Inbox and Environment News: Issue 320

July 9 - 15, 2017: Issue 320

Department Seeks Community Input On Improving Environmental Impact Assessments

July 5th, 2017: Departmental Media Release, Department of Planning and Environment
The community has a chance to improve the way state significant projects are assessed during workshops to gather feedback on new draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) guidelines.

The draft guidelines are on exhibition until Friday,1 September 2017, and representatives from the Department of Planning and Environment will be holding community information sessions across NSW during the exhibition period.

Executive Director, David Kitto, said the new guidelines are an important initiative to drive better practice in NSW.

“While state significant projects such as large infrastructure, industry, mining and urban renewal developments are essential for NSW, they require a comprehensive triple-bottom line assessment with extensive community input,” Mr Kitto said.

“Last year we exhibited a discussion paper on improving the assessment process and received strong support for the improvements from industry and the community.

“After extensive consultation we developed draft guidelines and we’re undertaking workshops to hear what the community has to say about them.

“This is an important opportunity for the community to make sure we get the new guidelines right.”

Mr Kitto said key improvements include getting the community involved much earlier in the assessment process, focussing on the most important issues and improving the quality of all assessment documents.

“While assessment documents, such as environmental impact statements, need to be technically rigorous they also need to be easy to understand and clearly address issues raised by the community. This means everyone should be able to understand them, not just technical experts,” he said.

All public feedback gathered during the exhibition and roadshows will be considered and will assist the Department in finalising the EIA guidelines.

On exhibition are:
  • Guides for proponents covering all stages of the assessment process
  • A guide to help the community understand and participate in the assessment process
  • A guide on the Department’s approach to setting conditions for projects
To view the draft guidelines currently on public exhibition and make a submission, visit the Department’s website

To attend the public information sessions, people should call 1300 305 695 or visit the Department’s website at

Once registered, relevant information for the community information session will be provided via email.
Comment by September 1st, 2017

Visit a community information session

Tuesday 25 July Sydney
S1:  12:00pm - 2.30pm
S2:  4:30pm – 7:00pm

Thursday 10 August Sydney  
S1:  12:00pm - 2.30pm

Guideline 1
Overview of the EIA Improvement Project
This document outlines the proposed improvements. It will help you locate further details of the improvements outlined in each of the guidelines.
Make a submission

Guideline 2
Community Guide to EIA
This guideline outlines the opportunities to participate at each phase of EIA, what information the community can expect to receive and how the community’s knowledge and opinions will be used by the proponent and the Department.
Make a submission

Guideline 3
Scoping an Environmental Impact Statement
This guideline will help proponents identify the key issues for assessment in the EIS by providing guidance on how to scope a project and setting out the requirements for engagement with the community and other stakeholders in the early phases of EIA.
Make a submission

Guideline 4
Preparing an Environmental Impact Statement
This guideline will help proponents prepare a clear and consistent EIS with all the required information. It will also enhance understanding by the community and other stakeholders.
Make a submission

Guideline 5
Responding to External Submissions 
This guideline provides direction to proponents on how to address comments and issues and communicate to the community and other stakeholders who have made a submission in response to a proposed project during the exhibition of the EIS.
Make a submission

Guideline 6
Community and Stakeholder Engagement
This guideline encourages proponents to engage earlier with the community and other stakeholders by introducing a set of engagement requirements applicable to all projects. It will also help proponents to improve the quality of engagement by directing them to focus on meeting participation outcomes during the preparation of the EIS.
Make a submission

Guideline 7
Approach to Setting Conditions
This guideline outlines the Department’s approach to setting conditions of approval. It will promote understanding of the role of conditions of approval in decisions about the project and the management of environmental impacts during construction and operation.
Make a submission

Guideline 8
Modifying an Approved Project
This guideline will help proponents to understand if changes are permitted using the same development consent, if the consent needs to be modified or if a new application is required. It will also help them to understand whether community and other stakeholder engagement is required.
Make a submission

Guideline 9
Peer Review
This guideline sets out a methodology for independent peer review including criteria to determine the suitability of a peer reviewer, review practice, review reporting and post approval requirements. It will provide for greater consistency in peer review.
Make a submission

For further information, please call our Information Centre on 1300 305 695 or email

Planning For The Future Of Royal National Park: Have Your Say

Tell us what you think about the future management of Australia’s oldest national park.

Plans of management guide what happens in our national parks, and how we manage them. The existing plan of management for Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area dates back to 2000.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is preparing a new plan of management for Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area.

The future management of Royal National Park, one of the busiest parks in NSW, involves some particularly complex and important issues.

NPWS has prepared six discussion papers to explore and generate discussion about these issues. 

These discussion papers are the first stage in the development of a new plan of management.

The discussion papers cover a range of issues, many of which have previously been identified as being of interest to the community.

Have your say
Read the discussion papers and send us your comments before 5pm, 28 August 2017 in any of the following ways:

By post: 
The Planner, NPWS
PO Box 144
Sutherland, NSW 1499.

There will be another opportunity to have your say when the draft plan of management is completed and put on public exhibition. If you'd like to be notified when the draft plan is available, please register your details at the Royal National Park community engagement portal.

Discussion papers
View the discussion papers below and tell us what you think about the issues raised in them. Your comments will contribute to the development of a draft plan of management.

Mountain Biking (PDF 3.8MB)

Related material

Petition: Rescind Adani's Unlimited Water License And Support Aussie Farmers!

As Queensland farmers, water is crucial for our livelihoods. As our climate gets hotter and drier, our water resources are even more precious. We call on the Queensland Premier to rescind the unlimited, free 60-year water license they are proposing to grant to the Adani coal mine.

My name is Angus Emmott and I'm proud to be a third generation grazier from Longreach in outback Queensland. I'm committed to a sustainable future for farming in Australia and ask you for your support to protect our precious groundwater. 

In Queensland, the proposed Adani-owned Carmichael coal mine has been granted unlimited access to groundwater. The mine, the biggest of nine proposed for the Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton, is expected to draw 26 million litres of water per day from its pits. Over its life this mine alone would total 355 billion litres of water and modelling already demonstrates that 2 springs will be shut down.

As farmers we are angry about the special deal struck by the Queensland government to give Adani free water for its proposed coal mine. I am launching this petition today to call upon Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to support Aussie farmers and to rescind the water licenses that allow Adani access to unlimited water for 60 years.

All over the country, farmers are battling to stop fossil fuel mining and fracking on their land. Nearly 90% of Queensland is currently drought declared, so why are we giving an Indian billionaire access to unlimited groundwater for a new coal mine?

I'm asking all Australians, to stand with me in calling upon the Premier to rescind this approval before irrevocable damage is done to our groundwater systems and the long term sustainability of Queensland agriculture. 

Angus Emmott with Farmers for Climate Action

Bouddi Coastal Walk Stepping Up For Visitors

Media release: 30 June 2017: NSW Dept. of E&H
Striking sandstone steps set the scene for the newly completed upgrade of the coastal walk to Maitland Bay Headland, in Bouddi National Park opening this weekend on 1 July.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) manager Angela Lonergan said the new work enhances the iconic experience and safety for visitors to Maitland Bay.

"The 103 new sandstone replaces the old wooden steps," Ms Lonergan said.

"With lots of whales passing on their annual migration now is a great time to get out and experience the upgraded walk.

"With the help of local contractors the NPWS has been upgrading the popular eight kilometre coastal walk to ensure it remains one of the most spectacular tracks on the Central Coast.

"Visitors can enjoy the pristine beaches and sweeping views from the coastal walk which stretches from Putty Beach past Maitland Bay to Macmasters Beach.

"The sandstone and materials had to be flown in by helicopter to this remote site," Ms Lonergan said.

For more information about Bouddi National Park visit Bouddi coastal walkor call the Central Coast visitor centre on 02 4320 4200.

UNESCO Agrees Reef 2050 Plan Is On Track

Joint media release:
Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Minister for the Environment and Energy, The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP
6 July 2017
Today, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee recognised Australia’s significant effort in the implementation of the Reef 2050 Plan and the development of the Investment Framework for the Reef.

In a unanimous decision at the 41st World Heritage Committee meeting in Krakow, Poland, the Committee welcomed the progress made in the initial inception of the Plan and acknowledged the efforts of Australia.

The Turnbull Government is very pleased with the World Heritage Committee decision. The Reef 2050 Plan remains the right plan for the Reef.

We are in the early stages of this 35-year plan and are fully committed to addressing the key pressures on the Reef — things we can deal with directly like water quality, and the global challenge of climate change.

Mass coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017 is of deep concern to the Turnbull Government, just as it is for all governments responsible for World Heritage sites affected by global coral bleaching. This is why Australia is committed to its climate change targets under the Paris Agreement.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Reef advisory bodies have been asked by the Government to provide urgent advice on what further actions under the Reef 2050 Plan can be undertaken in the face of the bleaching event.

These issues and others will be discussed at the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum on 28 July.

The Turnbull Government is committed to the preservation and management of the Great Barrier Reef — a commitment made all the more important by the mass coral bleaching.

Together with the Queensland Government, we are investing over $2 billion dollars for the Reef over the next decade.

We agree with the Committee’s assessment that addressing the quality of water entering the Reef remains critically important.

We have accelerated our efforts in working with farming communities and investing in on ground action to help arrest the flow of sediment, nutrients and pesticide into the Reef and tackling the damaging effects of the Crown of Thorns starfish outbreaks.

Given the satisfactory inception of the Reef 2050 Plan, the World Heritage Committee will next consider the overall state of the Reef in 2020.

At the current meeting, the Committee will also be considering the impacts of coral bleaching on marine World Heritage places globally.

If Great Barrier Reef Crisis Is A Win, What Does Losing Look Like To Australia’s Environment Minister?

Thursday, 6 July 2017: Media Release - Australian Marine Conservation Society 

The Great Barrier Reef has again narrowly avoided an ‘in danger’ listing at the World Heritage Committee in Poland overnight.

Australia’s Environment Minister has described the decision as “a big win for Australia and a big win for the Turnbull Government”, although nothing could be further from the truth.

Dr Lissa Schindler from the Australian Marine Conservation Society asked, “What sort of a government celebrates the loss of half of the corals on our World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, and calls that a win?

“Half of the corals in our Great Barrier Reef have died in the last two years from unprecedented severe mass coral bleaching. Many scientists believe it will never be the same again.

“Despite what the government is saying, the Reef remains on the watch list for an in danger listing. The committee expressed its concern with the slow progress on some aspects of the Reef 2050 Plan and noted its failure to address climate change - the greatest threat to our coral reefs.

“Climate change, driven mainly by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gas, is the single biggest threat to our Great Barrier Reef and all the world’s coral reefs.

“The Committee has ‘noted with serious concern’ the coral bleaching and mortality that occurred in 2016 and 2017 and is expected to hand down a decision on Monday expressing utmost concern about serious impacts from coral bleaching on World Heritage Coral Reefs, and to emphasise the dire need for State Parties to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement.

“If all countries make the same level of effort as Australia in reducing emissions, global temperature will rise by 3 to 4 degrees by the end of the century. This would kill all the reef corals worldwide.

“Our government should be ashamed. It should be doing everything in its power to address this national disaster, but is instead fast-tracking one of the world’s largest coal mines and propping up dirty old fossil fuels. The world’s nations are embracing the clean energy economy and moving rapidly towards a renewable energy future,” Dr Schindler said.

Australia has abundant clean cheap renewable energy sources. We must invest in a rapid transition to renewables to preserve our precious Great Barrier Reef and the 64,000 tourism jobs that depend on it.

For the full UNESCO decision (bottom of the page to Draft Decision: 41 COM 7B.24)

For the draft decision on climate change and the world’s coral reefs (Page 26, items 18-24)

SMART Drumline Trial Expands

July 3rd, 2017: NSW Government
Fifty new SMART drumlines will be trialled along the NSW coastline, joining the 35 already being successfully used on the NSW North Coast.

he NSW Government is trialling 10 SMART drumlines off beaches in Shellharbour-Kiama, Shoalhaven, Mid North Coast, Forster and Byron Bay.

The locations for the SMART drumlines are based on historical data on shark attacks, aerial surveillance, beach-use data and consultation with relevant local councils.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said there would now be 85 SMART drumlines on the water, with another 15 to be regularly used by researchers for targeted tagging trips.

“SMART drumlines are the future of shark detection and mitigation and we are leading the world in this technology - they protect human life while minimising the impact on marine species,” Mr Blair said.

“You can’t argue with the data – SMART drumlines have proven to be five times more effective than mesh nets on the North Coast during our six month trial earlier this year.”

Mesh nets caught just seven target sharks (including three White Sharks) while 25 SMART drumlines caught 37 target sharks (including 31 White Sharks) in the same period.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries will now call for tenders for the daily deployment and retrieval of the drumlines up until mid-2018.

EPA Fines Mount Thorley Blasting Company After Diesel Leak

Media release: 6 July 2017
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Downer EDI Mining $15,000 after poor maintenance led to a diesel leak at the blasting company’s Mount Thorley facility.

The EPA visited the Downer EDI Mining Blasting Services site on 20 June as part of a suite of routine inspections of explosive manufacturers in the Singleton local government area.

During the inspection, EPA officers found that a diesel bund valve was buried in the soil causing a small amount of diesel to leak out. EPA officers further determined it was likely that a number of spills had occurred as a result of the valve being buried.

The EPA officers also noted poor chemical storage that had the potential for soil contamination, and inadequate stormwater diversions.

As well as the fine, the EPA is working on a pollution reduction program with Downer to improve environmental outcomes on the premises.

EPA Director Hunter Karen Marler said the EPA expects chemical storage facilities to maintain all equipment in a proper manner because of the heightened risk that these facilities can pose to human health and the environment.

“The EPA expects a high standard when it comes to storing and handling fuels and other chemicals,” Ms Marler said.

“While the fine is appropriate for this matter, just as important will be the action that Downer takes to ensure that it improves its environmental management to avoid similar problems in the future.”

Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at

Joint Operation Targets Illegal Hunting Around Khancoban

Media release: 3 July 2017 - NPWS
Last month the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and NSW Police ran a joint law enforcement operation targeting illegal hunting in the Khancoban area.

NPWS Director Mick Pettitt said the operation was conducted following reports of illegal hunting in and around Kosciuszko National Park.

"Unfortunately the long weekend is a time when we often see an increase in illegal hunting activities in our parks," said Mr Pettitt.

"A number of vehicles were pulled over and searched during the operation and several offences were detected.

"As a result of the operation a number of firearms, ammunition and hunting knives were seized.

"Multiple infringement notices and cautions were issued relating to firearms offences, as well as several offences relating to illegal access and being in charge of dogs in a national park.

"Our staff make regular patrols, day and night, to ensure that people are complying with legislation that protects our natural areas.

"Unfortunately in recent months we have seen an increase in evidence of illegal hunting.

"Of particular concern is the shooting of a wild horse on the Khancoban to Cabramurra road sometime shortly after the June long weekend," Mr Pettitt said.

Police and NPWS are appealing for any information relating to this incident.

Illegal hunting is a serious matter which puts all park users at risk. The penalties for offences associated with illegal hunting range from on the spot fines of $300 per offence to a maximum $11,000 and or 6 months in prison.

To report illegal activities, contact the local Police or NPWS Office in Khancoban on 6076 9373 or Tumut on 6947 7000.

Have Your Say On Mallee Cliffs National Park Draft Plan Of Management

Media release: NPWS
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is calling for comment on the draft plan of management for Mallee Cliffs National Park near Mildura.

NPWS Director Mark Peacock said the draft plan is on exhibition until 28 August and outlines the park’s values and proposed management.

“Plans of management are legal documents that enable us to have a clear understanding of the values of the park and how we will manage them into the future,” said Mr Peacock.

“Mallee Cliffs National Park is nestled in the south-west corner of New South Wales on Barkandji Country and is an important area for wildlife conservation.

“As a part of the NSW Government’s flagship Saving our Species program, the plan includes the Reintroduction of Locally Extinct Mammals project to be developed on the park by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

“This ambitious project aims to reintroduce at least ten mammal species that have been extinct in the Mallee Cliffs for more than a century including the bilby, numbat and brush-tailed bettong.

“Mallee Cliffs National Park protects extensive areas of flat to undulating sandy red plains and linear sand dunes formed during arid periods from 350,000 to 500,000 years ago.

“The park is also home to 27 threatened animal species, including the endangered Malleefowl and Western Pygmy Possum,” Mr Peacock said. 

The draft plan of management for Mallee Cliffs National Park can be viewed at:

• NPWS Office, corner of Sturt Highway and Melaleuca Street Buronga, 2739, NSW
• Wentworth Visitor Information Centre, 66 Darling Street Wentworth, 2648, NSW
• OEH Customer Centre (Level 14, 59–61 Goulburn Street, Sydney)

Submissions on the plan must be received by 28 August 2017.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is calling for comment on the draft plan of management for Mallee Cliffs National Park near Mildura. Photo: Mallee fowl- courtesy OEH

Plastic Free July A Chance To Support Avalon Boomerang Bags

Avalon Boomerang Bags celebrated its 1st birthday on June 25th 2017. This volunteer community initiative aims to reduce the number of single use shopping bags by providing recycled and handmade bags made from donated materials.

Over 7,000 bags have been distributed and used on a ‘borrow and bring back’ basis from boxes located in Avalon, North Avalon, Clareville
and Bilgola Plateau. Whilst a huge success, the community is reminded the bags need to come back to the boxes so other residents may use them when they forget their shopping bags. Ergo the 'boomerang'!

To continue providing alternatives to single use plastic bags, Boomerang Bags is looking for additional volunteers and donated materials.
Tuesday workshops are conducted on premises in Mona Vale kindly provided by ‘Sew, Craft and Cook’ at 20/14 Polo St Mona Vale.

Say ‘No’ to plastic bags this July. Say 'No' to takeaway coffee cups and say 'Not Likely' to prepackaged fruit and vegetables when shopping - let's turn that plastic tide.

If you'd like to get involved with Avalon Boomerang Bags have a look at their page on Facebook or email 
Avalon Boomerang Bags Celebratory morning tea!

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

Navigation Warning - NSW Coastal Waters: Whale Migration Season

June to December 2017

Migrating whales and whale calves are expected to be present in numbers off the NSW coast during this time.

From June to August whales will be in greater abundance generally moving north within about five nautical miles (nine kilometres) of the coast.

From August to December whales will be in greater abundance generally moving south within about 10-15 nautical miles (18-28 kilometres) of the coast.

From July to December Southern Right Whales with calves are likely to be present within 10 nautical miles of the NSW coast and within coastal estuaries.

Within this period it is expected that whale sightings may be common and mariners are advised to navigate with due care and appropriate caution around any whale activity, including reducing to an appropriate speed to maintain safe navigation.

The approach distance for whales in NSW and Commonwealth waters is 100 metres for whales without calves.  If calves are present the approach distance is 300 metres.

In the event of a collision with a whale, entanglement or whale carcass sighting please call:

National Parks and Wildlife Service Incident Duty Officer on: 02 9895 6444

Charts: AUS 806 to AUS 813 Inclusive.

RMS Coastal Boating Maps: 1-14 Inclusive.

Contact Details:

For further details please contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Team on 9585 6523 or (RMS Contact details 13 12 36)

Information regarding the current location of whales may be obtained at:

Further information about whale approach distances or whale behaviour may be obtained from the Office of Environment and Heritage website at:


Bushcare’s Major Day Out At Mona Vale 2017

Mona Vale Bushcare and Pittwater Natural Heritage Association have been awarded a Stronger Communities Grant to continue the restoration of the coastal dune and littoral rainforest at the end of Basset Street. The Bushcare group will continue to remove weeds, replant native species and encourage natural regeneration. The $12,000 received will be used to support the group through contract bush regeneration and the purchase of native plants. 

This site has been chosen for Bushcare volunteers to come together and join in the nationwide “Bushcare’s Major Day Out” event to support all our local volunteers working to conserve and restore our unique natural environment. 

When: September 17, 2017 - 8.30 12p.m.
Where: Mona Vale Basin Beach Reserve, at the end of Bassett Street Mona Vale

Mount Pleasant Coal Mine Modification 3

Proposed modification to Mount Pleasant Coal Mine, including: 
extension of the life of the open cut mine by 6 years (to 2026); 
increase in workforce numbers; 
extension of existing overburden and waste rock emplacement areas; and 
associated amendments to approved final landform design.
Approximately 67 hectare (ha) extension of the Eastern Out of Pit Emplacement. 

Exhibition Start         16/06/2017
Exhibition End         17/07/2017

Project is currently on public exhibition and opportunity for public submissions is available HERE

Update: Review Of Environmental Factors: Proposed Use And Upgrade Of Access Trail In Royal National Park For Bundeena Coast Eco Lodge

July 5th, 2017
The Review of Environmental Factors is to be re-exhibited from 5 July to 4 August due to inconsistencies in the applicant's accompanying documentation to the Review of Environmental Factors in the previous consultation, and to allow a longer period for public comment.

Any submissions made as part of the previous exhibition must be resubmitted to be considered in the assessment of the Review of Environmental Factors. We apologise for any inconvenience and request that you resubmit your comments, taking into account the updated accompanying documents, by 4 August 2017.

Your submission:
The Review of Environmental Factors is a proposal for formal access to 60-70 Bournemouth Street (Bundeena) to construct and service an eco-tourism facility. Any submissions received that are outside the scope of the Review of Environmental Factors will not be considered in the assessment process.

Help us understand your ideas and suggestions for this requested trail access:
  • write clearly and be specific about the issues that are of concern to you
  • note which part or section of the Review of Environmental Factors your comments relate to
  • give reasoning in support of your points - this helps avoid misinterpretation and makes it easier for us consider your ideas
  • if you agree or support a particular part or idea in the Review of Environmental Factors, please tell us
  • if you disagree, please tell us specifically what you disagree with and why you disagree
  • it is very helpful to suggest solutions or alternatives to managing the issue if you can.
You can provide your written submission in one of the following ways:


By email
Email your submission to: 

By mail
Royal Area Manager
NPWS Regional Office
PO Box 144
Sutherland 1499

Hard copies of the Review of Environmental Factors and supporting documentation are available for viewing at:

Bundeena Public Library, Bundeena Public School
Royal National Park Visitor Centre, Royal National Park
Sutherland Shire Council Chambers

Grants Of Up To $3 Million Available For Innovative Solutions For Organic Waste

Media release: EPA
Applications for grants up to $3 million are now open to councils, waste and/or organics processing companies and not-for-profit organisations who have plans for projects that can tackle the amount of food and garden waste that goes to landfill.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority and Environmental Trust are inviting applicants to submit their proposals under three different grant streams:
  • Organics Processing Infrastructure - up to $3 million for infrastructure process more source separated organics from households and businesses 
  • Food Donation Infrastructure – up to $500,000 for equipment to collect, store and redistribute surplus food to people in need
  • Product Quality – up to $500,000 for equipment to improve recycled organics product quality 
Previous rounds of these grants have already funded projects that have made a positive impact on local communities. Last year 3 Pallaettes was awarded a $295,600 Organics Processing Infrastructure Grant to provide the Central Coast with an open windrow composting system for organic wastes, that would otherwise be sent to landfill, to produce a premium grade humified soil conditioner.

With a $89,500 grant under the Food Donation stream, Settlement Services were able to purchase a van, cool rooms and freezer to run The Staples Bag program, supplying a bag of food staples to people in need.

EPA Unit Head Organics Amanda Kane said the grants gave councils and community groups the chance to fund projects that could make a real difference when it came to organic waste.

“From saving good food from being wasted and tackling food insecurity in our state, to increasing NSW capacity to process more collected green waste,  these grants are designed to tackle organic food waste from every angle,” Ms Kane said.

The Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) Director Grants Peter Dixon said the Environmental Trust was pleased to offer the new rounds of organics funding for organics collections under the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

“This is a significant amount of money that will go to projects that will make a significant change to organic waste in our state.”

The grants are being delivered through a partnership between the EPA and the Environmental Trust (which is administered by OEH).

Applications close 5pm Thursday 10 August 2017. The EPA is hosting webinars to assist potential applications find out more about grant programs. More information on these webinars available here

For more information on the organics collections grants and webinar visit.

New Plant Species Discovered In New National Park In Australia

Fruit of Solanum jobsonii, a relative of the cultivated eggplant. Credit: Chris Martine

June 28, 2017
A team of botanists from the US has named a new bush tomato species, based on collections made by their Australian colleagues, during government-funded surveys in a brand new national park.

After looking at collections from biodiversity surveys of a 10,000 km2 area now known as Limmen National Park, Bucknell University biology professor, Chris Martine, decided to form an expedition to relocate and describe a mysterious bush tomato uncovered during the government-sponsored studies.

A year later, Martine and his co-authors, including an undergraduate student, have published the new species in the open access journal PhytoKeys. The discovery offers a powerful case for investing in conservation through park systems at a time when these systems are under threat.

For the team of US scientists, knowing where to go was one challenge, but understanding the landscape in such a remote corner of the Australian Northern Territory and figuring out how to get there was quite another. Martine and his team from Bucknell (undergraduate lead author Mae Lacey and postdoctoral fellow Jason T. Cantley) could not do it without the local assistance and expertise of Peter Jobson, Senior Botanist at the Northern Territory Herbarium in Alice Springs.

To acknowledge the pivotal role of Jobson in the successful search, the new species, Solanum jobsonii, has been named after him.

"Jobson is one of a handful of botanists employed by the Northern Territory government who are tasked with stewarding a vastly diverse flora," explains Martine. "Not only are many species there of conservation concern, but unknown numbers of species are yet to be found and given names. Those scientists are doing yeoman's work."

Martine named a previously discovered species for Ian Cowie, the Curator at the Northern Territory Herbarium in Palmerston, in 2011. Solanum cowiei, a species from Litchfield National Park, was described in a paper appearing also in PhytoKeys.

The scientists hope that the discovery of this latest new species turns a spotlight on the importance of protecting natural areas and supporting the individuals who are charged with their care.

"Notably, the use of trained biodiversity scientists in surveys of the proposed parkland provided masses of data in support of protecting this area as a national treasure," write the authors in the article. "The discovery of the new species described here, and the potential description of other new forms of biodiversity from Limmen National Park, is a testament to the benefits of not only investing in national parks in Australia and elsewhere, but also investing in parks-based scientific inquiry."

The new species, a relative of the cultivated eggplant, has been recorded under specific habitat conditions from only four locations in the monsoon tropics of northern Australia. Because of this, Martine and his colleagues have suggested that it be listed as "Vulnerable" as per the Red List Categories and Criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

"There are rare and unusual species all over the world, just like this one, that deserve our appreciation and protection"" said Martine. "Luckily, many are already living within the boundaries of conservation areas like state and national parks in Australia, the US, and elsewhere."

"However, the rise of anti-science and anti-conservation rhetoric in the US, especially, has put federal and state protected lands here at risk," he said. "It also threatens the rich biodiversity our Founding Fathers celebrated and the American scientific enterprise they held so dear."

L. Mae Lacey, Jason T. Cantley, Christopher T. Martine. Solanum jobsonii, a novel andromonoecious bush tomato species from a new Australian national park. PhytoKeys, 2017; 82: 1 DOI:10.3897/phytokeys.82.12106

The Madhouse effect: What is stopping 

action on climate change   ????

July 7th, 2017: UNSW
As evidence of climate change becomes more obvious, substantive action on climate change in Australia is as stalled as ever. In the US, the Trump administration is rolling back climate change initiatives and environmental protections as fast as it can.

Why is this happening? What are the factors that push governments to policy inertia or worse? What role can business and the community play? And what needs to shift if we want effective action on climate change?

Part of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Climate Change, the panel brings together noted US climatologist Michael E. Mann, psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky and activist Anna Rose to look at these complex questions from a range of perspectives and to share their suggestions for how to break the stalemate.

About the speakers:
Stephen Lewandowsky is a cognitive scientist who is interested in unravelling how memory and decision-making work. His recent work looks at how misinformation persists and spreads in societies and in particular why people may not accept scientific evidence about issues like climate change and vaccinations. He is a Professor in the School of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol.

Michael E. Mann is one of the authors of a key paper that reconstructed the historical climate record and showed in the ‘hockey-stick graph’ dramatic temperature increases in the 20th century. His ongoing work, and his willingness to speak out about it has made him the target of campaigns to intimidate and discredit him by the fossil-fuel lobby in the US. He is the Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University and co-founder of the blog RealClimate.

Anna Rose is the co-founder of the Youth Climate Coalition and was until recently, the Chair of its board. In 2012, she co-starred in an ABC documentary, I Can Change Your Mind on Climate Change and released her first full-length book, Madlands: A Journey to Change the Mind of a Climate Sceptic. Rose is the convenor of the Vice-Chancellor's Leadership & Influence course at the Australian National University.

Emma Alberici (Chair) is the presenter of ABC Television’s flagship current affairs program Lateline. Before that she spent four years as the Europe Correspondent for the ABC based in the UK and was previously the Finance Editor of 7.30. She has a Bachelor of Arts (journalism) and Economics and is the author of three editions of The Small Business Book published by Penguin.

What: The Madhouse effect: What is stopping action on climate change?
When: Wednesday, 16 August, 6.30-8pm
Where: The Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House

There will be opportunities for book sales and signings after the session.

The Grand Challenges Program was established by UNSW to promote and lead critical discussions on some of the greatest issues facing humanity. There are currently four declared Grand Challenge topics – Climate Change, Refugees & Migrants, Inequality and Living with 21st Century Technology.

For more information visit the UNSW Grand Challenges website.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017
By Surfing NSW 
The NSW State Junior Surfing Titles pres. by Ocean and Earth will call Port Macquarie home again in 2017, with 250 of the state’s best junior surfers partaking in the competition.

The prestigious seven-day event will run from Friday 14th – Thursday 20th July, 2017 and determine the qualifiers for the Havaianas NSW Junior Team for the 2017 Surf Dive N Ski Australian Junior Titles.

All qualifiers for the NSW State Junior Surfing Titles pres. by Ocean and Earth were determined by eight individual regional titles, which took place up and down the NSW coastline earlier in 2017.

“We’re delighted to be one of Surfing NSW’s preferred locations for the Junior State Titles, and welcome this popular event back to Port Macquarie this year,” said Port Macquarie-Hastings Deputy Mayor, Lisa Intemann.

 “You’ll be spoilt for choice with our spectacular coastline, great waves, gorgeous hinterland and fabulous culinary options and we encourage competitors and their families to take the opportunity to explore our beautiful region over the week, when they’re not checking the surf of course.”

The last two days of the event will comprise of the NSW School Surfing Titles.

2017 will be the seventh year Surfing NSW will combine the NSW School Surfing Titles into the event.

Former competitors in the Ocean and Earth NSW Junior State Titles include current World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) surfers Owen and Tyler Wright, Matt Banting, Stuart Kennedy, Sally Fitzgibbons, Laura Enever, Ryan Callinan and Connor O'Leary.

The event will be fully mobile in the Port Macquarie area with Town Beach, Flynns Beach, Light House Beach, Rainbow Beach (Bonny Hills) and North Haven Beach all venue options.

The daily schedule and location will be confirmed via the event hotline at 6:45am each day. The event hotline is 0458 247 212.

The NSW State Junior Surfing Titles pres. by Ocean and Earth is proudly supported by Ocean and Earth, HIF, Australian Skin Cancer Clinics, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Big4 Bonny Hills Holiday Park, NBN, Toyota, Mothernest, Havaianas, Ohana Ocean Athletics and Surfing NSW

Above: 2016 Under-16 NSW Junior Champion Jay Brown (Cronulla) will be returning to the NSW State Junior Surfing Titles pres. by Ocean and Earth at Port Macquarie. Photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

What Do They Want? Agriculture’s Young Leaders Tell RIRDC

03 July, 2017

Managing Director of Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) John Harvey has been meeting with agriculture’s next generation of industry leaders, and he is seriously impressed. The next challenge, he says, is providing them with the support, networks and services they need to ensure the industry’s bright future.


The agriculture sector’s importance to Australia’s national economy has never been greater. It currently contributes $63 billion (2.3 per cent) of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the country’s bottom line and according to National Farmer’s Federation has the potential to rival the mining sector and tip over $100 billion by 2030.

It was with this big and bright future in mind that RIRDC set out to host seven Regional Innovation Conversation events, meeting with agriculture’s young leaders from every state and territory.

Having met 150 of these young leaders in recent months, it’s safe to say they’re up to the challenge. In fact, I’ve been blown away by the enormous talent and enthusiasm of Australia’s next generation of agricultural leaders.

RIRDC’s reason for meeting with them was to discuss the issues and challenges they’re facing and discover what support they need to succeed; however, almost to a fault, we found these young people are just getting on with the job.

Whether they are part of a farming enterprise, researchers, entrepreneurs, business owners, working in the supply chain or providing services to agriculture these young people share a ‘can-do’ attitude and a steely determination to succeed.

We also discovered that they are learning and networking differently. They aren’t joining traditional farmer organisations or reading traditional publications and media.

They’re getting their information, networking with each other and sharing knowledge via social media. But interestingly, they realise that in order to flourish professionally they need to be better connected; not just online and not just to each other but to people from other industries and countries with useful skills and experience. Real collaboration and the ability to be a part of a supportive innovation ecosystem was considered a critical ingredient that could lead to risk taking and innovation.

Technology doesn’t just influence their information consumption and the way they connect with others in their industry, it’s also creating an increasingly complex industry and workplace environment for these young people to become leaders – which is both an opportunity and a threat.

There was real excitement in the group about how on-farm decision making is being augmented by information from digital technology such as sensors, drones and robots. Plus the efficiency potential of autonomous vehicles, smart irrigation systems, 3D printing and more was an exciting prospect for this next generation of leaders.

Darrin Lee, a grazier and avid fisherman from Mingenew in Western Australia, brought this potential to life when he told us about how he uses low-bandwidth sensors to monitor water trough levels from his fishing boat and can then turn on a pump with a click on his phone.

There was also a lot of excitement from young leaders in the cotton industry about emerging technologies that make it possible to automate and remotely manage irrigation on their farms. New ‘smart syphon’ or ‘smart irrigation’ systems are being trialled extensively in Northern NSW and in Victoria companies like Rubicon Water are leading the way with inventions like the Smart Furrow Automation Irrigation Solution. What was once a dream has become a reality, with these growers now able to control the irrigation on their entire property from their laptop or smartphone.

More troubling was the consistent message we got from young leaders that they haven’t planned for the adoption of forthcoming transformative technologies and that their businesses haven’t built the necessary capital reserves to accommodate it.

There was also concern about how regulation struggles to keep pace with technology developments. And of course, connectivity issues in rural and regional Australia were raised consistently as a barrier to adoption, and to doing business efficiently in general.  The positive flipside to this were the stories we heard about farmers bypassing traditional telecommunications carriers and service providers by installing their own wired and wireless solutions for full farm coverage.

This shift to increasingly technology savvy farms also highlighted how agriculture is becoming more reliant on non-traditional skills. Recruiting people with these necessary skills – in technology, engineering, finance, management and more – was considered one of the key challenges for the industry’s immediate future.

Freedom to fail was another idea we heard again and again at the conversations. In innovation and entrepreneurship, small failures are often considered a stepping stone to success, but in agriculture this approach doesn’t yet exist. What they were asking for was some room to face setbacks, with the security of knowing they would have time and resources to recover.

To take this one step further, many of the young leaders wanted to shift away from the traditional land ownership model of farming and thought it was time to consider alternative arrangements where equity partners not only provide capital but also bring a high level of skills into a farming business. Arrangements where corporate partners and non-traditional capital lending options support farm acquisition and growth were also considered exciting future prospects.

As you can see, these young industry leaders are dynamic, entrepreneurial, commercially savvy and well connected.

The question then turns, for RIRDC and the 14 other Research and Development Corporations, to how can we best support these young leaders to ensure a thriving future for Australian agriculture?

To my mind, it means we must think differently about how we get our research information and new products out to people. We need a new approach to make sure we keep pace with the types of skills and opportunities these young people need to be confident as industry leaders. We need to help them come together and we need to help build their capacity as decision makers. In response to their needs it’s now us that must be flexible.

Photo - Agriculture's next generation of Industry Leaders: RIRDC’s Managing Director John Harvey with Rebecca Miliken from Wagga Wagga NSW, who has been selected to take part in the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) (Sponsored by RIRDC).

Pelican Chicks All Grown Up And Congregating In Yanga National Park

Media release: 7 July 2017
"Teenage" pelicans who have flown the nest are contributing to a huge influx of birds on Yanga Lake near Balranald, according to experts from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Environmental water manager at OEH, James Maguire said that thousands of juvenile pelicans raised on a lake in the Nimmie Caira wetland system in the lower Murrumbidgee earlier this year are now testing their wings and dispersing to new homes in south-western NSW.

"In February and March 2017, lifesaving environmental water flows were delivered to Kieeta Lake to sustain a pelican rookery in an almost dry lake which contained around 6,000 nests," said Mr Maguire.

"The environmental water flows filled the lake and surrounded the nesting bank, providing safety from predators and feeding habitat for the pelicans.

"The breeding event was successful and we are now seeing the juvenile pelicans, with adults, turning up in numerous other lakes and lagoons around Balranald," he said.

NPWS Ranger at Yanga National Park, Simone Carmichael said it's amazing to see the abundance of birdlife on Yanga Lake, and that NPWS staff are monitoring the recent influx.

"The birds are congregating in huge numbers at the moment on Yanga Lake which is only six kilometres from the town of Balranald," said Ms Carmichael.

"There are thousands of pelicans and also cormorants forming massive feeding rafts which is quite a sight.

"The best thing is the site is so accessible, and visitors to Yanga National Park can get great views of the birds from the viewing deck perched high on the peninsula at Yanga Homestead, or from the lake's edge at Regatta Beach Picnic Area.

"There's also a bird hide nestled amongst the red gums on the edge of the lake at the Homestead," she said.

Keen birdwatchers can spot the juvenile pelicans as they are slightly smaller and lighter than the adult pelicans, and their dark feathers are more brown than black.

Visitors are encouraged to contact the park office for more information on (03) 5020 1764 or visit the Yanga National Park website
Pelicans in Yanga National Park - June 2017. Photo credit: Outback Geo Adventures

Climate Change May Cause Huge Expansion To Ice-Free Areas Across Antarctica

28th June 2017: Australian Antarctic Division
Ice-free areas in Antarctica could expand by close to 25 per cent by 2100 and drastically change the biodiversity of the continent, research published today in Nature has shown.

The paper is the first to examine the impact of climate change on ice-free areas in Antarctica, which currently cover less than one per cent of the continent, yet are home to almost all Antarctic plants and animals.

Led under the Australian Antarctic Program by PhD student Jasmine Lee and Australian Antarctic Division senior research scientist, Dr Aleks Terauds, the research shows a warming climate will cause ice-free areas to expand and join together.

“While this might provide new areas for native species to colonise, it could also result in the spread of invasive species, and in the long-term, the extinction of less competitive native species,” Dr Terauds said.

“We predict that melt across the Antarctic continent will lead to the emergence of up to 17,267 km2, close to 25 per cent, of new ice-free areas by the end of this century.

“The Antarctic Peninsula shows the greatest change, but there are also impacts along the East Antarctic coastline.”

Adélie penguin at Lovill Bluff Colony, Mt Siple in West Antarctica (Photo: Jasmine Lee)

Ms Lee, from the University of Queensland and CSIRO, said the research team used models to examine the impact of climate change on ice-free areas.

“Until now, Antarctic climate change research has focused mainly on ice sheets and the potential impact on global sea level rise, while the effect of climate change on ice melt and native Antarctic biodiversity has been largely overlooked,” Ms Lee said.

“Permanently ice free areas range in size from less than one square kilometre to thousands of square kilometres and they are an important breeding ground for seals and seabirds. They are also home to small invertebrates such as springtails and nematodes, and vegetation including fungi, lichen and moss, many of which occur nowhere else in the world.”

Dr Terauds said the findings of the study were especially important given the restricted distribution of many of these species, which are often only present in a single region across the continent, or even a single ice-free area.

“Understanding the effect of expanding ice-free areas is essential if we are to fully understand the implications of climate change in Antarctica,” he said.

This research was presented at the recent Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting held in China in May.

The paper was co-authored by scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division, ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (The University of Queensland), British Antarctic Survey, CSIRO, and the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (University of Tasmania).

Ice-free cliff in Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica (Photo: Jasmine Lee)

Jasmine R. Lee, Ben Raymond, Thomas J. Bracegirdle, Iadine Chadès, Richard A. Fuller, Justine D. Shaw & Aleks Terauds. Climate change drives expansion of Antarctic ice-free habitat. Nature, 2017 DOI: 10.1038/nature22996

Through Fossil Leaves; A Step Towards Jurassic Park

Ginkgo fossil. Credit: Stephen McLoughlin
July 4, 2017: Lund University
For the first time, researchers have succeeded in establishing the relationships between 200-million-year-old plants based on chemical fingerprints. Using infrared spectroscopy and statistical analysis of organic molecules in fossil leaves, they are opening up new perspectives on the dinosaur era.

The unique results stem from a collaboration between researchers at Lund University, the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, and Vilnius University.

"We have solved many questions regarding these extinct plants' relationships. These are questions that science has long been seeking answers to," says Vivi Vajda, a professor at the Department of Geology at Lund University and active at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.

The researchers have collected fossil leaves from rocks in Sweden, Australia, New Zealand and Greenland. Using molecular spectroscopy and chemical analysis, the fossil leaves were then compared with the chemical signatures from molecules in plant leaves picked at the Botanical Garden in Lund.

The use of genetic DNA analysis in modern research to determine relationships is not possible on fossil plants. The oldest DNA fragments ever found are scarcely one million-years-old. Therefore, the scientists searched for organic molecules to see what these could reveal about the plants' evolution and relationships.

The molecules were found in the waxy membrane, which covers the leaves and these showed to differ between various species. The membrane has been preserved in the fossil leaves, some of which are 200 million-years-old.

Using infrared spectroscopy, the researchers carried out analyses in several stages. Firstly, they examined leaves from living plants that have relatives preserved in the fossil archive. The analysis showed that the biomolecular signatures were similar among plant groups, much in the same way as shown by modern genetic DNA analysis.

When the method was shown to work on modern plants, the researchers went on to analyse their extinct fossil relatives. Among others, they examined fossil leaves from conifers and several species of Ginkgo. The only living species of Ginkgo alive today is Ginkgo biloba, but this genus was far more diverse during the Jurassic.

"The results from the fossil leaves far exceeded our expectations, not only were they full of organic molecules, they also grouped according to well-established botanical relationships, based on DNA analysis of living plants i.e. Ginkgoes in one group, conifers in another," says Vivi Vajda.

Finally, when the researchers had shown that the method gave consistent results, they analysed fossils of enigmatic extinct plants that have no living relatives to compare them with Among others, they examined Bennettites and Nilssonia, plants that were common in the area that is now Sweden during the Triassic and Jurassic around 250-150 million years ago. The analysis showed that Bennettites and Nilssonia are closely related. On the other hand, they are not closely related to cycads, which many researchers had thought until now.

Per Uvdal, Professor of Chemical Physics at Lund University and one of the researchers who conducted the study, considers that the overall results are astounding.

"The great thing about the biomolecules in the leaves' waxy membranes is that they are so much more stable than DNA. As they reflect, in an indirect way, a plants DNA they can preserve information about the DNA. Therefore, the biomolecules can tell us how one plant is related in evolutionary terms to other plants," he says.

The researchers are now going to extend their studies to more plant groups.

Vivi Vajda, Milda Pucetaite, Stephen McLoughlin, Anders Engdahl, Jimmy Heimdal, Per Uvdal. Molecular signatures of fossil leaves provide unexpected new evidence for extinct plant relationships. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0224-5

Avalon Boomerang Bags: An Idea That's Spreading To Stop Plastic Bag Use

Avalon Boomerang Bags - now at North Avalon shops - A J Guesdon photo, 25.5.2017

Avalon Boomerang Bags

11am-5pm @ sewcraft cook 
Unit 20/14 Polo Ave Mona Vale

Boomerang Bags is a bag-share initiative involving the installation of a number of ‘Boomerang Bag’ boxes throughout any given business district, shopping centre, street or market. Each box is stocked with re-useable bags for customers to borrow if they have forgotten to bring their own.

Unlike the traditional purchase-and-keep approach, Boomerang Bags are free, and local community members are responsible for returning the bags once they’re no longer required. The availability of free re-useable bags reduces the reliance of local businesses to supply bags to all customers, and encourages a mentality of re-use among local communities, thereby reducing the amount of plastic bag material entering our landfills and waterways.

So who makes the Boomerang Bags? Well, you do! Boomerang Bags are made by local communities for local communities, and are sewn from recycled and donated materials.

Get in touch if you'd like to donate materials, join us making bags, or implement Boomerang Bags in your own local area!

A Further $6 Million For 20 Million Trees Available For Community Projects

Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
Under our 20 Million Trees Program, the Turnbull Government will invest $70 million to plant 20 million trees by 2020. 

Community groups, organisations or individuals can now apply for grants between $20,000 and $100,000 for tree planting projects that will put back threatened bushland and support threatened species.

Priority will be given to projects that target nationally-listed Threatened Ecological Communities. 

Under previous 20 Million Trees funding rounds, Landcare groups and community projects across Australia have planted three million trees. With 13.4 million trees already contracted for planting, today’s announcement will ensure that the 20 million trees election commitment target is met.

The 20 Million Trees Grant Guidelines: Round Three are also now available and applications close on 15 August 2017.

The 20 Million Trees initiative is an important part of the Turnbull Government’s National Landcare Program.

More information is available at

Applications will be accepted from eligible individuals, landholders, community groups, Indigenous groups, non-government organisations and state, territory and local government agencies.

Projects may occur on public and private land; in urban, peri urban and regional areas across Australia.

There is no limit to the number of applications applicants can submit. Each application will be for a single 20 Million Trees Project.

Refer to Part 3 of the Guidelines for the eligibility and funding conditions for Applicants, Projects and Activities.

Key dates
Applications open: 19 June 2017
Applications close: 2.00pm AEST (Canberra time) Tuesday 15 August 2017

Round Three projects must be prepared to commence before 1 December 2017 and must be able to be completed by:
  • 30 June 2019, for Projects seeking grant funding of $20,000 to $60,000 (GST exclusive); or
  • 30 June 2020, for Projects seeking grant funding of $60,010 to $100,000 (GST exclusive).
Note: Projects will not be able to undertake any planting activities in the final six months of the project period with the exception of planting to make good on any losses. This is necessary for plantings to be sufficiently advanced to allow an accurate final survey to determine the number of trees established at the end of the Project period.

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:

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. 

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.

Living Ocean

Living Ocean was born in Whale Beach, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, surrounded by water and set in an area of incredible beauty.
Living Ocean is a charity that promotes the awareness of human impact on the ocean, through research, education, creative activity in the community, and support of others who sustain ocean health and integrity.

And always celebrating and honouring the natural environment and the lifestyle that the ocean offers us.

Our whale research program builds on research that has been conducted off our coastline by our experts over many years and our Centre for Marine Studies enables students and others to become directly involved.

Through partnerships with individuals and organizations, we conceive, create and coordinate campaigns that educate all layers of our community – from our ‘No Plastic Please’ campaign, which is delivered in partnership with local schools, to film nights and lectures, aimed at the wider community.

Additionally, we raise funds for ocean-oriented conservation groups such as Sea Shepherd.

Donations are tax-deductable 

Dairy Code Of Practice Welcomed

July 3rd, 2017: ASBFEO
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has welcomed the new dairy industry Code of Practice for Contractual Arrangements between farmers and processors.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell had input to the code and said she will monitor its effectiveness over the next 12 months.

Ms Carnell said the voluntary code addresses issues that may be contested under the Unfair Contract Terms law for Small Business, which began operating on November 12.

“I’m very pleased that all the major processors and farmer organisations have signed the code,” Ms Carnell said.

Many farmers were crippled last year by retrospective price reductions, which are no longer allowed.

“There is now a requirement for notification and transparency, which will help farmers to make informed decisions.”

Ms Carnell welcomed the recognition by processors that downward price movements are undesirable.

The voluntary code requires 30 days’ notice of step-downs, which must be clearly set out in the contract. Farmers are also required to give 30 days’ notice of changing processors, with a cooling-off period of 21 days.

“A farmer is entitled to all accrued loyalty payments if they have supplied to the end of their contract term,” Ms Carnell said.

“This addresses a previous unfair situation.

“The voluntary code is a positive step and I hope it works. A negotiated voluntary agreement is better than seeking to introduce more regulation.

“I will review the effectiveness of the voluntary code to make sure it’s working as intended.”

NSW Public Hospital Parking Concession Rates Now Available

July 3rd, 2017: NSW Government
Frequent visitors to public hospitals will save about $200 a week.
From 1 July 2017, patients and carers will be able to access concession rates for public hospital parking. A three-day discounted ticket will cost a maximum of $10.90 and a seven-day ticket $21.70, and both allow multiple entries and exits.

Those eligible for discounted hospital car parking include:
  • patients and carers attending hospital for an ongoing course of treatment
  • patients and carers attending more than twice a week
  • holders of a RMS-issued Mobility Parking Scheme permit, Pensioner   Concession Card, Gold Veterans Affairs Card or Health Care Card
  • ongoing cancer treatment patients
  • cardiac rehabilitation and health promotion class attendees.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said the changes mean much cheaper and fairer parking fees – especially for patients visiting a hospital for regular or long-term treatment.

“We have worked with private car park operators to get rates down to a maximum of $5.40 a day, giving patients and families real savings when they need it most,” Mr Hazzard said.

website and smartphone app have been developed to provide information on fees and concessions, eligibility criteria, maps, public transport options and other health-related subsidies. 

NDIS Scheme Rolls Out Across NSW

July 3rd, 2017: NSW Government
More than 54,000 people have already joined the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in NSW, with a further 60,000 expected to join in 2017-18.

The NDIS provides support for people with a disability, their families, and carers.

The NDIS helps people with a disability to:
  • access mainstream services and support
  • access community services and support
  • maintain information support arrangements
  • receive reasonable and necessary funded support.
Access to the NDIS is now available statewide, after the scheme was rolled out to the Illawarra Shoalhaven, Northern NSW, Mid North Coast, Sydney, South Eastern Sydney, Murrumbidgee, Western NSW, and Far West regions on 1 July 2017.

Minister for Disability Services Ray Williams said the introduction of the NDIS is an important milestone for people with disability in NSW.

“At last, people with disability throughout the state are at the centre of decision-making and are empowered to live the life they choose,” Mr Williams said.

“The government is committed to do everything we can to ensure people are ready to take advantage of all that the NDIS can deliver.”

New Study Provides Greater Insight Into Suicide In ADF Personnel

Canberra, Sunday 30 June 2017
A report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) provides new understanding of suicide among serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, and identifies certain military-related characteristics that may put ex-serving men at greater risk.

The report, Incidence of suicide among serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel 2001-2015: In-brief summary report, was launched today by the Hon. Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs.

AIHW Director and CEO Barry Sandison said that the AIHW had undertaken the study as an independent, trusted data agency, and welcomed the greater insight the new analysis provided.

'Today's report builds on earlier analysis and shows that, between 2001 and 2015, there were 325 certified suicide deaths among people with at least one day of ADF service since 2001,' he said.

At the time of their death, more than half (51% or 166 deaths) were no longer serving in the ADF, 28% (90 deaths) were serving full time and 21% (69 deaths) were serving in the reserve (active or inactive).

Most suicides were among men (93%), who also made up the majority of ADF personnel (85%).  Due to the much smaller number of suicide deaths among female personnel, the report focuses on suicide deaths in men.

The report shows that men who were currently serving full-time or in the reserve were considerably less likely to die by suicide than Australian men generally.  However, this was not the case for men no longer serving in the ADF, who were 14% more likely to die by suicide than their counterparts in the general community.

When looking further into the data, it was found that men who were no longer serving and were aged 18 to 24 were twice as likely to die by suicide as men of the same age in the general population.

The report also identifies several military-related characteristics associated with higher suicide rates within the group of discharged men.

'Men who were discharged involuntarily from the ADF were 2.4 times more likely to die by suicide than those who discharged voluntarily,' Mr Sandison said.

'And if their involuntary discharge was for medical reasons, they were 3.6 times more likely than those discharged for voluntary reasons.'

Men who had left the ADF after less than one year of service were also at higher risk-2.4 times more likely to die by suicide, compared with men who had served for 10 years or more.

Also at risk were men who did not hold a commissioned officer rank at discharge. They were 2.8 times more likely to die by suicide when compared to commissioned officers.

'From 1 July 2017, the AIHW will commence a 3-year strategic relationship with the Department of Veterans' Affairs to monitor and report on the current status and future needs of Australia's veterans and their families, and to develop a comprehensive picture of their health and welfare,' Mr Sandison said.

For immediate advice and support please contact:
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service: 1800 011 046
Defence All-hours Support Line: 1800 628 036
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Mensline: 1300 789 978

Seeing The Colored Light: Bee Brains Open Way For Better Cameras

July 3, 2017: RMIT University
New research into the way that honeybees see colour could pave the way for more accurate cameras in phones, drones and robots.

Identifying colour in complex outdoor environments is extremely difficult because the colour of light is continuously changing.

Researchers in Melbourne, Australia, looked to see how honeybees solve this problem and discovered a totally new mechanism for processing colour information.

The results of the work by academics at RMIT University, Monash University, University of Melbourne and Deakin University were published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

The project, supported by an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant, was coordinated by Associate Professor Adrian Dyer at RMIT, who has been working with Professor Marcello Rosa at Monash University and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function to solve this classic problem of how colour vision works.

Dyer said: "For a digital system like a camera or a robot the colour of objects often changes. Currently this problem is dealt with by assuming the world is, on average, grey.

"This means it's difficult to identify the true colour of ripe fruit or mineral rich sands, limiting outdoor colour imaging solutions by drones, for example."

Bees have three extra eyes (ocelli) on the top of their head that look directly at the sky, and lead author Dr Jair Garcia (RMIT) and a multidisciplinary team discovered that the ocelli contain two colour receptors that are perfectly tuned for sensing the colour of ambient light.

Bees also have two main compound eyes that directly sense flower colours from the environment.

Garcia said: "Physics suggests the ocelli sensing of the colour of light could allow a brain to discount the naturally coloured illumination which would otherwise confuse colour perception.

"But for this to be true the information from the ocelli would have to be integrated with colours seen by the compound eyes."

To test if this happened, Dr Yu-Shan Hung (University of Melbourne) mapped the neural tracings from ocelli and showed neural projection did indeed feed to the key colour processing areas of the bee brain.

Professor Andrew Greentree from the ARC Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at RMIT said: "It is rare that physics, biology, neuro-anatomy and ecology all fit together, but here we have it."

The system closely predicts previously observed behaviour of bees foraging in complex environments and provides a new solution for illuminations as diverse as natural forest light, sunlight, or shade.

Dyer said: "We're using bio-inspired solutions from nature to tackle key problems in visual perception. This discovery on colour constancy can be implemented into imaging systems to enable accurate colour interpretation."

Professor John Endler (Deakin University) said: "The discover provides a superb solution to a classic problem and makes colour constancy computationally inexpensive."

Rosa said: "The strength of this study lies in the combination of modelling, behavioural analysis and neuro-anatomy. It shows how modern, interdisciplinary neuroscience can point to an elegant solution to classical problems in vision."

Jair E. Garcia, Yu-Shan Hung, Andrew D. Greentree, Marcello G. P. Rosa, John A. Endler, Adrian G. Dyer. Improved color constancy in honey bees enabled by parallel visual projections from dorsal ocelli.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017; 201703454 DOI:10.1073/pnas.1703454114

Eight Ways To Tackle Gender Inequality At Work

July 6, 2017: Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA)
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has profiled eight organisations using smart strategies to create greater equality between women and men in their workplaces.

WGEA Director Libby Lyons said employers were increasingly aware of the strong business case for improving gender equality in the workplace and looking for ways to create lasting change.

“Sometimes it is hard for employers to know where to start,” said Ms Lyons. “We know that employers are very interested in effective strategies to address key challenges like pay equity, workforce segregation and women’s leadership representation. We hope these inspiring stories will generate ideas and drive change.” 

Challenges and solutions
Fact: 80% of care workers are women and by 2050 the current workforce of 350,000 needs to triple. 

Benetas is actively challenging stereotypes around men working in healthcare and is using flexibility and primary carer’s leave as a recruiting drawcard to get men into healthcare. In 2015 it introduced superannuation payments for all staff on paid parental leave to help ease the financial pressure of taking time out of the workforce for women and men.

Fact: The national gender pay gap is currently 16%. One contributing factor is the difficulty for women who work part-time in accessing career development opportunities.

HESTA’S pay gap analysis led to an overhaul of company processes and initiated a raft of actions that have helped increase the equality of access to career development opportunities within the company. This includes making sure that part-timers receive the same budget for training and development as full-timers.

Fact: Only 16% of CEOs and 27% of Key Management Personnel in Australia are women.

Griffith University developed a leadership program to identify potential and build capability of existing female employees. The first two-year program resulted in 10 promotions for women.

Fact: By 2030 there will be a shortfall of nurses of 123,000. Currently only 1 in 10 nurses are male.

Mercy Health is working to recruit more young males as carers and nurses to help redress the unbalanced gender mix in the industry and prepare for the increasing demand for healthcare workers as the population ages.

Fact: Women make up only 27.8% of the ICT workforce in Australia.

MYOB’s 16-week in-house DevelopHer program successfully trained three women who had no previous experience of IT to a level where they were offered a job in a development team. With a shortage of female graduates in IT, the company hopes this innovative ‘returnship’ model will be extended across the industry.

Fact: Flexibility is linked to improved gender equality outcomes by assisting employees to manage work and caring responsibilities. 16% of organisations reporting to WGEA have a flexible working strategy and 52% have a flexible working policy.

NAB has developed a self-service, flexible working intranet site where employees can manage their formal or informal flexible working arrangements directly with their manager, ranging from part-time and remote working, to job share and transition to retirement.

Fact: Mining is Australia’s most male-dominated industry; 84% of employees are men.

St Barbara’s strategy of target-setting, supported by regular monitoring, measuring and reporting to the executive has helped increase female recruitment and achieved a 100% return-to-work rate after parental leave.

Fact: 48% of Australian organisations offer paid primary carer’s leave, 5.1% offer on-site childcare and 3.1% offer subsidised childcare.

Stockland has developed a strong program to support parents and carers, to attract and retain employees. Initiatives include building on-site childcare, expanding the range of parental leave benefits and strongly promoting primary carer’s leave to male employees.

Three States Drive Increase In Vehicle Thefts

6 July 2017:  Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
Motor vehicle thefts increased by 9 per cent in 2016, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics William Milne said that the number of victims of motor vehicle theft rose to over 56,000 in 2016, the highest number since 2012.

"The increase from last year was driven entirely by three states: Victoria (up 25 per cent), Queensland (up 19 per cent) and South Australia (up 10 per cent)," he said. "All other states and territories recorded decreases.’'

Three-quarters of vehicles were stolen from either an outbuilding or residential land (which includes thefts from garages, driveways and carports) or from a street or footpath.

Between 2015 and 2016, the number of victims recorded nationally increased across a range of offences. However, since 2010 the number of victims have decreased for the following offences:
  • Homicide and related offences – down 2 per cent to 452 victims
  • Robbery – down 36 per cent to 9,403 victims
  • Burglary – down 9 per cent to 188,756 victims

The number of sexual assault victims increased for the fifth consecutive year, up 5 per cent to 23,052 victims in 2016. 

Victims of family and domestic violence (FDV) related sexual assault increased slightly more, up by 6 per cent from 2015 to 8,210 victims in 2016. The number of female victims of FDV-related sexual assault was almost six times higher (6,942 victims) than the number of male victims (1,248 victims).

Further information can be found in Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4510.0) available for free download from the ABS website:

Women Science Superstars Set To Inspire Girls To Study STEM

3 July 2017
Thirty Australian women Science Superstars announced today will lead the charge in inspiring more young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

I am delighted to announce the 30 Superstars of STEM, who will provide leadership for other women and girls choosing to study and work in STEM.

Science & Technology Australia’s Superstars of STEM program - a world first - will support and train these outstanding women to become prominent role models, promoting gender equity and inspiring more young women and girls to choose to study and work in STEM.

I commend the significant commitment of these outstanding women for playing this important leadership role.

Australia needs greater gender balance in the overall STEM workforce, where women occupy less than half of all positions.

Taking science to young women in the classroom can be incredibly powerful and inspiring and it’s a strong step towards overcoming inequality in participation.

Only one in four IT graduates and fewer than one in 10 engineering graduates are women, and women occupy fewer than 20 per cent of senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes.

The Superstars of STEM, who work in a variety of disciplines with public and private sector organisations, will share their work with the public and students through social and mainstream media, and public speaking engagements at schools and workplaces.

This initiative was supported by a grant of $178,500 over two years from the Australian Government’s $8 million Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship competitive grants program.

Science & Technology Australia is one of 24 organisations to receive $3.9 million in first-round grant funding for projects to boost the participation of girls and women in STEM education and careers.

These projects cover the full spectrum of STEM education and careers, from primary school aged girls through to fostering entrepreneurship and more career development opportunities for women already in the workforce.

A second Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship grants round will open later in 2017.

This program is a key element of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, working to address the cultural, institutional and organisational factors that result in a gender imbalance in STEM-related studies and professions.

More information about the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship program is available at

More details of the Superstars of STEM program is available at

Protecting Astronauts From Radiation In Space

July 3, 2017: Australian National University

The sample here contains hundreds of thousands of nanoparticles that manipulate the incoming light. Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have designed a new nano material that can reflect or transmit light on demand with temperature control, opening the door to technology that protects astronauts in space from harmful radiation.

Lead researcher Dr Mohsen Rahmani from ANU said the material was so thin that hundreds of layers could fit on the tip of a needle and could be applied to any surface, including spacesuits.

"Our invention has a lot of potential applications, such as protecting astronauts or satellites with an ultra-thin film that can be adjusted to reflect various dangerous ultraviolet or infrared radiation in different environments," said Dr Rahmani, an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Research Fellow at the Nonlinear Physics Centre within the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.

"Our technology significantly increases the resistance threshold against harmful radiation compared to today's technologies, which rely on absorbing radiation with thick filters."

Co-researcher Associate Professor Andrey Miroshnichenko said the invention could be tailored for other light spectrums including visible light, which opened up a whole array of innovations, including architectural and energy saving applications.

"For instance, you could have a window that can turn into a mirror in a bathroom on demand, or control the amount of light passing through your house windows in different seasons," said Dr Miroshnichenko from the Nonlinear Physics Centre within the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.

"What I love about this invention is that the design involved different research disciplines including physics, materials science and engineering."

Co-lead researcher Dr Lei Xu said achieving cost-efficient and confined temperature control such as local heating was feasible.

"Much like your car has a series of parallel resistive wires on the back windscreen to defog the rear view, a similar arrangement could be used with our invention to confine the temperature control to a precise location," said Dr Xu from the Nonlinear Physics Centre within the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.

The innovation builds on more than 15 years of research supported by the ARC through CUDOS, a Centre of Excellence, and the Australian National Fabrication Facility.

Mohsen Rahmani, Lei Xu, Andrey E. Miroshnichenko, Andrei Komar, Rocio Camacho-Morales, Haitao Chen, Yair Zárate, Sergey Kruk, Guoquan Zhang, Dragomir N. Neshev, Yuri S. Kivshar. Reversible Thermal Tuning of All-Dielectric Metasurfaces. Advanced Functional Materials, 2017; 1700580 DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201700580

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.