Inbox and Environment News: Issue 339

November 26 - December 2, 2017: Issue 339

What A Fabulous Year We've Had!

November 23, 2017: Avalon Boomerang Bags
What a fabulous day - the weather even changed from the forecast and we were treated to perfect  sunshine. A huge thanks to the volunteers for all lending a hand - once again we had a couple of newbies. We wore our Boomerang Bags shirt or red and white adding to our Christmas themed stall.

Sales were up, as people took advantage of the great enviro "stocking stuffers" we had for sale - ceramic mugs, stainless drink bottles, toothbrushes and more. We sold lots of "Bought to Support" bags and gave away patterns and fabrics for people to make bags for their Christmas pressies.

Thanks to the market day organisers for providing us with the free community space; and thanks, once again, to council for arranging the gazebo and tables, and for their support this past year.

FIRST PRIZE to The Woods Family
Beach General Avalon $150.00 Voucher   
Avalon Beach Chiropractic and Wellness $100.00 voucher
Jewellery made by Tanya value $280
Avalon Organics $25.00 voucher

SECOND PRIZE to Rosie Doolan of Tempe
Headspace Cutters and  Colourists  $100.00 voucher        
Haven and Sarah Flowers and Homewares  $50.00 voucher           
Avalon Beach Chiropractic and Wellness$100.00 voucher

THIRD PRIZE to Graham Hawley of Long Reef
Beach Without Sand $50.00 voucher
Cranzgots Pizza North Avalon $50.00 voucher
Relish Café $50.00 voucher         

FOURTH PRIZE to Caroline Miller of Dee Why
Avalon Organics $25.00 voucher
Cook Craft Sew 1 day school holiday camp voucher (value$65)
Clareville Cellars   1 bottle Organic Red wine

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors and the donations of fabulous prizes.

Diary Dates

Tuesday 27 November
Last workshop for the year at SewCraftCook for the year.
Huge thanks to Kate for providing such an amazing and creative space for us to make the bags and store our "bits".

And a huge thanks to all those who have volunteered making bags, stamping bags, screen printing, cutting, ironing, folding, providing yummy treats, making cups of tea and for all the laughs, chats and good times. Without you we wouldn't be the team that we are.

On that note, dear sewers - if any of you, including the "at home" sewers need more fabric during the break, please contact Robyn via this email and she'll arrange it - the cupboards are bulging.

Sunday 3 December
Ocean Care Day at Manly Beach -
Manly Boomerang Bags will be flying the flag at the Surfrider Stall.
If you can lend a hand, please contact Jude 0404 870 413 or

Tuesday 5 December
Avalon Boomerang Bag Team Christmas Party from noon at Clareville Beach. BYO food, drinks, swimmers etc.
All welcome.

Monday 25 December
Wishing all our volunteers, supporters and friends a happy and safe Christmas for them and their families.

Monday 31 December
And a happy and successful New Year, filled with love, hope and peace ..................and no plastic.
Tuesday 31 January
Return to our regular workshops  from 11am - 4pm.
Come for a hour or two or come for the day.
SewCraftCook 20/14 Polo Ave, Mona Vale.

New Wonder Wall Set To Clear The Air At Manly Vale

November 15, 2017: University of Technology Sydney
In summary: 
  • A world-first project will install more than 9000 plants on the external walls of a three-storey carpark being built on Sydney's northern beaches
  • UTS scientists are working with living infrastructure company Junglefy and Transport NSW to take air-cleaning "botanical biofilter" technology out of office spaces and into the outside world
Having shown the effectiveness of plants in removing pollutants from indoor air, UTS scientists are taking their work to the streets, collaborating with living infrastructure company Junglefy and Transport NSW on an outdoor "breathing wall" at Manly Vale on Sydney's northern beaches.

The world-first project will install more than 9000 plants on the external walls of a three-storey carpark being built as a component of the new B-Line bus rapid transit network on the northern beaches.

Far from being a simple green wall, the project will take "botanical biofilter" technology developed in a collaboration between the UTS Plants and Environmental Quality Research Group and industry leaders Junglefy from office building interiors to the outside world.

"Projected growth in total greenhouse gas emissions suggests that most air pollution will be derived from increasing road travel and vehicle use, and thus population exposure occurs at the street level," said air quality expert for the project, Dr Peter Irga.

"Botanical biofiltration technology has demonstrated potential for the sustainable, high-efficiency removal of most air pollutants in laboratory trials.

"A natural progression of this technology is its use across urban areas, in places where people are likely to experience high levels of air pollution, such as roadsides, car parks and traffic tunnels."

The UTS Plants and Environmental Quality Research team, from the left: Thomas Pettit, Peter Irga, Fraser Torpy and Ashley Douglas. Picture by Filip Stempien

The system, which optimises the cleaning action of plants and soil microbes by moving air through the plant wall, offers other benefits, including acting as a sound barrier and cooling the surrounding air, resulting in improved energy efficiency.

"The technology is already utilised to filter the air in the built environment for private enterprise, however the greatest benefits to health will be seen if implemented in public spaces," said director of the research group, Dr Fraser Torpy.

"If living infrastructure is to contribute to developing healthy and sustainable urban futures, its true capacity for ecosystem service provision must be quantified, to determine its true capabilities in the cities of the future.

"The Manly Vale B-Line project will be the next step in a series of projects that have transferred this technology from the laboratory to the real world."

UTS will work with Transport NSW to monitor the performance of the breathing wall over the next two years. Construction of the car park is planned to start in mid-January and be completed by the end of March.

An artist's impression of the car park and external "breathing wall". Image: DesignInc

New Industry Paper: Twice As ManyNarrabri People Reject CSG Industry As Embrace It

November 20, 2017
More than twice as many local people reject the proposed CSG industry for Narrabri in north west NSW than embrace it, a new gas industry research paper has found.  

GISERA has released its Community Wellbeing and Local Attitudes to Coal Seam Gas report, which reveals that 30.5% of Narrabri local respondents reject the proposed Narrabri Gas Field outright,  while 14.8% embrace it. 

“These results reflect what we are seeing on the ground, that the coal seam gas industry is not welcome in the north-west of NSW,” People for the Plainsspokesperson, Sally Hunter, said.

“This research paper shows what we’ve known for a long time, that twice as many people reject the CSG industry as embrace it.

“Across the region, communities have gone door to door to survey people across more than 3.5 million hectares. We’ve found that 96% of people do not want to live in a gasfield. Letting coal seam gas into our region would put at risk our most treasured assets: our water, social fabric and rural character.

“More than 300 people came out to the Pilliga last weekend send a clear message: those who depend on the land and groundwater know the risks of CSG are not worth it.  

“People from all walks of life made a human sign in a sandy creek bed in the Pilliga State Forest to demonstrate that the CSG industry does not have social licence here.    

There were almost 23,000 responses to the Environmental Impact Statement put out by Santos earlier this year and 98.7% of these opposed the project.  Of the 499 local submissions, 319 rejected the industry.  

“No matter how you dice the apple, it’s clear people do not accept the risks of CSG.  There are plenty of less damaging ways to create jobs, and far cheaper and cleaner ways to get energy.”

Photo courtesy Protecting the Pilliga 

November 12, 2017: Protecting the Pilliga 
What a weekend at Spring into the Pilliga! Over 300 people gathered to see the beauty of the irreplaceable Pilliga forest, the damage already caused by Santos CSG, to plan and take action!

We heard stories from affected farmers and Gamilaraay traditional custodians and learnt about the impacts to forests, farms, water, and dark night skies. We stood together in the creek bed of the beautiful Bohena Creek that runs through the Pilliga and the proposed gasfield to say NO CSG! And we created a mock toxic salts spill to symbolise the toxic legacy this project would create for NSW; 430,500 tonnes of contaminated salty waste.

This Week;
The Land Newspaper Reports: 
Pilliga pipeline proponents trapped on farm, police step in - Daniel Pedersen, 21 Nov 2017: "A STANDOFF is developing between landowners and surveyors looking to further refine a corridor for a gas pipeline across the Pilliga.

Yesterday afternoon (Monday) near Coonamble police negotiated the release of workers associated with the pipeline’s proponent APA, who were holed up on a private property.
Farmers had formed a human picket line after discovering the APA workers on a private property and blocked their exit."

Farmers, police and contractors face off at CSG pipeline protest in Coonamble - Jamieson Murphy, 22 Nov 2017: "AN impromptu protest against coal seam gas sprung up on a farm near Coonamble on Monday afternoon, when two APA contractors were allegedly caught trespassing on a property.

One witness told The Leader the pair were caught walking on the land by a neighbour, who pulled over.

“Word spread quickly and all of a sudden there were upwards of 70 people there and 30 to 40 cars,” he said.

“There is a big ‘no trespassing’ sign on the gate they would’ve climbed over. And right next to that is a biosecurity sign with the landowner’s number on, which they could have called.'

The pair told the group they had a court order to access the land, but left after they failed to reproduce it, the protester said.

The region’s farmers have been on “high alert” ever since APA announced its intention to build a pipeline through the area to connect with the proposed Narrabri Gas Project."

APA maintains it has transgressed no laws.
The company said in a statement:

On June 30 APA was granted an Authority to Survey land along the proposed Western Slopes pipeline alignment by the NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities under the provisions of the Pipelines Act 1967. The ATS provides APA and its agents with the ability to enter private land for the purposes of field survey activities in order to ensure APA can fulfil its environmental, cutural heritage and other assessment obligations for the project.  

All survey activities are being undertaken in accordance with the ATS and the Western Slopes pipeline: biosecurity management protocol. Both of these documents are publicly available on the APA website at the following address:

”The NSW government granted the ATS after consideration of feedback from a widely advertised period of public consultation. It is effective for the period July 3 2017 to February 4 2019. See for details.

“In early August 2017, APA commenced a program of field studies along the proposed pipeline alignment that included ecology, soils, indigenous and non-indigenous cultural heritage surveys.

“To date, approximately half of the field studies to support the Project have been undertaken with via voluntary landowner agreements, and the other half undertaken in accordance with the right granted by the ATS.”

The CSIRO’s Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) is a collaboration between CSIRO, Commonwealth and state governments and industry established to undertake publicly-reported independent research. The purpose of GISERA is for CSIRO to provide quality assured scientific research and information to communities living in gas development regions focusing on social and environmental topics including: groundwater and surface water, biodiversity, land management, the marine environment, human health impacts and socio-economic impacts. The governance structure for GISERA is designed to provide for and protect research independence and transparency of research outputs.

CSIRO’s GISERA aims to:
  • Carry out research and provide information for the benefit of all Australian communities in onshore gas regions and industry.
  • Inform governments and policy-makers of key research outcomes.
GISERA research includes coal seam gas, shale and tight gas, and onshore conventional gas.

Voices Of People Who Made The 'No CSG' Human Sign

Donate Your Container Refund To Charity

November 23, 2017: NSW Government - Environment
When the Return and Earn container deposit scheme launches, you’ll be able to donate your refunds to charity. 

People returning eligible containers at reverse vending machines will be able to donate their refunds to:

Cancer Council
St Vincent de Paul
Surf Life Saving NSW
Planet Ark.

To donate a refund to one of these organisations, simply insert an eligible drink container into a reverse vending machine, select the ‘donate’ option and choose a group.

Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible and a receipt will be issued.

Charities, community and sporting groups, schools, and other not-for-profit organisations can register their interest to become a donation partner on the Return and Earn website.

People can also receive their refund into a registered PayPal account via the myTOMRA app, or receive a printed retail refund voucher to exchange for cash or an in-store credit at a local retail partner.

How do I get my refund?
When you return containers at a reverse vending machine, you can obtain a refund in three ways:
  1. Receive a voucher to be redeemed for cash or an in-store credit at a participating retail partner (such as a Woolworths)
  2. Register to receive a direct payment to your designated bank account via PayPal
  3. Donate the refund to charities and community groups linked to the reverse vending machines
The reverse vending machines do not hold cash.

From 1 December, schools, charities and community groups can fundraise through Return and Earn, simply by collecting eligible containers and redeeming them at collection points for 10 cents each (collection points will be announced on this site soon).

Opportunities will continue to grow, and we’ll be able to offer further support, as Return and Earn continues to roll out across NSW. Options will include collecting containers (and asking community members to donate their containers to your organisation), becoming a collection point, or having your charity listed on reverse vending machines (where the public can choose to directly donate their refunds to you).

To find out how your organisation can participate and fundraise through Return and Earn, please contact us at

Most 150ml to three litre drink containers will be eligible for a 10 cent refund at an approved NSW collection point. Container materials that may be eligible for a refund include:
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Aluminium
  • Steel
Liquid paperboard (cartons)
Containers should be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and have the original label attached. Wine, spirits, cordial and plain milk containers are generally not eligible.

If a container isn’t eligible for a refund, please use a recycling bin.

Helping Councils Manage Flood Risk

November 20, 2017: NSW Government
The Commonwealth and NSW governments will provide funding to councils to better understand and manage their flood risks.

A total of almost $9 million from the NSW Floodplain Management Program and the Floodplain Grants Scheme will fund 59 local government projects to manage flood risk.

The funding supports projects including flood studies and construction of flood mitigation infrastructure, such as detention basins, levees, crossings, floodgates and flood warning systems.

Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said giving local councils funding would help to minimise the impact of future flooding.

“We must ensure flood-prone areas are as prepared as possible for upcoming storm seasons,” Mr Grant said.

See the full list of funded projects on the Office of Environment and Heritage website

Northern Beaches Council
Narrabeen Lagoon (south) overland flow flood study (FMP)
The Narrabeen Lagoon (south) overland flow flood study will identify overland flow paths in the southern sub-catchments of the Narrabeen Lagoon catchment and how they interact with the mainstream Narrabeen Lagoon flooding. This project will enable a whole of catchment flooding risk to be identified for this area.

Wambo Coal To Pay Over $130,000 For Water Pollution Incident

21 November 2017: EPA
The Land and Environment Court has convicted and fined Wambo Coal Pty Ltd a total of $62,000 after a sediment dam failed at its Warkworth coal mine in the Hunter Valley causing water pollution.

The Court also ordered Wambo to publish notices in the Newcastle Heraldand Singleton Argus and to pay the EPA’s legal costs of $67,130 and investigation costs of $2,590.

EPA Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford said Wambo contravened its environment protection licence by failing to carry out activities in a competent manner.

“Wambo Coal has a responsibility to ensure its activities do not cause harm to the environment,” Mr Gifford said.

The incident occurred in the first week of January 2016 following heavy rain in the region, when a portion of the dam wall collapsed resulting in sediment-laden runoff escaping from the dam.

The sediment-laden water flowed along an ephemeral drainage line and into Waterfall Creek which eventually leads to the Hunter River. However, no visible sediment deposition was observed outside of the Wambo mine boundary and any impacts to waterways from the incident would have been temporary.

Wambo Coal reported the incident to the EPA on Monday 11 January after Wambo staff had inspected the dam and identified the failure. However, it is estimated that the dam wall collapse occurred around 5 January.

Mr Gifford said the spillway had insufficient capacity to carry the runoff from the rain event and this, together with the unsuitable methods used to construct the dam, contributed to the dam’s failure.

“The company did not have adequate procedures in place to ensure that the new dam was constructed to design and fit for purpose, so as to prevent this incident.”

After the incident Wambo undertook immediate remediation works, including reconstruction of the dam. It also introduced new training for staff and procedures to improve the management of sediment and erosion controls on site.

Justice Pain handed down her decision on sentence on Monday, fining Wambo Coal $42,000 for the licence breach offence and $20,000 for the water pollution offence.

Have Your Say On Priorities For NSW Land Conservation

November 17, 2017: OE&H
Public consultation has commenced on continued planning for future NSW national park additions as well as the NSW Government's investment in private land conservation.

Draft Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy 2017-2037 
Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Chief Executive, Anthony Lean said he encouraged the community to have their say on the two important documents which will guide the establishment of an integrated and well planned protected area system across both private and public land in New South Wales.

"The draft Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy 2017–2037 will guide the government's $240 million investment in private land conservation while the draft National Parks System Directions Statement will guide the protection of high value conservation lands across NSW in the public reserve system," Mr Lean said.

"The draft strategy and the draft directions statement are being exhibited at the same time as they speak to each other in working towards the same broad objectives of improving outcomes for our State's biodiversity.

"The National Parks System Directions Statement will set the priorities for acquiring new high conservation value land as part of our State's national park and reserve system, which currently accounts for around 9% of the State.

"On the other hand, the Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy recognises that with over 70% of NSW land privately owned or managed it is critical that we support landholders to protect and manage important conservation assets on private land."

The Strategy is a key component of the government's comprehensive new framework for private land conservation established under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

The NSW Government established the Biodiversity Conservation Trust to manage a statewide private land conservation program that will invest $240 million over 5 years and $70 million per year ongoing, supporting landholders who commit to protect and manage areas of high environmental value on their properties.

The consultation period for both documents is open from 17 November to 5pm 15 December 2017.

For further information and to have your say, visit:

Major Changes: State Environmental Planning Controls(Draft Enviro. SEPP)

The Berejiklian government has just announced changes that propose to repeal and replace the following State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) with a single Environment SEPP:

• State Environmental Planning Policy No. 19—Bushland in Urban Areas - [Manly, Warringah, Pittwater; pages 28 to 32]
• State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Drinking Water Catchment) 2011
• State Environmental Planning Policy No. 50—Canal Estate Development
• Greater Metropolitan Regional Environmental Plan No. 2—Georges River Catchment
• Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No. 20—Hawkesbury-Nepean River (No.2-1997) [*Pittwater and Warringah]
• Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005
• Willandra Lakes Regional Environmental Plan No. 1—World Heritage Property.

Aimed at reducing 'red tape' and 'streamlining' NSW's planning system, some changes are commended such as protecting Sydney Harbour's natural assets by prohibiting new canal estates.

However other changes will enable development in sensitive areas that are currently protected.

Designed to marry up with other planning instruments, such as the controversial Biodiversity Act 2016, the changes also give greater effect to Ministerial Directions.

The changes also propose to revise the term ‘bushland zoned or reserved for public open space purposes’ to ‘public bushland’. This includes all land that is zoned non-rural, and owned or managed by a council or a public authority, or reserved for acquisition for open space or environmental conservation by a council or a public authority, and that has vegetation which meets a clear definition of bushland.

Critically the current SEPP (no 19) SEPP 19 extends 'beyond the protection of environmental values of bushland by identifying 'the need to protect the aesthetic and community values as well as the recreational, educational and scientific values of this resource'.

The proposed SEPP also enables the Roads and Maritime Services, to undertake the subdivision of foreshore lands in order ‘to lawfully reclaim Sydney Harbour land’ and redefine the ‘heads of consideration for consent authorities when assessing Development Applications on Foreshore lands.

The changes also include amending the aim of the Harbour Regional Environmental Plan that ensures Sydney is a ‘working harbour’ to enable a range of recreational, transport, tourism and commercial uses. Greater flexibility to 'mooring pens' is also proposed, which are currently prohibited.

Other changes include transferring heritage provisions to the relevant local environmental plan, thereby reducing the protection of heritage assets.

In addition, concerns have been flagged that moving the prohibition of extractive industries in parts of the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment to the SEPP for Mining, Petroleum and Extractive Industries - and moving the Sydney Opera House provisions in the Harbour Regional Environmental Plan to SEPP (State Significant Precincts) effectively reduces the current protections.

The changes are on exhibition for public comment until the 15 January.

*page 26:
Provisions to be updated and moved to Ministerial Directions
Provisions within the Hawkesbury Nepean Regional Environmental Plan related to local plan making will be updated and are to be moved to a new Ministerial Direction.

The following current provisions contain plan making guidance suited to a Ministerial Direction:
• Clause 3 ‘Aim of This Plan’
• Part 2 ‘General Planning Considerations, Specific Planning Policies and Recommended Strategies’
• Clause 6(3) ‘Water Quality’
• Clause 6(10) (a) ‘Urban Development’ - rezoning or subdivision of land
• Clause 6(11) ‘Recreation and Tourism’.

Other aspects of Clause 6, such as water quality, total catchment management, biodiversity and environmentally sensitive
areas will be transferred to the proposed new SEPP.

Repeal Of Two Operational SEPPs

By NSW Dept. of Planning
Exhibition Commences 27/10/2017
Exhibition Concludes 22/12/2017
The Department of Planning and Environment is reviewing State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) to simplify and modernise the planning system by removing duplicated, redundant and outdated planning controls. 

The Department proposes to improve and simplify NSW development standards by repealing SEPP No. 1 - Development Standards and SEPP (Miscellaneous Consent Provisions) 2007 (MCP SEPP). The planning provisions contained in these two policies will be incorporated in local planning controls. 

Both SEPPs now only apply to lands which have been deferred from the Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan. Councils that have adopted the Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan already have the equivalent measures in place within their areas. This means local controls will essentially replace the function of the repealed SEPPs. 

The Department of Planning and Environment will work with affected councils to manage the transition of planning provisions into their Local Environmental Plans. 

The Repeal of two operational SEPPs package is currently on exhibition until 22 December 2017. 


Hosted by The Green Team
Saturday, December 2 at 8 AM - 9 AM
Mona Vale Beach
9 Darley St E, Mona Vale

Come join us for a beach clean at Mona Vale Beach!

It has been estimated that we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050...These beach cleans are aimed at reducing the vast amounts of plastic from entering our oceans before they harm marine life. 

Anyone and everyone is welcome! If you would like to come along, please bring a bucket, gloves and hat. Kids of all ages are also welcome! 

Hope to see you there!

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities

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.

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Board Meeting In Public

06 November 2017 by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust invites the public to observe the next Board Meeting.
When: Wednesday 20 December 2017 at 3.30pm
Venue: Boardroom, SHFT offices, Building 28, Best Avenue, Headland Park, Mosman
Members of the public may submit a question/s (maximum of two) in writing prior to the meeting. Questions must be received by 15 December 2017. Questions may be emailed (link sends e-mail)
The Chair has the discretion to allow a question to be asked and/or answered at the meeting.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP by 15 December on (02) 8969 2100 or

Moolarben Mine: Moolarben Coal 1 - MOD 14

Modifications to the Moolarben Coal Complex.
Increased annual run-of-mine (ROM) coal production from the open cuts
Exhibition Start 07/11/2017
Exhibition End 07/12/2017

Executive Summary.pdf (8.561 MB)
Environmental Assessment.pdf (8.664 MB)
Attachment 1_ Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements.pdf (250.0 KB)
Attachment 2_ Stage 1 Project Approval _05_0117_.pdf (4.053 MB)
Attachment 3_ Stage 2 Project Approval _08_0135_.pdf (2.841 MB)
Appendix A_ Noise Assessment.pdf (3.138 MB)
Appendix B_ Air Quality Assessment.pdf (4.144 MB)
Appendix C_ Biodiversity Assessment Review.pdf (6.051 MB)
Appendix D_ Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment.pdf (9.078 MB)
Appendix E_ Site Water Balance and Surface Water Assessment.pdf (5.173 MB)
Appendix F_ Controlled Water Release Assessment.pdf (2.348 MB)
Appendix G_ Aquatic Ecology Assessment.pdf (17.43 MB)
Appendix H_ Geochemistry Review.pdf (1.942 MB)
Appendix I_ Groundwater Assessment.pdf (5.885 MB)
Documents and have your say at HERE

Have Your Say On Construction Waste Management Reforms

Proposed minimum standards for managing construction waste in NSW and other miscellaneous waste reforms

The Environment Protection Authority would like to know what you think about proposed changes to NSW environment protection legislation concerning construction waste.

These changes build on the 2014 reforms of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation, by seeking to drive further resource recovery and address poor waste practices.

The EPA undertook consultation on proposed changes through a Consultation Paper (PDF 655KB) released in 2016. The EPA has prepared a Consultation Report (PDF 489KB), which provides a response to stakeholder submissions on the changes.

A draft regulation (PDF 290KB) has been prepared that takes into consideration the feedback received from stakeholders during the consultation period. The EPA has developed, with input from an industry working group, draft standards (PDF 270KB) for managing construction waste in NSW. This is a document that is referenced in the draft regulation, and will have legal force.

The proposed changes set standards to ensure appropriate management, production and use of materials recovered from construction waste. These changes seek to ensure that waste is appropriately sorted, the quality of recovered materials is maintained, and human health and the environment are protected.

Other changes proposed by the EPA relate to
  • improving performance at landfills
  • improving the handling of asbestos waste
  • transported waste deductions
  • new operational purpose deductions
  • clarifying how the waste contributions are applied at resource recovery facilities
  • monitoring of waste at licensed facilities
  • waste transport
  • changing the land pollution offence changing licensing requirements for a small number of activities clarifying resource recovery exemptions
  • providing for the issue of penalty notices for certain offences
  • updating references to local government areas
These proposed changes complement existing waste policy in NSW, including the NSW Government's Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-21, and the significant investment in grants and funding opportunities through the NSW Government's Waste Less Recycle More program ($802 million plus over nine years).

The Problem
Through compliance programs and regulation activities the EPA has become aware of a range of issues in the construction and demolition waste sector. The sector has potential to return large volumes of recovered material into the economy and into the environment. However, a number of operators in the sector have minimal environmental controls and poor processes that are not maximising the safe recovery of resources.

The NSW community and environment could potentially be exposed to significant risks from contaminated products, including asbestos waste. These poor practices can also lead to the loss of valuable resources from the productive economy. The EPA has a responsibility to ensure that recovered materials are produced with all the necessary procedures to protect the community and the environment.

What do you think?
Review the proposal in the explanatory paper (PDF 286KB) and the draft regulation (PDF 290KB) and tell us what you think by online submission via the below webpage form or email.

Email your submission to:
Submissions must be received by 5pm 12 December 2017.

Barangaroo South
Building C1

- construction of a seven-storey commercial building (maximum height RL 33.2), comprising retail on the ground floor and commercial on levels one to six; 
- provision of an outdoor terrace on level 6 of the building; 
- installation of photovoltaic cells on the rooftop of the building; 
- business and building identification signage zones; 
- allocation and use of 18 car spaces within the approved basement below and provision of end-of-trip facilities 
- public domain works; and 
- alterations to basement structures below. 

Exhibition Start  09/11/2017
Exhibition End   08/12/2017

Documents and have your say HERE

Reducing Threats To The NSW Marine Estate

30 October, 2017: Media Release - NSW DPI
The NSW Marine Estate Management Authority independent Chair, Dr Wendy Craik AM, today called for feedback on the draft Marine Estate Management Strategy, which outlines eight initiatives to address the major threats to the state’s oceans, wetlands, coastline and coastal lakes and lagoons – our ‘marine estate’.

“The NSW Government is committed to the long term future of our coastal waterways, estuaries and oceans, by balancing economic growth, use and conservation of the marine estate,” said Dr Craik.

According to Dr Craik the draft Strategy is a first for NSW. It will help to achieve holistic, co-ordinated and evidence-based management, to ensure NSW’s coastal and marine environments can be enjoyed in a sustainable way.

“In developing the draft Strategy, the Authority has consulted extensively to understand the NSW community’s views on the importance of the marine estate, any perceived threats to its future and opportunities to improve how it is managed,” said Dr Craik.

The draft Strategy outlines initiatives to:
  • Improve water quality and reduce litter
  • Achieve sustainable coastal use and development for healthy habitats
  • Assist planning for a changing climate
  • Reduce impacts on wildlife
  • Protect the cultural values of the marine estate
  • Ensure sustainable fishing and aquaculture
  • Enable safe and sustainable boating
  • Improve governance and enhance social and economic benefits
The draft Strategy also includes proposed management initiatives for the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion (termed the ‘central region’).

A separate consultation process will take place for spatial management in the Hawkesbury Shelf bioregion, as any proposal for spatial management must undergo extensive and rigorous consultation before a making a decision.

“We’d like to know what the community and key stakeholders think about the eight initiatives and proposed management actions included in the draft Strategy so it delivers on their expectations and needs,” said Dr Craik.

A series of regional workshops with peak marine estate stakeholders, local government, State agencies and Aboriginal communities will take place between 30 October and 8 December 2017.

The community and key stakeholders are encouraged to make a submission online by visiting the marine estate website

The NSW Government has re-set the Marine Estate Management Authority’s work priorities to take into account several related reforms that are at a crucial stage of development. This has allowed the Marine Estate Management Strategy to progress ahead of other marine estate reform projects, ensuring a consistent, co-ordinated and evidence-based statewide approach to management of the marine estate. 

Consequently, we have a number of important updates on the marine estateSchedule of Works to bring to your attention:

1. Draft Marine Estate Management Strategy - the Authority has released the first Draft Marine Estate Management Strategy 2018-2028 for public consultation, with feedback required by Friday 8 December 2017 via ouronline submission form. The draft Strategy is a first for NSW and is a key element of the marine estate reforms that sets the framework and strategic direction for marine estate management over the next decade.

2. Final Statewide Threat and Risk Assessment - the draft Strategy is underpinned by the NSW Marine Estate Threat and Risk Assessment Final Report (statewide TARA) which has also been released for information. The report identifies and ranks the priority statewide threats and risks to the environmental assets and social, cultural and economic benefits the community derive from the NSW marine estate.

3. Community and Stakeholder Engagement Report – Draft Statewide TARA - This report provides a summary of changes made to the final statewide TARA based on additional evidence and feedback provided during public engagement on the draft statewide TARA earlier this year.

4. NEW NSW Marine Protected Areas Policy Statement - this policy statement outlines the role and purpose of marine protected areas in marine estate management in NSW.

5. Phase 2 Community Engagement Report - Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment - the report provides an overview of the outcomes from community engagement (28 February to 8 May 2016) on eight suggested management initiatives to enhance marine biodiversity conservation in the bioregion while achieving balanced outcomes for all users of the marine estate.

Given the extent of work currently underway with implementation of the marine estate reforms, the Authority has developed a new e-newsletter to provide you with regular updates on projects outlined in the Schedule of Works.  Further details on all of our work can also be found on the marine estate website. 

Draft Environment SEPP

The Explanation of Intended Effect for the Environment SEPP is on exhibition from 31 October 2017 until the 15 January 2018.
The NSW government has been working towards developing a new State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) for the protection and management of our natural environment. These areas are important to communities in delivering opportunities for physical health, economic security and cultural identity.
This consolidated SEPP proposes to simplify the planning rules for a number of water catchments, waterways, urban bushland, and Willandra Lakes World Heritage Property. These environmental policies will be accessible in one location, and updated to reflect changes that have occurred since the creation of the original policies.
The Department of Planning and Environment is seeking your feedback on the proposed SEPP to update and improve the planning framework in regards to these environmental issues. This is discussed in the Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for the proposed Environment SEPP.
Changes proposed include consolidating the following seven existing SEPPs:

• State Environmental Planning Policy No. 19 – Bushland in Urban Areas
• State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Drinking Water Catchment) 2011
• State Environmental Planning Policy No. 50 – Canal Estate Development
• Greater Metropolitan Regional Environmental Plan No. 2 – Georges River Catchment
• Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No. 20 – Hawkesbury-Nepean River (No.2-1997)
• Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005
• Willandra Lakes Regional Environmental Plan No. 1 – World Heritage Property.
Changes are also proposed to the Standard Instrument – Principal Local Environmental Plan. Some provisions of the existing policies will be transferred to new Section 117 Local Planning Directions where appropriate.
The EIE outlines changes to occur, implementation details, and the intended outcome. It considers the existing SEPPs proposed to be repealed and explains why certain provisions will be transferred directly to the new SEPP, amended and transferred, or repealed due to overlaps with other areas of the NSW planning system.
Download the EIE document (PDF: 6.215 MB)

Have your say on the Explanation of Intended Effect for the proposed Environment SEPP until 15 January 2018

We welcome your feedback on the Explanation of Intended Effect and encourage you to have your say.
• Or write to:

Director, Planning Frameworks
Department of Planning and Environment 
GPO Box 39 
Sydney NSW 2001

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.

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
Resubmission of EP: 31/10/2017 NOPSEMA decision: 30/11/2017

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. 

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:


New Movement Guidelines To Help Keep Aussie Kids Happy And Healthy

21 November 2017: Media Release - The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, Minister for Sport
New movement guidelines to help parents and carers create healthy daily practices for babies and young children have been released today by the Turnbull Government.

The 24-Hour Movement Guidelines have been developed by experts across Australia with input from national and international stakeholders, and in partnership with Canada, which developed the world’s first 24-hour movement guidelines. 

The Guidelines outline what a typical day for a baby, toddler or pre-schooler would look like, including advice on screen time, active play, time spent sitting and lying down, and the ideal amount of sleep.

It’s about providing parents with useful information to consider in developing routines for their kids.

Following the Guidelines is associated with better growth, stronger muscles and bones, better learning and thinking, better mental, emotional and social well-being, better motor skills, healthier weight, as well as reduced injuries. 

Any new parent knows that sleep is essential for a healthy child. The guidelines recommend that within a 24 hour period, babies get between 12 and 17 hours of good quality sleep, toddlers 11 to 14 hours and pre-schoolers 10 to 13 hours.

The time spent in active play will vary, depending on a child’s age. Experts suggest encouraging children to try a range of activities suited to their age such as obstacle courses, hide and seek, dancing and skipping. 

And quieter, slower paced activities such as puzzles, painting, water play, singing and craft are also important, particularly when a parent or carer shares the activity with the child. 

While changing a routine may seem difficult, experts suggest parents can gradually make positive changes to help their child be healthier, happier, smarter and stronger. 

You don’t have to change everything within a day and can start by adding more movement, engaging quiet play and sleep over time. 

The research has been led by Professor Tony Okely from the University of Wollongong.

The evidence supporting the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines is so strong the approach is being considered by the World Health Organization for the development of global guidelines for children under the age of 5 years.

More information on the Guidelines can be found at the Department of Health's website.

This page contains Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines including links to brochures, a summary fact sheet for each of the guidelines, tips and ideas for how to be physically active, as well as evidence review reports.

Regardless of how young or old you are, there are physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines available for you:
  • Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (Birth to 5 years)
  • Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children (5-12 years)
  • Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Young People (13-17 years)
  • Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults (18-64 years)
  • Choose Health: Be Active – A physical activity guide for older Australians
  • Make Your Move – Sit Less – Be active for life! - A resource for families
  • Ordering publications

Virtual Reality Allows You To Look Inside Your Body And Could Help Improve Drug Delivery

November 21, 2017
Renderings of 3D cells in the body are traditionally displayed using 2D media, such as on a computer screen or paper; however, the advent of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets means it is now possible to visualize and interact with scientific data in a 3D virtual world. In a perspective article published in Traffic, experts highlight how cutting edge imaging techniques can be used to build a 3D virtual model of a cell, which will allow scientists, students, and members of the public to explore and interact with a 'real' cell.

This approach may improve students' understanding of cellular processes and can enhance learning, research, and public engagement.

"VR transforms the way we look at cells and lets us explore the sub-cellular world," said lead author Dr. Angus Johnston, of Monash University, in Australia.

"I can imagine a VR experience where we not only marvel at the scenery of this new world but we also meet and interact with the inhabitants," said senior author Prof. Robert Parton, of The University of Queensland, in Australia.

Angus P.R. Johnston, James Rae, Nicholas Ariotti, Benjamin Bailey, Andrew Lija, Robyn Webb, Charles Ferguson, Sheryl Maher, Thomas P. Davis, Richard I. Webb, John McGhee, Robert G. Parton. Journey to the centre of the cell: Virtual reality immersion into scientific data. Traffic, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/tra.12538

The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper

Joint media release: The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister
The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
23 November 2017
The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper is the first comprehensive review of Australia's international engagement for 14 years.

It delivers a framework to ensure our prosperity and security by guiding our international efforts over the next decade and beyond.

Opportunities for Australia in our region and across the world are immense if we continue to engage proactively with the rising economies of the Indo-Pacific. This will allow Australia to become even more competitive, create and support more and better paying jobs, remain an attractive destination for foreign investment and maintain our reputation as a reliable trading partner offering high quality goods and services.

We are also in an increasingly uncertain and contested time for the region and globally, with rising protectionist sentiment and challenges to the international rules-based order.

The White Paper will help us shape the external environment in a way that advances Australia's interests and values, protects the independence of how we make decisions and preserves the strength and integrity of our institutions.

The White Paper's fundamental objectives are to:
  • Work to keep our Indo-Pacific region secure, open and prosperous;
  • Maximise opportunities for Australian businesses and workers by fighting protectionism, and implementing policies that help Australians take advantage of the benefits of an open, competitive economy;
  • Ensure Australians remain safe, secure and free in the face of threats like terrorism;
  • Promote a world with fair rules and strong cooperation to ensure the rights of all states are respected; and
  • Increase support for a more stable and prosperous Pacific.  
To achieve these objectives, the Government will:
  • Increase our efforts to ensure we remain a leading partner for Southeast Asia, including through an ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in 2018, an increase in our investments in regional maritime security capacity-building, and stronger bilateral ties (for example, our new strategic partnership with Vietnam);
  • Extend our 'step up' in the Pacific on economic and security issues, including by establishing with our Pacific partners a new Australian Pacific Security College to deliver security and law enforcement training at the leadership level;
  • Establish a new civilian deployment programme, Australia Assists, which will deploy over 100 humanitarian specialists each year to countries and communities affected by disasters;
  • Extend our network of FTAs to cover more partners, including to ensure that by 2020 we have FTAs with countries that account for 80 per cent of our trade (currently 64 per cent);
  • Implement a non-tariff measures strategy to better identify these barriers to trade for Australian businesses and respond to them;
  • Develop a stronger "nation brand" to market our commercial, educational and cultural credentials in a competitive global market.
Australia has considerable national strengths. We have a flexible, competitive and growing economy, formidable defence and national security capabilities, including cyber, a cohesive and resilient society built on our values of freedom, equality and the rule of law. We are a regional power with global influence.

With this White Paper, the Government will build on these strengths to pursue our objectives with confidence, ambition and purpose for the benefit of all Australians.

For more information please visit

Australian Housing Oversupplied By Up To 164,000

Australia has an oversupply of up to 164,000 dwellings, including parts of the major cities, countering industry and government suggestions that Australia is suffering a housing shortage, a new study by The Australian National University (ANU) has found.

The Regional Housing Supply and Demand in Australia Working Paper, by Associate Professor Ben Phillips and researcher Cukkoo Joseph of the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods analysed 15 years' worth of Census data and building approvals.

It found Australia had an oversupply in some markets such as parts of inner city Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

"The surplus is not particularly substantial, but certainly suggest that housing supply in and of itself is probably not the primary driver of house-price growth in Australia. There are other factors that are going on," Dr Phillips said.

"We've looked at factors like changes in household types and dwelling types and unoccupied dwellings which we don't think have been taken into account in other studies in any substantial way in the past, and certainly not at the regional level.

"The standard line of governments and industry seems to be that housing supply is a big problem in Australia. No doubt there are some areas where it is. But overall we don't see the housing shortage that's often talked about - in fact we see that there is a surplus."

In addition to analysing data from the 2001 and 2016 Census, the ANU researchers looked at Australian Bureau of Statistics building approvals and survey of income and housing.

"We appear to have built enough dwellings, and there's an oversupply in some markets such as some parts of inner city Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, which could have interesting implications for the economy," Dr Phillips said.

"If this research is right, it suggests we've built enough dwellings, and there's not likely to be any great gain in building more houses in addition to what's required."

In the regions, many homes were built in mining centres over the past 15 years before the mining boom ended.

"Particularly in outback Western Australia, regional WA and north Queensland, many of these areas have a housing surplus," Dr Phillips said.

"We also find Canberra has a housing surplus, especially among higher-density dwellings in the town centres.

"We've found that we've built more than what population growth would require.

"It doesn't mean that it won't get soaked up in coming years, but it does suggest there won't be as much need for new home building in the near future, which could have knock-on to the broader economy."

The Regional Housing Supply and Demand in Australia Working Paperis available at


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.

Patients To Get Faster Access To Medicinal Cannabis

23 November 2017
The NSW Government is intent on getting more patients access to medicinal cannabis products for palliative care, under a $6 million statewide advisory service aimed at supporting doctors.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard today announced the NSW Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Service – the first initiative of its kind in Australia – will start in January 2018.
“NSW has led the country in its approach to medicinal cannabis. However, doctors want more support about whether to prescribe medicinal cannabis, what specific product to prescribe and how best to prescribe it,” Mr Hazzard said.
“This landmark service will give doctors the support and confidence they need to decide if their patients, particularly palliative care patients, may benefit from this type of treatment.”
The service, based at Hunter New England Health, will help doctors across the state access onshore medicinal cannabis products for their patients much faster, as well as provide expert clinical advice on prescribing for other patients.
NSW Health’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said more than $3 million of the funding will go to the Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence, based at the University of Newcastle, which will record vital patient data to help advance this area of medicine.
“This service is a great opportunity to strengthen our evidence-based research about how these medicines affect patients because their health is our number one priority,” Dr Chant said.
Mr Hazzard said: “A hotline will be set up and doctors anywhere in NSW can ring the service for guidance from leading clinicians in this emerging area of medicine.”
The service, which will operate for three years, is part of the NSW Government’s $21 million investment in exploring the therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis, including world-first clinical trials.
For more information on the NSW Government’s medicinal cannabis initiatives, visit

Have Your Say On Palliative Care In NSW

17 November 2017
​The NSW community is being asked to participate in a palliative care survey to ensure everyone receives the support and services they deserve at the end of life.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health Leslie Williams today also released a consultation paper based on feedback from community roundtables held across NSW earlier this year.

Mr Hazzard said providing quality palliative care services to every resident of NSW is a key priority for the NSW Government

“We are investing an extra $100 million over the next four years to provide more tailored, community-based palliative care services, on top of the approximately $210 million already spent each year,” Mr Hazzard said.

“We are listening carefully to the community’s views on where and how palliative care services can be improved so that we have a strong plan for the future.”

Mrs Williams said the consultation paper and feedback from the survey will inform a new palliative and end-of-life care policy in NSW.

“Getting the public’s feedback on palliative care priorities is vital if we are to produce better outcomes for everyone when the inevitable occurs,” Mrs Williams said.

“The survey will only take about 10 minutes so I strongly urge everyone to take this opportunity to have their say.”

The NSW Health Palliative Care Roundtables Consultation Paper and survey can be viewed at

The survey will take around 10 minutes to complete and closes on 15 December 2017.
Please Visit:

Dual Winners Of Australian Mental Health Prize Announced

November 21, 2017: UNSW
Janet Meagher, a champion for the rights of people with mental health issues, and Professor Allan Fels, Chairman of the National Mental Health Commission, have been jointly awarded the 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize.

Janet Meagher and Professor Allan Fels.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt presented the two outstanding winners with their awards at an event at UNSW Sydney on Monday evening.

The Australian Mental Health Prize recognises the major contributions made by professionals and members of the community in mental health care and advocacy.

Ms Meagher, who has been living with schizophrenia for almost 50 years, has dedicated her life to ensure a care and support system that is humane, responsive and respectful. Her advocacy focuses on hope for people living with mental illness, along with access to rehabilitation, recovery, reintegration and support services in all service frameworks. 

"I think of the many thousands of Australians who struggle for the hope and resilience to live their lives while living with mental health issues. My award is dedicated to them," Ms Meagher said.

"I hold a precious responsibility to represent people living with mental distress and to be a voice. It must always reflect the proper use of power, voice and status and respect the dignity of those we represent."

Health Minister Greg Hunt with Australian Mental Health Prize winners Janet Meagher and Professor Allan Fels.

Professor Fels has also had close experience of mental health issues. His daughter had a difficult childhood and at the age of 25, psychosis set in. She was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Understanding the needs of people with persistent and serious mental health issues, he helped to establish The Haven Foundation and its specialist accommodation in South Yarra, Melbourne, which helps provide long-term affordable accommodation, support and care for people living with severe and persistent mental illness. This is where his daughter currently lives.

"This is a great honour, although there are countless thousands of heroes working in this field and I don’t feel I’ve made a greater contribution than any of them," Professor Fels said. "Looking ahead I see two giant challenges: the first is making mental illness a higher priority for the community and the second is greatly improving the way the present system operates."

The prize is supported by UNSW, through its School of Psychiatry. Scientia Professor Philip Mitchell, Head of the School, said the decision to announce two winners was important.

"Both winners have shown incredible commitment to getting better outcomes for people affected by mental health issues by following very different paths," he said.

"We felt it was crucial to highlight the vital roles played by both the professionals in the field and those who have used their own experiences as inspiration to help others."

New Wave Of Marine Scientists Complete Voyage

Sunday November 26, 2017: CSIRO
Travelling from Western Australia to Tasmania via the Great Australian Bight, the inaugural voyage in the program gave 20 postgraduate students two weeks of at-sea training on Board Australia’s advanced marine research vessel Investigator.

CAPSTAN (Collaborative Australian Postgraduate Sea Training Alliance Network) is a national approach to developing the next generation of marine scientists and provides multidisciplinary at-sea training to meet the needs of industry and government.

The program makes use of Investigator’s wide research capability to deliver training that ranges from seafloor coring and marine life surveys to sea survival skills and ship navigation using charts.

Students even receive training in the traditional maritime skill of knot tying from the ship crew!

The diverse training on offer was matched by the range of students and trainers on board the ship for the first CAPSTAN voyage.

Twelve Australian universities were represented, along with staff from the Marine National Facility, reflecting the highly collaborative nature of the CAPSTAN program.

CAPSTAN Director, Dr April Abbott from Macquarie University, said the first voyage had exceeded all expectations and provided more than a few memorable experiences.

"The voyage has been amazing, and both students and trainers have described it as a once in a lifetime experience," Dr Abbott said.

"Students received training in sampling seafloor geology and sediments, studied the chemistry of the ocean and got up close to marine life, including some large pods of whales - and that was just the first couple of days.

"So much has been learned about doing research at sea, and I'm sure everyone now has a greater appreciation of the impact that sea sickness can have on a research program."

Chief Scientist on the CAPSTAN voyage, Associate Professor Jochen Kaempf from Flinders University, echoed the many benefits that the CAPSTAN voyage had delivered.

"CAPSTAN offers research-based training for students and this voyage has resulted in the collection of new scientific data that will help underpin our understanding of the marine environment," Professor Kaempf said.

"Students have assisted in 3D mapping previously unmapped regions of seafloor, revealing features that may play a vital role in coastal nutrient cycling in the Great Australian Bight region. CAPSTAN training involves the collection of real data and students are contributing to real world research.

CAPSTAN students examine rock dredge sample. Image courtesy Marine National Facility

"For me, one of the highlights of the voyage was seeing a future generation of marine scientists plan and conduct a scientific program for a full day of the voyage. They all did an outstanding job."

Postgraduate student, Helen Hayes from University of Technology Sydney, said the voyage would be important for many students in helping shape future careers.

"To have had the opportunity to train on board this impressive research ship with all the amazing people that make the science happen has been a highlight of my career. You learn so many things that you can't find in books or in the classroom," Ms Hayes said.

"CAPSTAN provides at-sea training that is not available anywhere else in Australia and Ms Hayes said that the voyage had inspired many fellow students to continue following a career in the marine sciences.

"There are so many opportunities that this training opens up. I hope to be back as a scientist on future voyages to help contribute to developing greater understanding about the marine environment, and how we manage it from impacts such as climate change.

"It's also really great to see such a strong representation of women in the program, both as trainers and students. The marine sciences are a great career path for women."

CAPSTAN will continue on board Investigator in coming years with a further two training voyages scheduled in the initial three-year pilot program.

CAPSTAN is led by Macquarie University, supported by the Marine National Facility and governed by a network of leading industry and university partners. The program aims to provide a platform for institutional, industrial and generational knowledge transfer and collaboration to help support Australia's growing blue economy, which is expected to contribute over $100billion a year to the Australian economy by 2025.
Students practice getting into immersion-survival suits - Image courtesy Marine National Facility

Christmas Lights And Stamps 2017

Each year, Australia Post release Christmas stamps that celebrate the Christmas holiday as we know it in Australia today, spanning both traditional and secular themes.

The two traditional designs from the Christmas 2017 stamp issue each feature a painting of the Madonna and Child projected onto the façade of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. Every Christmas since 2010, the cathedral has been host to the Lights of Christmas, a digital animated light and sound display that illuminates the church with themes of peace, joy and goodwill. This public event, by AGB Events, has proved very popular, and in 2016 attracted a crowd of around 300,000 people. The stamps were designed by Andrew Hogg Design.

The three secular-themed stamps were designed by Jo Muré of the Australia Post Design Studio. The bright and graphic imagery also presents the themes of joy and goodwill, via carefully wrapped gifts, cheerful chiming bells and a star-spangled Christmas tree.

The Stamps

65c Madonna and Child
The 65c Christmas-card-rate stamp shows a projection from the 2013 Lights of Christmas display. The painting is a copy of a now lost work by Italian artist Roberto Ferruzzi (1853–1934). The much loved original painting, known as the Madonnina or the Madonna of the Streets, was awarded a major prize at the 1897 Venice Biennale. Often reproduced as a devotional image, it survives in countless copies.

$2.30 Small Cowper Madonna
The $2.30 international-rate stamp shows the Small Cowper Madonna by Renaissance artist Raphael (1483–1520). This work, projected onto the cathedral in 2014, was painted in oil on panel around 1505. The painting is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA. AnotherRenaissance artist, Carlo Crivelli (ca. 1430–1495), painted the Madonna and Child on the minisheet. Painted in tempera on panel ca. 1482–3, this work is now in the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, Italy.

65c Christmas tree
This Christmas-card-rate stamp features a graphic illustration of a shiny star-spangled Christmas tree.

65c Gifts
This Christmas-card-rate stamp features a graphic illustration of bow-topped Christmas gifts.

$2 Bells
This international-Christmas-card-rate stamp features chiming festive bells.

All of these designs are available as Personalised Stamps™.

The Lights Of Christmas

Celebrate the season at Sydney’s most popular Christmas lights show
Join us at the annual Lights of Christmas at St Mary’s Cathedral Square, in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, for a spectacular free sound and light show every night from Wednesday 6 December until Christmas Day 2017.

Choirs will sing Christmas carols from 7.30pm, and the new sound and light show celebrating the season of peace, joy and goodwill will illuminate the huge 75m façade of St Mary’s Cathedral at 8.30pm and continue through until midnight.

Lights of Christmas, created by AGB Events is the Christmas celebration that brings Sydney-siders and tourists flocking to Cathedral Square, Sydney each December. In its eighth year in 2017, the Lights of Christmas will once again illuminate the huge 75m façade of St Mary’s Cathedral and light up the forecourt precinct with a free sound and light show, storytelling the themes of Christmas.

AGB Events is proud that the Lights of Christmas continues to capture the imagination of adults and children alike and is now firmly Sydney’s most popular Christmas lights show.

Lights of Christmas - photo courtesy AGB, Lights of Christmas.

Researchers Play Cupid With Old-Style Courtship To Entice Rare Native Mice To Breed

21 November 2017: Office of Environment & Heritage
A nice meal and flowers may not get the girl in the age of online dating, but threatened species researchers have had success using these old-fashioned romance techniques to help save one of New South Wales's critically endangered species, the smoky mouse.

Six new litters of baby mice have now been welcomed at Australia's only smoky mouse captive breeding facility, which is located just outside of Queanbeyan.

"Population numbers in the wild have dropped to critically low levels for this native mouse and there are now only 2 sites in New South Wales where smoky mice are known to occur – the Nullica area on the Far South Coast where fewer than 200 individuals remain, and Kosciuszko National Park," said Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Threatened Species Officer, Dr Linda Broome.

The captive breeding program, which started in July last year, is designed to increase population numbers by breeding the smoky mouse in specially designed enclosures.

"Flowers, food and emulating the smoky mouse's natural conditions in the wild are key in helping to encourage breeding in the enclosures," said Dr Broome.

"We all know that food can be the gateway to someone's heart, and it certainly plays an important role for the smoky mouse.

"The captive breeding facility places the male mouse in one enclosure, and the female in another. The two enclosures are then connected to a third enclosure which is the mutual meeting area.

"Native flowers are put in the enclosures to encourage breeding and we also vary their diet of seeds and fruits to find out the ideal breeding weight. If the female mice are too heavy, they won't breed. The mice are weighed every day during the breeding season to make sure they are at the ideal weight.

"We started the program with six adult smoky mice and are excited by the six litters that have been produced - with hopefully more to come," commented Dr Broome.

The captive breeding program is part of the NSW Government's Saving our Species (SoS) program, providing $400,000 towards conservation of this critically endangered species.

The Saving Our Species program aims to secure as many threatened species as possible in the wild for the next 100 years and the NSW Government has invested $100 million over 5 years in this program.

Smoky Mouse (Pseudomys fumeus) facts
  • The smoky mouse is part of a sub-group of native mice known as the 'Velvet Mice' or 'Beautiful Furred mice' group – only 4 species are part of this group (the silky mouse, ash grey mouse, blue grey mouse and smoky mouse).
  • The smoky mouse only weighs between 40-60 grams.
  • In the wild these native mice breed once or twice a year – unlike house mice which have very quick and frequent breeding cycles.
  • Smoky mice have 4 nipples therefore a maximum of 4 young in a litter, this differs to rats who have 8-12 nipples and produce larger litters.
  • The smoky mouse is gentle and naive; they show very little predator avoidance behaviour which means they are highly vulnerable to feral cats.
Future plans for the smoky mouse captive breeding program are to re-introduce this unique little mouse to select NSW sites to boost their chances of survival in the wild.

To find out more about the critically endangered Smoky Mouse visit: Smoky Mouse – profile

Smoky Mouse, Pseudomys fumeusPhotographer: David Paul Source: Museums Victoria 
Copyright Museums Victoria / CC BY (Licensed as Attribution 4.0 International)

How To Claim The Active Kids Rebate

November 20, 2017: NSW Government
From 31 January 2018, parents and carers of school-aged children enrolled in an approved sport or fitness activity can receive a $100 voucher to cover registration and participation costs for that calendar year.

Parents will be able to apply for and download their vouchers from the Service NSW website from the end of January.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the rebate would help to ease financial pressure on families.

“Our hope is that parents take advantage of this rebate and enrol their children in their preferred sport.”

Each child is eligible to receive one voucher every year for the next four years.

The program supports the Premier’s Priority to reduce childhood overweight and obesity by increasing participation in sport and changing physical activity behaviours of children and young people in NSW.

The new Active Kids Rebate Guidelines explain how families can receive a $100 rebate for their child’s sporting activities from 31 January 2018.

Commencing 31 January 2018
The NSW Government will allocate $207 million over four years to establish Active Kids. Active Kids is a program to help NSW families meet the cost of getting their kids into sport and active fitness and recreation activities.

What is Active Kids?
The NSW Government will provide a $100 voucher to parents/guardians of school enrolled children. The $100 voucher can be used for registration and participation costs for sport and fitness activities.

The initiative aims to reduce barriers to participation and help change the physical activity behaviours of children and young people in NSW.

Who is eligible to claim the voucher?
Every child (4.5 - 18 years’ old) enrolled in school from Kindergarten to Year 12 will be eligible for an Active Kids Voucher. This includes those who are home-schooled or enrolled in secondary school education at TAFE NSW.

It will not be means tested and one voucher will be available for every child in the family annually over the next four years.
There will be no limits on the number of applications per family, as long as every child is enrolled in school.

How long are vouchers valid?
Vouchers provided are valid for redemption during the current calendar year activity program (Year 1 will commence from 31 January and expire on 31 December 2018). Vouchers shall expire at the end of the calendar year.

2019 vouchers and beyond will commence from 1 January each year and expire on 31 December.

No availability exists for retrospective redemption of vouchers.

Vouchers are available for redemption once only for the nominated registered season or term of activity.

What can the voucher be used for?
The voucher can be used for registration or membership fees for structured activities of no less than eight weeks’ duration that provide a moderate to vigorous level of physical activity, for example:
  • sporting pursuits
  • swimming lessons
  • structured fitness program
  • outdoor education programs
  • approved active recreation (dance etc)
  • equipment ordinarily provided by the provider on registration for competition.
Physical activity is defined as movement involving large muscles (e.g. running, swimming, aerobic activity). Physical activity must be planned, structured and involve repetitive bodily movement which improves or maintains physical fitness.

The vouchers will be redeemable through approved sport, fitness and physical activity providers upon registration.

Please note that vouchers cannot be split between multiple clubs or registrations, and therefore you may not be able to claim the full $100.

What can’t the voucher be used for?
Individual items (such as jerseys, socks, boots, etc.) that would usually be purchased from a retailer and paid for by the individual as part of participating in the activity separate to any membership or registration fees charged by the provider.

How do you download a voucher?
From 31 January 2018, parents/guardians/carers with legal responsibility of an eligible child resident in NSW will be able to download a voucher from an online platform. The platform will be run by Service NSW and can be accessed through this website.

When will the program be introduced?
From 31 January 2018 families will be able to claim their voucher/s.

What happens if my child lives outside NSW?
To be eligible for a voucher, each child must reside in NSW.

The club or activity provider where the child registers must also be located and operating in NSW. 

Some examples are:
My child lives in NSW and plays in a NSW club – the child is eligible to claim a voucher
My child lives in QLD and plays in a NSW club – the child is ineligible to claim a voucher
My child lives in NSW, goes to school in VIC – the child is eligible to claim a voucher 
My child lives in NSW but plays in a local club located in VIC – the child is eligible to claim a voucher but cannot use the voucher at a club operating outside NSW.

Where can I get more information?
Please watch this space for further updates.

An Active Kids enquiry line and email service will open soon.

Parents/carers/guardians of children in rural or remote areas of NSW and/or children with disabilities who may not otherwise meet the above criteria may discuss their registration with the Office of Sport. 

Hydralyte Sports Surf Series Presented By Billabong Announced For 2018

November 22nd, 2017
From Surfing Australia 
The Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong is set to propel the country’s best young surfers into the future with the full support of Surfing Australia and the World Surf League (WSL).

The 3 event Pro Junior event series will include stops at the legendary Bells Beach, the Gold Coast and Cronulla, kicking off at the aforementioned legendary Victorian break on January 13, 2018.

The WSL sanctioned Pro Junior events, which includes 18 and under boys’ and girls’ divisions, form part of the 2018 WSL Australasian Junior Qualifying Series (JQS), providing the winning athletes with an opportunity to win a coveted world title at the World Surf League Junior Championships in 2019.

“The partnership with Surfing Australia, and the Pro Junior Series is a natural progression from our current association with Surfing Australia. We believe that providing a showcase for our top junior talent is very important, and are very proud to be involved in the series and the association with Surfing Australia,” said Care Pharmaceuticals General Manager Jonathan Biddle.

“Equally important is being associated with like-minded organisations who have at their very core the desire to assist in the development of health within Australia.”

Proudly supported by WSL, Billabong and Surfing Australia, the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong will provide an important event platform at a crucial point in the development of Australia’s leading junior surfers.

Surfing Australia's CEO Andrew Stark said he was extremely excited that Hydralyte Sports was supporting the series for the next 3 years.  

“The WSL Pro Junior series is a critical pathway to the elite level of the sport on the WSL World Tour and the Olympics,” he said.

“We are thrilled and thankful to have Hydralyte Sports come on board to the series as the naming rights partner. They are an extremely suited brand to this high performance surfing event platform and we look forward to crowning champions over the next 3 years and watching these Aussie junior surfers go onto win at the highest level of the sport.”

It represents an important link in the ‘Pathway to the Podium’ developed by Surfing Australia, with surfers now able to progress from the Weet-Bix SurfGroms program, onto the Woolworths Surfer Groms Comps presented by Wahu, into the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong, followed by the nudie Australian Boardriders Battle.

"WSL Australia / Oceania is thrilled to extend our Pro Junior partnership with Surfing Australia," said WSL Australia / Oceania Regional Manager Will Hayden-Smith. "We are also excited to welcome Hydralyte Sports as naming rights sponsor to three events, our junior athletes will no doubt benefit from the opportunities these events will provide. We've seen the talent pool and the future of surfing is bright - so we are extremely excited to kick off the series at Bells Beach in January."

Ambassadors for the 2018 Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong are Reef Heazlewood and Zahli Kelly, who won the respective men’s and women’s WSL Australasian Junior Qualifying Series crowns in 2017.

“I’m very excited to be continuing my ambassadorship with Hydralyte Sports,” said Heazlewood.

Previous Series Winner and Hydralyte Sports Ambassador Reef Heazlewood In Action On The Gold Coast. Image credit: Bennett / World Surf League

“I’ve loved being able to represent them and spread awareness about how important hydration is and how Hydralyte Sports can help. 2017 has been a big year for me on the WSL Australasia Junior series and because I always had Hydralyte Sports I was able to stay focused and ready. I was able to win three events out of eight and claim the overall winner of the Junior series! I cannot wait for 2018 with Hydralyte by my side, it’s gonna be a great year!”

Kelly said: “I’m super excited to be partnering with Hydralyte Sports in supporting their involvement with the 2018 WSL Australasian Pro Junior Series. Their support for the Hydralyte Sports Pro Junior events is so important to young surfers who are trying to prepare themselves and make that next step towards the qualifying series.”

Entries have opened via the World Surf League website –

Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong Event Dates and Locations:  
Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong - EVENT 1 - Bells Beach, VIC - Jan 13 - 14, 2018
Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong - EVENT 2 - Gold Coast, QLD - April 28-29, 2018
Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong - EVENT 3 - Cronulla, NSW - August 4 - 5, 2018 

Australia’s Best Junior Surfers Preparing For 2017 Surf Dive ‘N Ski Australian Junior Surfing Titles At Culburra

Australia’s best junior surfers are preparing to head to Culburra Beach on the New South Wales South Coast for the prestigious 2017 Surf Dive ‘N Ski Australian Junior Surfing Titles.

Culburra Beach's ability to pull in swell and its variety of waves should make for a memorable week of high level junior competition when the event gets underway from November 25th.

The region has produced some serious talent with the likes of Tyler, Owen and Mikey Wright and the Watson brothers calling Culburra Beach home.

“At Surf Dive ‘n Ski we believe in developing the future of surf by supporting grass roots events for junior athletes," said Surf Dive ‘n Ski General Manager David Keay.

“We are stoked to remain the Australian Junior Surfing Title’s naming rights sponsor, continuing our investment in this country’s upcoming talent.”

Surfing Australia, Surfing NSW and Shoalhaven City Council have aligned with The NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW to bring the renowned junior event to the idyllic region.

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findlay said, “Shoalhaven City Council welcomes Surfing NSW to the Shoalhaven, we are proud to host the Surf Dive N Ski Australian Junior Titles and look forward to working on more surfing events in the near future. The event is expected to contribute over $600,000 to the local economy and it complements our unspoilt brand and the recent surfing campaign run by Shoalhaven Tourism.”

Six states are represented at the titles across Under 14, 16 and 18 age groups in both boys and girl’s divisions at the event that is considered the benchmark of junior surfing in the country. The Australian School Surfing Association Titles will be part of the event again in 2017.

With past winners including World Champions Steph Gilmore, Chelsea Hedges, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Mark Richards, Tom Carroll and Damian Hardman, a win in this year’s event is a legitimate stepping stone to world stage glory.

The 2017 Surf Dive ‘n Ski Australian Junior Surfing Titles will commence with an opening ceremony on Saturday 25th November before surfing starts on Sunday 26th and runs through to Saturday 2nd December.

To follow the event visit 

Xavier Huxtable (VIC) on his way to victory in the Under 16 Boys Division at the 2016 Surf Dive N Ski Australian Junior Surfing Titles.  Photo credit: Blainey Woodham / Surfing Australia

The 2017 Surf Dive ‘n Ski Australian Junior Surfing Titles is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The event will also be supported by City of Shoalhaven, Hydralyte Sports, Woolworths, Toyota,, School Sport Australia, Surfing NSW, Surfing Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport.

From Surfing Australia

Ancient Life Form Discovered In Remote Tasmanian Valley

November 17, 2017: University of Tasmania
A team of Tasmanian researchers has uncovered rare, living stromatolites deep within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The researchers from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) and the University of Tasmania made the discovery during a survey of peat-bound karstic wetlands – an unusual type of swamp which occurs only in peaty soils underlain by limestone and similar carbonate rocks.

Dr Bernadette Proemse from the University says this is an exciting discovery because living stromatolites were previously unknown from Tasmania.

“The discovery reveals a unique and unexpected ecosystem in a remote valley in the State’s south-west,” Dr Proemse said.

“The ecosystem has developed around spring mounds where mineral-rich groundwater is forced to the surface by geological structures in underlying limestone rocks. The find has proved doubly interesting because closer examination revealed that these spring mounds were partly built of living stromatolites.

Stromatolites are laminated structures of micro-organisms which have created layers of minerals using elements dissolved in the water in which they live. Fossil stromatolites are the oldest evidence for life on Earth – they first appeared 3.7 billion years ago!

Roland Eberhard from DPIPWE’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Division said stromatolites are rare because more advanced life forms such as aquatic snails feed on the micro-organisms required to form them.

“The discovery of living stromatolites in Tasmania is highly significant because stromatolites are rare globally and not previously known from Tasmania except as ancient fossils,” Mr Eberhard said.

“DNA analysis indicates that the Tasmanian stromatolites are micro-organism communities which differ from all other known stromatolites.”

The discovery provides clues why stromatolites thrived for millions of years but then virtually disappeared from all but a few exceptional places on Earth.

The researchers believe that the highly mineralised water flowing from spring mounds is a critical factor in the ability of the stromatolites to survive in the Tasmanian wilderness because it challenges other forms of life.

This became obvious when the researchers noticed that the mounds were littered with the shells of dead freshwater snails.

“This is good for stromatolites because it means there are very few living snails to eat them. Fortuitously, these Tasmanian ‘living fossils’ are protected by the World Heritage Area and the sheer remoteness of the spring mounds,” Dr Proemse said.

Further surveys are planned to assess whether spring mounds and stromatolites occur at other sites in the World Heritage Area.

The research effort was jointly coordinated by Rolan Eberhard from DPIPWE’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Division and Dr Bernadette Proemse from the University of Tasmania’s School of Biological Sciences.

Their paper, co-authored by Dr Karen Richards and Michael Comfort (both DPIPWE) and Dr John Bowman, Chris Sharples and Dr Leon Barmuta (University of Tasmania), is published this week in the leading scientific journal Scientific Reports.

Aerial view of a prominent Giblin River spring mound (site GR5 and transect). The shrubby centre conceals marshy ground and shallow ponds which discharge groundwater. The pale outer band is calcareous mud and tufa colonized by stromatolites. This example is 60 m in diameter.

Bernadette C. Proemse, Rolan S. Eberhard, Chris Sharples, John P. Bowman, Karen Richards, Michael Comfort, Leon A. Barmuta. Stromatolites on the rise in peat-bound karstic wetlands. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15507-1

NSW Youth Explore New Frontiers

21 Nov 2017: NSW Dept. of Family & Community Services
24 community projects, developed by high school students, have been recognised by the Minister responsible for Youth, Ray Williams, at a ceremony at Parliament House. Youth Frontiers is a state-wide mentoring program that encourages young people in years 8 and 9 to use their creativity, passion and determination to make a positive difference in their local community.

Mr Williams said the awards were an opportunity to recognise students and their mentors who have developed projects to support the local community.

“Each student is paired with a mentor who volunteers to spend about an hour per week with them over six months during school. With the support of their mentor, students are encouraged to come up with creative solutions to local issues and in the process develop key life skills,” Mr Williams said.

Brandon McManus from Oxley High School built a vegetable garden at Billabong Clubhouse, a local mental health facility. Clients at Billabong help maintain the vegetable garden and half the produce is donated to local nursing homes.

“Participating in this project has been great. I was able to help the community, meet new people and learn new skills,” Brandon said.

Other projects celebrated include:
  • Arranging a veterans’ group afternoon tea for ANZAC Day, created by Sarah Pugh from Newcastle High School
  • A free exercise program for seniors, created by Flynn Wallis Smith from Belmont High School.
There are eight categories for the community project including Community Harmony, Youth Mental Health, Engaging in Sport, Empowering Young Women, The Centenary of ANZAC, Environment and Conservation, Group projects, and a General category.

The NSW Government has committed $6.3 million over the next three years to continue Youth Frontiers from 2018 to 2020.

Since 2015, Youth Frontiers has connected about 3500 young people with their communities through quality mentoring.

A tool kit has been developed for young people with ideas on how to choose, plan, and develop a Youth Frontiers community project.
Download the Youth Frontiers tool kit (657KB) from this webpage

Lifeguards Send Schoolies Safety Warning

Thursday 23 November 2017
From Surf Life Saving NSW
As thousands of NSW Year 12 graduates make their final preparations for the traditional schoolies week which officially kicks off from Saturday, the lifesaving community is issuing a warning to those looking to cool off during the celebrations; alcohol and the ocean are a dangerous combination.

An influx of school leavers will be heading to holiday hotspots across the state, with sea, sun, and fun sure to be an important part of the festivities which marks the end of 13 years of study.

While many schoolies will be travelling to traditional tourist destinations in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland, there has been a trend in recent years for school leavers to head to smaller seaside towns.

Areas such as Port Macquarie, Forster, South West Rocks and Batemans Bay have all experienced a surge in popularity for schoolies looking for a more relaxed holiday.

Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) Northern  NSW coordinator Scott McCartney  said holidaying students should make the most of their time off, but has urged all schoolies to watch out for each other while enjoying all the beach has to offer.

“There are many wonderful beaches across NSW, and they are great places to relax, but it is crucial for everyone to be aware of the importance of surf safety.

“Please take the time to familiarise yourself with local conditions, always swim between the flags during patrolled hours, ask lifeguards or lifesavers for advice and avoid the temptation of swimming after consuming alcohol or swimming at night,” Mr McCartney  said.

Both Byron Bay and Tweed Valley Councils have taken a pro-active stance on beach safety ahead of the summer season with lifeguards stationed on Main Beach Byron Bay and Kingscliff Main Beach during the week.

This five-day-a-week service complements the weekend patrol hours, ensuring that these two beaches will have total coverage. Schoolies in the area are strongly encouraged to swim at either of those two locations and not in unpatrolled locations where situations can escalate quickly especially if the environment is unfamiliar.

Additionally the Far North Coast Branch of Surf Life Saving has activated their support operations team for the entire duration of the festivities. That means jet skis, 4 wheel drives and duty officers are available to respond to emergencies if required.

NSW Lifesaving Manager Matt du Plessis hopes that the key message of “watching out for your mates” will get through to all teenagers embarking on schoolies.

“While our lifesavers and lifeguards are all extremely well-trained, it is important for everyone to know the dangers and to watch out for your friends while enjoying the water.

“We want people to have a good time and to make sensible decisions around their own and others safety in the water,” he said.

Lifesavers and lifeguards will be out in force to reiterate the importance of surf safety throughout the celebrations, and should be the first point of call for anyone experiencing any difficulties while on the beach.

Schoolies Safety Checklist
  • Only swim at a patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags
  • Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol/drugs
  • Never swim at night
  • Ask a surf lifesaver or lifeguard for advice
  • Look after your mates, and know where your group is while in the water
  • Call triple-zero – Police to report an in-water emergency