Inbox and Environment News: Issue 334

October 22 - 28, 2017: Issue 334

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

NSW Must Follow Victoria And Ban The Bag

Wednesday, October 18, 2017: Media Release - Dr Mehreen Faruqi, Justin Field, NSW Greens
Premier Gladys Berejiklian should urgently introduce a ban on single-use plastic bags after a Victoria announcement yesterday left NSW as the only Australian state or territory without a commitment to ban the bag.

South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT all have bans on plastic bags in place, Queensland is set to join them in 2018 and Victoria and Western Australia have recently announced bans. Woolworths and Coles will phase out single-use plastic bags over the next 12 months.

NSW Greens Environment spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi said Premier Berejiklian was out of step with the growing community support for NSW to join the other Australian states and territories and ban single-use plastic bags.

“The Greens call on Premier Berejiklian to announce a ban on single-use plastic bags in NSW and close the loop on a nationwide ban,” Dr Faruqi said.

“It is quite frankly a deep embarrassment that NSW is the only state not to commit to banning the bag.

“We saw during Plastic Free July that the community is ready and willing to act for change, the big supermarkets have announced plastic bag bans, all the states and territories are on board, now we need action from the NSW Premier.

NSW Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesperson Justin Field said, "an estimated 50 million plastic bags end up as litter in the environment each year in Australia, mostly in our waterways and ocean, where they kill and injure dolphins, turtles and other marine life. There is one way to fix it - it's time to put an end to single use plastics and especially plastic bags. .

“Every day we delay a ban on plastic bags is a missed opportunity for reducing pollution, protecting marine life and creating a healthier future for NSW,” he said.

Sub Base Platypus Renewal Project Approved

October 19, 2017
In December 2016 the Harbour Trust adopted a Management Plan for the former HMAS Platypus site, North Sydney. The Plan’s vision to transform this former military-industrial site into a public urban park received broad community support.

The Harbour Trust has prepared a programme of works aimed at delivering key elements of the Plan’s vision for the site. The Platypus Renewal Project will provide new public open space, improved access and refurbished buildings, enabling the site to be opened to the public for the first time in 150 years.

Detailed documentation about the proposed Platypus Renewal Project was publicly exhibited, and public submissions invited, from 20 July to 16 August 2017. The Harbour Trust’s assessment of the proposal included careful consideration of all issues raised through public consultation, which included 54 written submissions and a petition. 

The Harbour Trust has approved the Platypus Renewal Project with approval conditions aimed at protecting the site’s heritage and environmental values, and the amenity of surrounding areas.

A summary of the key matters addressed in the Harbour Trust’s assessment can be viewed here.

East Antarctica Marine Protected Area Remains Priority For Australia

16th October 2017
Australia’s CCAMLR Commissioner Ms Gillian Slocum, said while Australia will be pursuing a number of objectives at the meeting, a revised East Antarctic Marine Protected Area proposal is back on the table after a number of attempts to have it adopted by the Commission.

“Together with the European Union we have further revised the proposal, clarifying where different fishing activities can occur and simplifying the objectives to make conservation outcomes clearer,” Ms Slocum said.

“We were heartened last year when the Commission adopted the Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area.

“It is important we build on this momentum to create a system of marine protected areas to help us monitor and understand the effects of fishing and climate change on Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems,” Ms Slocum said.

In another climate related initiative at this year’s Commission meeting, Ms Slocum said Australia hoped CCAMLR would adopt a “Climate Change Response Work Program” to improve consideration of climate change impacts in the work of the Commission.

“This initiative will allow CCAMLR to maximise its actions – both now and in the future – from current research into climate change. This will then feed into management responses and future priorities,” Ms Slocum said.

Another key priority for Australia is to seek agreement on a harmonised approach to fishing for toothfish. Australia is looking to work with other CCAMLR Members to make some important revisions to conservation measures to ensure the sustainability of all fisheries targeting toothfish.

Australia is also supporting measures to improve the CCAMLR inspection system for fishing vessels and the establishment of a CCAMLR Bureau to enable more efficient and effective delivery and deliberation of CCAMLR business.

The CCAMLR meeting continues until 27 October.

Thirty-Sixth Annual Meeting Of CCAMLR Opens Today

October 16, 2017: CCAMLR
The Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, will today open the thirty-sixth annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

The Governor will welcome some 250 marine scientists, resource managers and policy makers representing 25 international delegations, who will review current practice and consider new measures to conserve and manage marine ecosystems in the Southern Ocean.

Representatives from other Contracting Parties as well as intergovernmental, environmental and industry organisations will also participate in the meetings as official observers, adding their voices to the issues under discussion.

Following CCAMLR’s landmark decision in 2016 to establish the world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea, this year’s CCAMLR meetings will:
  • finalise/adopt the Research and Monitoring Plan for the Ross Sea region MPA
  • review proposals to continue establishing a representative system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the East Antarctic region and the Weddell Sea
  • review a new proposal from Chile and Argentina regarding a proposed MPA in the Western Antarctic Peninsula – South Scotia Arc
  • consider renewing the existing arrangement with the five marine rescue coordination centres with responsibilities for Southern Ocean search and rescue (SAR) to release CCAMLR vessel monitoring data to support a SAR incident
  • report on the results of the second performance review of CCAMLR, a comprehensive review of CCAMLR’s progress and success against a range of criteria
  • report on the establishment of a new special area for scientific study where a huge iceberg broke free from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in West Antarctica
  • appoint a new Executive Secretary to lead the CCAMLR Secretariat for an initial period of four years
  • attend to routine business such as setting catch limits and research parameters for toothfish, icefish and krill.
CCAMLR is a consensus-based organisation consisting of 25 Members (24 countries and the European Union). The Member responsible for chairing the Commission meeting changes every two years. This year, for the first time, the Commission meeting will be chaired by South Africa.

Representing the nation as Chair is Dr Monde Mayekiso, a diplomat of many years’ standing, and long-term delegate to CCAMLR. One of his first tasks as Chair was to accept an international award on behalf of CCAMLR. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) awarded CCAMLR the Margarita Lizárraga Medal for serving with distinction in the application of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

“Recognition associated with an award such as the Margarita Lizárraga Medal not only confirms that past efforts have been valuable and appreciated by the international community but provides additional motivation to continue those endeavours,” said Dr Mayekiso.

The Commission meeting considers scientific data and recommendations from its Scientific Committee which has supported the meetings of several expert specialist groups throughout the year. This year, the Scientific Committee will once again be chaired by Dr Mark Belchier from the United Kingdom.

“At this year’s meetings of the Scientific Committee and Commission, CCAMLR Members will continue to work collaboratively to find mutually acceptable outcomes to a range of challenges to take CCAMLR’s management of the Southern Ocean into the future,” said Dr Belchier.

Since 1982, with the support of the Tasmanian State and Australian Commonwealth Government, the CCAMLR Secretariat has been located in Hobart, where it maintains an office of 25 staff. The annual meetings of CCAMLR provide a valuable contribution to the local economy.

CEFC Backs Kennedy Energy Park Hybrid Solar Wind And Battery Project

19 October 2017: Media Release Clean Energy Finance Corp. (CEFC)
The CEFC will invest $94 million in Australia's first fully integrated wind, solar and battery project, at the central north Queensland Kennedy Energy Park. The project is being developed by Windlab and Eurus Energy.

The $170 million 60MW hybrid renewable energy project will connect to the local grid, providing electricity to communities from Julia Creek to Charters Towers, more than 500 kilometres away.  It will generate enough power for more than 30,000 average homes each year.

"This is a landmark project for Queensland and Australia, creating a new model for renewable energy that brings together the benefits of wind, solar and battery storage to overcome intermittency and improve reliability." CEFC Wind Sector Lead Andrew Gardner said.

"Financing three separate technologies on one site was a complex undertaking that had not previously been achieved in Australia. As the sole debt financier for this project, our goal was to demonstrate the bankability of large-scale, integrated hybrid renewable energy projects for the future. We expect such projects to become an increasingly important part of Australia's electricity system, with complementary battery storage addressing the intermittency of wind and solar generation to support grid stability."

The Kennedy Energy Park is part of a wave of new large-scale renewable energy and storage projects in North Queensland, which include the Kidston solar and pumped hydro project, the Ross River Solar Farm, the proposed Forsayth wind farm, and the proposed Burdekin hydro project.

The CEFC has already committed almost $260 million to the Kidston and Ross River projects, as well as five other large-scale solar farms in north Queensland. Since inception, the CEFC has committed some $350 million to Queensland clean energy projects with a combined value of $1.4 billion representing an additional $3 of other financing for each $1 of CEFC investment.

Canberra-based Windlab is an innovative Australian company commercialising world leading atmospheric modelling and wind energy assessment technology developed by the CSIRO. The CEFC had previously provided Windlab with $8 million in corporate finance to assist the company with its continued expansion from a pure play project developer to an integrated developer, owner and manager of renewable energy assets.

"We are delighted to continue our work for Windlab, which is at the forefront of innovation in the clean energy sector," CEFC Project lead Bobby Vidakovic said.

"Windlab identified the Kennedy site after confirming its high levels of solar irradiance and world class complementary wind resource. The natural benefits of the site will deliver high levels of solar energy throughout the day and strong wind generation in the evenings, creating a reliable generation profile around the clock. The addition of the battery component will provide increased grid stability, allowing local communities to benefit from cheaper, cleaner electricity closer to the point of generation, with the added benefit of relieving demand on long transmission lines."

Windlab Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Roger Price said: "This has been an enormously challenging yet important project for Queensland and Australia.  It will demonstrate the importance of matching wind and solar generation to provide more predictable, reliable and low cost renewable energy.

"Successfully completing this project will also help unlock the enormous potential of Big Kennedy, the 1,200MW wind resource 80 kilometres north of Kennedy Energy Park that will be critical in balancing the large amounts of solar generation that is being added to the Queensland network."

Leading renewable energy developer Eurus Energy has a 50 per cent equity stake in the Kennedy Energy Park, which includes 43.2 MW of wind, 15 MW (AC) of solar and 2 MW of battery storage. The project is expected to deliver lifetime emissions abatement of almost three million tCO2-e. Windlab has secured a 10-year agreement with Queensland government owned CS Energy to purchase the renewable energy and some of the large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) produced by the project.

In October 2016, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced it had committed up to $18 million in recoupable grant funding for the project.

Mr Gardner added: "As the cost of producing electricity from renewable resources continues its rapid downward trajectory, we can expect investors to be increasingly attracted to large-scale hybrid renewable energy projects as the next wave of investment and technological innovation.

"By demonstrating how wind and solar can be co-developed, and combined with battery storage, we can continue to increase our renewable energy capacity while providing important ancillary benefits required to delivery grid stability and security."

About Windlab
Windlab Limited (ASX:WND) is an international wind energy development company established to commercialise world-leading atmospheric modelling and wind mapping technology developed at Australia's CSIRO.  With these advanced tools Windlab is able to locate, validate, develop and construct highly quality wind energy sites rapidly and accurately. Windlab has played a foundation role in the development of the wind industry both in Australia and South Africa. Windlab has completed more than 1,000MW of wind farm capacity on three continents and is actively developing 50 renewable energy sites, totaling over 7,000MW of capacity across Australia, Southern Africa and the United States.

Record Number Of Australian Bass Stocked In NSW

October 20, 2017: NSW DPI
A record 429,000 Australian Bass have been stocked into dams across NSW throughout 2017.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Inland Fisheries Manager, Cameron Westaway said the record number of Australian Bass were produced at the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute, exceeded the 413,000 produced back in 2013.

“This year, DPI has stocked Australian Bass into 32 dams throughout the Central West, Hunter Valley, Northern Rivers, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands,” Mr Westaway said.

“Australian Bass are a sought after sports fish with bait, fly and artificial lure. They travel to estuaries to spawn, between June and August, and stocking is the only way to maintain the Australian Bass numbers in our impoundments.

“All 413,000 Australian Bass were bred from wild fish caught when they were ready to spawn and breeding takes place under strict protocols to ensure the fish are of a high quality.

“Anglers will be able to catch these fish in three to five years providing significant social and economic benefits for the regions.”
  • 20,000 Australian Bass were stocked into Lake Lyell near Lithgow;
  • 99,000 were stocked in Glenbawn Dam and 64,000 stocked in Glennies Dam in the Hunter Valley;
  • 30,000 Australian Bass were stocked in Toonumbar Dam in the Northern Rivers;
  • 81,000 Australian Bass were stocked into Lake Yarrunga in the Shoalhaven;
  • 2,000 were stocked this week into Pejar Dam in the Southern Highlands.
Additional fish stocking will continue to occur throughout NSW, over the coming months, through the NSW Government’s $250,000 Dollar for Dollar program, where funding from fishing clubs and community groups are matched by the Recreational Fishing Trust, for the purchase of fish for stocking in approved sites from registered private hatcheries.

For more information visit the NSW DPI website

Recreational fisher, Blake Fallon showing off an Australian Bass he caught recently.

$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:


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!

Banning Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags

October 18, 2017: Victoria- Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP,  and Victoria's Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change
The Andrews Labor Government will ban single-use, lightweight plastic shopping bags in Victoria.

Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio said the Labor Government would consult closely with businesses and the community on how best to implement the policy.

Experience in other jurisdictions shows that banning lightweight plastics ban can lead to undesirable results, including increased use of heavier duty plastics, which can have an even greater environmental impact.

That is why the Labor Government will work with the community on how to best manage plastic pollution, and deliver a workable scheme that doesn’t unfairly impact on consumers, retailers, industry or the environment.

Plastics in the environment break up into smaller and smaller pieces over time, becoming increasingly difficult to manage. They can end up in our waterways, lakes and oceans — contributing to litter and posing a significant hazard to our marine life.

Reducing the number of plastic bags we use is an important part of addressing the overall impacts of plastic pollution in Victoria.

The 2015/16 Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index reported that Victoria has the lowest litter count in the country for the fifth year in a row.

The Victorian Budget 2017/18 builds on this success, providing $30.4 million over four years in new funding to improve the ways we manage waste and recover resources.

To find out more and have your say, visit

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“Banning single-use plastic bags will slash waste, reduce litter and help protect marine life in Victoria’s pristine waters.”

“We will work closely with Victorian communities and businesses to design the ban, we’re proud that we’re doing our bit to reduce the impact plastic bags have on our environment.”

Green Globe Winners Illuminating Sustainable Future For NSW

20 October 2017: NSW Government Office of Environment and Heritage
A diverse range of innovative projects from across the state have been highlighted in this year’s winning line-up for the Green Globe Awards.
Office of Environment and Heritage Chief Executive Anthony Lean said the varied projects are helping ensure NSW builds the most sustainable future possible.

“I’m inspired by the pioneering projects and the dedicated people and organisations across our state who are committed to driving us towards a better future for our planet and the next generation, Mr Lean said.

Stone and Wood Brewing Co based in Byron Bay scooped both the Business Leadership Award and the prestigious Premier’s Award for Environmental Excellence this year.

“Stone and Wood has built sustainability into their core operations from the ground up,” he said.

“They’re not only producing beer in the most sustainable way but they’re also raising awareness and educating others in their sector about what’s achievable.

“The team from Stone and Wood also works within their local community on environmental, economic and social sustainability issues,” he said.

The Sustainability Champion Award went to Alexandra Iljadica for her Youth Food Movement initiative which is connecting and equipping young people with the skills needed to address pressing food environment challenges.

“Alexandra’s story is one of outstanding leadership in setting up an organisation from scratch and mobilising a vibrant network of skills-sharing and collaboration, creating Australia’s only youth-led food organisation,” Mr Lean said.

Australia’s first community owned renewable energy retailer Enova Community Energy received the Regional Sustainability Award, while 24-year-old Anna Jane Linke is 2017’s Young Sustainability Champion.

“Both are very deserving winners and are a credit to their communities,” he said.

“Anna Jane is the leader of her very own coastal rubbish revolution, filling a gap with her Seaside Scavenge initiative.

“She’s making a real difference reducing coastal waste and pollution while changing behaviour through practical environmental solutions.

“Enova Community Energy is also breaking new ground with its inspiring business model which is maximising local job creation and recycling 50 per cent of its profits back into the community,” Mr Lean said.

An independent panel of sustainability experts selected this year’s winners who were presented last night at an event at the Art Gallery of NSW.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton hosted the Awards and the Master of Ceremonies was sustainability champion and award-winning journalist Indira Naidoo.

For further details about all the winners, the projects and their locations please visit: Green Globe Awards.

2017 winners
All winners for the 2017 Green Globe Awards.

Best of the Best Awards
Premier’s Award for Environmental Excellence
Stone & Wood Brewing Co: Good Beer is Our Thing

Regional Sustainability Award
Enova Community Energy: Enova Community Energy

Awards for Organisations and Individuals
Business Leadership Award
Stone & Wood Brewing Co: Good Beer is Our Thing

Community Leadership Award
Stucco: Stucco Solar + Storage Community Project

Public Sector Leadership Award
Department of Planning and Environment: Renewable Energy Advocate

Sustainability Champion Award
Alexandra Iljadica: Youth Food Movement Australia

Young Sustainability Champion Award
Anna Jane Linke: Seaside Scavenge

Awards for Impact
Built Environment Award
City of Sydney: Smart Green Apartments

Natural Environment Award

Sydney Institute of Marine Science (and UNSW): Operation Crayweed Underwater Restoration

Resource Efficiency Award
Revolution Apps and Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils: Compost Revolution
Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils: Light Years Ahead

Climate Change Leadership Award
Alternative Technology Association: Alternative Technology Association

Innovation Award
Gate Gourmet Australia: Gate Gourmet Green Dry Ice Project

Investing In Nature Vital To Solving Climate Change

October 17, 2017
An international study has found that natural solutions to mitigate climate change, such as reforestation, could have the same effect globally as taking 1.5 billion cars off the road.

CSIRO collaborated with The Nature Conservancy and 14 other institutions on the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which forms the most comprehensive assessment to date of how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by and stored in forests, farmland, grasslands and wetlands.

The top three land management solutions identified – reforestation, avoiding further forest losses and improved forestry practices – could cost-effectively remove seven billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere annually. 

CSIRO Agriculture and Food Chief Research Scientist Dr Mario Herrero said natural climate solutions are vital to ensuring a stable climate, food security and biodiversity.
“Our environment is our life, and investing to protect, restore and rejuvenate it will pay dividends,” Dr Herrero said.

“Implementing natural climate solutions across the world is vital to maintain stable weather systems and temperatures, which enables food to be reliably produced for all of us; while also nurturing biodiversity,” he said.

The study found all of the identified natural climate solutions could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 11.3 billion tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030, which is the equivalent of taking 1.5 billion cars off the road or halting the burning of oil across the world.

This would also meet 37 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions reductions required to hold global warming below 2°C.

Dr Herrero said these were grand but achievable goals, and the benefits to society globally meant they could not be ignored.

“Being able to achieve the equivalent of taking all the cars off the road today, without disrupting industry or the economy, makes this an attractive proposition not to be ignored,” he said.

CSIRO provided analysis for two of the 20 land management options investigated in the report, finding possible reductions in methane emissions in grazing systems through improved feed and animal management and associated land use savings.

Improvements in agricultural practices including cropland nutrient management, conservation agriculture and trees in croplands, could deliver 22 per cent of the emissions reductions identified in the study.

“We still have the opportunity to lead sustainable lifestyles for the world around us, and even improve it if we take simple and effective steps like these to invest in natural climate solutions,” Dr Herrero said.
Mobo Creek, North Queensland - photo courtesy CSIRO

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


New Study Predicts Worldwide Change In Shallow Reef Ecosystems As Waters Warm

October 19, 2017: University of Tasmania (UTAS)
A new study based on the first global survey of marine life by scuba divers has provided fresh insights into how climate change is affecting the distribution of marine life.

The research published in the journal Science Advances predicts that as the oceans warm fish – which appear to be superior predators in warm water – will extend their ranges away from the equator and cause a decline in the diversity of invertebrates such as crabs, lobsters, sea urchins and whelks.

Using data collated by the citizen science project Reef Life Survey (RLS), the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)-led research team found that the total number of fishes and large invertebrates seen underwater changes little from the tropics to polar latitudes.

However, fish numbers are very high in the tropics but decline towards colder latitudes, while large invertebrates balance those patterns in the opposite direction.  

Lead author and RLS founder IMAS Professor Graham Edgar said this distribution is likely to change as waters become warmer, affecting food webs, ecosystems and fisheries worldwide.

“The effects of climate change on marine life vary greatly between geographic regions,” Professor Edgar said.

In South Eastern Australia and Tasmania the ‘tropicalisation’ of marine life is already underway, but similar effects have not yet been detected in New Zealand.

“Previous research suggested that climate change would directly affect the range of species due to rising temperatures.

“Data collected by RLS divers during the world’s first systematic global survey of marine life show this is not the end of the story.

“We found that the local presence and abundance of a species reflect not only its need for particular temperatures and environmental conditions but also its ecological interactions.

“As fish extend their range further from the equator with warming water, their advantage as predators will affect the abundance and diversity of large mobile invertebrates.

“Broad changes will likely spread across the ecosystem, affecting human activities such as fishing.”

Professor Edgar said ongoing monitoring of marine life at both local and regional levels was needed to allow the early detection of such changes.

This would allow adaptive fisheries and conservation management, and help to minimise the social and economic impacts.

“Species monitoring of shallow reef communities at national scales is only possible with the support of citizen scientists, such as the RLS divers who contributed data to our study.

“The RLS dataset now includes information on 4,000 species in 50 countries, allowing a better understanding of how and why species are distributed, while also providing an early-warning mechanism for climate-induced changes,” Professor Edgar said.

Abundance and local-scale processes contribute to multi-phyla gradients in global marine diversity . BY GRAHAM J. EDGAR, TIMOTHY J. ALEXANDER, JONATHAN S. LEFCHECK, AMANDA E. BATES, STUART J. KININMONTH, RUSSELL J. THOMSON, J. EMMETT DUFFY, MARK J. COSTELLO, RICK D. STUART-SMITH. SCIENCE ADVANCES 18 OCT 2017 : E1700419

RLS diver on Indonesian Reef, credit Rick Stuart-Smith

Fanged Kangaroo Research Could Shed Light On Extinction

October 16, 2017: University of Queensland
Fanged kangaroos -- an extinct family of small fanged Australian kangaroos -- might have survived at least five million years longer than previously thought.

A University of Queensland-led study has found the species might have competed for resources with ancestors of modern kangaroos.

Research into species diversity, body size and the timing of extinction found that fanged kangaroos, previously thought to have become extinct about 15 million years ago, persisted to at least 10 million years ago.

The fanged kangaroos, including the species Balbaroo fangaroo, were about the size of a small wallaby.

UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences PhD student Kaylene Butler said the research involved Queensland Museum holdings of ancient fossil deposits from the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, where kangaroo fossil evidence goes back as far as 25 million years.

"Fanged kangaroos and the potential ancestors of modern kangaroos are both browsers -- meaning they ate leaves -- and they scurried, but did not hop," Ms Butler said.

"Northern Queensland was predominantly covered in rainforest when these fanged kangaroos first appear in the fossil record.

Balbaroo fangaroo, a fanged kangaroo from the Riverlseigh World Heritage Area. Image: Kaylene Butler

"There is a lot of research to be done before we can be sure what their canine teeth were used for but some have suggested they were used to attract potential mates. We do know that despite their large canines they were herbivorous (plant eaters).

"We found that fanged kangaroos increased in body size right up until their extinction."

Ms Butler said the research aimed to fill significant gaps in the understanding of kangaroo evolution, and new fossil finds were helping to bring ancient lineages into focus.

"Currently 21 macropod species are listed as vulnerable or endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species," she said.

She said understanding when and why kangaroos went extinct in the past could help with understanding what drove extinction of such animals.

"Currently, we can only hypothesise as to why balbarids became extinct -- the original hypothesis related to events during a change in climate 15 million years ago but the balbarids persisted past that," she said.

"This new finding of their persistence until 10 million years ago means something else must have been at play, such as being outcompeted by other species."

Ms Butler last year discovered two new ancient species of kangaroo, Cookeroo bulwidarri and Cookeroo hortusensis.

UQ PhD student Kaylene Butler with a Balbaroo fangaroo model skull made by the UQ library 3-D printing service. Credit: University of Queensland

She has worked on fossil material as part of her PhD research supervised by former UQ Robert Day Fellow Dr Kenny Travouillon, now of the Western Australian Museum, and UQ's Dr Gilbert Price.

Kaylene Butler, Kenny J. Travouillon, Gilbert J. Price, Michael Archer, Suzanne J. Hand. Species abundance, richness and body size evolution of kangaroos (Marsupialia: Macropodiformes) throughout the Oligo-Miocene of Australia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.08.016

Fossil Coral Reefs Show Sea Level Rose In Bursts During Last Warming

October 19, 2017: Rice University

A high-resolution 3-D map of Southern Bank off the South Texas coast clearly reveals terraces, which are a characteristic coral reef response to rising sea level. Credit: Image courtesy of P. Khanna/Rice University

Scientists from Rice University and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies have discovered that Earth's sea level did not rise steadily but rather in sharp, punctuated bursts when the planet's glaciers melted during the period of global warming at the close of the last ice age. The researchers found fossil evidence in drowned reefs offshore Texas that showed sea level rose in several bursts ranging in length from a few decades to one century.

The findings appear today in Nature Communications.

"What these fossil reefs show is that the last time Earth warmed like it is today, sea level did not rise steadily," said Rice marine geologist André Droxler, a study co-author. "Instead, sea level rose quite fast, paused, and then shot up again in another burst and so on.

"This has profound implications for the future study of sea-level rise," he said.

Because scientists did not previously have specific evidence of punctuated decade-scale sea-level rise, they had little choice but to present the risks of sea-level rise in a linear, per-year format, Droxler said. For example, the International Panel on Climate Change, the authoritative scientific source about the impacts of human-induced climate change, "had to simply take the projected rise for a century, divide by 100 and say, 'We expect sea level to rise this much per year,'" he said.

"Our results offer evidence that sea level may not rise in an orderly, linear fashion," said Rice coastal geologist and study co-author Jeff Nittrouer.

Given that more than half a billion people live within a few meters of modern sea level, he said punctuated sea-level rise poses a particular risk to those communities that are not prepared for future inundation.

"We have observed sea level rise steadily in contemporary time," Nittrouer said. "However, our findings show that sea-level rise could be considerably faster than anything yet observed, and because of this situation, coastal communities need to be prepared for potential inundation."

The study's evidence came from a 2012 cruise by the Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel Falkor. During the cruise, Droxler, study lead author and Rice graduate student Pankaj Khanna and Harte Research Institute colleagues John Tunnell Jr. and Thomas Shirley used the Falkor's multibeam echo sounder to map 10 fossil reef sites offshore Texas. The echo sounder is a state-of-the-art sonar that produces high-resolution 3-D images of the seafloor.

The fossil reefs lie 30-50 miles offshore Corpus Christi beneath about 195 feet of water. Sunlight does not reach them at that depth, but because corals live in symbiosis with algae, they need sunlight to live and only grow at or very near sea level. Based on previous studies of the Texas coastline during the last ice age as well as the dates of fossils samples collected from the reefs in previous expeditions, the Rice team surmised that the reefs began forming about 19,000 years ago when melting ice caps and glaciers were causing sea level to rise across the globe.

"The coral reefs' evolution and demise have been preserved," Khanna said. "Their history is written in their morphology -- the shapes and forms in which they grew. And the high-resolution 3-D imaging system on the R/V Falkor allowed us to observe those forms in extraordinary detail for the first time."

All the sites in the study had reefs with terraces. Khanna said the stair-like terraces are typical of coral reef structures and are signatures of rising seas. For example, as a reef is growing at the ocean's surface, it can build up only so fast. If sea level rises too fast, it will drown the reef in place, but if the rate is slightly slower, the reef can adopt a strategy called backstepping. When a reef backsteps, the ocean-facing side of the reef breaks up incoming waves just enough to allow the reef to build up a vertical step.

"In our case, each of these steps reveals how the reef adapted to a sudden, punctuated burst of sea-level rise," Khanna said. "The terraces behind each step are the parts of the reef that grew and filled in during the pauses between bursts."

Some sites had as many as six terraces. The researchers said it's important to note that even though the sites in the study are as much as 75 miles apart, the depth of the terraces lined up at each site. Droxler and Nittrouer credited the find to Khanna's determination. Analysis of the data from the mapping mission took more than a year, and the time needed to respond to questions that arose during the publication's peer-review process was even longer.

"That's the way science works," Droxler said. "This is the first evidence ever offered for sea-level rise on a time scale ranging from decades to one century, and our colleagues expected ironclad evidence to back that claim."

Nittrouer said the scenario of punctuated sea-level rise is one that many scientists had previously suspected.

"Scientists have talked about the possibility that continental ice could recede rapidly," he said. "The idea is that sudden changes could arise when threshold conditions are met -- for example, a tipping point arises whereby a large amount of ice is released suddenly into global oceans. When melted, this adds water volume and raises global sea level."

Khanna said it's likely that additional fossil evidence of punctuated sea-level rise will be found in the rock record at sites around the globe.

"Based on what we've found, it is possible that sea-level rise over decadal time scales will be a key storyline in future climate predictions," he said.

Pankaj Khanna, André W. Droxler, Jeffrey A. Nittrouer, John W. Tunnell Jr, Thomas C. Shirley. Coralgal reef morphology records punctuated sea-level rise during the last deglaciation. Nature Communications, 2017; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00966-x

DNA Tests On Albatross Excrement Reveal Secret Diet Of Top Predator

October 18, 2017: University of Tasmania - Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
A study that used DNA tests to analyse the scats of one of the world's most numerous albatrosses has revealed surprising results about the top predator's diet.

DNA analysis of 1460 scats from breeding sites around the Southern Ocean has shown that the diet of black-browed albatrosses contains a much higher proportion of jellyfish than previously thought.

The finding, in a study led by IMAS researcher Julie McInnes and published in the journal Molecular Ecology, is important because top predators such as the albatross are used as indicators of the health of the broader marine ecosystem.

Ms McInnes said jellyfish have traditionally been regarded as an unlikely food source due to their poor nutritional value, although sightings of albatross eating jellyfish are occasionally made.

"We need to understand what albatross eat so we can identify how marine ecosystems might be changing in response to pressures such as climate change or fishing," Ms McInnes said.

"Past studies of albatross diets relied largely on analysis of their stomach contents, with jellyfish found in less than one in five samples and then only in low volumes of around 5 per cent of the total.

"In contrast, our study found that in fact jellyfish are a common prey of black-browed albatrosses and the closely related Campbell albatross.

"While there was large variation between breeding colonies, jellyfish were present at seven of the eight sites sampled and in 37 per cent of the scats tested, comprising 20 per cent of the DNA sequences identified.

"We were also surprised to find jellyfish in the diet of chicks, as we had expected adults would prefer fish to low energy value jellyfish when feeding their offspring.

"The failure of previous studies to detect jellyfish in albatross stomach contents can be explained by the speed with which they are digested and the lack of hard parts, such as fish bones or squid beaks, that might be retained in the birds' stomachs for days or weeks.

Ms McInnes said the study showed the value of new DNA metabarcoding technology in the study of seabird diets.

"Ongoing monitoring of the diet and foraging behaviour of top marine predators will help scientists to understand the future impacts of environmental change and fisheries, with climate change predicted to have a significant impact on the abundance and distribution of species across the world's oceans," she said.

The research was in collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division and DPIPWE, as well as a number of international researchers. The work was funded by an Australian Antarctic Science grant and the Winifred Violet Scott Charitable Trust.

This is a black browed albatross nesting with chick. Credit: Julie McInnes

Julie C. McInnes, Rachael Alderman, Mary-Anne Lea, Ben Raymond, Bruce E. Deagle, Richard A. Phillips, Andrew Stanworth, David R. Thompson, Paulo Catry, Henri Weimerskirch, Cristián G. Suazo, Michaël Gras, Simon N. Jarman. High occurrence of jellyfish predation by black-browed and Campbell albatross identified by DNA metabarcoding. Molecular Ecology, 2017; 26 (18): 4831 DOI: 10.1111/mec.14245

New Amazon Threat? Deforestation From Mining

October 18,2017: University of Vermont
Sprawling mining operations in Brazil are destroying much more of the iconic Amazon forest than previously thought, says the first comprehensive study of mining deforestation in the world's largest tropical rainforest.

The research, published in Nature Communications, finds that mining-related forest loss caused roughly 10 percent of all Amazon deforestation between 2005 and 2015, much higher than previous estimates.

Surprisingly, roughly 90 percent of deforestation related to mining occurred outside the mining leases granted by Brazil's government, the University of Vermont-led study finds. Mining-induced deforestation was 12 times greater outside the mine lease areas than within them, extending as far 43.5 miles (70 km) beyond mine borders.

"These results show that mining now ranks as a substantial cause of Amazon forest loss," says Laura Sonter of UVM's Gund Institute for Environment. "Previous estimates assumed mining caused maybe one or two percent of deforestation. Hitting the 10 percent threshold is alarming and warrants action."

Mining infrastructure is a key form of off-lease deforestation, researchers say. This includes worker housing and new transportation routes -- roads, railways and airports. Built by mining companies or developers, these routes also enable other forms of deforestation, including agriculture, which remains the leading cause of Amazon forest loss.

"Our findings show that Amazon deforestation associated with mining extends remarkable distances from the point of mineral extraction," says Gillian Galford of UVM's Gund Institute and Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

The findings come as Brazil's government considers legislation that would further ease environmental regulations and lift restrictions on mining in protected and indigenous areas. Currently, when companies apply for mining leases, they do not need to account for any damage their operations may cause offsite, researchers say.

For the study, researchers tracked landscape changes around the Amazon's 50 largest active mines, analyzing 10 years of deforestation data from Brazil's Space Agency (INPE).

"We hope these findings help government, industry and scientists to work together to address this issue," says Sonter, who led the study as a UVM postdoctoral researcher, before joining the University of Queensland (Australia).

Rainforests provide many benefits, including helping to regulate the planet's climate, housing rich plant and animal biodiversity, and soaking up carbon dioxide, researchers say. They note that global efforts have successfully helped to curb other causes of Amazon loss, such as agriculture and cattle.

Key minerals targeted by mining companies in the Amazon include iron ore for steelmaking and bauxite to produce aluminum.
Laura J. Sonter, Diego Herrera, Damian J. Barrett, Gillian L. Galford, Chris J. Moran, Britaldo S. Soares-Filho. Mining drives extensive deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Nature Communications, 2017; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00557-w

Manly Seaside Scavenge 

Sunday, December 3, 2017
9:00am – 3:00pm
As part of Manly Ocean Care Day we'll be running a Scavenge pop-up market to clean-up Manly and the surround area. Come down and check out the incredible list of organisations working to combat marine debris pollution. It's truly an inspiring day to see the collective dedication of organisations across Sydney and Australia working together to clean-up our oceans.

We'll have the usual spread of funky, thrifty goods for all ages. There will also be a line-up of marine debris talks, plastic-free living tips and tricks and lively local musos to keep the spirits high! We're hoping for a splendid day in the sun... come down and check it out. We'll keep you posted with more info through our Facebook page.

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                     2nd 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.

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. 

Creative Cluster: Sydney Culture Network Launches

October 18, 2017: by Lucy Carroll, UNSW
Two dozen art galleries, museums and cultural institutions have teamed up for the launch of the Sydney Culture Network - a UNSW driven initative. 

Leaders from Sydney’s top arts and cultural organisations met this week for the launch of the Sydney Culture Network, an initiative driven by UNSW that will link Sydney’s artistic hubs – galleries, libraries and museums – to boost collaboration and public engagement.

The event, held at the Calyx in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, is the culmination of almost two years of discussions between 24 organisations, including the Art Gallery of NSW, Carriageworks, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) and National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA).

The network – the first of its kind in Australia – aims to bring new cultural offerings to the public, build opportunities for creation, programming, research, data sharing, ways to simplify visitors moving between museums and cultural spaces and to open up collections and archives.

More than 100 people attended the business-to-business event. The alliance will be publicly launched in mid 2018.

UNSW Chancellor David Gonski AC said he was unaware of any other major city where a group of arts organisations, cultural institutions and academics have come together as a peer-to-peer, not-for-profit organisation designed to support cooperation between its members and lift the city’s cultural scene.

“Sydney Culture Network is about creating conditions for a new collaborative ecology that will foster even greater creativity and drive innovation. We want to elevate the value of culture, and to enhance the role of Sydney as an international hub of creativity and ideas,” Mr Gonski said.

“We’re establishing a consortium that will connect Sydney’s galleries, libraries, archives and museums.”

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs emphasised that the organisation will integrate numerous sectors - the arts, heritage, academia, business, government and technology.

“This network will strengthen Sydney’s position as a cultural centre, that celebrates creative and cultural diversity and increase Sydney’s liveability and global competitiveness," said Professor Jacobs.

"I look forward to seeing the achievements of this network in engaging our community in the cultural life of this great city and enabling Sydney to be seen globally as a world leader in culture and the arts."

Dean of Art & Design at UNSW, Professor Ross Harley, has referred in the past to a similar collaboration – New York City’s Museum Mile – where nine museums on a section of Fifth Avenue developed an alliance to boost support of the arts and local galleries.

Tickets, passes and apps that can be used across organisations is one way for organisations to join forces, he suggested.

“The Sydney Culture Network is about connecting the dots of culture across the city,” said Professor Harley. “The more we can work together, the better our understanding of the audiences we serve. I’m really excited about this new opportunity to bring to together some of Sydney’s leading arts, educational and cultural organisations into this innovative platform for collaboration.”

President and Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs, Michael Rose AM, Chair Committee for Sydney, Chancellor David Gonski AC, philanthropist John Kaldor AM - photo courtesy UNSW

Australia Adds Its Human Rights Expertise To UN Council

Tuesday 17 October 2017: Australian Human Rights Commission
Australia’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council acknowledges the expertise and leadership Australia brings to international human rights, according to the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Rosalind Croucher.

Speaking after the UN General Assembly announced Australia as a new member of the 47-seat Human Rights Council, Emeritus Professor Croucher said the UN decision recognises Australia’s capacity to influence global human rights and to play an important role in the Asia Pacific region.

“The UN decision acknowledges Australia’s human rights expertise,” Emeritus Professor Croucher said.

“It also acknowledges our capacity to influence important international human rights issues such as gender equality, Indigenous rights and disability access.

“Australia has been part of the United Nations from the outset. We were one of the original 26 signatories of the 1942 Declaration of the United Nations.

“We have a long history of involvement with and support for the UN and its objectives."

In its bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, Australia nominated five areas where it could advance human rights in practical and sensible ways.

Those areas are gender equality, good governance, freedom of expression, the rights of Indigenous peoples, and strong national human rights institutions.

“The Australian Human Rights Commission supports those goals. We will continue to work with Australian and international governments to ensure human rights are protected and advanced for everyone, everywhere and everyday," Emeritus Professor Croucher said.

“As part of our role, we will continue to monitor and assess governments against the commitments made to the international community in signing up to the international treaties that set the benchmark for human rights.”

Consumers To Save Billions On Their Power Bills As Limited Merits Review Legislation Passes Parliament

16 October 2017: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
The Turnbull Government has today passed legislation that removes the ability of energy network companies to appeal the decisions of the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), saving Australian households and businesses billions of dollars on their power bills.

The Limited Merits Review (LMR) process allowed network companies to contest decisions of the AER through the Australian Competition Tribunal. The Abolition of the Limited Merits Review Bill 2017 amends the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to prohibit this process.

Since it was introduced in 2008, the LMR process has seen consumers pay $6.5 billion more on their energy bills than would have been the case if the AER’s decisions had been upheld.

With network costs making up to 50 per cent of the household power bill, the LMR process has only ever resulted in higher bills for consumers and increased revenues for energy network companies.

Energy network companies have appealed the AER’s decisions on 52 occasions and the courts have ruled against consumers 31 times. On not one occasion did the consumer benefit.

This new law puts an end to network companies gaming the system at the expense of consumers.

The preliminary report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) inquiry into retail electricity prices, released today, found network costs account for 41 per cent of electricity price rises.

On the Limited Merits Review, the report states, “Reviews sought by network operators have added billions of dollars to the cost borne by electricity users.”

The Turnbull Government is focused on delivering more affordable and reliable energy and the legislation passed today puts Australian households and businesses first.

The Turnbull Government believes the independent regulator is best placed to protect consumers from unnecessarily high costs, while still ensuring energy networks receive a fair return. To further strengthen the AER, we are providing an additional $67.4 million to help ensure it is sufficiently resourced.

The Skinny On Lipid Immunology

October 20, 2017
Phospholipids -- fat molecules that form the membranes found around cells -- make up almost half of the dry weight of cells, but when it comes to autoimmune diseases, their role has largely been overlooked. Recent research has pointed to a role for them in numerous diseases, including psoriasis, contact hypersensitivities and allergies. In a new study published in Science Immunology, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Monash University in Australia reveal new insights into the basis for T cell receptor (TCR) autoreactivity to self-phospholipids, with implications for autoimmune diseases.

"Lipids have been under appreciated in immunology," said co-corresponding author D. Branch Moody, MD, a principal investigator in the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy. "We've been interested in autoimmune diseases for decades, and it's thought that in certain autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes are driven by particular tissues. The search for the particular molecules, known as antigens, that trigger autoimmune diseases has focused on proteins and peptides, but we should also be thinking about lipids as candidate antigens for autoimmune disease."

For 30 years, researchers have known that T cells play an important role in autoimmune disorders, but it was thought that T cells could only respond to proteins. Previous studies conducted by investigators at the Brigham provided the first hint that a T cell could also respond to lipids. The newly published study suggests that many T cells can respond lipids, and illuminates the physical structures that make this recognition of lipids possible.

T cells are activated when another key part of the immune system, dendritic cells, present them with an antigen. Moody and his colleagues, Ildiko Van Rhijn and Tan-yun Cheng, set out to detect what molecules were being captured and presented, stimulating a T cell response. Using structural biology, Jamie Rossjohn and Adam Shahine of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging at Monash University in Australia showed how a protein on the surface of dendritic cells -- known as CD1b -- binds to lipids. This complex of CD1b and a lipid then binds to a T cell receptor, activating an immune response.

"The advanced imaging facilities of the Australian Synchrotron have allowed us to generate three-dimensional models of T-cell receptor interaction against CD1b and lipid antigens," said Shahine. "These results highlight the role of CD1b in a phospholipid-mediated immune response, and grant us a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of lipid-based autoimmune disease."

The work may have implications for specific forms of autoimmune disease, including systemic lupus erythematosus. Previous studies have found that patients with lupus have antibodies that bind to phospholipids, which cause clotting and strokes. The new study shows that T cells also recognize phospholipids, opening up new perspectives on T cell and antibody cooperation in this disease.

"We now have these beautiful, three-dimensional images of how three different molecules can interact, which explains some detail about which part of the lipid matters. Knowing the precise structure of the complexes involved in this process could be useful for designing new kinds of lipids that could turn on or off the immune response," said Moody.

Adam Shahine et al. A molecular basis of human T cell receptor autoreactivity toward self-phospholipids. Science Immunology, October 2017 DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aao1384

T-cell Receptors (gold, upper) on the surface of T-cells selectively bind the lipid antigen presenting molecule on dendritic cells, CD1b (lower), presenting a rare cellular phospholipid (gold), over common phospholipids found in membranes (pink, cyan and green), which in turn induces an autoimmune response.
Credit: Shahine et al.

Stiff Fibers Spun From Slime

October 18, 2017
Some animals produce amazing materials. Spider silk, for example, is stronger than steel. Mussels secrete byssus threads, which they use to cling tightly to stones under water. The material secreted by velvet worms is no less impressive. These small worm-like animals, which look like a cross between an earthworm and a caterpillar, spray a sticky liquid to ward off enemies or catch prey that is particularly deadly for prey such as woodlice, crickets and spiders: As soon as they try to wriggle out of the slimy threads, their struggles cause the threads to harden, leaving no hope of escape.

"The shear forces generated by the prey's struggles cause the slime to harden into stiff filaments," explains Alexander Bär, a doctoral student at the University of Kassel, who is studying under the velvet-worm expert Georg Mayer. In order to investigate the slime of an Australian velvet worm species, the biologist worked closely with researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam. The chemist Stephan Schmidt, for example, now a junior professor at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, helped to elucidate the nanostructure of the slime. 
A research group headed by biochemist Matt Harrington in the Biomaterials Department of the Potsdam Institute focused on other questions concerning the chemical composition and molecular processing. The interdisciplinary group of scientists was particularly interested in how the composition and structure of the secretion changes during thread formation.

Slimy hunting weapon: Velvet worms, which look like caterpillars with short legs, capture prey with a secretion that forms polymer threads as the prey struggles to free itself. Credit: Alexander Baer / Nature Communications 2017

Slimy mix of proteins and fatty acids
"We had already known that the slime consists mainly of large protein molecules and fatty acids," Alexander Bär says. At the Max Planck Institute in Potsdam, the researchers discovered that the proteins and lipids combine to form tiny globules. "Velvet worms produce the protein and fat molecules as well as other components separately," Bär explains. "Outside the gland cells, the nanoglobules then form independently to create the thread-forming and adhesive properties." The globules are formed with remarkable precision in that they are uniform in shape and always around 75 nanometres in diameter.

Velvet worms store their liquid weapon until it is needed. They then shoot the slime at their prey or foe through two glands located on either side of their head by means of muscular contractions. "At first the sticky consistency does not change," Bär says. "However, as soon as the prey begins to struggle, shear forces act on the slime to rupture the nanoglobules." Vibrational spectroscopy studies in Potsdam showed that proteins and fatty acids separate in the process. "Whereas the proteins form long fibres in the interior of the slime, the lipid and water molecules are displaced to the outside and form a kind of sheath," Bär explains. The researchers also found that the protein strand inside has a tensile stiffness similar to that of Nylon®. This explains the remarkable performance of the filaments.

Polymerized threads dissolve in water again
Further experiments showed that the polymerized slime threads can be dissolved in water again within a few hours of drying. "The astonishing thing for us was that the proteins and lipids evidently mix again to form the same nanoglobules we had already found in the original slime," Matt Harrington says. The newly formed protein-lipid globules were even similar in size to those in the natural secretion. "Evidently, a mechanism of self-organization is at work which we do not yet fully understand," Harrington says.

Another startling discovery was that sticky threads can be drawn again from the recovered slime. And they behaved exactly like freshly secreted velvet-worm secretion under the influence of shear forces: they hardened. "This is a nice example of a fully reversible and indefinitely repeatable regeneration process," says Matt Harrington. Intriguingly, this is all accomplished with biomolecules and at normal ambient temperatures. Velvet worms could therefore serve as a model for manufacturers of synthetic polymers and could conceivably teach them a lot about the sustainable production of synthetic materials.

Harrington agrees. The biochemist can well imagine that one day we will be able to synthesize macromolecules for industrial applications in a similar manner based on renewable raw materials. In the case of spider silk, it has already been possible to produce analogous proteins industrially and to supply the fibres produced from them to the garment industry.

How are proteins and lipid molecules separated?
A polymer that dissolves in water, like the solidified threads of velvet worms, would probably be impractical. But the principle could generate new inspirations in materials science, Matt Harrington believes. "At the moment, the first step is to understand the mechanisms better," says the biomaterials specialist, who has now begun a professorship at McGill University in Montreal. For example, the scientists are interested in why mechanical shear forces cause the proteins to separate from the lipid molecules in the first place. They also want to determine the factors that govern the reversible formation of nanoglobules of uniform size. Another unanswered question is how the protein units combine to produce rigid fibres without forming fixed chemical bonds, says Max Planck researcher Harrington.

Alexander Baer, Stephan Schmidt, Sebastian Haensch, Michaela Eder, Georg Mayer, Matthew J. Harrington. Mechanoresponsive lipid-protein nanoglobules facilitate reversible fibre formation in velvet worm slime. Nature Communications, 2017; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01142-x

Entries Now Open For Sydney Royal's Summer Fine Food Competitions

17 October 2017 
After being rested in 2017 due to the Australian (Queensland) outbreak of White Spot disease, Prawns are a welcome return to Sydney Royal’s Summer Fine Food competitions.

The 2017 Show saw prawns excluded from the judging schedule due to the highly contagious White Spot virus which made its way from overseas and was detected in south-east Queensland farmed prawns in late 2016.

“We are very pleased to welcome the Prawn sector back to the fold in 2018,” said Sydney Royal Fine Food Committee Chair Lyndey Milan OAM.

“Sydney Royal felt it was regrettable but necessary to suspend the prawn categories from competition in 2017 due to White Spot.

“However upon advice given, Prawns will make their return to the Sydney Royal Summer Aquaculture competition.

“Summer and prawns are a much-loved Australian combination and we look forward to what the expert judges have to say when the Aquaculture categories are judged on the 8 th and 9th of February next year,” Lyndey Milan said.

The Aquaculture (farmed seafood) competition will also see judging of Oysters, Trout & Salmon (smoked & cured) plus fresh fish classes including Barramundi and Murray Cod.

The Sydney Royal Coffee Competition will feature Piccolo for the very first time in Blend or Single Origin and 100% Australian grown classes, recognising the evolution of coffees roasted specifically for this increasingly-popular style.

The judging will take place at The Stables at Sydney Showground on January 30 through to February 1, 2018.

The 2018 Sydney Royal Professional Bakery competition will also be judged at The Stables, this taking place on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th of February 2018 across a total of 64 Bread, Biscuit and Pastry classes, including an apprentice/student baking competition.

Entries for Coffee and Professional Bakery close Wednesday, 8 November, 2017 while Aquaculture entries close Wednesday 3 January, 2018.

For more information, visit

Discover How The Humble Shipping Container Has Revolutionised The Way We Live In New Outdoor Exhibition 

Container – the box that changed the world – opens 26 October 2017
In today’s global world you may have drunk coffee from Brazil or a smoothie containing frozen fruit from China. You could be wearing clothes made in India, watching a TV made in Japan while sitting on a sofa containing wood from Argentina on a laminate floor manufactured in Sweden. All of this has been made possible by a rectangular steel box – the shipping container.

Container, an exciting new exhibition housed entirely in six 20-foot shipping containers at the Australian National Maritime Museum, will lift the lid on the history and impact of containerisation and the way the humble shipping container has revolutionised the way we live.

The exhibition opens in late October, when visitors can literally ‘step inside the box’ to learn about shipping, ports, cargo, the impact of containerisation on the ocean, the origins of everyday objects and even container architecture.

Learn the history of transporting goods in crates, bales, sacks and barrels loaded by hand, and how the container now allows the world’s 1.5 million seafarers to deliver 10 billion tonnes of trade each year.

Discover the intricate world of trade, customs, and biosecurity, and how perishable goods are transported around the world in the ‘cold’ chain.

See the radical transformation of ports and port cities in Australia and around the world. Have a peek behind the scenes at Port Botany, one of Australia’s busiest ports and the gateway for 99 per cent of New South Wales’ container demand.

Explore the challenges mass shipping poses to our oceans, including lost shipping containers, cargo spills and acoustic pollution, and the current focus on sustainable shipping.

Be delighted by the quirky and innovative ways containers are used beyond shipping, including ‘small homes’, food trucks, art installations and even swimming pools.

Enter a glass-fronted container demonstrating the origins of everyday objects in our homes. The total number of kilometres travelled by sea by all the products in this container is 887,082 km.

Peter Dexter AM, Chairman of the Australian National Maritime Museum said, “As an island nation, 99% of Australia’s trade is conducted by sea freight. The Container exhibition highlights the importance of this industry and how it touches all of us. We are excited to be sharing this often overlooked story to the many people who visit Darling Harbour in such an innovative way.”

The exhibition has been embraced by the shipping industry with a large number of its key organisations coming on board to provide essential support to tell this important story. Major sponsor is NSW Ports who has played a key role in the development of the exhibition. Sponsors are ACFS Port Logistics, Maritime Container Services, DP World Australia and Smit Lamnalco. Supporters are Transport for NSW and Shipping Australia. The containers are supplied by Royal Wolf and the Precinct Partner is Property NSW. It is supported by the USA Bicentennial Gift Fund.

Container is located in front of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Wharf 7 building on Pirrama Road. It opens on 26 October, FREE and will run until late 2018 before touring locations across NSW. For further information visit  

We’re excited to announce a photography competition in association with Container — The Box That Changed the World. Submit your photographs via Instagram to win a GoPro HERO5 Black.

The overall winner will win a GoPro HERO5 Black, RRP $569.95.

Read the Terms and Conditions of the competition (here).
Upload a photograph to your Instagram account that has been inspired by a shipping container and hashtag #ContainerExhibition.
Ensure your privacy settings are set to ‘public’ in order for us to assess your entry.

The competition runs from 1:00 am on 8/10/2017 until 11:59 PM on 8/11/2017.
Entries will be judged based on creative merit, and a winner will be chosen by Andrew Frolows, a photographer and employee of the Australian National Maritime Museum.

The winner will be announced as soon as possible after the winner has been selected and confirmed.

Moran Contemporary Photographic Prizes

The 2017 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize has been deferred until early 2018.
The growth in interest in the Photographic Prize is such that the Moran Arts Foundation wants to recognise photography as an art form in its own right and give the artists the profile they deserve.

About the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize
Established in 2007, the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize (MCPP) is a national competition that awards and promotes Australian contemporary photography and excellence in all forms of still based artwork. 

The MCPP invites photographers to interpret ‘Contemporary Life in Australia’ with an emphasis on Australians going about their day-to-day life. We aim to encourage the production of photographs taken in Australia, by Australians, that reflects the diversity, multiculturalism and uniqueness of life, no matter where you live in Australia.

There are many ways to interpret this brief, but we are after your perspective on contemporary Australian society, your life, your dreams, your abilities, your inabilities, your mates, your loves. We want the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful and the everyday. Entries are NOT restricted to portraits.

Currently with an annual first prize of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), the Prize is an important part of Australia's Arts calendar. The Moran Prize is acquisitive and the winning photograph(s) immediately becomes the property of the Moran Arts Foundation, to be held and exhibited permanently as part of the Moran Arts Foundation Collection.
Prize Money
Open Section - $80,000 in prize money with the winner awarded $50,000. All 30 finalists will each receive $1,000. 
Secondary School Students, Year 11 to 12 - The winner is awarded $5,000 and their school is awarded $5,000 for the development of arts at the school;
Secondary School Students, Years 9 to 10 - The winner is awarded $3,000 and their school is awarded $3,000 for the development of arts at the school;
Secondary School Students, Years 7 to 8 - The winner is awarded $2,000 and their school is awarded $2,000 for the development of arts at the school;
Primary School Student Category, Kindergarten to Year 6 - A digital camera will be awarded to 25 selected winners plus a certificate of merit.
2018 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize
Entries open in January 2018 for the next Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize. Photos taken from 1 Sep 2016 up until the entries close date (yet to be announced) will be valid for entry. 

2018 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize Judges
Cheryl Newman
Jon Jones

NSW Health Urges 20 - 50s To Vaccinate Against Measles

16 October 2017
​NSW Health is urging people aged between 20 and 50 years to have the free, safe measles vaccine after the 29th person in the state was diagnosed with the highly infectious disease.
The latest person to contract measles is the fifth case connected to the Sutherland Shire outbreak and was in the following locations while infectious.
  • Canterbury Hospital on 10 October from 9.30am – 1.00pm
  • Aldi Canterbury on 10 October from 1.00pm – 2.00pm
  • Miranda Westfield on 11 October from 1.00pm –3.00pm.
Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases, NSW Health, said most of the state’s 29 cases were aged between 20 and 50 years and the majority were unaware they were not completely vaccinated as children.
“People aged 20-50 years may have missed out on the full vaccination program for measles, which was changed in 1998 to include a national school-based catch-up, and mistakenly believe they are protected against the disease,” Dr Sheppeard said.
“The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and highly effective protection against measles, and is available for free for those aged one to 51 at your GP. If you are unsure whether you have had two doses, it is quite safe to have another dose.
“Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease.”
Symptoms of measles include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.
Dr Sheppeard said it was important for people to watch for symptoms, arrange to see the GP if concerned, and limit exposure to others until the GP has made a diagnosis.
“Our public health units are contacting people known to have been in contact with this latest case to offer preventive injections, where appropriate,” she said.
“However it will not be possible to identify and contact all people who may have been exposed. We encourage people who were in the same locations as the latest case to keep a close watch for symptoms and get vaccinated.
“Vaccination is your best protection against this extremely contagious disease.”

Superbug's Artillery Revealed: Nanomachine Secretes Toxins

October 19, 2017: Monash University
Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) researchers have created the first high-resolution structure depicting a crucial part of the 'superbug' Pseudomonas aeruginosa, classified by the WHO as having the highest level threat to human health. The image identifies the 'nanomachine' used by the highly virulent bacteria to secrete toxins, pointing the way for drug design targeting this.

P. aeruginosa is one of a number of bacteria developing an alarming resistance to multiple drugs, raising concerns worldwide about the emergence of pan-resistant organisms.

Its virulence is due largely to the ability of the bacteria to secrete a suite of toxins and enzymes infecting the host environment.

In a paper published this week in the online journal mBio, BDI researchers investigated a protein nanomachine on the surface of the bacterial cells responsible for the secretion of these toxins. The nanomachine, called the Type II secretion system, is responsible for the secretion of P. aureginosa's most toxic virulence factor, Exotoxin A.

"This is the first time we've seen how Pseudomonas aeruginosa secretes this important toxin," first author Dr Iain Hay said.

"This kind of first look is exciting and tells us that the next step of drug design may be feasible," he said.

"If you know the structure of this pore in the bacterial membrane that's pumping out the toxins that are important for virulence, you could design a molecular 'cork' to plug it."

Such a drug could potentially reduce virulence by stopping the secretion of toxins while other drugs worked at clearing the infection itself, Dr Hay said.

The researchers, led by Monash BDI's Professor Trevor Lithgow, used cutting-edge electron microscopy based at the Ramaciotti Centre for Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Monash University) to visualise the nanomachine pore. They used tens of thousands of images created by the microscope's beam to reconstruct a near-atomic resolution 3-D map of the 14-nanometre pore. A nanometre is a millionth of a millimetre.

"The Titan Krios microscope at Monash allowed us to see important molecular details of this nanomachine which have proved elusive for decades," Dr Hay said.

The methodology developed by the researchers would be applicable to other related bacteria surface nanomachines, he said.

Dr Hay and Professor Lithgow are supported by ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships. Professor Lithgow is part of the NHMRC Program in Cellular Microbiology.

Iain D. Hay, Matthew J. Belousoff, Trevor Lithgow. Structural Basis of Type 2 Secretion System Engagement between the Inner and Outer Bacterial Membranes. mBio, 2017; 8 (5): e01344-17 DOI:10.1128/mBio.01344-17

Liquid Metal Discovery Ushers In New Wave Of Chemistry And Electronics

October 19, 2017: RMIT University
Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have used liquid metal to create two-dimensional materials no thicker than a few atoms that have never before been seen in nature.

The incredible breakthrough will not only revolutionise the way we do chemistry but could be applied to enhance data storage and make faster electronics. The "once-in-a-decade" discovery has been published in Science.

The researchers dissolve metals in liquid metal to create very thin oxide layers, which previously did not exist as layered structures and which are easily peeled away.

Once extracted, these oxide layers can be used as transistor components in modern electronics. The thinner the oxide layer, the faster the electronics are. Thinner oxide layers also mean the electronics need less power. Among other things, oxide layers are used to make the touch screens on smart phones.

The research is led by Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh and Dr Torben Daeneke from RMIT's School of Engineering, who with students have been experimenting with the method for the last 18 months.

"When you write with a pencil, the graphite leaves very thin flakes called graphene, that can be easily extracted because they are naturally occurring layered structures," said Daeneke. "But what happens if these materials don't exist naturally?

"Here we found an extraordinary, yet very simple method to create atomically thin flakes of materials that don't naturally exist as layered structures.

"We use non-toxic alloys of gallium (a metal similar to aluminium) as a reaction medium to cover the surface of the liquid metal with atomically thin oxide layers of the added metal rather than the naturally occurring gallium oxide.

"This oxide layer can then be exfoliated by simply touching the liquid metal with a smooth surface. Larger quantities of these atomically thin layers can be produced by injecting air into the liquid metal, in a process that is similar to frothing milk when making a cappuccino."

It's a process so cheap and simple that it could be done on a kitchen stove by a non-scientist.

"I could give these instructions to my mum, and she would be able to do this at home," Daeneke said.

Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh said that the discovery now places previously unseen thin oxide materials into everyday reach, with profound implications for future technologies.

"We predict that the developed technology applies to approximately one-third of the periodic table. Many of these atomically thin oxides are semiconducting or dielectric materials.

"Semiconducting and dielectric components are the foundation of today's electronic and optical devices. Working with atomically thin components is expected to lead to better, more energy efficient electronics. This technological capability has never been accessible before."

The breakthrough could also be applied to catalysis, the basis of the modern chemical industry, reshaping how we make all chemical products including medicines, fertilisers and plastics.

Ali Zavabeti, Jian Zhen Ou, Benjamin J. Carey, Nitu Syed, Rebecca Orrell-Trigg, Edwin L. H. Mayes, Chenglong Xu, Omid Kavehei, Anthony P. O’Mullane, Richard B. Kaner, Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, Torben Daeneke. A liquid metal reaction environment for the room-temperature synthesis of atomically thin metal oxides. Science, 2017; 358 (6361): 332 DOI: 10.1126/science.aao4249

Metal droplets leave no thin layer of oxide skin on the surface, if this oxide skin is dissolved in an alkali base or acid. Credit: RMIT University

ABC Regional Champions Emerging Voices In The Disability Community

October 19, 2017: ABC
The ABC is launching a new scholarship to develop regional writers and content makers in the disability community.

The ABC Regional Storyteller Scholarship, which is valued at more than $20,000, is designed to give regional Australians with disability the opportunity to enhance their storytelling skills and experience.

The Director of ABC Regional, Fiona Reynolds, said the scholarship recipient will have access to broadcast facilities and will be supported by their local ABC team, so that their stories can be shared with local and national audiences.

“For many rural and regional Australians, the remoteness of their local communities can be a barrier when applying or accepting national scholarships, particularly for individuals with disability who may rely on the support of family or local services,” Mrs Reynolds said.

“We’re launching the ABC Regional Storyteller Scholarship because we want to encourage more regional Australians who are interested in creating content for broadcast and online to build their skills and share their stories,” Mrs Reynolds said.

The recipient will work with ABC Regional for three months where they will develop their content idea or project. The scholarship is a bespoke ABC experience that will be tailored to the recipient’s content project, professional goals, and skills.

To enter, applicants must email a cover letter that introduces themselves, explains the project they would like to work with the ABC on, and provide examples of their work. Applicants can also post or deliver their entry to their local ABC office.

To be eligible to apply, applicants must:
  • Be an emerging factual content maker
  • Live in a regional, rural or remote part of Australia
  • Have a lived experience of disability
  • Have an idea for a content project that they would like to work with the ABC on.
For more information on the scholarship or to apply, visit the ABC Careerswebsite. Applications close on 18 February 2018. 

The 2017 Prime Minister's Prizes For Science 

18 October 2017
Prime Minister
Acting Minister for Industry
Innovation and Science
The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science recognises the extraordinary contribution that Australia's scientists and science teachers make to our nation.

These awards celebrate excellence and innovation and offer us an opportunity to bring the entire industry together to celebrate Australia’s world leading role.

For the first time Australia’s most prestigious award for science, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, was awarded to a woman, Professor Jenny Graves AO. Professor Graves has been recognised for her pioneering research into mammalian genome organisation and evolution which will enable us to better understand X and Y chromosomes, our immune system, and the human brain.

Professor Graves is a role model for all the young women we want to encourage to pursue education and careers in STEM.  

Laureate Professor Eric Reynolds AO was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation for his work translating research on a protein in milk that strengthens and repairs teeth into new products that improve oral health. We congratulate all award winners on their hard work and dedication, and applaud the contribution they have made to innovation and industry in Australia.

The other Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science award winners announced this evening are:

Professor Jian Yang from The University of Queensland was awarded the $50,000 Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year for creating tools to unravel the complex heritability of height, intelligence, obesity and schizophrenia.

Professor Dayong Jin from the University of Technology Sydneywas awarded the $50,000 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year for creating new ways to visualise the processes of life and creating low cost portable technologies for disease detection.

Mr Brett McKay from Kirrawee High School in Sydney was awarded the $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools for inspiring his students with physics and science.

Mr Neil Bramsen from Mount Ousley Public School in Wollongongwas awarded the $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools for using science to enable learning across the curriculum..

Want To Control Your Dreams? Here's How You Can

October 19, 2017: University of Adelaide
New research at the University of Adelaide has found that a specific combination of techniques will increase people's chances of having lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware they're dreaming while it's still happening and can control the experience.

Although many techniques exist for inducing lucid dreams, previous studies have reported low success rates, preventing researchers from being able to study the potential benefits and applications of lucid dreaming.

Dr Denholm Aspy's research in the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology is aimed at addressing this problem and developing more effective lucid dream induction techniques.

The results from his studies, now published in the journal Dreaming, have confirmed that people can increase their chances of having a lucid dream.

The study involved three groups of participants, and investigated the effectiveness of three different lucid dream induction techniques:

1. reality testing -- which involves checking your environment several times a day to see whether or not you're dreaming.

2. wake back to bed -- waking up after five hours, staying awake for a short period, then going back to sleep in order to enter a REM sleep period, in which dreams are more likely to occur.

3. MILD (mnemonic induction of lucid dreams) -- which involves waking up after five hours of sleep and then developing the intention to remember that you are dreaming before returning to sleep, by repeating the phrase: "The next time I'm dreaming, I will remember that I'm dreaming." You also imagine yourself in a lucid dream.

Among the group of 47 people who combined all three techniques, participants achieved a 17% success rate in having lucid dreams over the period of just one week -- significantly higher compared to a baseline week where they didn't practise any techniques. Among those who were able to go to sleep within the first five minutes of completing the MILD technique, the success rate of lucid dreaming was much higher, at almost 46% of attempts.

"The MILD technique works on what we call 'prospective memory' -- that is, your ability to remember to do things in the future. By repeating a phrase that you will remember you're dreaming, it forms an intention in your mind that you will, in fact, remember that you are dreaming, leading to a lucid dream," says Dr Aspy, Visiting Research Fellow in the University's School of Psychology.

"Importantly, those who reported success using the MILD technique were significantly less sleep deprived the next day, indicating that lucid dreaming did not have any negative effect on sleep quality," he says.

"These results take us one step closer to developing highly effective lucid dream induction techniques that will allow us to study the many potential benefits of lucid dreaming, such as treatment for nightmares and improvement of physical skills and abilities through rehearsal in the lucid dream environment," Dr Aspy says.

Denholm J. Aspy, Paul Delfabbro, Michael Proeve, Philip Mohr. Reality testing and the mnemonic induction of lucid dreams: Findings from the national Australian lucid dream induction study.. Dreaming, 2017; 27 (3): 206 DOI: 10.1037/drm0000059

New Sentencing Reforms To Better Protect Victims Of Domestic Violence

19 October 2017: Media Release - NSW Dept. of Family & Community Services
The right of victims to live safely in their home will be at the centre of new justice reforms targeting domestic violence offenders.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward has welcomed the amendment that courts must not impose a home detention condition if there is a reasonable belief that the offender will reside with the victim of the domestic violence offence.

Also being introduced is the presumption that domestic violence offenders will receive prison time or a supervised sentence, with courts to now consider the safety of the victim before imposing any community-based order.

The new presumption to be applied by the courts will ensure offenders who currently receive unsupervised sentences will now be subject to stricter interventions from Community Corrections.

“The most serious domestic violence offenders will still go to prison, meaning these reforms will continue the NSW Government’s commitment to putting domestic violence perpetrators in the centre of the frame,” Ms Goward said.

“We need victims of domestic and family violence to know that the system will help keep them safe.”

BOCSAR’s 2016 criminal court statistics revealed that of 16,044 offenders with a proven DV offence, only 22 per cent received a supervised or custodial sentence.

New reforms to encourage early guilty pleas will also see criminal cases resolved faster, allowing victims to rebuild their lives.

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.