackay.Gut microbial metabolites limit the frequency of autoimmune T cells and protect against type 1 diabetes. Nature Immunology, 2017; DOI:10.1038/ni.3713

Malaria Parasites 'Walk Through Walls' To Infect Humans

Dr. Boddey said pinpointing these proteins was a good avenue for new therapies. Credit: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Researchers have identified proteins that enable deadly malaria parasites to 'walk through cell walls' -- a superpower that was revealed using the Institute's first insectary to grow human malaria parasites.

The research has identified two parasite proteins that are the key to this superpower. The proteins could be targeted to develop much-needed antimalarial drugs or vaccines.

Dr Justin Boddey, Dr Sara Erickson and Ms Annie Yang led a team investigating how the deadly malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum travels from the site of a mosquito bite to invade human liver cells, the critical first step in malaria infection. Their findings were published in the journal Cell Reports.

When a person is infected with malaria, the parasite silently invades and multiplies in liver cells, but doesn't cause disease. The parasites then burst out of the liver and infect the blood, causing symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue and muscle and joint pain that are characteristic of malaria.

Dr Boddey said the research confirmed the deadly malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum had the ability to 'walk through cell walls' as it sought out liver cells where it could hide and multiply.

"The malaria infection cycle begins with a mosquito bite, when parasites are injected into the skin, and then rapidly move to the liver, " Dr Boddey said. "We have shown that P. falciparum employs a technique called cell traversal to quickly move through host cells in their path as they seek out liver cells to infect."

"Our study identified that P. falciparum parasites traverse human cells -- effectively walking through cell walls -- using two proteins called SPECT and PLP1 to achieve this superpower. This allows parasites to get from the skin to the liver very quickly following a mosquito bite."

Malaria causes more than 650,000 deaths each year, predominantly in children and pregnant women, and there is an urgent need for new malaria vaccines and treatments in an effort to eradicate the disease.

Dr Boddey said pinpointing these proteins was a good avenue for new therapies.

"Our long-term goal is to eradicate malaria, so we have to look at ways of breaking the cycle of infection," Dr Boddey said. "A vaccine or treatment that halts the liver-stage infection offers the best chance of eradication because it stops parasites before they take hold."

Dr Erickson manages the Institute's insectary which was established in 2012 to enable Institute researchers to study all developmental stages of human malaria parasites.

"In the past, it was impossible to examine the earliest stages of human infection with malaria parasites at the Institute," Dr Erickson said. "The insectary enables us, for the first time, to specifically work with the parasites that initiate human infection, particularly with P. falciparum that is responsible for most deaths from malaria globally. We hope this will fast track identification of potential targets for antimalarial vaccines or drugs."

Annie S.P. Yang, Matthew T. O’Neill, Charlie Jennison, Sash Lopaticki, Cody C. Allison, Jennifer S. Armistead, Sara M. Erickson, Kelly L. Rogers, Andrew M. Ellisdon, James C. Whisstock, Rebecca E. Tweedell, Rhoel R. Dinglasan, Donna N. Douglas, Norman M. Kneteman, Justin A. Boddey.Cell Traversal Activity Is Important for Plasmodium falciparum Liver Infection in Humanized Mice. Cell Reports, 2017; 18 (13): 3105 DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2017.03.017

8 Million Adults Tested For Cancer In 2 Years

27 March 2017: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Australians are more likely to have been tested for cancer than they were only a few years ago, according to data released today by the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

"In 2014-15, 8.1 million Australian adults (46 per cent) had been tested for cancer in the last two years," said Louise Gates, ABS Director of Health Statistics. "This saw the proportion of Australian adults ever tested for cancer increase from 55 per cent in 2011-12 to 62 per cent in 2014-15."

For women over the age of 50, breast cancer testing rates increased from 64 per cent to 77 per cent between 2011-12 and 2014-15, cervical cancer from 60 per cent to 71 per cent and bowel cancer testing rates almost doubled from 27 per cent to 49 per cent.

Similarly, for men over the age of 50, prostate cancer testing rates increased from 48 per cent to 58 per cent in the same time period, while bowel cancer testing rates had increased from 34 per cent to 55 per cent.

From age 50, it is recommended that people at average risk screen for bowel cancer every two years 1. Around one in three people (30 per cent) over the age of 50 were tested for bowel cancer in the two years prior to the survey.

BreastScreen Australia invites women aged between 50 and 74 to have a mammogram every two years2. Of all women aged 50 - 74 years, over half (55 per cent) were tested for breast cancer in the two years prior to the survey.

Other results discussed in the Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions (cat. no. 4364.0.55.002) publication include use of health services, medications used, actions taken for health conditions such as asthma or hypertension and rates of breastfeeding and private health insurance. This publication is available for free download from:

Australian Defence Force Review

28 March 2017: Media Release - NMHC
The National Mental Health Commission has provided the Australian Government with its final report on the review of services available to veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in relation to prevention of self-harm and suicide

The final report and recommendations will now be considered by the Australian Government.

The Commission is very grateful to all who contributed to the review.

We thank the current and former members of the ADF and their family and friends, as well as service providers, all of whom provided their valuable opinions; the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Health, which supported and assisted the work of the Commission; and the Project Reference Group and the Australian Advisory Group on Suicide Prevention for their expertise and guidance.
Work on the review

On 2 November 2016, the Commission invited everyone to have a say on the review and provide their submissions by Sunday, 27 November.

The Commission led an extensive literature review of Australian and international evidence, and received 114 submissions and more than 3,000 responses to five online surveys. We also held interviews with key informants and conducted group discussions across a number of locations, which provided valuable information to complement the information garnered from the submissions and the surveys.

Our work on the review included:
  • An extensive literature review of Australian and international evidence.
  • A documentation review (desktop audits) and analysis including analysis of online resources.
  • Results and analysis from five online surveys.
  • Key informant interviews (39 complete)
  • In-depth interviews.
  • Group discussions with: current and former ADF members, families and service providers which involved all three service arms across Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, ACT and Queensland.
  • ADF/DVA mapping: service mapping using international classification system for all ADF Health sites including repatriation hospitals and VVCS. Service Mapping comparisons for metro and regional areas relevant to former service personnel. Associated tables and commentary.
  • Geo-spatial mapping of population profiling, socio-demographic risk factors and health status for all 31 Primary Health Network regions (465 socio-demographic maps) and preparation of nine service geo-spatial maps relating to services in eight Joint Health Areas.
The Commission worked with the Project Reference Group as well as with the Australian Advisory Group on Suicide Prevention.

The Commission analysed all of the data collected, conducted a fact checking exercise with key stakeholders and formulated the final report with recommendations.

Diverted Profits Tax Passes Senate

27 March 2017: Joint media release with The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Treasurer and The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services

Today the Turnbull Government successfully legislated a new Diverted Profits Tax, which will prevent multinationals shifting profits made in Australia offshore to avoid paying tax.

The Diverted Profits Tax will commence on 1 July 2017, and is expected to raise $100 million in revenue a year from 2018-19. It provides a powerful new tool for the Australian Taxation Office to tackle contrived arrangements and uncooperative taxpayers, and will reinforce Australia’s position as having some of the toughest laws in the world to combat multinational tax avoidance.

This represents a significant step as the Turnbull Government continues to deliver on its commitment to ensure the integrity of our tax system.

The Diverted Profits Tax, announced in the 2016-17 Budget, targets multinationals that enter into arrangements to divert their Australian profits to offshore related parties in order to avoid paying Australian tax.

The Commissioner of Taxation will be provided with extra powers to achieve this.

This legislation will make it easier to apply Australia's anti‑avoidance provisions and a 40 per cent rate of tax, to be paid immediately.

It will also complement the application of the existing anti‑avoidance rules such as:
  • the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL) to clamp down on artificial profit shifting by major multinationals;
  • the introduction of a new Tax Avoidance Taskforce to crackdown on tax avoidance by multinationals and high wealth individuals
  • new protections for whistle-blowers who disclose information about tax misconduct to the ATO and
  • increased penalties for breach of tax reporting obligations for global companies with incomes of $1 billion or more.
The Diverted Profits Tax will not apply to managed investment trusts or similar foreign entities, sovereign wealth funds and foreign pension funds. These entities have been excluded as they are low risk from an integrity perspective, are widely held and undertake passive activities. This exclusion also ensures that such entities do not face an unnecessary compliance burden as a result of the introduction of the Diverted Profits Tax.

Similarly, the DPT will only apply to multinationals that have a global income of more than $1 billion and an Australian income of more than $25 million.

The integrity of Australia’s tax base is paramount. The Turnbull Government is determined to ensure multinationals do the right thing and pay their fair share of tax here in Australia so that Australian citizens get the money that is owed to them to fund vital infrastructure and services.

ACCC Issues Draft Assessment Of NBN Co SAU Variation

28 March 2017: Media Release - ACCC
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has today issued a draft decision to reject NBN Co’s proposed variation to its Special Access Undertaking (SAU) to incorporate new technologies such as fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) and hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC).  

NBN Co’s SAU is a key part of the framework for regulating prices and a range of non-price matters relating to NBN Co’s supply of wholesale services until 2040. The current version of the SAU, which the ACCC accepted in 2013, only covers fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), fixed wireless, and satellite technologies.

“Most of the changes proposed by NBN Co would remain in effect until the end of the SAU term in 2040. We need to be satisfied that the proposed changes are reasonable and in the long-term interests of end-users now, and will remain so over the term of the SAU,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

“While the ACCC agrees with the overall approach that NBN Co has taken to incorporate the additional technologies into the SAU, it has concerns about some of the specific terms and conditions that NBN Co proposes to vary.”

“As the ACCC can only accept or reject an SAU variation, our concerns mean that our draft decision is to reject the variation. However, we have provided clear guidance in the draft decision on how NBN Co can address these concerns and introduce these new technologies into the SAU,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC is also seeking further views around the SAU pricing provisions that would apply to NBN services provided over these additional technologies. The ACCC notes that the application of the price terms was not raised in its previous consultation paper on the SAU variation. The ACCC is therefore consulting specifically on its assessment of the price terms and conditions to ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to comment.

The ACCC will also consult further on proposed changes to NBN Co’s rollout information commitments. The ACCC is aware that NBN Co has recently implemented measures to increase the information it makes available to access seekers and the public.

The closing date for submissions on the draft decision is 21 April 2017.
The draft decision is available: NBN Co SAU variation draft decision

The ACCC must consider NBN Co’s proposed SAU variation in accordance with the criteria set out in Part XIC of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA). Broadly, the ACCC must not accept the variation unless it is satisfied that the varied SAU terms would promote the long-term interests of end-users and are reasonable.

The ACCC’s concerns relate to three matters:
  • changes to service definitions that would allow future technologies introduced by NBN Co to be covered by the SAU without a further SAU variation,
  • removing the definition ‘network boundary point’ from service definitions,
  • locking in provisions relating to ‘co-existence’ and ‘remediation’ for FTTN and FTTB services, which would allow NBN Co to provide services at lower data rates in certain circumstance, for the remainder of the SAU term.
NBN Co submitted its proposed SAU variation to the ACCC in May 2016. This is the first time NBN Co has applied to vary its SAU.

The ACCC has been liaising with NBN Co about its concerns as the ACCC can only accept or reject the proposed SAU variation. Neither the ACCC nor NBN Co can vary the SAU after it has been submitted to the ACCC for consideration. If NBN Co submits a new variation to its SAU, the ACCC will be required to consult further with stakeholders.

ACCC Given Powers To Investigate And Report On Retail Electricity Prices

27 March 2017
The Federal Government has directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to immediately commence an inquiry into retail electricity pricing.

“Electricity prices have nearly doubled on top of inflation in most parts of Australia over the last decade based on a variety of different factors. It will be important to understand and examine these different factors in each state and territory,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The ACCC is also keen to look at the structure of the retail industry, the nature of competition, the representation of prices to consumers and other factors influencing the price paid by Australians for electricity,” Mr Sims said.

“We enter this inquiry with an open mind and look forward to developing recommendations which can make a difference for Australian households and businesses.”

In undertaking this work the ACCC will work with energy agencies such as the Australian Energy Regulator and the Australian Energy Markets Commission.

The ACCC is expected to produce a preliminary report by the end of September 2017, with a final report due in 30 June 2018.

The ACCC is currently undertaking a dairy inquiry and in 2015 undertook the east coast gas inquiry at the direction of government. The ACCC has recently completed a market study into cattle and beef markets, and studies into the new car retailing industry and the communications sector are underway.

By holding an inquiry under Part VIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act (2010), the ACCC can use compulsory information gathering powers to gather the information and hold hearings to assess the level of competition in a market. 

The ACCC will distribute an Issues Paper on matters relevant to the inquiry, and will be calling for public submissions. The ACCC will also conducting public and private hearings.

The ACCC’s current involvement in the retail electricity sector and related industries largely relate to ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Act prohibiting anti-competitive practices and unfair practices (such as misleading and deceptive conduct and false and misleading representations).

In 2015, Origin Energy Limited and two of its subsidiaries (Origin) paid penalties totalling $325,000 for contravening the Australian Consumer Law by making false or misleading representations in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

In 2015, AGL South Australia Pty Ltd (AGL SA) paid penalties of $700,000 and to offered refunds totalling approximately $780,000 to 23,000 consumers for making false or misleading representations about the level of discount residential consumers would receive  

The ACCC has also previously taken action against energy retailers for illegal door-to-door selling practices.
  • AGL Sales Pty Ltd and AGL South Australia Pty Ltd paid combined penalties of $1.555 million for illegal door-to-door selling practices.
  • Origin Energy Electricity Limited (Origin) paid $2 million in penalties in relation to unlawful door-to-door selling practices.
  • Neighbourhood Energy Pty Ltd and Australian Green Credits Pty Ltd paid a total penalty of $1 million for illegal door-to-door selling practices.

ASIC Welcomes Passage Of Client Money Reforms By Parliament

Tuesday 28 March 2017 - ASIC Media release
ASIC has welcomed the passage of client money reforms contained in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures No. 1) Bill 2016 (the Bill).

'The amendments to the client money regime made in the Bill have strengthened the protection of client money that is provided to retail derivative clients. Doing so will help to increase investor confidence in the Australian financial system', ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said.

The Bill removes an exception in the client money regime that allows Australian financial services licensees to withdraw client money provided in relation to retail OTC derivatives from client money trust accounts, and use it for a wide range of purposes including as working capital. The exception places retail derivative client money at greater risk of loss, particularly in the event the licensee becomes insolvent.

This amendment would require licensees to hold retail derivative client money on trust. The requirement to hold client money on trust already applies to the vast majority of financial products and financial services under Australia's client money regime. 

The Bill also give ASIC a power to write client money reporting and reconciliation rules.

The Bill gives industry a 12-month transition period in which to implement the reforms and adapt to the new regime.

Ms Armour said, 'We look forward to continued engagement with industry to assist industry to implement the amendments made by Parliament, including ASIC's new power to write client money reporting and reconciliation rules'.

3–Ps Sets Direction For Australia's Aviation Safety Body

28 March 2017: Media Release - The Hon. Darren Chester MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
The Australian Government has issued a new Statement of Expectations (SOE) for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), with the direction that regulatory activity be pragmatic, practical and proportional.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the new SOE provided clear direction for the Board and staff of CASA on the Government's expectations and priorities for aviation safety over the next two years.

“This Statement sets out in an open and formal way some important parameters for CASA's regulatory approach, including implementing its regulatory philosophy,” Mr Chester said.

“CASA has an extremely important role to play in maintaining Australia's enviable safety record, having regard to risk; CASA must also take into account the economic and cost impact on the aviation industry.

“A pragmatic, practical and proportional approach to regulatory activity is intended to help support aviation growth in this country, particularly in the general aviation sector.”

CEO of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia Mike Higgins welcomed the new SOE.

“It is an excellent starting point for future engagement with CASA at all levels. It reinforces and builds on the great work already undertaken by CASA's acting CEO Shane Carmody,” Mr Higgins said.

The SOE also includes a number of important aviation initiatives which the Government expects CASA to pay particular attention to, such as changes taking place with air traffic services and Airservices Australia's new operating model.

“I've also asked CASA to focus effort on enhancing the level of controlled airspace, including at major regional airports,” Mr Chester said.

“I look forward to CASA making strong progress against this Statement and encourage the aviation industry to provide cooperative input to the important work that will be progressed over the next few years.”

The SOE is a legislative instrument available on the Federal Register of Legislation at 
Statement of Expectations for the Board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for the Period 27 March 2017 to 30 June 2019 HERE

Australian Showcase At International Children’s Book Fair

28 March 2017: Media Release - Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, 
Minister for Communications
Minister for the Arts
Manager of Government Business in the Senate

The Australian Government will provide more than $160,000 over four years to promote Australian authors and illustrators through a strong Australian presence at the pre-eminent global Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, Italy.

Funding for the group was provided through the Department of Communications and the Arts which supports activities that promote the Government’s international arts and cultural engagement and cultural diplomacy priorities.  

This funding gives Australian authors and artists the opportunity to promote their work on an international stage to an international audience.

Around 70 countries will participate in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy from 3rd to 6th April.

A number of publishers will showcase Australian children’s and young adult literature to a diverse international audience.

The Australian Collective Stand will include Allen and Unwin and Books Illustrated along with four small independent publishers—Berbay Books, Upload Publishing, MidnightSun Publishing and Melbourne Style.

There will also be a Creators’ Table where visiting Australian illustrators can showcase their work and exchange ideas with fellow artists from around the world.

Australia’s participation in the world’s most significant fair for children’s books will promote our strong and vibrant children’s literature industry.

The Government is proud to promote Australian artists globally, particularly programs that reach young audiences.

Government Releases Insolvency Law Reforms For Consultation

28 March 2017: Media Release - the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services
As part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, today released draft legislation which reforms Australia’s insolvency laws and an accompanying explanatory statement for public consultation.

This legislation creates a ‘safe harbour’ from personal liability for company directors and institutes a stay on ‘ipso facto’ clauses during a formal insolvency process.

Minister O’Dwyer said the proposed safe harbour will apply to directors of companies undertaking a restructure and will protect them from personal liability for insolvent trading in certain circumstances.

“This will drive cultural change amongst company directors and encourage them to engage early with a plan for business rescue, to keep control of the company while the plan is executed, and to take reasonable risks to facilitate the company’s recovery, rather than placing the company prematurely into voluntary administration or liquidation,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“The creation of a safe harbour creates necessary breathing room for directors to turn a company around rather than allowing it to fail for fear of personal liability. This will not only promote a culture of entrepreneurship and help reduce the stigma associated with business failure, but offers businesses a better chance of restructuring outside of a formal insolvency, which often produces significantly better outcomes for the company, its employees and its creditors.”

The amendments will also make ipso facto clauses, which terminate or amend a contract merely because a company has entered into a formal insolvency process, unenforceable. Making these clauses unenforceable will give companies a greater chance to successfully restructure and may increase the likelihood of being able to sell the business as a going concern.

The Government has also released a further explanatory document setting out the types of contracts and contractual rights which are expected to be excluded from the prohibition on the operation of ipso facto clauses. These excluded contract types and rights will be formalised through forthcoming regulations, with the prohibition on the operation of ipso facto clauses becoming effective on 1 January 2018. The Minister welcomes feedback on the appropriateness of the proposed exclusions and whether further exclusions may be warranted.

The exposure draft legislation and explanatory statements are available on the Treasury Consultation Hub.

Submissions are due by 24 April 2017 and can be sent

New National Facebook Page Launched For Missing Persons

Monday, 27 March 2017: AFP
The thousands of faces of Australia’s missing persons will now be featured on a dedicated Facebook page, following the launch of a new online Facebook page today hosted by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The National Missing Persons Coordination Centre Facebook page is the first national, government-run initiative of its kind, providing a centralised place to profile the State and Territory police cases for all long-term missing persons in Australia.

The page has been pioneered by the AFP’s National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC), and will act as a single source of truth for police to communicate missing persons issues’ and facts to the public.

It will also provide a space for family members of missing persons, as well as community groups working in the sector, to gather together and share their experiences.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz, National Manager Crime Operations, said it was hoped the new page would increase awareness about the impacts of missing persons in the community.

“We know that every year, more than 38,000 people are reported missing to police. Although most are located safe and well, there are people in the Australian community who have no idea what has happened to someone they love,” Assistant Commissioner Platz said.

“This resource will give the public the power to share their experiences and connect about these issues, with the aim to reunite missing persons with their families and friends.”

The NMPCC plays a national coordination role across the missing persons sector, and in support of State and Territory police. Its aims are to reduce the impacts and incidence of missing persons in Australia through education and advocacy of missing persons’ issues.

The AFP encourages all Australians to visit the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre Facebook page at   

Missing persons facts:
  • More than 38,000 people are reported missing to police in Australia every year.
  • More than 98 per cent of people who are reported missing are located within a short period of time.
  • People become classified as ‘long-term missing’ when they have been missing for three months or more.
  • There are currently more than 2000 long-term missing persons in Australia.

Farming Fish For Change

March 28, 2017: By Deborah Smith - UNSW
A UNSW-led fish farming research project in the remote PNG highlands not only provides a valuable source of protein and income for local people, as highlighted in a new video, it also helps reduce crime and tribal warfare.

The project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and is part of a long-term strategy to address food and income security through fish farming research.

Many people in rural PNG survive on less than $2 a day. While they can grow plenty of vegetables in the fertile soil, few can afford to buy meat or raise their own animals, which has led to chronic malnutrition and stunted growth in children.

To help overcome these major problems, since 2010 a team led by UNSW scientist Jes Sammut has been teaching people in remote villages how to dig ponds and grow fish in them, as well as conducting research on how to improve aquaculture practices.

“We’re now seeing farmers produce more fish and better quality fish,” says Associate Professor Sammut.  “And that is important for them because it means they can feed their families nutritious, high quality protein daily.”

Gideon Pama, of PNG’s National Fisheries Authority, which funds the project along with ACIAR, outlines some of the social benefits of the project in the new video filmed in the rugged region.

Fish production provides welcome extra income for families, he says. “People sell the fish in the markets, they get earnings and they pay for the children’s school fees or it assists with other spending in their households.”

The children’s performance at school improves with better nutrition, and the project is also credited with having led to a dramatic reduction in tribal fighting, particularly in the highlands.

It has given disengaged young people a sense of purpose in life, especially those involved in drugs, with marijuana crops being pulled out to make way for fish ponds, says Pama. “That’s something I’m really proud of.”

Prisoners are also taught to farm fish while serving their sentence, so they have a new livelihood when they are released and greater self-esteem.

Gaius Lasarus, an inmate of Bihute prison, says he had previously thought that when he was released he would have no choice but to go back to a life of poverty, but fish farming has given him hope.

“I like to look after fish. I’m happy that when I go back to my home I’ll do that job. I’ll try to look after fish because my area has got many good rivers, many good creeks from the mountain to valley. So I can dig some fish ponds. I’ll become somebody," he says.

In the past ten years the number of fish farms has increased from 10,000 to 60,000. Scientific challenges include improving the genetics of the fish, the quality and cost of the fish feed, and the pond design and site selection.

Local people have also been trained as technicians, scientists and community engagement officers.

“I feel very positive about the future of the project,” says Sammut. “I’m certain that once this project comes to an end a lot of people we work with will carry on with the research independently.”

Farming Fish For Change

Published on 26 Feb 2017 by Cinematic Science
A Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority project to improve fish production for food and income security is having a positive social impact in Papua New Guinea. Reduction in crime, tribal war and antisocial behaviour, and increases in self-esteem in individuals and cooperation between former adversaries are just a few of the effects of the project. The fish farming research is supported through NFA and UNSW, and funded through NFA and ACIAR.

Rocks That Tell Our Industrial History

March 27, 2017: University of the Basque Country
Researchers have published a study in which they analyze beachrocks, cemented sand formations that have industrial waste, produced as a result of metallurgical activities, trapped inside them. These strange rocks bear witness to the impact of industrial development and its influence on the coastal environment.

Formation of cemented sand is located at Tunelboka (Getxo, Basque Country, Spain). Credit: Nikole Arrieta / UPV/EHU

"Because certain geological events record everything, studying them helps to reconstruct the environmental past and to determine how human beings have influenced the environment. They will even be able to offer valuable information to tackle possible effects of climate change," asserted Nikole Arrieta, author of the study analysing beachrocks. They are rock formations that are produced in intertidal areas, normally in tropical and sub-tropical zones. Despite that, they can also be found on the Biscay coast.

The beachrocks studied are recent formations located on the right bank of the Nerbioi-Ibaizabal estuary where they have been severely affected by human activity. "Their presence in temperate latitudes like ours is rare, there are 8-10 cases all over the world," added Arrieta. 

These sedimentary formations are produced by the intergranular precipitation of carbonate cements (CaCO3). 

"A cement has formed between the various sediments. So the sand, instead of being loose as on normal beaches, forms these rocks," explained Arrieta. Yet even though the cements that the beachrocks are made up of are carbonates, the geological formations on our coast also have ferruginous cements. The slag trapped in the cemented blocks has undergone dissolution processes as a result of meteorization or atmospheric events, such as acid rain, and has even re-precipitated in the pores as insoluble iron salts.

The research carried out in the work published focussed on the characterisation of these cements. Firstly, to study the types of cements, innovative spectroscopic techniques were applied and which allowed the various mineral phases to be thoroughly analysed. "On a microscopic scale various layers of cement appear, and each one provides information on the moment when they precipitated, the conditions that existed, etc." Secondly, they analysed the materials trapped in these cements where "we found foundry slag from the industrial revolution, even waste bearing the seals of European companies that used to dump their slag when they arrived with their vessels. That is why we can find the so-called technofossils or traces of human activity on the beaches, in this case the industrial waste of international companies which helps to calculate the age of the beachrock."

Evidence of the Anthropocene
All this would constitute an example of the geological record of the Anthropocene epoch, currently being discussed among specialists across the world. And the fact is that according to the scientific supporters of this name, the Earth is in a new geological epoch, "the era of the human being," since human action is leading to major changes that are leaving their mark on the Earth's geological strata. Its detractors, by contrast, argue that it is a political rather than a scientific question. This geological era would include the most recent period of the Quaternary, and right now is of great interest for specialists all over the world.

"The strata of the Tunelboka, a cove located on the right bank of the estuary which is the focus of the research, have been discussed across the world with a view to offering evidence of the Anthropocene," said Arrieta. And besides the fact that there are very few locations in the world in temperate latitudes that display this event, "there are even fewer that display the characteristics of ours; the quantity of slag they contain is mind-boggling. I have collaborated with various researchers of recognised prestige at universities in the United States and Australia, and they are all fascinated when they see the photos or materials of the location."

Nikole Arrieta, the author of the study, says "we have to keep alive the research into this geological event that is so special and unique and which we have on our coasts, for the geochemical, environmental and historical interest of these formations, their applications in the fields of engineering and restoration, their importance in defining the recent Anthropocene epoch and, why not, the industrial archaeological interest of the materials that form them."

Nikole Arrieta, Ane Iturregui, Irantzu Martínez-Arkarazo, Xabier Murelaga, Juan Ignacio Baceta, Alberto de Diego, María Ángeles Olazabal, Juan Manuel Madariaga. Characterization of ferruginous cements related with weathering of slag in a temperate anthropogenic beachrock. Science of The Total Environment, 2017; 581-582: 49 DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.132

Federal Court Confirms ACCC Approach To Setting Telstra Fixed-Line Access Pricing

28 March 2017: Media RElease - ACCC
The Federal Court of Australia has dismissed Telstra’s application for judicial review of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s fixed-line services final access determinations made in October 2015.

The ACCC’s 2015 final access determinations required a one-off uniform decrease of 9.4 per cent in access prices from previous levels for the seven declared fixed-line access services. The prices were set to apply from 1 November 2015 until 30 June 2019.

The ACCC considered that users of Telstra’s network should not pay the higher costs that result from fewer customers as NBN migration occurs. If there were no adjustment for these higher costs the customers who have not yet been migrated to the NBN will ultimately pay significantly higher prices for copper based services.

The ACCC took that approach because it considered that users of the fixed line network have not caused the asset redundancy and under-utilisation caused by the NBN and will not be able to use those assets and capacity in the future. The ACCC considered that it would not be in the long-term interests of end-users for these costs to be allocated to users of the network who do not cause them, given that Telstra had an opportunity to be compensated for these costs.

Telstra had sought review of the ACCC’s application of its pricing methodology in making its determination. Telstra claimed that the ACCC’s pricing decision would lead to under-recovery of costs from its supply of declared fixed-line services.

The Court rejected all of Telstra’s grounds of review.

“The ACCC’s determinations meant that the remaining users of Telstra’s network shouldn’t pay higher costs due to a shrinking customer base on the copper network as others migrate to the NBN,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The ACCC considered that Telstra had an opportunity to be compensated for such costs under its migration arrangements with NBN Co, and is receiving payments for customer disconnections.”

“The Court has recognised that ACCC decisions involve evaluating a range of competing factors, and that our role as the regulator is to consider all relevant information to arrive at an outcome that will promote the long-term interests of end-users,” Mr Sims said.

“Today’s decision will help provide some predictability and stability in access prices over the four-year period of the determination while the NBN rollout is completed.” 


The 2015 final access determinations required a one-off uniform decrease of 9.4 per cent in access prices from previous levels for the seven declared fixed line access services. The prices were set to apply from 1 November 2015 until 30 June 2019.

The declared services

The seven declared fixed line access services are:
  • unconditioned local loop service (ULLS)
  • line sharing service (LSS)
  • fixed originating access service (FOAS)
  • fixed terminating access service (FTAS)
  • wholesale line rental (WLR)
  • local carriage service (LCS)
  • wholesale ADSL.
Timeline of events

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.