Inbox and Environment News: Issue 310

April 30 - May 6, 2017: Issue 310

Amendments To Pittwater Local Environmental Plan

Proposed amendments are summarised as follows.
Amendment 1 – Clarifies a height control in Warriewood Valley that only applies to certain streets.
Amendment 2 – Specifies height limits for detached dual occupancies, rural workers dwellings and granny flats.
Amendment 3 – Amends the height limit on one property (individual letter to be sent)
Amendment 4 – Deletes a clause relating to Warriewood Sewerage Treatment Plant. This clause was deleted from the 1993 LEP but was put into the 2014 LEP as an error by the Department
Amendment 5 – Amends mapping relating to one property (individual letter to be sent)
Amendment 6 – This amendment is proposed to be removed from the planning proposal due to commentary already received from Roads and Maritime Services (Mona Vale Road Upgrades). It applied to one property.
Amendment 7 – Inserts higher detailed maps for Elanora and Newport commercial centres to better specify height limits. No actual changes to height limits.
Amendment 8 - Amends one clause relating to building on the foreshores
Amendment 9 – Allows an additional permitted use for ‘access structures ancillary to a dwelling’ to be constructed over land zoned for road widening. Portions relating to Mona Vale Road will be removed from the planning proposal due to commentary already received from Roads and Maritime Services (Mona Vale Road Upgrades). (individual letters to be sent)
Amendment 10 - Amends land zoning of Council land in Warriewood from R3 Medium Density Residential to RE1 Public Recreation (land has come into Council ownership – creekline corridor).
Amendment 11 – Removes a property from the land acquisition map. (Land has come into council ownership)
Amendment 12 – Changes the minimum lot sizes for three properties in Warriewood. (individual letters to be sent)

The current Pittwater Local Environmental Plan 2014 (PLEP 2014) was a translation of the previous Pittwater Local Environmental Plan 1993. However during the translation and implementation of the new plan, a number of minor errors were identified. A number of other ‘house-keeping’ matters to improve the plan have also been identified and are included within the proposal. This planning proposal intends to rectify those errors and improve the operation of the plan.

Read details of the changes:

Make a submission
• online  
• mail marked 'Minor Amendments Pittwater LEP' to Northern Beaches Council, PO Box 882, Mona Vale NSW 1660.

For any enquiries contact the Strategic Planning Team (Mona Vale) on 9970 1111.

Submissions close 22 May 2017

2017 Eco Schools Grants Program Open For Applications

Media release: 26 April 2017
Educators and school communities are once again encouraged to apply for an Eco Schools Grant to ignite and nurture their students’ passion to learn about the environment. 

Eighty grants of $3,500 each are now available under the NSW Environmental Trust Eco Schools Grants program, which has supported a variety of environmental projects in schools from waste management to worm farms for nearly 20 years.  

Office of Environment and Heritage Executive Director Ian Hunter said the grants help provide curriculum-based environmental education for children and the program proudly funded its 1000th project last year.

“Eco Schools Grants recognise the important work of educators in environmental conservation projects and I encourage schools to apply for one of the eighty grants,” Mr Hunter said.

“Research shows that when young people develop an appreciation of the environment early on it influences their behaviours later in life.

“Schools are uniquely placed to teach students about sustainability, why it’s important to take care of our environment and what good environmental citizenship looks like,” Mr Hunter said. 

Teachers from Bonnyrigg High School in Sydney’s west used their Eco Schools Grant to bring history and science to life through environmental education with a medieval food garden.

“Students learned about garden functionality, soil health and sustainable living. Science students also used the plants to study photosynthesis and helped their school create a resource to facilitate hands-on learning for years to come,” Mr Hunter said.

“Grants this year will be offered to student-focused environmental management projects, including water and energy conservation, recycling, bush regeneration, habitat improvement and food gardens.

“Schools are also encouraged to develop projects for students with special needs,” Mr Hunter said.  
Interested schools in NSW are encouraged to register on theSustainable Schools NSW website  and grant applications can be submitted until Monday 19 June, 2017.

All registered schools in NSW can apply for funding for new projects or a separate additional stage of a previous project. Schools currently delivering an existing Eco Schools Grant funded project are not eligible.

Photo - Bonnyrigg Highschool Eco Schools Grants Garden
Educators and school communities are once again encouraged to apply for an Eco Schools Grant to ignite and nurture their students’ passion to learn about the environment. Photo Courtesy OEH

Energy Locals For 100% Carbon Neutral Plans

From Surf Life Saving NSW  
Interested in 100% carbon neutral plans, huge solar feed in tariffs and Australian owned and operated in your energy provider? Look no further than SLSNSW's newest partner Energy Locals to see how they will revolutionise your energy plan:

Mine Expansion Approval Will Destroy 160ha Of Koala Habitat, Generate Millions Of Tonnes Of Carbon Pollution

26 April, 2017: Media Release – Nature Conservation Council NSW
The Planning Assessment Commission’s approval this week of the Wilpinjong coal mine expansion will destroy threatened wildlife habitat and generate millions of tonnes of carbon pollution. [1]

“The impacts on nature of this mega-mine can’t be reversed,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.

“The expansion will destroy 160ha of koala woodland and 190ha of regent honeyeater habitat, and poses a threat to 36 other threatened animal species.

“Koalas are being driven to extinction by many decisions like this one. On current trends, koalas are on track to become extinct in many parts of NSW by the middle of the century if we don’t stop destroying their dwindling habitat.”

The original Wilpinjong mine, 40km northwest of Mudgee in the state’s Central West, was approved in 2006 to operate until 2026.

The extension approval will extend the life of the mine to 2033, intensifying its impact on wildlife habitat and increasing carbon emissions.

“The PAC’s approval is a terrible decision not just for our threatened species but also for our climate,” Ms Smolski said.

“When the coal from this mine is burned overseas it will release more carbon pollution into our atmosphere than the entire annual emissions of NSW.

“People are sick of the harm coal mining and coal burning does to nature and our climate.

“The overwhelming majority of people who spoke at the recent public meeting opposed the project, yet the Berejiklian government has pushed ahead and approved it.

“This shows once again that the government is more interested in approving mines than listening to the community and protecting our unique wildlife and climate.”



Sunday, May 7, 2017
9:00am – 6:00pm

International Permaculture Day is annually celebrated around the world on the first Sunday in May. It is Australia's best export!  Join us on the Northern Beaches for three inspiring open garden tours as well workshops on aquaponics, coffee making, bee keeping and much more.

Please start this fantastic day at easily the biggest permi garden around! This humongous garden is set on the beachtop headland, spanning three properties, and consists of a vast array of fruit trees, huge raised beds, chickens, worm farms, self watering systems, honey and native bees and a huge pool to pond conversion with over 200 trout.
10am-10.30am - AQUAPONICS TALK with Charlie Bacon from ECOLICIOUS
Aquaponics refers to any system that combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. Ever wanted to grow your own fish to eat, harvest your veges and have it almost completely sustainable, well now you can with this amazing system. Please join Charlie and the Bungan crew around the pool for this interesting talk, we may even get time to throw a line in.
Join the crew to learn and talk in the ancient art of saving seeds , Bring your own, swap and buy seeds all grown locally.
12.00-12.45 - GARDEN TOUR with Matt Wilson
Another fantastic garden with over 35 fruit and nut trees, a lot of them exotic. A unique sloping block with an aquaponics system built into the landscape, chickens, ducks, ponds plus bee hives scattered throughout the garden. The bonsais are maintained by integrated water systems and it also keeps the veggies from drying out. Loads packed in, come check it out.

12.45- 1.30 - HONEY BEE TALK with HONEY I'M HOME
Join award winning honey experts Mark and Caroline on a talk about bees and honey! How they make it? Why? The importance of pollination and the state of our bees. Bring your questions and take home some local raw honey.

2pm-3pm - GARDEN TOUR
Just up the road lies our final garden , another hugely productive level garden with numerous established fruit trees all bearing fruit. Dragon fruit, pomegranate and persimmon just to name a few.  A vast array of veggies but a spectacular coffee hedge laiden with beans is the true attraction.
3pm-4pm - COFFEE TALK
Why do we pay $4.50 for a coffee? Because there actually is a load of work involved before that sweet nectar hits our lips, come and learn how to harvest, dry, shell, roast, grind and FINALLY pour the perfect coffee. With a professional barista on call all day to serve it up, this hands on experience will be one to remember.
2pm – 5pm TIME TO PARTY!
So bring the kids, let them dance to the live music in the garden, enjoy a wine or a cuppa, talk to experienced gardeners from Permaculture Northern Beaches who will be available at the permaculture stall, along with other various stalls, fun kids activities, plant sales, raffles and many more.

Get involved with Permaculture & your community on the Northern Beaches!
Please note the gardens opening and closing times as there will be a strict “gates closed” policy, except the last one, which may run into the night…
Entry to gardens is by donations with all proceeds going back into your community group Permaculture Northern Beaches.

International Environmental Award For Hunter Valley Farmer Wendy Bowman Spotlights Coal Mining Damage

Wendy Bowman
2017 Goldman Prize Recipient
Islands And Island Nations

In the midst of an onslaught of coal development in Australia, octogenarian Wendy Bowman stopped a powerful multinational mining company from taking her family farm and protected her community in Hunter Valley from further pollution and environmental destruction.
Islands of farms surrounded by coal mines

New South Wales (NSW), on Australia’s eastern coast, is a region with a rich agricultural history. Dairy farms, ranches, race horse farms, and vineyards dot the rural landscape in Hunter Valley, where descendants of some of the island’s earliest settlers have been working the land for generations. However, in recent years, the region’s farms have become islands surrounded by oceans of open-pit coal mines.

Under directives to prioritize economic growth above all else, government is issuing coal licenses with little regard to mining’s impact on local residents’ lives. Almost two-thirds of the Hunter Valley floor has been given away in coal concessions, producing 145 million tons of coal every year. Some of it is burned at nearby coal powered plants but the majority is shipped off to foreign markets, cementing Australia’s place as the world’s largest coal exporting country.

Coal mining has displaced many landowners in the valley. Those who remain live surrounded by around-the-clock blasting and heavy equipment operation. Coal dust settles onto houses, farmland, and water sources. When the wind blows, residents shut all doors and windows and stay inside. A survey by a local physician found that one in five children in the valley have lost some 20 percent of their lung capacity; asthma, heart disease, cancer, and mental health problems are on the rise.

Uprooted twice, now determined to stay
Wendy Bowman, 83, is one of the last residents left in Camberwell, a small village in Hunter Valley surrounded on three sides by coal mining. She married a farmer and took over the family business after her husband’s untimely death in 1984. She had to quickly learn how to manage a farm, and abruptly encountered the harsh reality of what coal development was doing to the local community.

Landowners were being forced to move off their property with little say or explanation of their rights. In fact, they often found out their land had been leased to mining companies by reading about it in the local newspaper, where the government posted notices. Coal companies created divisions within the community by offering huge sums of money to select landowners and imposing a gag order on the terms of the deal.

In 1988, just four years after losing her husband, Bowman’s crops suffered a devastating failure. A coal mine had tunneled under a creek that irrigated her farm, and the heavy metals in the water caused the crops to die. Around the same time, another mine broke ground on nearby land, causing constant noise and light pollution. Coal dust from the mine covered her fields, and the cows refused to eat. After a contentious four-year battle, Bowman convinced the mine to buy out her farm that had been destroyed by mining. In 2005, she was forced to relocate again when she was served an eviction notice—and given six weeks to move to make room for a coal mine. She eventually settled down in Rosedale, a small cattle farm in Camberwell. But her battle against coal was far from over.

In 2010, Chinese-owned Yancoal proposed to extend the Ashton South East Open Cut mine, which would bring mining operations onto Bowman’s grazing lands and the banks of one of Hunter River’s most important water tributaries. Bowman was determined to stay and protect the community’s health, land, and water from further destruction.

Protecting Rosedale and Hunter Valley’s health
The Ashton mine expansion was initially opposed by the regional government agencies because of concerns about the mine’s air and water pollution. Yancoal appealed in 2012, and the planning committee approved the project. By early 2015, more than 87 percent of homeowners in the proposed mining area had sold their property.

As one of the few landowners left in the area, Bowman became a key plaintiff in a public interest lawsuit to fight back the mine expansion. Given that more than half of the coal for the proposed mine is under Bowman’s property, her refusal to sell was a significant factor in the case.

The Land and Environment Court issued its ruling in December 2014: The Ashton expansion could proceed, but only if Yancoal could get Bowman to sell them her land. It was the first time an Australian court placed this kind of restriction on a mining company. The New South Wales Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision, effectively stopping the mine expansion in its tracks.

Bowman has refused offers of millions from Yancoal, and is now working on a plan to have Rosedale protected in perpetuity. She continues to be an advocate for the community’s health and environment, and has worked with the local health department to place air monitors near coal mines. She has also recently installed solar panels on her property, and envisions an energy future where Hunter Valley is powered by its abundant sun and wind.

Join Wendy demand that Australian politicians stop mining companies from destroying rural Australian communities.

The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world's largest award honoring grassroots environmental activists
About the Prize
The Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.

The Prize Recipients
Goldman Prize recipients focus on protecting endangered ecosystems and species, combating destructive development projects, promoting sustainability, influencing environmental policies and striving for environmental justice. Prize recipients are often women and men from isolated villages or inner cities who choose to take great personal risks to safeguard the environment.
What the Goldman Prize Provides
The Goldman Prize amplifies the voices of these grassroots leaders and provides them with:
International recognition that enhances their credibility
Worldwide visibility for the issues they champion
Financial support to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment

Prize Selection and Announcement
The Goldman Environmental Prize recipients are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide group of environmental organizations and individuals. The winners are announced every April to coincide with Earth Day. Prize recipients participate in a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington D.C.—highlighted by award ceremonies in San Francisco and Washington D.C.—including media interviews, funder briefings, and meetings with political and environmental leaders.

The Ouroboros
In addition to a monetary prize, Goldman Prize winners each receive a bronze sculpture called the Ouroboros. Common to many cultures around the world, the Ouroboros, which depicts a serpent biting its tail, is a symbol of nature’s power of renewal.


International Environmental Award For Hunter Valley Farmer Wendy Bowman Spotlights Coal Mining Damage

Published: April 24, 2017 by Lock the Gate
Lock the Gate Alliance has congratulated Hunter Valley farmer Wendy Bowman on receiving the international Goldman Environmental Prize in recognition of her success protecting her home and community from Yancoal's South East Open Cut mine.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said, "We are thrilled that Wendy's extraordinary contribution to the Hunter Valley has been recognised with this hugely influential award.

"It is well deserved and will bring equally deserved attention to the struggle to restore balance in the Hunter Valley of which Wendy has been so long a champion.

"Wendy’s court victory against mining company Yancoal has shown that farming champions can prevail and protect farmland from coal mines.
"Her success has laid down a challenge to the NSW Government to reset its priorities. There are plenty of coal mines in the Hunter, but rich alluvial farmland can't be replaced and nor can communities.

"Wendy has not only drawn a line in the sand to protect her own place, she is a tirelessly generous matriarch of the Hunter Valley community who supports other communities that find themselves in the path of destructive coal mines.

"People in the Hunter should no longer be forced to accept coal mines pushing them off their land or destroying their lives with unbearable noise and dust.

"We are calling for the NSW government to take the message sent by this award seriously, and puts a stop to the ongoing loss of farmland, rural villages and community well-being to coal mining. They must act now to restore balance” she said.

Wax Worm Caterpillar Will Eat Plastic Shopping Bags: New Solution To Plastic Waste?

April 24, 2017

This image shows a wax worm chewing a hole through plastic. Polyethylene debris can be seen attached to the caterpillar. Credit: Federica Bertocchini, Paolo Bombelli, and Chris Howe

Generally speaking, plastic is incredibly resistant to breaking down. That's certainly true of the trillion polyethylene plastic bags that people use each and every year. But researchers reporting in Current Biology on April 24 may be on track to find a solution to plastic waste. The key is a caterpillar commonly known as a wax worm.

"We have found that the larva of a common insect, Galleria mellonella, is able to biodegrade one of the toughest, most resilient, and most used plastics: polyethylene," says Federica Bertocchini of the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria in Spain. A previous study (doi: 10.1021/es504038a) has shown that Plodia interpunctella wax worms, the larvae of dian mealmoths, can also digest plastic.

Bertocchini and her colleagues made the discovery quite by accident, after noticing that plastic bags containing wax worms quickly became riddled with holes. Further study showed that the worms can do damage to a plastic bag in less than an hour.

After 12 hours, all that munching of plastic leads to an obvious reduction in plastic mass. The researchers showed that the wax worms were not only ingesting the plastic, they were also chemically transforming the polyethylene into ethylene glycol. This is suspected to be the case in Plodia interpunctella as well.

Although wax worms wouldn't normally eat plastic, the researchers suspect that their ability is a byproduct of their natural habits. Wax moths lay their eggs inside beehives. The worms hatch and grow on beeswax, which is composed of a highly diverse mixture of lipid compounds. The researchers say the molecular details of wax biodegradation require further investigation, but it's likely that digesting beeswax and polyethylene involves breaking down similar types of chemical bonds.

"Wax is a polymer, a sort of 'natural plastic,' and has a chemical structure not dissimilar to polyethylene," Bertocchini says.

As the molecular details of the process become known, the researchers say it could be used to devise a biotechnological solution to managing polyethylene waste. They'll continue to explore the process in search of such a strategy.

"We are planning to implement this finding into a viable way to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of plastic accumulation," Bertocchini says. "However," she adds, "we should not feel justified to dump polyethylene deliberately in our environment just because we now know how to bio-degrade it."

Bombelli et al. Polyethylene bio-degradation by caterpillars of the wax moth Galleria mellonella. Current Biology, 2017 DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2017.02.060

$6.7 Million Centre To Bring High-End Science To Mine Site Restoration

MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday 26 April 2017 – Curtin University
A $6.7 million research centre based at Curtin University will partner with mining companies to apply world-class science to the rehabilitation of retired mine sites.

The ARC Centre for Mine Site Restoration (CMSR), directed by eminent botanist Professor Kingsley Dixon of Curtin’s Department of Environment and Agriculture, is coordinating research between Curtin University, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority and The University of Western Australia (UWA).
In addition, the CMSR is supported by major industry partners including Sinosteel Midwest Corporation, BHP Billiton, Hanson Construction Materials, Karara Mining, Cliffs Natural Resources, Mineral Resources, and the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia.

Professor Dixon, who was named WA Scientist of the Year last August in recognition of his efforts in conservation science, restoration ecology and plant science, said it was vital that the mining industry was supported in applying high quality science to its efforts to restore the integrity of mine sites.
“Restoration sits at the heart of Australia’s ability to sustainably and responsibly exploit its mineral wealth,” Professor Dixon said.

“The CMSR aims to connect high-end science with on-ground practice in mining restoration, and to train the next generation of high level researchers to be industry-ready.

“Researchers both at the post-graduate and doctoral level will work within industry, so industry will get to see them and understand the value of science, and the scientists will see how their research is valued and applied in the industry setting.

“They’ll be able to understand the needs of the mining sector and enhance the sector’s capacity to deliver improved financial, social and environmental outcomes.”

Professor Dixon said the CMSR is one of the first ARC Industry Transformation Centres funded in Western Australia and was the culmination of decades of work and critical discoveries within the field of mine site restoration.

“I’ve spent 30 years working across the broad mining industry – it’s been a really exciting journey and it’s meant that WA, more than any other place in the world, leads in innovation in environmental repair following mining,” Professor Dixon said.

That success has been reflected in the three Golden Gecko Awards Professor Dixon has received, in partnership with industry, for environmental excellence within the mining industry.

“The mining industry in WA has embraced the need for knowledge-led improvement in environmental management, however there is still much more work to be done,” Professor Dixon said.

“The industry has taken it on the chin that they need to do a lot better, because they mine on ancient, biodiverse and often important ecological landscapes, and it’s a great credit to them that they have risen to the occasion to support this centre.”

The centre, based at Curtin and with satellite activities at UWA, Kings Park and a number of mine sites, will focus on six key research areas: restoration genetics, seed technology and enablement, rare species management, restoration ecophysiology, restoration trajectory, and mining industry policy extension.

Its multi-disciplinary staff will deliver a suite of integrated and focused research projects that underpin successful mine site restoration outcomes.
“What the centre will do is consolidate and deliver a more effective package across a broad range of industries, identifying a ‘restoration trajectory’ for sensitive sites and a generic toolkit that will have application globally – from transnational companies down to mums and dads working in local community groups to restore coastal dunes, local lakes and more,” Professor Dixon said.

For more information on the centre, visit:

French And Australian Experts On Solving The World's Sustainability Challenge

April 28 - University of Technology, Sydney
In summary: 
A recent French-Australian roundtable on sustainability identified a range of ways our societies can be greener, from smart solar panels to urban road congestion tolls
The Conversation and the Australian French Embassy presented a panel between French and Australian experts at the University of New South Wales in March, opened by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault.

In his opening remarks, Ayrault celebrated the signing and coming into force of the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed to limit warming to well-below 2℃, however he highlighted that more action needs to be taken around the world.

“Some are tempted to slow it down, or worse, to take a step backwards. We can currently see this in the United States.

"Tackling climate change is a democratic fight. Individual actions are like votes: on their own, they seem powerless, but together, they give new meaning to our societies,” he said.

The panel discussion included screenings of clips from the French documentary Tomorrow. View the complete discussion below.

Still from the French documentary Tomorrow. MOVE MOVIE, FRANCE 2 CINÉMA, MARS FILMS, MELY PRODUCTIONS

Better valuing sustainable development in transport
François Raulin, Researcher, The Territory Development Institute, Normandy Business School

Since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, sustainable development has gradually become a key issue for public policy in many countries. Despite many global efforts - for example - to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, most small initiatives are being taken at the local level.

Take the example of sustainable mobility in cities. The majority of urban agglomerations have been designed or redeveloped for cars. In order to limit the use of cars, various devices have been put in place, such as the introduction of urban road tolls (for example in Singapore, London and Stockholm), the removal of parking lots in inner city centres, or more recently the installation of eco stickers (road tax) for polluting vehicles in Paris.

In parallel, many French cities have seen a reduction in car use in favour of more sustainable forms of transport. As well as public transport such as trains, buses or trams, bikes and walking are alternative solutions to cars. However, depending on the urban environment, bicycling or walking is not always possible, or is dangerous.

How can these modes of active transport be promoted? Here are three possible solutions:
  • First, by promoting their health benefits, including the fight against obesity, the decline in cardiovascular diseases or the preservation of mental health.
  • Second, by encouraging their intermodality with other transport system, which would reduce the use of cars over short distances. The development of bike-sharing systems or improved walkability are various solutions proposed to encourage their use in the city.
  • Third, by increasing the ground area dedicated to cycling (bike paths) and walking (footpaths) while decreasing that of cars.
Beyond environmental issues, the development of sustainable mobility in cities also improves the quality of life of the inhabitants (less pollution, less noise, and so on) and make it more attractive, especially among young people.

Overcoming inertia in the energy system
Dani Alexander, Research principal, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney

Overcoming inertia, both culturally and technologically, will be the key to unlocking our clean energy transition.

Power has been shifting to the energy consumers with the rapid rise of rooftop solar and falling costs of battery storage. However, with this has come discontent with the large electricity businesses that were built in the traditional model of “big energy” to “small consumer”.

As Belgian historian David Van Reybrouck argues in the film Tomorrow, there is an “increasing sense of theft” among consumers, which can drive action against the system such as “going off-grid”. The majority of Australians are ready to move to a renewable energy system despite the political inertia.

Our researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Futures have investigated the risk of a “death spiral” where, as more people leave the grid, the shared cost of our electricity infrastructure becomes more concentrated among fewer people, leading in turn to yet more people leaving the grid.

Unfortunately, it is often those who are more vulnerable (such as those who cannot afford a personal energy system) that pay the highest price. There are options to improve the way that our energy market works to provide a fairer deal for everyone, but regulatory inertia seems to be strong as well.

But what about technically? Can we move to a renewable energy system without risking the system or soaring electricity bills? Or is a rapid transition irresponsible, as some in our federal government would have us believe? Can renewables provide the same reliable services?

Moving towards more local generation, such as more rooftop solar, does make managing electricity more complex, for example in keeping network voltage in check. Luckily, renewable technologies have already advanced and have the capability to provide the network support services we need. Solar panels with storage will be able to moderate voltage at the source of the problem. Wind turbines already have the ability to provide the “synthetic” inertia to keep the grid stable – if the market allows and promotes it.

So what we need now is a new momentum. Strong enough to overcome the inertia and fast enough to divert our path away from irreversible climate change.

Working from the ground up
Joachim Claudet, Researcher, CNRS/PSL University

Global change is a major challenge for human societies. It is modifying ecosystems all over the world, hence threatening our wellbeing through alterations to the flow of ecosystem services. However, global change is not affecting societies everywhere in the same way. Global drivers interact with local drivers.

They can combine with local stresses, such as overfishing or land clearing, creating additive or even multiplicative impacts. Understanding and predicting global change impacts thus requires strong knowledge of local social-ecological systems, of human-nature interactions (such as human use of the environment, natural disturbance history).

Global drivers also emerge from local processes. Hence, attempts to minimise the magnitude of global drivers or strategies to mitigate their impacts require local interventions. These can include incentives to modify human uses or adaptive management to foster resilience of social-ecological systems.

The latter requires a deep understanding of local world views as effective strategies in a place can be culturally inappropriate in another. This is particularly true in some Pacific Island countries – those countries being some of the most vulnerable to climate change – where wellbeing is strongly tied to the connectedness of people and places and where there is no distinction between nature and culture.

The Conversation
Dani Alexander is a member of the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF), which undertakes paid sustainability research for a wide range of government, NGO and corporate clients, including energy businesses.

François Raulin and Joachim Claudet do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives.
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

François Raulin, Ingénieur de recherche à l’Institut du développement territorial (IDéT), Laboratoire Métis EM Normandie, École de Management de Normandie Dani Alexander, Research Principal, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney Joachim Claudet, Researcher, Université de Perpignan

Unlikely Pair Of Australian Plants Named After Stars Of Movie 'Twins'

Daviesia devito (R) a smaller and weaker plant, while Daviesia schwarzenegger is a bigger and more robust plant. Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

April 28, 2017: Australian National University
Biologists from The Australian National University (ANU) have named an unlikely pair of plants after Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, the stars of the 1988 movie Twins.

Lead researcher Emeritus Professor Mike Crisp said one of the species of Daviesia, a genus of Australian pea flowers, was much more robust than the other, calling to mind the movie about Julius and his twin brother Vincent, the products of a genetic project.

"We discover early on in the movie that the embryo split in two, but it didn't split equally -- all the purity and strength went into Schwarzenegger's character Julius, while the dregs went into Vincent, DeVito's character," said Professor Crisp from the ANU Research School of Biology.

Daviesia schwarzenegger and devito are among 131 different sub-species that Professor Crisp and his ANU colleagues have identified within the genus Daviesia, which are known as 'egg and bacon peas' due to the colours of their flowers.

Professor Crisp said Daviesia Devito was a smaller and weaker plant, while Daviesia schwarzenegger was a bigger and more robust plant.

"We also wish to honour Arnold Schwarzenegger's leadership as Governor of California in pioneering the reduction of carbon emissions, and for advising the Australian Government to do the same," he said.

The unexpected twin species are found in South Eastern Australia in the Mallee region, through South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

"Both species are at risk of extinction, because they appear to be confined to tiny remnant patches of bushland in a region that is largely cleared for wheat farming," Professor Crisp said.

"These plants are ecologically important members of the communities of plants in which they grow. They're nitrogen fixers, playing an important role in the Mallee region where the top soil is very denuded and the nutrients are depleted. It's essential to have nitrogen fixers to replace those nutrients."

Professor Crisp said the team's monograph, which was published in Phytotaxa and took 40 years to produce, contributed to the huge ongoing task of documenting biodiversity globally.

Michael D. Crisp, Lindy Cayzer, Gregory T. Chandler, Lyn G. Cook. A monograph of Daviesia (Mirbelieae, Faboideae, Fabaceae). Phytotaxa, 2017 DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.300.1

Get Ready Australia… ABC’s War On Waste Starts In May

April 20, 2017: ABC
Australia generates a staggering amount of waste every year and alarmingly our waste is growing at double the rate of our population. Presenter and provocateur Craig Reucassel (The Chaser) tackles this growing issue in the thought-provoking, three-part series War on Waste, premiering Tuesday 16th May at 8.30pm on ABC and iview.

No stranger to confrontation, Craig takes on the supermarkets, challenges Australians to go waste free, discovers what really happens to our recycling and how Australia’s obsession with fast fashion is causing an even faster waste problem.

He tackles the immense problem of food waste, with millions of tonnes of food from our homes, supermarkets, farms and businesses ending up in landfill every year, uncovering why we are throwing out so much food and what we can do about it.  Plastic bags are causing a huge problem for the environment and with over 4-5 billion plastic bags thrown out every year, Craig explores how we can do things differently.

The daily morning coffee fix creates nearly a billion disposable coffee cups which end up in landfill each year, so Craig starts a campaign to reduce this unnecessary waste stream. #ByoCoffeeCup

To gauge our nation’s current attitudes and habits toward waste and recycling and how they may change after watching War on Waste, a public survey has been launched. The survey will help to understand where Australians are at and where we need to go to create change. You can access the survey at:

It’s time for all Australians to wake and declare a War on Waste.  With some simple ideas and small changes, we can all do our bit to care for the world we live in now and into the future.

A Greener 2020 Vision: Where Are All The Trees Report

Currently, tree canopy across NSW ranges from a high of 59% at Pittwater to 12% in Botany. Pittwater has recently, since the 10/50 rule tree clearing rule came into place, sustained a loss of around 12% of its tree canopy due to people cutting down trees, with some of these, or more, being destroyed simply to improve views.

Improving on these figures by 2020 will require the respective LGAs to continue to progress their urban greening strategies.

This report summarises the findings contained in Benchmarking Australia’s Urban Tree Canopy, a study conducted in partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Inside you will find information on the importance of getting more trees and plants into our cities and urban areas, where we are at the moment in terms of tree canopy–a key indicator of green space–and what you can do to help increase it. 

What this report provides is a starting point for councils, developers and decision makers to better understand the existing tree canopy in their local areas and guidance on how to measure it. Hopefully, it will also serve as a conversation starter that will encourage dialogue and collaboration among government, industry, developers, academia and non-government organisations nationwide.

The 202020 Vision is a collaborative plan to increase the amount of green space in our urban areas by 20% by 2020. To achieve this we are bringing industry, government and individuals together and providing them with the tools, resources and networks necessary to meeting our shared goal. The initiative was started in 2013 by Nursery & Garden Industry Australia and Horticulture Australia Ltd and has since grown to include 153 partners and 28 strategic experts. Even the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme has come on board as a partner.

Read where the Report Where Are All the Trees at:

The body empowered to plan for Sydney's future, the Greater Sydney Commission, has been critiised by environment advocates for producing nothing in its major planning documents but "rhetoric" about saving the city's dwindling tree canopy and green spaces.

The Commission's Draft District Plans have been on display since November, with submissions closing recently. The plans will purportedly shape Sydney’s future housing supply, jobs growth, transport and direct the priorities of local councils.

The draft plans lack infrastructure detail and housing affordability measures, according to those who have made submissions and this applies, too, to ensuring a greener urban environment or keeping intact green corridors and reserves.

"There are no targets included for the environmental sustainability aspects of the plan; the only targets relate to an increase of households and dwellings," the Northern Beaches Council has stated in its submission, calling for targets for increasing tree coverage and green links.

On Wednesday April 26th, 2017 the GSC published the following:

Thank you for having a say on the future of Greater Sydney

26 Apr 2017
Thank you to everyone who took the time to have a say on the future of Greater Sydney.

We have had more than 2000 submissions on our six draft District Plans and Towards our Greater Sydney 2056 as well as a huge amount of feedback and comments generated from all of our engagement activities including District Dialogues and social media Live Online sessions.

More than 7,750 individuals engaged with us during the public exhibition period and a further 950 people watched the Commission’s launch event and joined briefings via webcast.

“We want to thank all those people and organisations that let us know their views about the future of their part of Sydney,” said Greater Sydney Commission CEO Sarah Hill.

“All submissions will contribute to the final version of the District Plans: which will act as a guide for the future development of our city over the next 20 years.”

“Thank you also to all those who provided their views on our 40-year vision for the overall future of Sydney - Towards our Greater Sydney 2056 - which is a draft amendment to A Plan for Growing SydneyThis feedback will shape the Draft Greater Sydney Region Plan which will be on public exhibition in late 2017.

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.

Sydneysiders Urged To Listen Out For 'Powerful Owls'

April 7th, 2017
Beth Mott, Birdlife Australia is asking Sydney residents to report the presence of Powerful owls in their area.

Please report any sightings to 

If you are interested in becoming a Powerful Owl Project volunteer or would like to submit a sighting of a Powerful Owl, please

You can help us learn more about the Powerful Owls by letting us know if you see or hear one in your area (particularly around Sydney, Blue Mountains, Newcastle, Central Coast,  Illawarra). Send an email (to the email addresses above) with your location (street address or GPS location), an attached photo or call recording (if you have it), details of when you saw or heard the bird, and anything interesting you noticed about where it was or what it was doing (e.g. holding prey, perched on a tree branch).

Caution:  rarely, some birds can get very aggressive while nesting and it can be very dangerous for people to be too close to the nest tree at night. If you come across a Powerful Owl nest hollow, use caution and please do not approach it (especially at night). Do not use flash photography at the nest as this may disturb the birds and cause them to abandon the nest.

Powerful owl Ninox strenua- picture by Paul Wheeler, 2014 - at Clareville. 

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)

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.

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

Department Seeks Public Feedback On Wambo Coal Mine Extension Application

30.03.2017: Departmental Media Release- Department of Planning and Environment
The community is being encouraged to give feedback on a proposal by a Hunter Valley mine that will extend the life of its operations by seven years.

Peabody Energy has applied to the Department of Planning and Environment for a modification to extend Wambo Coal Mine’s underground operations which will involve extracting an extra 18 million tonnes of coal from nine additional underground longwalls.

The extension application would mean extending the life of the Wambo Coal Underground Mine, located near Warkworth, by seven years until 2039.

A spokesperson from the department said community consultation is an important part of the planning process and anyone can provide feedback before the exhibition close date of Tuesday 2 May.

"We encourage people to give feedback on the application. All submissions from members of the public, community interest groups, and relevant government agencies will be considered during our assessment," a spokesperson said.

"Anyone can read the modification application, which has now been published on the Department’s website, and there are also several locations providing a printed copy for public view."

To read the modification application and Environmental Assessment online and make a submission, visit the Major Projects website 

Alternatively, the documents are available at:

- Department of Planning and Environment, Information Centre, Level 22, 320 Pitt Street, Sydney
- Singleton Council, Administration Centre, Cnr Queen Street & Civic Avenue, Singleton
- Nature Conservation Council, 14/388 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW 2000

Department Seeks Community Input On Hume Coal Project Proposal

30.03.2017: Departmental Media Release -Department of Planning and Environment
The local community in the Southern Highlands is encouraged to give feedback on an application for an underground coal mine that will go on public exhibition today.

The Department of Planning and Environment is exhibiting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) application for the Hume Coal Project for an extended period of 90 days, beginning today until 30 June.

Clay Preshaw, Director of Resource Assessments, said members of the community are encouraged to give feedback as part of the community consultation process.

“Every submission is read and considered as part of the Department’s assessment of the EIS,” Mr Preshaw said.

“We are seeking feedback from the public and a wide range of stakeholders. We encourage any landowner, individual or group to share their views on the Hume Coal Project and Berrima Rail Project with us.

“There is a high level of public interest in these applications and we understand the EIS is a lengthy document - that’s why we are going above and beyond in seeking community input.”

Mr Preshaw said the Department had arranged public information sessions, giving the local Southern Highlands community a chance to meet with Department representatives in person.

“Information on the assessment process will be provided and department officers will be able to answer any questions the public may have about the planning process,” he said.
“We will also meet with special interest groups during the exhibition period.
“The Department assesses all applications on their merits, in accordance with the planning legislation and all relevant NSW Government policies and guidelines.”
Mr Preshaw added that the Department will apply a rigorous, scientific approach to the assessment of the proposal and seek the best advice available from independent experts.
“At this stage, the Department will seek advice from experts in the fields of groundwater, mining, subsidence, and economics. We will also be seeking expert advice from specialist government agencies.”
The Hume Coal Project proposals involves a new underground coal mine extracting up to 3.5 million tonnes of coal a year over 19 years. The associated Berrima Rail Project involves the extension of the Berrima railway line to connect the proposed mine to the Main Southern Railway.
For more information please visit the Major Projects website

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

Myna Action Group 

Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA)
Indian Mynas - what a pest - like flying rats. 
Contact us on for more information and have a look at

Indian Mynas are displacing our native birds. 
They often nest in and around shops where their food source is. I took this one down this morning in Avalon (no chicks or eggs but I disturbed the female). There were literally hundreds of tiny bits of plastic in the nest which makes you think that all this plastic would be swilling down the stormwater drains into the sea.

Turnbull Government To Deliver $6 Million For Prostate Cancer Nurses

27 April 2017: Media Release - The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health
Minister for Sport
The Turnbull Government is providing almost $6 million to continue support for prostate cancer specialist nurses in 15 locations across Australia, with a focus on regional areas. 

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting men, with over 16,000 Australians expected to be diagnosed this year and although it has a 95 per cent five-year survival rate, more than 3,000 men die from it each year.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia will use the funding for 14 full time nurses through to 2019-20, to support men with prostate cancer. 

The program has been in operation since 2014 and these nurses are on track to assist around 4,000 men and their families by September 2017.

Men diagnosed with prostate cancer often see a range of health care professionals over a length of time, including urologists, general practitioners, radiologists and allied health staff.

This funding will continue to support prostate cancer nurse positions across Australia so that men with cancer, and their families, receive the support and information they need.

We have seen that the greater coordination of care for other cancers has resulted in better outcomes for patients both for cancer control and psychological well-being. 

By funding these nurses we can make sure men battling prostate cancer receive the necessary and timely coordinated care they require.

These nurses will provide:
  • vital information, care and support for both patients and their families, as well as health care professionals within a multidisciplinary team;
  • improved access to specialists and services;
  • coordination of care from diagnosis onwards; and
  • continuity of care for patients throughout the entire cancer journey.
A diagnosis of cancer is one of the most confronting health issues anyone can face but the support and compassionate care that prostate cancer nurses provide will be a great help to men as they, and their families, tackle this disease.

Prostate Cancer Nurse Locations
Cairns, QLD Cairns Hospital
Rockhampton, QLD Rockhampton Hospital
Greenslopes-Brisbane, QLD Greenslopes Private Hospital
Port Macquarie, NSW Port Macquarie Base Hospital
Orange, NSW Orange Hospital, Western NSW
Wagga Wagga, NSW Wagga Wagga Hospital and Community Health
North Ryde, Sydney, NSW Macquarie University Hospital
Kogarah, Sydney, NSW St George Hospital
Mildura, VIC Mildura Base Hospital
Footscray, Melbourne, VIC Western Health Service
Mornington Peninsula, VIC The Bays Hospital
Geelong, VIC Geelong Hospital, Barwon Health
Ballarat, VIC Ballarat Health Services
Adelaide, SA Repatriation General Hospital
Bunbury, WA St John of God

‘My Food Choice’ To Transform Patient Meal Service

HealthShare NSW is about to dramatically improve the way patient meals are produced and served.

My Food Choice, to be introduced at Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospitals at the beginning of May, will do away with the food plating line in use since the 1970s and replace it with small preparation stations, said Director of Food and Patient Support Services, Carmen Rechbauer.

Small, agile teams of Food Services staff will look after groups of patients, taking their orders with tablet computers just hours before service and transmitting orders to the kitchen by Wi-Fi. The same teams will prepare and serve the meals to ‘their’ group of patients, building quality of service and accountability.

“My Food Choice puts the patient at the heart of service. We aim to ensure that the meal experience will be a highlight of each patient’s stay,” said Carmen.

“Staff personally prepare the meals that they serve to each patient. This fundamental change of focus builds on the great work Food Services staff have already been doing to introduce new, nutritionally compliant menus that offer a greater choice of tastier meals.

“The team will also note the amount each patient eats, so clinicians can more easily track nutrition.”

My Food Choice has been developed and tested with a high level of staff involvement at Mona Vale Hospital. It is expected to be introduced in all NSW public hospitals by late 2019.

Staff at Blacktown Hospital have already visited the Mona Vale kitchen to get a firsthand understanding of how the new system operates, and they are enthusiastic, said Carmen.

“My Food Choice provides a rewarding and varied work experience for staff,” she said. “Staff enjoy the engagement with patients, while the patients say they enjoy the personalised service.”

Previously the time taken between patients ordering and receiving their meals could be up to 30 hours, resulting in reduced satisfaction and an unacceptable level of food waste. Now meals will be delivered within four hours of ordering, meeting patients’ current levels of wellness and hunger.

HealthShare NSW has also sourced tasty new meals from local private suppliers including the very popular Butter Chicken, flavourful options like Beef Rendang and a range of traditional roast dinners.

The team continues to work closely with industry to ensure food packaging is easier to open.

About HealthShare NSW
HealthShare NSW is the largest public sector shared services organisation in Australia. It is a statewide body of more than 6,500 employees who support the delivery of patient care in NSW Health.

HealthShare NSW saves NSW Health around $60 million per annum through:
  • Human resource services such as payroll, employee support and recruitment
  • Financial services such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger and reporting
  • Food and patient support
  • Linen services
  • Procurement
  • EnableNSW, which assists people with a disability to live and participate in the community
  • Non-Emergency Patient Transport (NEPT)

Palliative Care A Priority For NSW

26 April 2017: Minister for Health, The Hon. Brad Hazzard
Today marks the start of major efforts by the NSW Government to deliver better access to palliative care across NSW, said Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, ahead of a major palliative care forum at NSW Parliament House.
The Metro palliative care Roundtable today sees more than 80 people with palliative care expertise and community involvement gather to help shape new directions in palliative care for NSW. The Roundtable will be facilitated by respected health broadcaster Dr Norman Swan
The Metro Roundtable will be followed by a series of Roundtables in regional NSW, led by Parliamentary secretary Leslie Williams.
“One of the Government’s top priorities is to provide better end-of-life care and more tailored, community-based palliative care services,” Mr Hazzard said.
“I look forward to today’s Roundtable and the discussions on what is working well, what needs improvement, and  innovative solutions to this very pressing issue.”
Palliative care manages pain and other distressing symptoms for people approaching the end of their lives.
At present, more than half of all deaths in Australia occur in hospitals, though many people indicate, at various stages of their lives, that they would prefer to die at home.
About 50,000 people die each year in NSW, and this will double by 2056.
The Parliament House Roundtable will be followed by regional Roundtables, with the first on Monday May 1 at Orange. Subsequent roundtables will take place in Lismore, Kempsey, Broken Hill, Tamworth, Griffith, Queanbeyan and Kiama.
“While the Liberals and Nationals have strengthened the resourcing of palliative care, more is needed,” Mrs Williams said. “The Metro Roundtable will kick off the ideas coming from every corner of the state and I am confident we will see local solutions identified for local problems.”
Once all the Roundtables have been held, NSW Health will produce a discussion paper for public comment in June 2017.

First-Ever Family Obesity Service Opens In NSW

24 April 2017: Minister for Health, The Hon. Brad Hazzard
Overweight children and their parents will benefit from Australia’s first family-centred obesity clinic set up to help educate and treat families losing the battle of the bulge.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said the $1 million Nepean Blue Mountains Family Obesity Service will help thousands of families in NSW break the cycle of obesity.
“Disturbingly, around one in five children are overweight or obese and without intervention they risk developing chronic disease later in life,” Mr Hazzard said.
“This service is the first of its kind in Australia and offers families the medical and social support they need to maintain a healthy weight from one dedicated team.”
The service draws on the expertise of a specialist team of doctors, paediatricians, dieticians, psychologists, physiotherapists, nurses and midwives. Patients, including pregnant women, children and adults are referred to the free service by their GP.
More than half of all people aged 16 years and above in NSW were considered overweight or obese in 2015, costing the state an estimated $19 billion a year. Almost 40,000 public hospital admissions in 2014/15  were due to high body mass.
Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres said the new service based at the Nepean Hospital campus will serve the Greater Western Sydney catchment and beyond and supports yet another of the Premier’s priorities.
“Tackling childhood obesity is a commitment of this Government because if we continue to do nothing like Labor did, we risk sending our kids to an early grave,” Mr Ayres said.
“Over 80 per cent of obese children go on to become obese adults with an increased risk of developing chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.”
Factors such as genetics, lifestyle, social and cultural issues all play a part in maintaining healthy weight and the new service offers targeted interventions. 
The Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD) has partnered with the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network and the Charles Perkins Centre of The University of Sydney to deliver the service.

Native Title Recognised Over Tjiwarl Country

27 April 2017: Media release- Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator The Hon Nigel Scullion and Member for O'Connor, Rick Wilson MP

Two native title claims covering more than 13,600 square kilometres in the Goldfields region of Western Australia have been finalised today with the Federal Court recognising native title on Tjiwarl country.

The Tjiwarl and Tjiwarl #2 determinations were delivered at a hearing of the Federal Court of Australia at Ngurlu Wiriwiri (Jones Creek), approximately 40 kilometres north of Leinster.

The determinations take in land and waters situated between the towns of Wiluna to the north and Leonora to the south. 

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said today’s determination recognised what traditional owners had always known – that this is Aboriginal land.

“The determination of native title ensures the Tjiwarl people are not only recognised as the traditional owners of their land and waters, it ensures native title holders can manage their own land and pursue the economic development opportunities that they want to,” Minister Scullion said.

“The recognition ensures traditional owners are front and centre on the future of their land – land that will be fundamental to the preservation of culture and job and wealth creation for many generations to come.

“The Tjiwarl determinations will be managed by a Prescribed Body Corporate to be established by the community.”

Member for O’Connor, Rick Wilson, said he was pleased the native title holders had been recognised following many years of work.

“I look forward to working with the Tjiwarl people to see what opportunities they wish to pursue and to seeing traditional owners make decisions about their land,” Mr Wilson said.

The Coalition Government recognises the importance of working with native title holders. That is why we have allocated more than $20 million to directly support traditional owners who want to pursue economic development – the first time this funding has been directly allocated for traditional owners.

Minister Scullion and Mr Wilson congratulated the Tjiwarl people and their legal representative, Central Desert Native Title Services, for securing today’s determinations.

Nominations Open For Maritime Australia Industry Innovation Awards

26 April 2017
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, has welcomed awards to recognise and reward Australian companies and individuals at the forefront of naval and commercial maritime innovation.

Nominations are open for the Maritime Australia Industry Innovation Awards, which will be awarded at the 2017 Pacific International Maritime Exposition in October.

“There are so many small-to-medium enterprises that have developed world-leading products that have not only met Australia’s defence needs but achieved success internationally,” Minister Pyne said.

“These awards are about celebrating, recognising and rewarding the skills and expertise that exists within Australia.

“I strongly encourage companies and individuals to put their nominations forward.”

Innovation is at the forefront of the Government’s principal defence industry and innovation initiatives, a key driver to generate new defence capability.

The Next Generation Technologies Fund will invest around $730 million over the decade in technologies that have the potential to deliver game-changing capabilities for the ‘future force after next’.

The Defence Innovation Hub is investing around $640 million over the decade into maturing and developing technologies that have moved from the early science stages into the engineering and development stages.

“Innovation in defence capability is fundamentally important to maintaining a warfighting advantage and capability edge,” Minister Pyne said.

The front door for doing business with Defence, the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, is available to provide practical advice and assistance needed to working with Defence.

The awards have been developed by the national not-for-profit foundation Industry Defence and Security Australia Limited.

To enquire about the awards and for more information, visit

Delivering Affordable Gas For All Australians 

27 April 2017
Prime Minister of Australia - The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull
The Turnbull Government will secure domestic gas supply with the introduction of export restrictions to ensure the Australian market has adequate supplies before exports are permitted.

The shortage of domestic gas supplies has resulted in dramatically higher prices in Australia - higher than prices paid in the markets to which Australian gas is being exported.

By ending the shortage, and ensuring the domestic market has adequate supplies, we will ensure gas prices in Australia are lower and fairly reflect international export prices as they should.

Australians are entitled to have access to the gas they need at prices they can afford.

Thousands of jobs depend on secure, reliable and affordable gas.

The Turnbull Government sought commitments from the gas industry, at meetings on 15 March and 19 April, that each east coast LNG exporter would be a net contributor to the market.

While good progress has been made, these requirements have not been met. It is unacceptable for Australia to become the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, but not have enough domestic supply for Australian households and businesses.

That is why the Turnbull Government is introducing the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism which will give the government the power to impose export controls on companies when there is a shortfall of gas supply in the domestic market.

Gas companies are aware they operate with a social licence from the Australian people.  They cannot expect to maintain that licence if Australians are shortchanged because of excessive exports.

The Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism will ensure gas supply in Australia always meets the forecast needs of the local market.

The Minister for Resources, in consultation with relevant ministers, will impose export controls based on advice from the market operator and regulator.

If an exporter is not a net contributor to the domestic market, that is, they draw more from the market than they put in, they will be required to outline how they will fill the shortfall of domestic gas as part of their overall production and exports.

The Government will not prescribe how the exporter must respond, giving companies considerable flexibility in finding commercial solutions – such as swapping cargoes out of portfolios or on the spot market.

LNG exporters who are drawing from the domestic market will be ordered to limit exports to ensure local supply.

Those exporters which do not draw more from the domestic market overall, will be licensed to export according to their forecasts.

Securing supply in the domestic gas market will put downward pressure on retail prices in Australia.

The Government remains committed to LNG exports but not at the expense of Australian interests.

This action is expected to apply only to east coast exporters and will comply with our international obligations.

The Government expects the decision to be a targeted temporary measure of repair to restore certainty to the market during this time of transition.

The long term goal remains boosting the supply of gas by removing state restrictions on exploration and development

This is the third part of the Turnbull Government’s strong and concerted action to deal with the gas crisis. We are delivering the outcomes Australians expect.

Together with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s forensic monitoring of the entire gas supply chain, and the reforms to the pipeline and gas markets, the gas security mechanism will secure adequate and affordable gas and give confidence to continue investing in our LNG sector.

Full consultation with industry will now take place with regulations to be in place by 1 July, 2017.

New CEO Of The Australian Research Council

26 April 2017: Media Release - SENATOR THE HON SIMON BIRMINGHAM, Minister for Education and Training, Senator for South Australia
Professor Sue Thomas has been appointed to serve as the new CEO of the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said Professor Thomas would play an important role in shaping the future of Australian research and delivering on the Turnbull Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA).

“I’m pleased that after an extensive search we have been able to find some of the best talent suited for the role right here in Australia,” Minister Birmingham said. 

“Professor Thomas will be focused on ensuring Australia remains at the cutting-edge of research, innovation and global competiveness, drawing on her distinguished career experiences to date.

“Professor Thomas is an experienced university leader with a strong academic background in microbial genetics, environmental microbiology and agricultural biotechnology and she will bring significant teaching, research and commercialisation expertise to the ARC.

“The ARC has a significant agenda ahead, including developing the new Engagement and Impact Assessment to accompany the internationally-recognised Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) and the agency has a key role to play in delivering the Turnbull Government’s record $3.5 billion annual investment in research and measuring those outcomes. 

“I congratulate Professor Thomas on her appointment and look forward to working with her.”

Professor Thomas is currently Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of New England, having previously held senior positions at Charles Sturt University, University of Canberra and Flinders University.

Professor Thomas will commence her role with the ARC on 3 July 2017. Leanne Harvey will continue in the role of Acting CEO of the ARC until then.

Further information about Professor Sue Thomas and the ARC is available at

100-Year Old ANZAC  Footage Published By NFSA  

24 April, 2017
The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has published a selection of early 20th century films and songs online, to commemorate Anzac Day 2017. Highlights include a ‘mimic warfare’ training exercise in Sydney’s Moore Park, (with children running on the training battlefield); returned soldiers recovering in hospitals and supporting enlistment campaigns, and a 1916 cinema ad asking Australians to 'carve' Anzac Day 'deep-cut in the Calendar of Time'.

Also featured are images of Edward VIII, then Prince of Wales, decorating Australian soldiers in France, as well as an Australian Rules football match played by troops in London, 1916. Popular songs of the time, such as What did you do on the Great War , Daddy? and Take me back to dear old Blighty have also been published.

The content is available on Sights and Sounds of World War One(, a website developed in partnership between Nga Taonga Sound & Vision (NTSV) in New Zealand. The site commemorates the Centenary of the First World War by showcasing audiovisual material held by both archives. It was launched in 2015, and updates of new content will occur throughout the centenary period up to 2019.

The new content complements hundreds of video/audio clips and still images previously available on Sights and Sounds, documenting recruitment and fundraising efforts, the conscription campaign, and the journey of the Australian troops – from embarkation to training and the campaigns in Egypt, France, and other locations.

Mining: Bacteria With Midas Touch For Efficient Gold Processing

April 28, 2017: University of Adelaide
Special 'nugget-producing' bacteria may hold the key to more efficient processing of gold ore, mine tailings and recycled electronics, as well as aid in exploration for new deposits, University of Adelaide research has shown.

For more than 10 years, University of Adelaide researchers have been investigating the role of microorganisms in gold transformation. In the Earth's surface, gold can be dissolved, dispersed and reconcentrated into nuggets. This epic 'journey' is called the biogeochemical cycle of gold.

Now they have shown for the first time, just how long this biogeochemical cycle takes and they hope to make to it even faster in the future.

"Primary gold is produced under high pressures and temperatures deep below the Earth's surface and is mined, nowadays, from very large primary deposits, such as at the Superpit in Kalgoorlie," says Dr Frank Reith, Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the University of Adelaide's School of Biological Sciences, and Visiting Fellow at CSIRO Land and Water at Waite.

"In the natural environment, primary gold makes its way into soils, sediments and waterways through biogeochemical weathering and eventually ends up in the ocean. On the way bacteria can dissolve and re-concentrate gold -- this process removes most of the silver and forms gold nuggets.

"We've known that this process takes place, but for the first time we've been able to show that this transformation takes place in just years to decades -- that's a blink of an eye in terms of geological time.

"These results have surprised us, and lead the way for many interesting applications such as optimising the processes for gold extraction from ore and re-processing old tailings or recycled electronics, which isn't currently economically viable."

Working with John and Johno Parsons (Prophet Gold Mine, Queensland), Professor Gordon Southam (University of Queensland) and Dr Geert Cornelis (formerly of the CSIRO), Dr Reith and postdoctoral researcher Dr Jeremiah Shuster analysed numerous gold grains collected from West Coast Creek using high-resolution electron-microscopy.

Published in the journal Chemical Geology, they showed that five 'episodes' of gold biogeochemical cycling had occurred on each gold grain. Each episode was estimated to take between 3.5 and 11.7 years -- a total of under 18 to almost 60 years to form the secondary gold.

"Understanding this gold biogeochemical cycle could help mineral exploration by finding undiscovered gold deposits or developing innovative processing techniques," says Dr Shuster, University of Adelaide. "If we can make this process faster, then the potential for re-processing tailings and improving ore-processing would be game-changing. Initial attempts to speed up these reactions are looking promising."

The researchers say that this new understanding of the gold biogeochemical process and transformation may also help verify the authenticity of archaeological gold artefacts and distinguish them from fraudulent copies.

Jeremiah Shuster, Frank Reith, Geert Cornelis, John E. Parsons, John M. Parsons, Gordon Southam. Secondary gold structures: Relics of past biogeochemical transformations and implications for colloidal gold dispersion in subtropical environments. Chemical Geology, 2017; 450: 154 DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.12.027

Winemakers Lose Billions Of Dollars Every Year Due To Natural Disasters

April 27, 2017: Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Every year, worldwide wine industry suffers losses of more than ten billion US dollars from damaged assets, production losses, and lost profits due to extreme weather events and natural disasters. A multidisciplinary European-Australian team of researchers led by Dr. James Daniell of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) examines the extent to which regions are affected by the risks and how climate change influences wine industry. At the 2017 Annual Conference of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) in Vienna, Daniell presented a global risk index for wine regions.

The wine regions of Mendoza and San Juan in Argentina are exposed to the highest risks due to extreme weather and natural hazards worldwide. Kakheti and Racha in Georgia come in at number 2, followed by Southern Cahul in Moldova (number 3), Northwest Slovenia (number 4), and Yaruqui in Ecuador and Nagano in Japan (number 5). These are the first results of a current worldwide study and the first release of the global risk index for wine regions presented by the head of the study, Dr. James Daniell, of the Geophysical Institute (GPI) and the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM) of KIT at the 2017 Annual Conference of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) in Vienna in the session of "Natural hazard event analyses for risk reduction and adaptation." The EGU honored Daniell by granting him the "Early Career Scientist Award in Natural Hazards for 2017." The study is carried out and the index is developed in cooperation with seismologists, meteorologists, and representatives of other disciplines from KIT, Australian National University, University of Adelaide, Griffith University, University of New South Wales, and University College London as well as Risklayer GmbH, a company located in Karlsruhe. The "WineRisk" website summarizes the results of the study and presents solutions for wine regions.

The study covers more than 7,500 wine regions in 131 countries. There is no wine region in the world that is not exposed to extreme weather or natural disasters. Events, such as frost, hail, floods, heat, drought, forest fires, and bushfires as well as earthquakes make worldwide wine industry lose more than 10 billion US$ every year according to conservative estimations. These losses result from damaged assets, losses of production, and lost profit.

Cold Waves, Frost, and Hail
"Cold waves and frost have a large impact," James Daniell says. In the last few days, much frost occurred across Europe, with Slovakia, Bosnia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, and Czech Republic having the worst impact. Hailstorms are one of the largest yearly natural threats to European winemakers. Traditional wine countries like France and Italy have seen huge losses in the past five years due to hail and frost, with many losses being recorded in the regions of Burgundy and Piedmont. The hail losses from 2012 to 2016 in some vineyards totaled 50 to 90 percent of the value of the crop and caused long-term damage to many old vines. It is not just Europe that is affected by hail. All over the world, winegrowing regions are affected by at least one hail event per year, which can cause damage to the single vintage or to multiple vintages depending on the growth phase of the vines. According to James Daniell, hail nets can save the crop in most cases, given a large hail event. "Cost-benefit analyses generally show that the premium wines should be the ones covered by hail nets, with insurance or other cheaper methods used for other wines."

Earthquakes have the ability to knock out the infrastructure of entire wine regions for a number of years. In the past years, earthquakes struck Chile, New Zealand, and the USA, among other smaller events causing damage around the world. Over 125 million liters of wine were lost in Chile in 2010, mainly due to the failure of steel tanks. "Earthquake-resistant design could have saved many millions of liters," Daniell says. Earthquakes also cause large losses to buildings, tanks, barrels, equipment, and chemicals. Even small earthquakes do not only cause financial loss, but also historical loss by destroying tasting rooms and rare wine collections. A few dollars investment in stabilization mechanisms, such as quake wax, zip ties or bolts, can often save millions of dollars loss. In addition, natural disasters are associated with losses of jobs and tourism.

Climate Change
Global climate change will have both positive and negative effects on wine industry, according to the study. Researchers expect a general shift of wine-growing regions southward and northward, while some wine regions closer to the equator may be lost. Many wines may indeed improve. "The English, Canadian, and Northern China wine regions will likely increase production markedly and continue to improve their market share and quality of production," predicts Dr. Daniell. The scientists expect that many wineries will master climate changes by changing grape varieties or harvest times. In addition, they will profit from new grape strains, innovative technologies to optimize production and reduce damage due to biological pathogens and insects, and new methods to overcome extreme weather events.

Other Risks: Bushfires, Floods, Volcanic Eruptions
The study also covers problems, such as bushfires causing smoke taint to vines. However, smaller-scale studies are required before the results can be included globally in the index. In addition, the effects of floods on vines are being explored. Nevertheless, a major volcanic eruption would likely cause the largest global impact to the wine industry, examples being the Laki eruption of 1783/84 or the Tambora eruption in 1815 which caused the famous "year without a summer" in 1816. Atmospheric changes, lack of sunlight, and global transport problems could cause major issues not only for the wine industry, other food security issues would likely be more important.

Despite all these hazards, the wine industry continues to grow and diversify. "Through detailed natural hazard analysis, research can help winemakers and governments alike to prepare adequately for the natural hazards that they face and to reduce losses," Dr. James Daniell says. The geophysicist born in Australia also developed the CATDAT database covering socioeconomic data on natural disasters. Last year, he published CATDAT statistics, according to which 8 million people died and over 7 trillion US$ of loss were caused by natural disasters since 1900.

The Biggest Wine Producers in the World and Their Main Threats:

Italy: 4.9 billion liters (2016, Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin/OIV)) -- Hail, frost, earthquake
France: 4.2 billion liters (2016, OIV) -- Frost, hail, storm
Spain: 3.8 billion liters (2016, OIV) -- Hail (Northwest), frost, heat
USA: 2.25 billion liters (2016, OIV) -- Frost, earthquake, storm
Australia: 1.25 billion liters (2016, OIV) -- Frost, storm, hail, bushfire

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.