Inbox and Environment News: Issue 333

October 15 - 21, 2017: Issue 333

Changes To Sydney Water Protections Hard To Swallow

13 October 2017: By EDO NSW Outreach Director - Community Programs, Jemilah Hallinan
The NSW Government this week passed a law to overrule the Court of Appeal’s decision that the Springvale coal mine was unlawfully approved. But it went one step further and also weakened laws that protect Sydney’s drinking water catchment. This retroactive law denies the public the opportunity to hear extensive expert evidence on the future of the mine and allows industries like mining to continue polluting Sydney’s drinking water into the future.

Springvale mine fails to meet water quality standards
In August this year, the NSW Court of Appeal held that planning approval for an extension to the Springvale mine was invalid as the mine did not meet a legal standard designed to protect the quality of Sydney’s drinking water. The standard is known as the ‘neutral or beneficial effect’ test, or NorBE, and it requires a consent authority to refuse development consent to a proposed development unless it is satisfied it will have a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality.

A variation of the NorBE test was first introduced in 1998, following a series of contamination incidents in the Sydney drinking water catchment. This test is vital to ensuring developments within the catchment do not individually or cumulatively pollute water and that the water supplied to the communities of Sydney and its surrounds is safe to drink.

The Nattai River, in Sydney's water catchment.

Protecting drinking water standards in Court
Community group 4nature, represented by EDO NSW, challenged the consent for the extension to the Springvale coal mine on the grounds that the NorBE test had not been met. The Land and Environment Court dismissed the case but on appeal the NSW Court of Appeal found that the test had not been applied correctly and therefore the consent was invalid. The Court of Appeal remitted the matter back to the Land and Environment Court to hear submissions from both parties before making orders that will determine the future of the mine. The hearing was due to start on Monday next week (16 October).

Government introduces special legislation
Instead of allowing the Land and Environment Court to implement the findings of the Court of Appeal, the Government passed legislation to permit the mine to continue operating. These laws were introduced in response to Springvale mine’s claim that as the current sole provider of coal to the Mt Piper Power Station, if the Court orders the mine to close, Mt Piper will need to find an alternative source of coal which may impact on energy supply. The Government claimed this would lead to an energy crisis and drive up the cost of energy for consumers. The passing of the special legislation means the public won’t be able to hear these statements tested in Court by experts.

The new legislation includes a provision that validates the Springvale mine extension effective from the date it was originally approved back in 2015. But it also changes how the NorBE test is applied to existing developments that are seeking to expand. Those developments, referred to as ‘continuing developments’, are taken to have a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality if they will have the same or lesser adverse impact on water quality as the existing development. These changes come despite the recent finding of the 2016 Audit of the Sydney Water Drinking Catchment that coal mining in Sydney's drinking water catchment is having a cumulative and possibly accelerated impact on our drinking water.

This new legislation means that while new developments must have a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality, existing developments wishing to expand can continue to pollute at their current levels, no matter how out of date those standards might be. This will not only prevent continuous improvement in pollution management (a key element of our pollution laws) in Sydney's drinking water catchment, it places existing polluting industries at an advantage over any new developments within the catchment which must meet a higher standard under the NorBE test. This is particularly problematic where a mine or other development is operating under old and out of date consent conditions that do not meet modern standards of technology, efficiency or environmental compliance. There is currently no legal mechanism in place to ensure consent conditions evolve with available technology, monitoring data and community expectations andthese changes remove an opportunity for existing industries to come up to date with more environmental and community standards.

Until the NSW Government adopts the practice of regularly updating consent conditions, the proposed changes to the NorBE test could pose unacceptable levels of risk to our drinking water and the overall health of the Catchment.

EP&A (Sydney Drinking Water Catchment) Bill 2017  (Validation of Springvale mine extension development consent)

New Law Overturns Springvale Mine Court Ruling And Weakens Drinking Water Protection

12 October 2017: NSW Conservation Council
The NSW Parliament passed a regressive law last night to wipe away findings of the NSW Court of Appeal, allowing the continued operation of the Springvale coal mine and locking in pollution for developments in Sydney’s drinking water catchment.

Environment groups condemned the government’s heavy-handed response to false claims and hysteria.

“The Berejilkian government not only disrespects the umpire’s decision, it disrespects strong laws protecting Sydney’s drinking water catchment,” said 4nature president Andrew Cox.

The landmark case brought by 4nature confirmed that government had been failing to apply laws protecting Sydney’s drinking water catchment – laws designed to progressively lower pollution.

“With catchment laws being interpreted generously, polluters kept on polluting and the quality of Sydney’s drinking water deteriorated. The recent catchment audit confirmed this.”

Colong Foundation for Wilderness Director Keith Muir said: “Centennial Coal’s destructive Springvale mine should never have been extended in 2015 without a water treatment plant it is now required to build.

Not only did the NSW Government legislate to legalise Springvale mine’s approval, its law indefinitely locks in pollution levels for any expanded developments in Sydney’s drinking water catchment, including mines, piggeries and water treatment plants.”

NSW Premier Berejiklian’s recent claims on catchment protection can’t be believed.

On Tuesday she said the legislation “will make sure that the water quality has to be at least as good as what was there before the mine”[i] but the law just passed has removed that test.

Last month she said: “I don't want anything compromising now and into the future, any of our water security or any of our prime agricultural land.”[ii]

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “The purity and health of Sydney’s drinking water has been seriously compromised by the Berejiklian government’s unwarranted changes.

“The community expects the Premier Berejiklian to protect our drinking water supply and stop pandering to the coal companies.

“Instead her government has exploited this issue to weaken environmental protections to benefit some of the state’s biggest polluters.”

Blue Mountains Conservation Society president Madi Maclean said: “Now's the time to protect the stunning Gardens of Stone area in a new conservation reserve.

“Promoting attractions on Lithgow’s doorstep and developing clean energy is a critical step for transitioning a town with a declining coal industry towards a vibrant sustainable economy.”

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Sydney Drinking Water Catchment) Bill 2017 passed Parliament’s Upper House unamended at 11.30pm yesterday despite attempts by the Greens and Labor to remove provisions that weaken the water quality test.

Conservation groups also welcomed Labor leader Luke Foley’s commitment in Parliament that if “there is a serious deterioration in the rules protecting Sydney's drinking-water catchment, the next Labor government will amend the legislation to restore the proper protections”.

Next week’s final Land and Environment Court hearing to determine the continued operation of Springvale mine has been cancelled.

 [i] News Limited 10 Oct 2017: NSW prepares to pass coalmine expansion

[ii] ABC News 13 Sep 2017


Aussie Bird Count 2017: Birds In Pittwater - What's Here?

The Aussie Bird Count is a great way to connect with the birds in your backyard no matter where your backyard happens to be — a suburban backyard, a local park, a patch of forest, down by the beach, or the main street of town. It's organised by BirdLife Australia, our major bird conservation organisation.

You can count as many times as you like over the week, we just ask that each count is completed over a 20-minute period. The data collected assists BirdLife Australia in understanding more about the birds that live where people live.Go to for more information.
Runs October 23-29

Lock The Gate Responds To NSW Government Move To Weaken Protection Of Sydney’s Water In Favour Of A Polluting Coal Mine: Let The Court Do Its Job

October 09, 2017: Lock the Gate Alliance
Lock the Gate Alliance says the New South Wales Government must not go through with plans reported in The Australian this morning to weaken laws that protect Sydney’s drinking water catchment so that Springvale coal mine would not have to comply with them.

Springvale coal mine supplies coal to Mount Piper power station in the Blue Mountains. It also dumps polluted water into waterways that feed Sydney’s Warragamba dam.

Environmental group 4Nature successfully argued in the Court of Appeal in August that an approval granted to a controversial expansion of the coal mine two years ago was not valid because it had not considered crucial catchment protection law that requires any development in Sydney’s drinking water catchment to have a “neutral or beneficial effect” on the quality of water in the catchment.

The mine has not been ordered to close by the court, and has been operating continually since the 4Nature victory, while arguments are made in court about what remedy the Land and Environment Court should impose, given the role of the mine in supplying coal to Mount Piper.

“The Land and Environment Court has a job to do to honour the law that protects the pristine quality of our drinking water from coal mining and other development," said Georgina Woods from Lock the Gate. 

“Weakening the law for the convenience of a coal mining company that is polluting drinking water is a reckless and unnecessary reaction. Protecting drinking water should be our highest priority.

“There’s plenty of coal being mined in this state, we’re mining more coal than ever before. The idea that a power station cannot secure alternative supplies if a polluting coal mine must be closed to protect the water that supplies Sydney is absurd. Who’s running this state? The coal industry or the Coalition Government?

“We urge all members of parliament not to weaken this important law and let the Court do its job finding a solution to this impasse that does not compromise Sydney’s drinking water,” Georgina Woods said.

Palm Beach Cleanup
Sunday, November 12 at 9 AM - 11 AM
Join Living Ocean, The Green Team & Wander Lightly for a Christmas beach clean at Palm Beach.

With the Ocean predicted to have more plastic than fish in it by 2050 it is the best present you can give the Planet this Christmas!
The Boathouse has ever so generously offered to provide some refreshments and a free coffee or tea (when you bring your own reusable cup; they have them onsite if you forget)
Meet at The Boathouse on the Pittwater side of Palm Beach

Living Ocean will spare some time after the clean up to record all data on the day which will be uploaded to the Tangaroa Blue Marine debris data base & for their Mirco Plastics research project.
Helpers required so please leave a comment if you are abe to spare some time.

9am - 10am - Beach Clean
10am – Tally counting for Tangaroa Blue 

All welcome & dont forget to bring a bucket or bag to collect trash in & a pair of gloves to keep your mitts safe!

Sydney's Drinking Water Should Not Be Polluted By Rogue Coal Mine 

Monday, October 9, 2017 :Jeremy Buckingham - Greens NSW
The Greens NSW energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today criticised the Berejiklian Government for plans to introduce special legislation to allow the Springvale coal mine near Lithgow to pollute Sydney's drinking water and weaken protections for water quality in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.  

"Once again we see the big coal and energy companies essentially blackmailing the government to intervene in a decision by the courts.  The government should let the Court do its job as the parties to the case were aware of the consequences of the decision and were prepared to negotiate a sensible set of orders," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"Undermining the integrity of the courts and the Planning Act with special legislation is a shonky way to govern.  

"In the past we've seen corrupt former mining minister Ian Macdonald intervene with special retrospective legislation for the BHP Caroona coal project, and we saw the current Liberal-National government change the law to downgrade environmental and social considerations in planning decisions after Rio Tinto's Warkworth coal mine's extension was overturned by the Land and Environment Court. 

"The proposed changes to the Act means that an existing mine can be extended or modified just as long as it pollutes the water catchment just a little less that it currently does. This is a significant weakening of protections for our drinking water quality and has significant implications for other areas, such as mining under the Illawarra Escarpment. 

"Centennial Coal is a rogue operator with 913 recorded licence breaches at the Springvale mine between 2000 and 2015. Environmentalists have been warning for years about destruction and pollution from this mine - it's not like the government was in the dark. 

"The government should have stood up to the blackmail and made Centennial Coal fast-track its waste water pipeline and water treatment plant and commit to stop its constant licence breaches and destruction of the environment.  

"Mt Piper power station has a coal unloading facility onsite for the delivery of coal by truck from mines other than Springvale, while the nearby rail line used to supply the now closed Wallarawang power station only a few kilometres away.  

"This is a lazy approach by the NSW Government, putting the interests of one coal mine ahead of Sydney's drinking water.     

"This shows the vulnerability of coal-fired power stations that they are so reliant on a constant coal supply from mines that destroy the environment. Nature provides solar and wind with a consistent and free supply of energy.

"Aging coal-fired power stations are now lurching from one crisis to another.  This highlights the failure of the NSW government to invest in renewable energy.

"The Greens will oppose this legislation and call on the government and Labor to maintain the integrity of our planning system and the protection of the drinking water supply for millions of people."

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

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities

Oxford Falls triangle
Sunday 22/10  7.30- 11am 
This walk will only take about 2 hrs walking, but a few small pampas grass clumps need removal and we will have morning tea in the creek bed or on a high rock ledge.
Please bring gloves and morning tea.
Bookings: Conny Harris  0432643295 or Email Conny

Terrey Hills to Morgan Rd  
Saturday 4/11  7.30-11.30 am 
Start at Terrey Hills cross the Deep Creek catchment valley and walk along feeder creek and end at Morgan Rd. Please bring gloves, old screwdriver and am tea. Plan is to include 30 min weeding. Carpool required.
Bookings: Conny Harris  0432 643 295 or Email Conny 

Spotlight Walk 8:15pm Monday Nov 27
This walk will take place after Jayden Walsh has shown pictures and talked about amphibians and reptiles in Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment.
8:15pm Meet at Katoa Close. Spaces limited to 30 people

Spotlight Walk - 8pm Friday Dec 15
Spotlighting walk - meet at start of Slippery Dip Trail. Spaces limited to 20 people

Wildlife Walk - 7:30am Friday January 19, 2018
Meet at end of Deep Creek Carpark. Spaces limited to 30 people
Email: Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment to get a ticket and book a place for one of these fascinating Wildlife Walks led by Jayden Walsh.

Bush Regeneration - Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment  
This is a wonderful way to become connected to nature and contribute to the health of the environment.  Over the weeks and months you can see positive changes as you give native species a better chance to thrive.  Wildlife appreciate the improvement in their habitat.

Belrose area - Thursday mornings 
Belrose area - Weekend mornings by arrangement
Contact: Phone or text Conny Harris on 0432 643 295

Wheeler Creek - Wednesday mornings 9-11am
Contact: Phone or text Judith Bennett on 0402 974 105
Or email: Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment :

Eco Paddle on Narrabeen Lagoon
1pm, Sunday Feb 11, 2018
Black Swan have returned to the lagoon after 20 years - come and see these majestic creatures! This paddle will visit the Western Basin, Deep and Middle Creeks. Beautiful Deep Creek attracts migratory birds from as far away as Russia and Middle Creek has been the subject of a substantial remediation programme. A relaxing 2 to 3 hour afternoon paddle. No previous kayaking experience required, tuition given. BYO boat or a hire kayak can be arranged for you at cost. 
Bookings essential.
Email or call 0417 502 056.

Spike In Particulate Air Pollution Prompts Calls For Action

October 11, 2017: Lock the Gate
Lock the Gate is calling for the EPA and the Department of Planning to act on long overdue recommendations to properly address and prevent cumulative impacts of open cut coal mining on air quality.

Data from Government air quality monitors shows 37 days when the average concentration of PM10 particulate pollution was above regulatory limits at five Hunter Valley locations in the last three months.

There has been a significant expansion of open cut coal mining in the region in the last five years and coal mining is known to be the largest source of PM10 pollution.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said, “Despite a commitment five years ago to do so, NSW still doesn't have a cumulative impact assessment guideline for mining operations. This failure most affects the Hunter Valley, where there are a large number of open cut coal mines in close proximity.

“The people of the Hunter region are being badly let down by this Government. This poor air quality isn’t just ugly, it’s damaging people’s health and contributing to early death.

“None of the mines are being made accountable for air quality that is damaging people’s health because it’s a problem they’re all making together. We need a way to pause on new mine projects and expansion projects when the region is already at critical thresholds like this.

“Alarmingly, the Government still considering more open cut pits in the worst affected area, like the new super-pit United Wambo project, when they still haven’t set basic thresholds to protect people from cumulative health damage. There has to be a limit, and we’ve reached it.”

Background: air quality in the Hunter Valley
  • The Strategic Regional Land Use Plan for the Upper Hunter in 2012 committed the Government to “Develop a cumulative impact assessment methodology to manage the cumulative health and amenity impacts of mining and coal seam gas proposals. This methodology will consider whether cumulative impact thresholds or tipping points can be adequately described and predicted.” This action has never been taken. 
  • Recent air quality in the central part of the Hunter, where coal mining is most intense has been breaching national and state standards.
  • In the last three months, there have been 37 instances of daily average readings of PM10 exceeding the 50 micrograms per cubic metre protection measure.
  • Daily average coarse particle pollution (PM10) concentrations have reached more than double the national standard of 50 micrograms per cubic metre in Camberwell.
  • Communities at Singleton, Camberwell and Warkworth, not far from the proposed United Wambo ‘super pit’ have had PM10 concentrations above national standards dozens of times in the last three months.
  • Coarse particle pollution can trigger heart attacks and strokes. Particulate matter has been deemed carcinogenic by the World Health Organisation. There is no threshold below which PM pollution does not contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular illness.
  • The NSW EPA estimates that coal mining is responsible for 87.6% of PM10 pollution in the Hunter Valley.

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.

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 0402 605 721.

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.

Update On Baleen 2D HR Seismic Survey 

(The survey comprises 46 2D lines of total length 208km.) - 
NOPSEMA 'Not reasonably satisfied – opportunity to modify EP'
Decision date: 03/08/2017 
Titleholder action Resubmission due date 3: 02/09/2017
Extension of timeframe: 17/08/2017 Titleholder action: 15/10/2017
Extension of timeframe: 05/10/2017 Titleholder action: 31/10/2017

From Decision notification:
Basis of decision 
NOPSEMA has assessed the environment plan in accordance with its assessment policies and procedures. 

On completion of assessment, NOPSEMA has decided that it is not reasonably satisfied that the environment plan meets the criteria below as set out in regulation 10A of the Environment Regulations: 
(a) is appropriate for the nature and scale of the activity 
(b) demonstrates that the environmental impacts and risks of the activity will be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable 
(c) demonstrates that the environmental impacts and risks of the activity will be of an acceptable level 
(d) provides for appropriate environmental performance outcomes, environmental performance standards and measurement criteria 
(e) includes an appropriate implementation strategy and monitoring, recording and reporting arrangements 
(g) demonstrates that: 
(i) the titleholder has carried out the consultations required by Division 2.2A 
(ii) the measures (if any) that the titleholder has adopted, or proposes to adopt, because of the consultations are appropriate 

Titleholder requirements 
For OMR decision In accordance with regulation 10, the titleholder is required to modify and resubmit the environment plan. Upon resubmission of the plan, NOPSEMA will continue to assess the submission in 
accordance with its assessment policies and make a decision under regulation 10. After a titleholder has been provided with reasonable opportunity to modify and resubmit an environment plan, NOPSEMA will 
make a final decision on whether to accept or refuse to accept the environment plan. 

Scientists Develop Tool Which Can Predict Coastal Erosion And Recovery In Extreme Storms

October 11, 2017
The damage caused to beaches by extreme storms on exposed energetic coastlines and the rate at which they recover can now be accurately predicted thanks to new research led by the University of Plymouth.

Working with the University of New South Wales, scientists have developed a computer model which uses past wave observations and beach assessments to forecast the erosion and/or accretion of beach sediments over the coming year.

They believe it could be a sea change for coastal managers, giving them the opportunity to make decisions that could protect communities from severe wave damage.

In a study, published in Coastal Engineering, the academics say deriving sufficient knowledge and understanding to forecast erosion and accretion with a level of confidence is arguably the 'holy grail' for coastal scientists and engineers.

In seeking to address that, they have developed a traffic light system based on the severity of approaching storms, which will highlight the level of action required to protect particular beaches.

Dr Mark Davidson, Reader in Coastal Processes at the University of Plymouth, led the research. He said: "In the past, coastal managers have always tended to be responsive. They have been unable to fully predict how their areas might respond over periods of up to a year, and to assess any pre-emptive measures they could take. This research goes some way to changing that, enabling us to warn people in advance about how beaches will respond and helping officials take the steps they need to protect themselves and their communities."

The new tool was tested on two beaches -- Perranporth in North Cornwall and Narrabeen, just north of Sydney -- which experience very differing wave and climatic conditions.

Measured and/or modelled wave data are used to generate around a thousand potential shoreline predictions and based on a statistical analysis of these, potential shoreline positions are displayed in traffic like system, whereby green signifies normal displacement ranges, amber would be considered high and red are extreme.

The period tested included the Pasha Bulker storm sequence recorded at Narrabeen in 2007, and the extreme storms of 2013/14, known to be the most energetic storms to hit Europe's Atlantic coastline in more than six decades.

In both cases, the methodology was able to predict both storm erosion and subsequent recovery, giving a clear indication of the intensity of storms in terms of their impact on the coast.

Dr Davidson added: "Beaches play a crucial role in the lives of coastal communities, acting as a defence but also in creating leisure opportunities. Gaining a greater knowledge of how they might be affected by weather is therefore essential, both in the short and long term. We have never been able to forecast over a longer period of time before, and are now looking at ways to expand this tool so that its accuracy and benefits can be increased."

Mark A. Davidson, Ian L. Turner, Kristen D. Splinter, Mitchel D. Harley. Annual prediction of shoreline erosion and subsequent recovery. Coastal Engineering, 2017; 130: 14 DOI: 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2017.09.008

Commercial Use Of Protected Plants: Public Consultation

Draft NSW management plans for the commercial use of protected plants have been released for public comment.
A public exhibition of draft management plans outlining the commercial use of protected plants provides an important opportunity for members of the community to have their say.

Submissions close 9 November 2017.

About the draft management plans
The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has prepared draft wildlife trade management plans setting out the licensing requirements applying under NSW legislation (Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016) for the growing, harvesting and sale of protected whole plants and cut flowers.

The development of these management plans is a requirement of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 administered by the Australian Government.

The plans are subject to review, public consultation and re-approval by the Australian Government every five years.

The two current NSW management plans concerning the commercial use of protected plants are due to expire soon.

Draft NSW management plans for 2018–22, which will replace the current plans, have been issued for public consultation.

Cut-flower Sustainable Management Plan 2018–22 for protected and threatened plants in the cut-flower industry.
OEH issues licences under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 to persons seeking to harvest and grow whole protected native plants for commercial purposes.
This plan outlines the legislation and licensing requirements for the cut flower industry.
The plan also describes management procedures for the industry including plant tagging requirements, monitoring harvest sustainability, and record keeping requirements.

The plan includes a summary of changes from the previous plan.

Whole Plant Sustainable Management Plan 2018–22 for the commercial harvest and propagation of whole protected plants.
Harvesting plants from the wild can pose risks to both the harvest site itself and the conservation of native plant populations.
This plan describes the proposed regulatory framework for managing the commercial harvest, salvage and growing of protected whole plants such as grass trees, staghorns, orchids and cycads.

The plan describes proposed licensing arrangements for persons or businesses that harvest whole protected plants or propagate whole protected plants for sale. 
The plan also sets out the operational framework under which licensed activities can be undertaken including tagging, reporting and site management obligations.
The plan includes a summary of changes from the previous plan.

More information
If you have questions about the draft management plans, please contact the NSW Wildlife Biodiversity Reforms team by

Find information about current licensing arrangements at commercial use of protected plants.

Have your say
Public exhibition for the draft NSW management plans for 2018–22 is from 12 October to 9 November. Anyone can review the draft NSW management plans and provide comments.
Your submission, in whole or part or as part of a summary, may be made publicly available on our website. If you do not want your submission made public in this way, please indicate this on your submission.
You can provide your written submission in the following ways:

By email
Email your submission to:

By mail
Post your submission to:
Plant Management Plan Consultation
National Parks and Wildlife Service
PO Box 1967
Hurstville NSW 1481


Breeding Failure Of Nearly 20,000 Adélie Penguins

13 October 2017: WWF
A colony of over 18,000 pairs of Adélie penguins in Terre Adélie, Antarctica, suffered a catastrophic breeding failure at the start of 2017 with only two chicks surviving. WWF is demanding greater protections of the waters off East Antarctica next week at a crucial international meeting in Hobart, Australia where proposals for a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) will be considered. 

Surviving mostly on a diet of krill, a small shrimp like crustacean, Adélie penguins are generally faring well in East Antarctica, but declining in the Antarctic peninsula region where climate change is well established. However, this significant breeding failure at this particular colony in East Antarctica has been linked to unusually extensive sea ice late in the summer, meaning the adult penguins had to travel further to forage for food for their chicks. As a result the chicks starved.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), comprising 25 member states and the EU, are meeting on the 16th October 2017 in Hobart, where they will consider a proposal for a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) for the waters off East Antarctica. The proposal for an MPA, led by Australia and France with the EU, has been on the table at CCAMLR for eight years but has yet to be agreed. 

Nevertheless, expectations are running high as last year CCAMLR adopted the Ross Sea MPA, the largest protected area in the world. An MPA would help to secure a future for the amazing wildlife and marine biodiversity of East Antarctica, including Adélie and emperor penguins.
Four years ago, the same colony which numbered 20,196 pairs at the time, failed to produce a single chick. Again heavy sea ice, combined with unusually warm weather and rain, followed by a rapid drop in temperature, resulted in many chicks becoming saturated and freezing to death. 

WWF has been supporting penguin research by French scientists working for the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in the region since 2010.
Rod Downie, Head of Polar Programmes at WWF said: 

‘Adélie penguins are one of the hardiest and most amazing animals on our planet. This devastating event contrasts with the image that many people might have of penguins. It’s more like ‘Tarantino does Happy Feet’, with dead penguin chicks strewn across a beach in Adélie Land. 

‘The risk of opening up this area to exploratory krill fisheries, which would compete with the Adélie penguins for food as they recover from two catastrophic breeding failures in four years, is unthinkable. So CCAMLR needs to act now by adopting a new Marine Protected Area for the waters off East Antarctica, to protect the home of the penguins’. 

The MPA proposal originally comprised seven large marine areas off the coast of East Antarctica but subsequently reduced to four. However, it is anticipated that only three of those (MacRobertson, Drygalski, and the D’Urville Sea-Mertz region, where the Petrel Island Adélie colony is located) will be adopted this year. The D’Urville Sea Mertz region in particular needs to be set aside as off limits to krill fisheries in order to protect the foraging and breeding grounds of Adélie penguins. 

WWF expects the other four areas, comprising Gunnerus, Enderby, Prydz Bay, and Wilkes to be brought back in front of CCAMLR in future years. 

Yan Ropert-Coudert, senior penguin scientist at the CNRS who leads the Adélie penguin programme at Dumont D’Urville research station, adjacent to the colony, said: 

"The region is impacted by environmental changes that are linked to the breakup of the Mertz glacier since 2010. An MPA will not remedy these changes but it could prevent further impacts that direct anthropogenic pressures, such as tourism and proposed fisheries, could bring". 
Christopher Johnson, Senior manager, WWF Antarctic Program, said:

“The death of so many Adélie penguin chicks shows just how tough life can be in Antarctica. The last thing these penguins need is more pressure. 

“That’s why it’s crucial CCAMLR locks in an MPA in East Antarctica to help secure a future for Adélie penguins and all the other amazing wildlife and marine biodiversity.

“After CCAMLR adopted the Ross Sea MPA last year, expectations are running high for another significant achievement this year”.

One of the many dead Adélie penguin chicks found on Petrels Island in the Antarctica. Photograph: Y Ropert-Coudert/CNRS/IPEV

Forestry Corporation Of NSW Fined $8,000 For Licence Breach

11 October 2017: EPA
Last Thursday, the Forestry Corporation of NSW was convicted in the Land and Environment Court and fined $8,000 following a plea of guilty to an offence that occurred during logging operations in Glenbog State Forest, near Bemboka in the south east of NSW.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford, said the Forestry Corporation of NSW conducts logging operations throughout the state and should be aware of its responsibilities. 

“Rocky outcrops are protected landscape features,” Mr Gifford said. 

“The Forestry Corporation of NSW holds a licence under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 that requires it to thoroughly search for rocky outcrops in order to protect the outcrops and surrounding trees from logging.”

 “During logging operations in 2013, the Forestry Corporation of NSW failed to thoroughly search for a rocky outcrop in Compartment 2330 of Glenbog State Forest and as a result the outcrop was not identified or protected. Up to 52 trees were felled at the location and there was minor machinery damage caused to the outcrops themselves,” Mr Gifford said. 

The EPA became aware of the incident following a report by a volunteer organisation known as South East Forest Rescue.   

The EPA then carried out a thorough investigation, including field inspections, issuing statutory notices and conducting interviews.

 “While the rocky outcrop area did not contain any known threatened flora species the features of the affected area afford unique habitat refuges and need to be identified and protected from logging,” Mr Gifford said.

 “The Forestry Corporation of NSW had management and control over the logging operations. The Court’s decision is a clear message to the Forestry Corporation of NSW that it must not neglect its responsibilities to search for rocky outcrops in the field before logging starts.”

 Mr Gifford said the EPA places the upmost importance on protecting NSW’s many native forests by requiring that logging operations are conducted in an ecologically sustainable way.

 “The EPA maintains an active native forestry compliance program to help ensure compliance with licence conditions and promote continuous improvement in environmental performance,” Mr Gifford said.

 “Protection measures will be further improved through upcoming NSW forestry regulatory reforms that will provide a modern legal and environmental framework to protect our native forests and endangered species.” 

Edmondson Regional Park Now Open For Visitors

October 10, 2017: OE&H
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has formally opened the new Cabramatta Creek precinct of Edmondson Regional Park to the public.

Edmondson Regional Park opening - 8 October 2017 Daniel Chalker, Lex Dadd, Lester Ives join NPWS Ranger Toni Clarke at a smoking ceremony as part of the welcome at the opening of the Cabramatta Creek precinct at Edmondson Regional Park, 8 October 2017

NPWS Director Deon van Rensburg said the 48 hectare parcel of land, officially opened at a community event on Sunday 8 October to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations for NPWS, will be managed by NPWS and will offer important habitat for endangered species as well as bushland for the enjoyment of the growing number of residents of the area.

"I'm thrilled to announce the opening of the Cabramatta Creek precinct as the first stage of the planned 150 hectare Edmondson Regional Park," Mr van Rensburg said.

"Edmondson Regional Park will provide a range of recreational visitor experiences such as bushwalking and nature appreciation for the new surrounding communities, and will help protect biodiversity in the area.

"The main management focus of the Cabramatta Creek precinct is conservation of the critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland ecological community, and significant effort has gone into removing the dominant weed species African Olive.

"Protecting this endangered ecological community will in turn protect the foraging habitat for other endangered species such as the grey headed flying fox and swift parrot.

"Formerly the site of the Ingleburn army training camp, this reserve will surround the Edmondson Park town centre which is in early stages of construction, and will provide a network of open space and protected areas within the newly established residential areas of Edmondson Park and Bardia in Sydney's South West Growth Centre," Mr van Rensburg said.

Planning for the remainder of Edmondson Regional Park includes cycleways, walking tracks, picnic areas, BBQ facilities and areas of open space for families and group events.

The precinct was formally opened on the weekend with an Aboriginal Welcome and smoking ceremony, NPWS Discovery Ranger activities, an ecology talk and discussions about native gardens provided by the environment team from Liverpool City Council, as well as a native plant giveaway. Ingleburn Military Precinct Association also opened the nearby Bardia Barracks for the day, with ex-servicemen giving a presentation on the military history of the area.

Breeding Salt-Tolerant Plants

October 10, 2017
Soil erosion is considered as a problem that puts the nutrition of the human population at jeopardy. One of its aspects is soil salination, which affects in particular dry regions of Earth, where farmers are forced to irrigate their fields heavily. Large quantities of the salts dissolved in the water, such as sodium and chloride, are diffused into the soil and remain there after the water has evaporated. The salt stunts the crops and can even make soils infertile in the long run.

"All approaches so far to breed salt-tolerant plants must be considered more or less as failures," says Professor Rainer Hedrich, plant scientist at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany. They all aimed at making crop plants grow on saline soils and to identify salt-tolerant breed lines in the process. But this approach cannot work.

And that is for a reason: "Our crop plants are the result of many years of breeding. During that time, man has sheltered them from nearly all negative environmental influences, so that they have lost a lot of their natural resilience," explains Hedrich. "As soon as these elite lines come in contact with too much salt, they usually die."

Salt-tolerant plants serve as model
So Rainer Hedrich, together with Professor Sergey Shabala (University of Tasmania), set out to develop a new strategy. The two scientists placed their bet on plants that are naturally salt-tolerant.

One such plant is quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa). It comes from the Andes, where it has been been used as food for 7,000 years. Meanwhile the seeds of this South American pseudo-cereal, which are free from gluten and rich in vitamins, have found their way to European supermarket shelves.

The plant absorbs salt from the soil and stores it in bladder-shaped cells on the surface of its leaves. This protects the salt-sensitive metabolic processes, and the plant can grow well even on saline soils.

Without bladder cells quinoa suffers from salt stress
The researchers have found a simple way of proving that it is really the bladder cells that ensure the plant's salt tolerance. "Just a few light brush strokes over a quinoa leaf cause the bladder cells to fall off," says Professor Shabala. Stripped of their salt bladders, these plants grow on non-saline soils just as well as non-brushed specimens. But an exposure to common salt stunts their growth significantly.

The round to oval bladder cells of quinoa have a diameter of almost half a millimeter. They are veritable giants in the kingdom of plants, and can usually be seen even with the naked eye. Their storage capacity is up to 1000 times higher than that of any normal cell of the leaf surface.

The price of salt disposal is sugar
To get an insight into the "operating system" of quinoa and its bladder cells, the work group of Professor Jian-Kang Zhu (University of Shanghai) has decoded the Andes cereal's DNA. Professor Hedrich's team then compared the active genes of leaves and bladder cells. The necessary bioinformatic analyses were performed by experts from the University of Shanghai and from the team of Georg Haberer from the Helmholtz Center Munich.

The result: Even without salt treatment, there are genes working in the bladder cells which are in other species only active when the plant is under stress. They include transporters carrying sodium and chloride ions into the bladder cell. A stimulation with salt triggers the activation of further genes needed to maintain the signal path for the stress hormone ABA.

Storing the salt consumes energy. This energy is generated by the bladder cells from sugar molecules which they specially import from the leaf for that purpose. The bladder cells receive the required energy from the leaf and reciprocate by absorbing the toxic salt," explains Hedrich.

Crossbreeding salt tolerance into crop plants
The new findings have been published in the Cell Reports journal. They are to be used in the long term for the breeding of salt-tolerant plants. "The first step is made," says Professor Hedrich. "We will now use a combination of developmental genetics and the functional analysis of salt transport proteins to understand the molecular mechanisms that produces and maintains the salt tolerance in quinoa."

The JMU research team wants to learn from quinoa lines equipped with a very large or a very low number of salt bladders. It has a large pool to draw on: about 2000 wild and cultivated varieties of the plant from the Andes are known so far. The ultimate outcome of their work might be not only the breeding of quinoa varieties with an even higher salt tolerance but also the crossbreeding of salt tolerance genes into related crop plants such as sugar beets or spinach.

Changsong Zou, Aojun Chen, Lihong Xiao, Heike M Muller, Peter Ache, Georg Haberer, Meiling Zhang, Wei Jia, Ping Deng, Ru Huang, Daniel Lang, Feng Li, Dongliang Zhan, Xiangyun Wu, Hui Zhang, Jennifer Bohm, Renyi Liu, Sergey Shabala, Rainer Hedrich, Jian-Kang Zhu, Heng Zhang. A high-quality genome assembly of quinoa provides insights into the molecular basis of salt bladder-based salinity tolerance and the exceptional nutritional value. Cell Research, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/cr.2017.124

Quinoa leaf with typical salt bladders. On the right, you see the plant transporting the dissolved salts sodium and chloride first into the bladder and then in its vacuoles. The sugar carried along with them provides the necessary energy. Credit: Jennifer Böhm

Indonesian Fishing Vessel And Crew Apprehended

10 October 2017
Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Maritime Border Command (MBC) together with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) have apprehended an Indonesian fishing vessel about 190 nautical miles off the Northern Territory coast, suspected of illegally fishing inside the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ).

MBC, a multi-agency task force within the Australian Border Force (ABF), tasked HMAS Pirie to intercept the vessel after it was spotted by an MBC Dash-8 aircraft on Saturday 7 October.

HMAS Pirie intercepted and boarded the vessel and found approximately 200kg of fish, including whole shark. Officers also found about 100kg of baitfish on board.


Two longlines, each carrying 200 hooks, were also located near where the vessel was first spotted inside the AFZ.

The five crew have been brought to Darwin for further investigation by AFMA over possible breaches of Australian fisheries laws.

MBC Commander Rear Admiral Peter Laver said the significant aerial and surface surveillance capability within the AFZ is having a noticeable impact on illegal fishing in Australian waters.

“No matter where these fishermen are from or what methods they use, if they are inside our waters we will be watching them and if they are found to be doing the wrong thing they will be intercepted and will face the full force of the law,” Rear Admiral Laver said.

“Illegal fishers risk losing their vessel and being brought to Australia to face significant fines or even jail time – it’s just not worth it.”

AFMA’s General Manager Fishing Operations Peter Venslovas said that thanks to surveillance and capacity building with our regional partners, there had been a dramatic reduction in illegal foreign fishing over the last decade. Numbers have plummeted from 367 a year to just 15 last year.

“Not only do Australian government agencies work together to combat illegal foreign fishing, but we share information and provide training to our international counterparts,” Mr Venslovas said.

“These levels of cooperation are essential if we are to continue to successfully target those seeking to plunder Australia’s marine resources.”

The Indonesian crew arrived in Darwin earlier today.

Aboriginal Rangers Connect Kids To Country In 360-Degree Videos

October 11, 2017: NSW OE&H
School children across NSW can climb inside the twisting branches of a giant strangler fig at Dorrigo National Park or scale the rushing waterfalls at Blue Mountains National Park with an Aboriginal ranger - without even leaving the classroom!

Aboriginal Discovery Ranger Uncle Dean Kelly at Goat Island. Photo: OEH

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has launched seven 360-degree educational videos to encourage children to develop a deeper understanding of Aboriginal peoples' connection to Country.

WilderQuest Manager, Simon Stroud said the state-of-the-art videos were filmed at six national parks across NSW, including Sydney Harbour National Park and Coffs Coast Regional Park.

"These remarkable videos provide lifelong learning opportunities to encourage the next generation to value their local environment, shared culture and heritage," Mr Stroud said.

An Aboriginal digital agency provided Aboriginal Discovery rangers with specialist training in advanced 360-degree video and drone technology for virtual reality production.

"This new technology and skill development broadens the channels for our Aboriginal Discovery rangers to share their knowledge and allows children across the state to partake in a unique adventure," Mr Stroud said.

"Children could be learning about ancient footprints with Aunty Tanya in Mungo National Park one day, and exploring caves in the home of the Walgalu people at Kosciuszko National Park with Uncle Shane the next," said Mr Stroud.

The 360-degree educational video adventures are part of the award-winning WilderQuest Learning program, which helps teachers foster a desire to protect and appreciate national parks in children aged five to 12.

Since launching in January 2016, WilderQuest Learning has seen a phenomenal uptake with more than 1,200 schools across NSW using the innovative program.

The Aboriginal Storytelling videos can be enjoyed in the classroom on individual computers, interactive whiteboards, tablets or through VR goggles for a complete virtual reality experience.

For more information about using the 360-degree videos in the classroom head to WilderQuest Aboriginal Campfire.

To learn about other WilderQuest Learning resources, including the iPad App and desktop game, or to visit a NSW national park for a school excursion with Aboriginal Discovery rangers, go to WilderQuest Learning.

360-degree Aboriginal Storytelling was funded as part of the WilderQuest Learning grant from the NSW Environmental Trust.

Ready to begin?
Visit the WilderQuest Learning digital resource and register as a teacher to start using WilderQuest Learning. You can also book a WilderQuest school excursion in a national park near you. 

Embark on an adventure to learn about the living world in this part of Blue Mountains National Park - WilderQuest Learning WildThings Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Nick Cubbin/OEH


SYDNEY -Thursday, 12 October 2017
From Surfing NSW
After a gruelling year battling it out around the world, the World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) will culminate at Birubi Beach at the 2017 Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro. With 6000 points up for grabs, some of the world’s best female surfers will be on hand trying to consolidate themselves a spot on the 2018 elite Championship Tour (CT).
Novocastrian, Philippa Anderson has been competing on the QS for a number of years now, with the dream of elevating herself to the CT. In 2016, this dream almost became reality, with Anderson only narrowly missing the qualification cut off. The stylish natural footer’s best result of 2016, came at the final QS6,000 of the year. In 2017, Anderson approaches the final event in a similar position and is hoping to go one better and take the win on home soil to achieve her lifelong goal of competing on the ‘Dream Tour.’
“This is the last QS6,000 event of the year so it is super important,” Anderson said. “There are only six events of this size in the season so a solid result at a couple of them is essential. There are a handful of girls all needing a big result here, so it is sure to be exciting. Having the final event of the year in Australia is great, but the fact that it is so close to my home is amazing. I surf at Birubi a bit and it can get really good. It’s a great setup for a contest and it will be awesome to see the world’s best out there. I’m really glad this event has come together and can’t wait for it to get underway.”

After successfully running the final Women’s QS6,000 event of the 2016 season at Cronulla, it was an obvious decision to keep the event based in New South Wales. Collaborating with WSL, Destination NSW and Port Stephens Council was Luke Madden and the Surfing NSW team who knew the Birubi Beach at Port Stephens would be the ideal location to decide the qualifiers for the 2018 CT.
“The Toyota Port Stephens NSW Pro has been a successful collaborative effort between Surfing NSW, WSL, Destination NSW and Port Stephens Council and we couldn’t be more proud to see it kick off its maiden year in 2017. To have the world’s best female surfers in Port Stephens as they attempt to cement their position on the 2018 World Championship Tour is the perfect way to finish the Qualifying Series year and we couldn’t be more excited for it to all kickoff.” 
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC said the Port Stephens NSW Pro is a major international event that will see competitors from all over the world travel to the region.
“Port Stephens is one of the most famed surf spots in Australia and I am looking forward to welcoming some of the world’s best surfers to our stunning region in just a few weeks,” Mr MacDonald said. “The Port Stephens NSW Pro women’s field alone has 114 competitors and as the last major point-scoring opportunity of the year, will play a major role in determining who qualifies for the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Championship Tour.”
NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said with so many international surfers visiting the region, the event will provide a significant boost for local businesses, hotels, restaurants and tourism operators.
“The Port Stephens NSW Pro will be huge, with more than 1,000 surfers and visitors expected to travel to the region, injecting around $910,000 into the local visitor economy over the next two years,” Mr Marshall said. “This event is a key component of a packed events calendar for the Hunter region, which this year has included the WSL sanctioned Australian Boardriders Battle, Matildas vs Brazil international football friendly and the upcoming Newcastle 500 just to name a few.”
WSL Australia / Oceania Regional Manager Will Hayden-Smith is excited to see what the new location has to offer for the most important event of the Women’s QS season.
"This is the most important women's QS of the season as it decides who will be on the 2018 Championship Tour. WSL would like to pass on a huge thank you to our event partners Destination NSW, Port Stephens Toyota, Port Stephens Council and Surfing NSW for helping us pull this together. We look forward to showing the world what Port Stephens has to offer."
Janelle Gardner, Tourism Development and Event Coordinator for Port Stephens Council is thrilled that the surfing worlds eyes will be on the beautiful Birubi Beach and its surroundings.
"Port Stephens Council is very excited to be hosting this prestigious event. The Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro provides a fantastic opportunity to promote Port Stephens, our beautiful beaches, National Parks and the amazing Worimi Conservation Lands to surfers and surfing fans from around the world. Port Stephens Council looks forward to working with the WSL and Surfing NSW to ensure the 2017 Port Stephens Pro is a great success and continues in Port Stephens for many years to come.”
The 2017 Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro will run from November 2 – 5. For more information on the event and to watch it live, head or check out the WSL App.

Picture - Novocastrian, Philippa Anderson (Merewether, NSW) has been competing on the QS for a number of years now, with the dream of elevating herself to the CT. Photo by Ethan Smith / Surfing NSW.

It’s Magpie Swooping Season

by BirdLife Australia
It’s that time of year again. As the days gradually begin to grow longer and the weather warms up, many birds begin to build their nests and lay their eggs. Their number includes Australian Magpies.

Because magpies are one of the most common birds in built-up areas, as well as in rural environments, they often come into contact with us. For most of the year, people are happy to interact with magpies, but with the arrival of the breeding season, the situation’s not always so happy.

Magpie breeding season is dreaded by many people because of the perception that at this time of year the birds relentlessly swoop at people, both on foot or riding bicycles, as well as dogs and anything else that moves.

Though wide-held, this perception is not altogether accurate.

Although it’s true that spring is magpie swooping season, it should be noted that not all magpies swoop at people. In fact, it is generally quite a small proportion of them that are aggressive towards humans. Most of the birds that attack are males, though, indeed, most male magpies don’t attack, and those that do usually only become aggressive when people venture too close to the nest tree.

Although the timing of swooping behaviour varies between the different regions of Australia, most swooping activity occurs in mid- to late spring, during the brief period when there are magpie chicks in the nest, with the intensity of attacks increasing gradually as the nestlings grow. Few magpies attack before their eggs have hatched, and the attacks usually drop off after the chicks have fledged (left the nest). It’s a brief window, but one that can be traumatic for people being swooped.

There are a few things you can do to prevent being swooped, but nothing is guaranteed to work.
  • The most sensible method is to avoid walking or riding near trees where magpies are nesting.
  • If you can’t avoid the area, try wearing a hat or carrying an umbrella for protection; cyclists can attach a forest of cable-ties to their helmets.
  • Attach eye spots to the back of your hat.
  • Wave a stick above your head as you walk past.
  • Keep an eye on the bird; he’s much less likely to attack if he knows he’s been sussed.
  • Above all, don’t harass the birds. Though tempting, it will only make them more aggressive. And remember, harming magpies is against the law.
For more information, see Magpie Alert, by Darryl Jones (UNSW Press, Sydney).

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!

Kooragang Liquefied Petroleum Gas Storage Facility

The applicant proposes to construct a LPG storage and cylinder filling and small truck loading facility on Egret Street, Kooragang. 

The Facility will consist of the following: 
- One 50-tonne LPG tank, fireproofed with fendolite coating. 
- LPG loading/ unloading point (B-Double road tanker delivery and bobtail tanker loading). 
- LPG pump supplying cylinder filling plant. 
- One 4.5 kL LPG tank for receiving residual LPG from returned cylinders before inspection and refill. 
- Cylinder filling and storage, loadout on flat top trucks. 
- Overnight parking of laden bobtail tankers in a dedicated area.

Exhibition Start 14/09/2017
Exhibition End 16/10/2017

Buildings And Precincts To Go Carbon Neutral

9 October 2017: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
The Turnbull Government today launched the National Carbon Offset Standard for buildings and precincts, expanding a successful voluntary program which has allowed organisations, products and services to become carbon neutral through reducing and offsetting their emissions.

Already 49 different organisations across Australia have chosen to go carbon neutral and been certified as achieving this Standard by the Government. Under the Standard, it is possible to fly carbon neutral and buy carbon neutral – now it will be possible to live and work carbon neutral.

Expanding the standard to the property sector has been done in close partnership with the Green Building Council of Australia and National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Administrator. It will allow certification to be achieved through Green Star and NABERS rating processes and minimise costs for participants.

The new building and precincts categories complement the incredible advances that we have already seen in the property sector, especially in energy efficiency measures which make for more comfortable building environments, more liveable cities and reduced running costs.

The National Carbon Offset Standard supports cities, councils and a broad range of businesses to better manage their emissions and become certified as carbon neutral. It can be used to measure, reduce, offset, report and audit emissions.

More than seven million tonnes of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking two million cars off the road for a year, have been offset thanks to voluntary carbon neutral certifications to date.

With a potential lifespan of over 50 years, buildings and precincts play a critical role in Australia’s transition to a lower emissions future.

$3 Million In Grants Now Available For Commuity Recycling Centres

Media release: EPA
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the NSW Environmental Trust (ET) are calling for local government, not-for-profit organisations and businesses from select Local Government areas to apply for grants to set up Community Recycling Centres (CRC) for the collection of household problem wastes.

The $3 million Community Recycling Centre grants program is now open as part of the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.  Community Recycling Centres make it easier for NSW residents to recycle or safely dispose items like oils, paints and batteries.

Applications are open until Wednesday 15 November 2017 with funding of up to $200,000 available to enhance existing facilities or build new facilities for the collection of problem waste. 
This is the fourth round of funding and it is designed to help keep problem waste out of the kerbside bin system by providing convenient and easy to use facilities for the community.

EPA Chair and CEO Barry Buffier said the aim of the program is to establish a network that will provide 90 per cent of NSW households with access to a free Community Recycling Centre for common household problem wastes.

“This funding focuses on our priority to establish Community Recycling Centres based on existing gaps in the network.

‘The funding to establish facilities in 22 priority Local Government Areas will mean residents will have a permanent facility available to people to drop-off low toxic wastes, such as gas bottles, household batteries, paint, oils and smoke detectors, Mr Buffier said.

‘To date, over 100 Community Recycling Centres have been funded in NSW and 62 are currently operational. Almost two million kilograms of household problem waste has been collected since the program started."
Priority LGAs for funding include: Blacktown, Canterbury Bankstown, The Hills, Ku-ring-gai, Northern Beaches, Sydney, Bayside, Camden, Goulburn Mulwaree, North Sydney, Parramatta, Ryde, Shellharbour, Wagga Wagga, Waverley, Wollondilly, Woollahra, Yass Valley, Central Coast, Cumberland, Lake Macquarie and Sutherland.
On behalf of the ET, Peter Dixon, Director Grants in the Office of Environment & Heritage states:

“This is one of our most successful community level grants programs. The take-up by local councils has been tremendous and the neighbourhoods with a new or upgraded Community Recycling Centre are enjoying the benefits of a free and convenient way of dropping off their problem wastes for environmentally friendly disposal and recycling”

Applications close 5pm, Wednesday 15 November 2017

For more information about the grants including how to apply and information sessions please visit:

For more information about Waste Less, Recycle More go to the EPA website:

Asparagus Fern

Asparagus Fern is our worst weed in Pittwater. The Bush Invaders is by PNHA member and primary school teacher Sylvia Saszczak. Share to spread the message about this horror weed.

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:


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:

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 

Wildlife Carers and Organisations in Pittwater:

Sydney Wildlife rescues, rehabilitates and releases sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife. From penguins, to possums and parrots, native wildlife of all descriptions passes through the caring hands of Sydney Wildlife rescuers and carers on a daily basis. We provide a genuine 24 hour, 7 day per week emergency advice, rescue and care service.

As well as caring for sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife, Sydney Wildlife is also involved in educating the community about native wildlife and its habitat. We provide educational talks to a wide range of groups and audiences including kindergartens, scouts, guides, a wide range of special interest groups and retirement villages. Talks are tailored to meet the needs and requirements of each group. 


Found an injured native animal? We're here to help.

Keep the animal contained, warm, quiet and undisturbed. Do not offer any food or water. Call Sydney Wildlife immediately on 9413 4300, or take the animal to your nearest vet. Generally there is no charge. Find out more at:

Southern Cross Wildlife Care was launched over 6 years ago. It is the brainchild of Dr Howard Ralph, the founder and chief veterinarian. SCWC was established solely for the purpose of treating injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. No wild creature in need that passes through our doors is ever rejected. 


People can assist SCWC by volunteering their skills ie: veterinary; medical; experienced wildlife carers; fundraising; "IT" skills; media; admin; website etc. We are always having to address the issue of finances as we are a non commercial veterinary service for wildlife in need, who obviously don't have cheque books in their pouches. It is a constant concern and struggle of ours when we are pre-occupied with the care and treatment of the escalating amount of wildlife that we have to deal with. Just becoming a member of SCWC for $45 a year would be a great help. Regular monthly donations however small, would be a wonderful gift and we could plan ahead knowing that we had x amount of funds that we could count on. Our small team of volunteers are all unpaid even our amazing vet Howard, so all funds raised go directly towards our precious wildlife. SCWC is TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

Find out more at:

Think before you print ; A kilo of recycled paper creates around 1.8 kilograms of carbon emissions, without taking into account the emissions produced from transporting the paper. So, before you send a document to print, think about how many kilograms of carbon emissions you could save by reading it on screen.

Major Reforms To Make Private Health Insurance Simpler And More Affordable

October 13, 2017: Media Release - The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
The Australian Government has announced a wide ranging package of reforms to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable for Australians.
We know that every dollar matters to Australian families and these reforms will get better value for families and make policies easier to understand.

Private health insurance is an essential and valuable part of the Australia’s health system.

We are encouraging younger Australians to take up private health insurance by allowing insurers to discount hospital insurance premiums for 18 to 29 year olds by up to 10 per cent. The discount will phase out after people turn 40.

People with hospital insurance that does not offer full cover for mental health treatment will be able to upgrade their cover and access mental health services without a waiting period on a once-off basis. This will significantly enhance the value of private health insurance for young people.

To support Australians in regional and rural areas, insurers will be able to offer travel and accommodation benefits for people in regional and rural areas that need to travel for treatment.

We’re helping to reduce rising costs for health insurers – which would otherwise be passed on through higher premiums.

To achieve this, we have entered into an agreement with the Medical Technology Association of Australia to lower the price of implanted medical devices from 1 February next year. This will have immediate benefits for consumers in the form of lower premiums from April. 

We know that many people would like to be able to select a higher excess in exchange for lower premiums.

That’s why we will increase the maximum excess consumers can choose under their health insurance policies for the first time since 2001. This will allow many consumers to reduce their premium increase in 2019.

And we know that many people find private health insurance confusing. We will act to simplify private health insurance by requiring insurers to categorise products as gold/silver/bronze/basic, and use standardised definitions for treatments to make it clear what is and isn’t covered in their policies.

The website will be upgraded to make it easier to compare insurance products, and insurers will be able to provide personalised information to consumers on their product every year.

We’re also boosting the powers of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman and increasing its resources to ensure consumer complaints are resolved clearly and quickly. 

After consultation with the private health insurance and medical sector, the Government has agreed to stop insurers from offering benefits for a range of natural therapies, such as Bowen therapy or Rolfing.

The Turnbull Government is committed to private health insurance and we’re committed to supporting the more than 13 million Australians that have taken out cover.

We are investing around $6 billion every year in the private health insurance rebate to help keep premiums affordable.

By contrast, Labor hates private health insurance and has already confirmed that they will cut the rebate. This will hurt millions of Australian families.

In Government, Labor cut $4 billion from the private health insurance rebate and means tested it. And now they’ve confirmed they want to do it again.

The Turnbull Government is committed to improving private health insurance into the future, and our reform work will continue. 

The Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee will continue to examine issues such as risk equalisation, and we will work with the medical profession on options to improve the transparency of medical out-of-pocket costs. 

Committees will be established to review funding methodologies for rehabilitation care and day-only mental health care to ensure that insurers fund the most efficient models of care.

The second tier default benefit, providing a safety net for consumers attending non-contracted hospitals, will continue, but the administration of eligibility will be transferred to the Department of Health.

Australia’s health system is one of the best in the world where every Australian has access to the best doctors, nurses, hospitals and medicines. 

It is essential for the health of our nation that we continue to maintain a strong and competitive private health insurance market and I believe these reforms will do just that.

New Guide To Navigate The NDIS

12 October 2017
A new guide developed jointly by the Australian Government and Flinders University will support mental health providers in making it easier for people with a psychosocial disability to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Hon Jane Prentice, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, said community based mental health providers are at the front line of helping their clients’ access the Scheme.

“For people with significant disability, the NDIS can be life changing – giving people the power to choose the support they need, when and where they need it,” Mrs Prentice said.

“Consultation with mental health providers has revealed a strong need to assist people with a psychosocial disability through the NDIS process.

“The Guide, Accessing the NDIS, provides practical advice based on providers’ own experiences.

“The information helps simplify the NDIS requirements, such as explaining how clients can test their eligibility and meet NDIS criteria.

“The Guide was field tested with the mental health sector, consumers, and carers to ensure it is helpful and easy to use.”

The Guide builds on work occurring in the National Disability Insurance Agency to improve pathways for people with psychosocial disability and work underway by the Productivity Commission and the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS.

Rewards For Reducing Power Use

October 11, 2017: NSW Government
A new pilot program will reward households and businesses for reducing their power consumption this summer.

Four pilots of the demand response program are being co-funded with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to free up electricity supply during peak periods over the summer.

The three-year trial will be run across NSW, VIC and SA. Energy Australia, AGL, Flow Power and EnerNOC will participate in the NSW trial.

The trial will deliver 61 MW of spare capacity for NSW and will increase to 80 MW by 2019.

Households and businesses who participate in the trial will be rewarded with batteries and smart appliances.

Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said the program is another step in ensuring reliable electricity supply for the people of NSW.

“These initiatives will see advanced technologies introduced to thousands of NSW homes and businesses to help them save energy and money,” Mr Harwin said.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) will start testing the pilot program next month.

$200 Million Research Boost To Improve The Lives Of Australian Patients 

11 October 2017
Prime Minister - The Hon Malcolm Turnbull
Minister for Health- The Hon. Greg Hunt
The Turnbull Government is investing over $200 million in world-leading medical research projects to improve the lives of patients battling cancers, mental health illnesses and chronic disease.

In addition to this significant investment in medical research, the Turnbull Government is providing $5 million to CanTeen under the Medical Research Future Fund Accelerated Research program to improve access to cutting edge breakthroughs for adolescents and young adults with cancer.

The investment in CanTeen will facilitate new clinical trials into cancer types with the highest death rates for adolescents and young adults.

This builds on our recent commitments of $20 million for the Zero Childhood Cancer initiative, $13 million for clinical trials for rare cancers and rare diseases under the MRFF Lifting Clinical Trials and Registries Capacity program and $5.8 million to Cancer Australia to fight childhood cancers.

The $202 million in funding announced today includes over $40 million for cancer research, including in areas like melanoma research.

Over $29 million will be invested into mental health research, almost $23 million for cardiovascular disease research, $8 million for diabetes research and $5 million for obesity research.

Improving the health of Indigenous Australians is a priority with $15.5 million for new research.

Over $15 million in funding will be targeted at research projects that support Australians who suffer severe injuries.               

A total of 326 research projects will be funded at a cost of more than $197 million under the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

And a further 13 Fellowships have been allocated $5.64 million under the $8 million MRFF Next Generation Clinical Researcher Fellowship program, which supports Australia’s new and up and coming research talent.

These grants will increase clinical research capacity in the health and medical research workforce, providing greater opportunities for more breakthroughs.

A full list of grant recipients is available on the NHMRC

Information on the Medical Research Future Fund and grant recipients can be found at

Providing Affordable Access To New Treatment For Leukaemia And Lymphoma 

09 October 2017
Prime Minister - The Hon Malcolm Turnbull
Minister for Health- The Hon. Greg Hunt
More than 920 Australians each year will benefit from affordable access to a new medicine for leukaemia and lymphoma patients.

Ibrutinib (sold as Imbruvica®) would normally cost $187,390 on average per course of treatment, putting it beyond the reach of most patients.

This $466 million listing on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme will save patients hundreds of thousands of dollars.

From 1 December 2017, it will cost a maximum of $38.80 per treatment and just $6.30 for concessional patients.

It will be available to eligible patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).

Ibrutinib is used when CLL or SLL has progressed or has not responded to first line treatment with chemo-immuno-therapy.

It is significantly more effective than the treatments currently available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The Turnbull Government is guaranteeing Medicare and we’re continuing to make medicines available and affordable for Australians who need them.

Since coming into Government, the Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by adding around $7.5 billion worth of medicines to the PBS.

More than 60 new cancer medicines or amended listings have been approved by the Coalition Government since October 2013. This includes new treatments for advanced pancreatic cancer, melanoma, advanced breast cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer.

We are now spending one in every six dollars of PBS expenditure on cancer medicines.

Turnbull Government To Convene 5G Working Group

12 October 2017: Media Release - Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications
The Turnbull Government today released a 5G directions paper  and will convene a working group to drive the deployment of 5G mobile  technology in Australia.

While Australians have already shown an insatiable appetite  for mobile technology using existing 3G and 4G networks, the significant technological  advances offered by 5G will provide new opportunities across a range of  sectors.

The Government's work will support the timely rollout of 5G  in Australia to enable the next wave of broad-based industry productivity and  to foster the growth of Australia's digital economy.

The commercial rollout of 5G mobile networks is expected to commence  in 2020. 5G will support improved connectivity, significantly faster data speeds,  and very low latency. These characteristics will enable 5G to underpin  substantial economic and social benefits across the economy.

This directions paper highlights that the Government will  support 5G rollout in Australia by:
  • making spectrum available in a timely  manner,
  • actively engaging in international  standardisation processes,
  • streamlining planning arrangements to  allow mobile carriers to deploy infrastructure more quickly and at lower cost,
  • and reviewing existing  telecommunications regulatory arrangements to ensure they are fit-for-purpose  in the 5G era.
5G will be a key enabler for a range of Government  priorities, including the Digital Economy Strategy, policy development for autonomous  vehicles, and the Smart Cities Plan. To improve alignment across portfolios,  the Department of Communications and the Arts will establish a working group that  will bring together representatives from across Government and industry.

This working group will provide a platform for an ongoing  strategic dialogue on 5G, and will work to ensure that sectoral regulatory  frameworks are updated to take advantage of 5G.

The directions paper is available

600 Construction Jobs To Be Created As Lendlease Selected To Build Osborne South Shipyard

Joint Media Release
Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia

The Hon. Christopher Pyne MP
Minister for Defence Industry

12 October 2017
The Turnbull Government has announced that Lendlease has been selected as the managing contractor for the construction of the Osborne South Shipyard and has today revealed the project is anticipated to create 600 jobs at its peak.

Following a competitive tender process, Lendlease, in partnership with Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd, will be responsible for undertaking this nationally significant work. Lendlease has a proven track-record with large, high-profile construction projects and has recently delivered major projects in South Australia, including the Adelaide Oval and Convention Centre redevelopments.

Mobilisation works will commence in October 2017, with the completion of the new shipbuilding infrastructure ready to support the commencement of Future Frigate construction at the site in 2020. The construction of the shipyard is a key enabler of the Government’s continuous naval shipbuilding program.

Minister for Defence Industry the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said that South Australians were now seeing the tangible benefits of the Turnbull Government’s historic $90 billion naval shipbuilding program. 

“For the first time in over a decade we are seeing jobs created at Osborne, with up to 600 construction related jobs to be created on the Osborne South Shipyard project,” Minister Pyne said.

“The valley of death is over and we are now seeing a upturn of employment in naval shipbuilding in our state that will only continue to increase as these new projects gain momentum.”

Minister for Finance Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann said that the Government’s decisions to establish Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd and purchase land and facilities from the South Australian Government have enabled work to progress rapidly.

“Today’s announcement is the latest step in the Government’s plan to ensure that we develop world-leading shipbuilding facilities in South Australia that will enable our historic investments in naval shipbuilding to commence on schedule.

“Through Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd the Government is investing more than $500 million in naval infrastructure at Osborne that will support a sustainable, long-term naval shipbuilding industry in Australia.”

Narrabri Wins NSW Healthy Town Challenge

12 October 2017: NSW Health
Narrabri has won the NSW Healthy Town Challenge for 2017 earning a combined $20,000 in grants for its efforts to get locals to eat well, move more and sit less.

Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries joined Minister for Health Brad Hazzard in congratulating the town’s participants, who lost a combined weight of 260 kilos.

“With 13,000 residents, Narrabri is now famous not only for its cotton-growing but also for taking action to become the healthiest small town in NSW in 2017,” Mr Humphries said.

“I also want to congratulate the other towns that participated in the Challenge – Oberon, which was highly commended, Grenfell, Cowra and Coonabarabran.”

Supported by NSW Health and the Heart Foundation, the Challenge encourages regional communities with populations of between 1,000 and 15,000 to get active.

Based on an application process, five towns are selected and given an initial $15,000 grant to implement healthy initiatives, with the winning town receiving a further $5,000.

Narrabri introduced a Healthier Oils Program where local food outlets switched to healthier cooking oils; a walking program around Narrabri Lake and other initiatives including a weight loss coaching service to support locals in their weight loss efforts.

Mr Hazzard said all the initiatives were successful in helping the town’s 113 Challenge participants shed an average 2.3 kilograms to take out the 2017 title.

“I am advised prior to the Healthy Town Challenge, Narrabri had one of the highest levels of obesity in the entire New England North West,” Mr Hazzard said.

“To its credit, the community came together to do something about it and, in doing so, the people of Narrabri set a wonderful example to us all of the benefits of better looking after ourselves.”

Applications for the 2018 NSW Healthy Town Challenge open on 16 October 2017. Application forms will be available at

Native Title Minister's Meeting

12 October 2017
Joint media release
Attorney General
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC
Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion
On Friday 13 October 2017, we will chair the Native Title Ministers' meeting at Parliament House in Canberra where Commonwealth, state and territory ministers will meet to renew and reinvigorate discussions on collaborative pathways to improve the native title system.

This important meeting to consider significant native title reforms follows the Commonwealth's decisive action to restore certainty to the native title system, in partnership with the native title sector, in response to the McGlade decision.

In maintaining this momentum, the Commonwealth is progressing additional reforms to the Native Title Act, including in relation to section 31 agreements, to provide certainty to Indigenous and industry stakeholders and to continue to promote the effective and efficient resolution of native title claims.

A focus of discussions between ministers will be recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission in its 2015 report, 'Connection to Country'.

Kevin Smith, board member of the National Native Title Council, the peak representative body of native title groups and Traditional Owners, will address ministers on the interests of Indigenous people and their land and land related matters.

While the Commonwealth has overall responsibility for the administration of the Native Title Act it is only party to a quarter of native title claims. As such, the Commonwealth will seek the commitment of its state and territory counterparts on these reforms and on emerging issues within the native title system. This inter-jurisdictional collaboration is necessary to provide certainty and practical outcomes for all parties.

The Commonwealth will also update states and territories on support that it is providing to native title holders including through capacity building funding for Prescribed Bodies Corporate under the Northern Australia White Paper, the first time funding has been made available directly for the benefit of native title holders.

The Commonwealth is committed to working in partnership with native title holders and other stakeholders to ensure that the native title system works for the benefit of all Australians.

Residency In Rome Now Open For Australian Visual Artists Through Mordant Family/Australia Council Fellowship 

11 October 2017  
The Australia Council is calling for Expressions of Interest from established Australian visual artists who wish to develop their practice through a residency at the American Academy in Rome.

Offered through the generous support of the Mordant Family, the Fellowship is open to visual artists with a significant track record of exhibitions in public institutions and galleries.

This prestigious Fellowship will allow the successful artist to spend two months in Rome as part of the American Academy’s Affiliated Fellowship Program. Established in 1894, the Academy is the oldest American overseas centre for independent study and advanced research in the arts and humanities. 

Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski said the Fellowship was a wonderful opportunity for an Australian visual artist to develop their practice in a broader context and build invaluable international networks by working alongside artists and scholars from all over the world.

“The Australia Council is extremely grateful for the continued and generous support of Catriona and Simon Mordant AM which makes this possible. The Fellowship has been a great success in its inaugural year, demonstrating beautifully how co-investment can expand the opportunities available to Australian artists,” Mr Grybowski said.

"The Fellowship for an Australian visual artist at the American Academy in Rome is an extraordinary opportunity for an artist to immerse themselves with the best scholars from around the world to advance their practice. We were overjoyed by the quality of the applications for the inaugural Fellowship in 2017 and are excited to see the applications for the 2018 Fellow. We are delighted to be partnering with the Australia Council in creating this opportunity," Simon Mordant AM said.

Expressions of Interest are now open and will close on 21 November 2017. Applicants must outline their plan of activity whilst in Rome and how the residency will further their professional and artistic practice development.

Applicants are encouraged to review the criteria on the Australia Council’s website.

The 2017 Fellow and inaugural recipient is leading Australian photographer, video and installation artist Lynne Roberts-Goodwin. Ms Roberts-Goodwin is available for interviews.

The 2018 Mordant Family/Australia Council Fellow will be announced in late January.

Forum Focused On Issues Confronting Female Veterans

October 10, 2017: The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the Government was listening to its female veterans and using their feedback to inform significant reform as he attended the second Female Veterans’ Policy Forum in Canberra today.

Establishing the Female Veterans’ Policy Forum was a Coalition election promise to ensure female veterans received the recognition they deserve and to better understand some of the specific challenges they face.

Mr Tehan said feedback from the first forum, held last year, was informing how the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) used $166.6 million in funding to update its ICT systems and improve access to DVA services.

“Feedback from the first Female Veterans Forum led the Government to provide $8.5 million in this year’s budget to expand eligibility for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service to the partners and children of our contemporary veterans, who have had one day of full-time service,” Mr Tehan said.

“We also listened when our female veterans said the nature of their service was not well understood by the community.

“In the lead up to Anzac Day this year, we raised awareness about the important contribution female ADF personnel had made to our national defence and we will be supporting more initiatives in the future.

“It is encouraging to see members of the female veteran community, such as By the Left, encouraging female veterans to march in larger numbers on ANZAC Day 2018.”

Attendees at the forum participated in sessions including targeting the health needs of female veterans and providing support for domestic violence.

Appointments Of New Chief Justice Of The Family Court And Chief Judge Of The Federal Circuit Court

10 October 2017: Media release - Attorney-General for Australia, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC
I announce today the appointment of the new Chief Justice of the Family Court and the new Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court.

Chief Justice of the Family Court
The new Chief Justice of the Family Court will be the Honourable John Pascoe AC CVO, the current Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court.

With Chief Judge Pascoe's elevation, Mr William Alstergren QC will become the new Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court. Mr Alstergren is the current President of the Australian Bar Association.

Chief Judge Pascoe has served as the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia since 2004. He will bring to the Family Court a wealth of experience, as the head of jurisdiction of the Commonwealth's busiest trial court which is also the court which deals with most family law matters. The Federal Circuit Court is the largest Commonwealth Court, with a current complement of 67 judges. It deals with more than 85% per cent of all federal family law matters.

His eminent service to the law and to the judiciary was recognised by his appointment as a Companion of the Order of Australia in January 2016.

Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia
With the appointment of Chief Judge Pascoe as Chief Justice of the Family Court, Mr William Alstergren QC will become the next Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court.

Mr Alstergren has practised as a barrister in Melbourne since 1991, and took silk in 2012. His principal areas of practice have included commercial law, tax law, industrial law and family law.

As well as being the current President of the Australian Bar Association, he is a former Chairman of the Victorian Bar. He will bring to the Commonwealth's busiest trial court formidable leadership, legal and administrative skills.

Mr Alstergren has also been issued a joint commission as a Justice of the Family Court of Australia.

Both appointments will commence on 13 October 2017.

On behalf of the Government, I congratulate both Chief Judge Pascoe and Mr Alstergren on their appointments.

I also take the opportunity to express my gratitude to the retiring Chief Justice of the Family Court, the Honourable Diana Bryant AO, for her lifelong service to the law, as solicitor, barrister, senior counsel, Chief Federal Magistrate and Chief Justice of the Family Court.

Current Office
Chief Judge, Federal Circuit Court of Australia
Previous Office
Australian representative to the Hague Conference on Private International Law Experts' Group on Parentage

Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Australian National University
Bachelor of Arts Australian National University

Current Office
Queens Counsel, Victorian Bar
President, Australian Bar Association
Previous Office
Past Chairman, Victorian Bar

Masters of Laws, Melbourne University
Bachelor of Laws, Melbourne University
Bachelor of Arts, Melbourne University

ASIC's Client Money Reporting Rules Finalised

Tuesday 10 October 2017: Media Release - ASIC
ASIC has released the finalised ASIC Client Money Reporting Rules 2017(client money rules) which, from 4 April 2018, will impose record-keeping, reconciliation and reporting obligations on Australian financial services (AFS) licensees that hold 'derivative retail client money' within the meaning of the Corporations Act, unless the client money relates to a derivative that is traded on a fully licensed domestic market, such as ASX 24.

ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said, 'The client money rules will ensure greater transparency in relation to an AFS licensee's receipt and use of derivative retail client money. They will apply more formal and consistent standards across the derivatives sector and will ensure any discrepancies in an AFS licensee's client money account are notified to ASIC in a timely manner and enable ASIC to take appropriate action.'

The final client money rules incorporate some changes in response to industry consultation and feedback on Consultation Paper 291 Reporting rules: Derivative retail client money (CP 291), issued in July 2017 (refer:17-231MR). 

'ASIC has carefully considered stakeholder feedback arising from CP 291 and has made some changes to address the issues raised.  In particular, the changes to the timing of the reconciliation requirements will provide licensees with greater flexibility and make the client money rules easier to comply with',  Ms Armour said.

ASIC's response to the submissions it received during the consultation is detailed in Report 546 Response to submissions on CP 291 Reporting rules: Derivative retail client money (REP 546).

ASIC has also today released Information Sheet 226 Complying with the ASIC Client Money Reporting Rules 2017 (INFO 226) to assist AFS licensees comply with their obligations under the client money rules.

The release of the client money rules follows the passage of Treasury Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No. 1) Bill 2016 and the Corporations Amendment (Client Money) Regulations 2017. These reforms will prevent AFS licensees from withdrawing client money provided by retail derivative clients, and using it for the wide range of purposes currently permitted under theCorporations Act, including as the AFS licensee's own working capital.

The client money rules will commence on 4 April 2018, at the same time the other client money reforms take effect.  This gives AFS licensees a six month transition period to ensure they have the necessary systems, policies and procedures for complying with the client money rules.

The release of the client money rules and guidance follows public consultation in July 2017 (see 17-231MR).

NSW Government Introduces Nation-First Aboriginal Languages Bill

11th October, 2017
NSW has become the first state in the country to introduce legislation to Parliament to acknowledge the unique value and importance of language to our First Peoples and to the State.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was proud the NSW Government today introduced the landmark bill, in the presence of Aboriginal Elders and community representatives, which recognises the significance of NSW’s first languages and will protect and revive them for future generations.

“Today is an historic day. This legislation will acknowledge the importance of Aboriginal languages for years to come,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell said the NSW Government had worked alongside language experts and Aboriginal communities, including at 32 meetings and workshops around NSW, to develop the Bill.

“It was crucial to get a diverse range of opinions and input from all over the state to ensure the legislation was as sturdy as possible,” Ms Mitchell said.

“The Bill was introduced in the Upper House today in the presence of Aboriginal Elders and community representatives with a moving message stick ceremony – symbolic of Aboriginal people’s custodianship of language.”

The Legislation includes the establishment of an independent trust made up of Aboriginal community leaders, who will oversee the development a strategic plan to protect and strengthen Aboriginal languages through programs, partnerships and funding.

Winter Crop Production Forecasts To Be Downgraded

12 October 2017:ABARES
Unfavourable seasonal conditions in key cropping regions since the release of the September 2017 edition of Australian crop report mean that ABARES is likely to downgrade its forecast of 2017–18 winter crop production in the December edition of the report.

ABARES Executive Director, Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said that ABARES had noted the September forecast for winter crop production would only be achieved if spring rainfall was sufficient and timely, especially in central west New South Wales and the Eyre Peninsula and Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.

“Unfortunately, in New South Wales, crop conditions in the central west have deteriorated significantly and yields are likely to be well below our September forecast,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“In South Australia, at this point ABARES does not envisage significant changes from the September 2017 forecast for winter crop production.

“Overall, we expect the December 2017 forecast for Australia’s winter crop production in Australia will be lower than the September 2017 forecast, but likely still around the 10 y​ear average to 2015–16.”

The December edition of Australian crop report will be released on 5 December 2017.

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.