Inbox and Environment News: Issue 340

December 3 - 9, 2017: Issue 340

State Environmental Planning Controls(Draft Environment SEPP):Urban Bushland

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 23 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.

From • Draft Environment SEPP (PDF: 6.215 MB):
State Environmental Planning Policy No 19 – Bushland in Urban Areas (SEPP 19)
  • The majority of the provisions of SEPP 19 will be transferred to SEPP (Environment). These provisions will be updated and some will be transferred to a Ministerial Direction.
  • Update council names to reflect recent council amalgamations and boundary changes.
  • Extend its land application to cover local government areas that are currently partly outside the application of SEPP 19 including parts of Hawkesbury and Central Coast local government areas.
  • Transfer plan making provisions in SEPP 19 to a Ministerial Direction.
  • A new circular on Urban Bushland is being finalised for consultation. It has been developed to provide further information and detail regarding the application of SEPP 19. This circular will replace planning Circulars No. B13 and No. 114. 
Creating a new Ministerial Direction – Urban Bushland
SEPP 19 contains provisions for the preparation of local environmental plans in clause 10. The clause ensures that when a council is drafting local environmental plan provisions for any land to which SEPP 19 applies, other than rural land, it considers the general and specific aims of the SEPP, andgives priority to retaining bushland unless significantenvironmental, economic, or social benefits arise which outweigh the value of the bushland. This should be transferred to a
new Ministerial Direction as it is the appropriate mechanism to guide plan making. No current direction adequately covers urban bushland in the same way. Urban bushland exists across many different zones, therefore Ministerial Direction 2.1 – Environmental Protection Zones, is not appropriate to address public urban bushland of the type protected by SEPP 19.

The new Ministerial Direction is intended to function largely the same way as clause 10 of SEPP 19. As currently, the direction will apply when a planning authority is preparing a planning proposal for land to which the Urban Bushland provisions of SEPP (Environment) apply.

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.

Have your say on the Explanation of Intended Effect for the proposed Environment SEPP until 15 January 2018
• Or write to:

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

From Issue 339

Newport's Bushlink 'From The Crown To The Sea' Paths: Celebrating Over 20 Years Of Community Volunteer Bushcare Results: The pathways wend through the Crown of Newport Reserve, Porter’s Reserve, Attunga Reserve and the Kanimbla Reserve. Includes link to March 2016 Amended Draft of 'North Ward' by NSW Government 'Planner'.

Legal Challenge To The NSW Government’s Land-Clearing Codes

November 27, 2017: Media Release - NCC
The NSW Nature Conservation Council today launched legal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court seeking to overturn land-clearing codes made under the Local Land Services Act earlier this year.

“We are taking the Berejiklian government to court to scrap its destructive land-clearing laws, to defend nature and the rule of law,” council CEO Kate Smolski said.

“As the peak conservation organisation in NSW, we have an obligation to explore every avenue to defend nature against destructive laws, and that’s what we are doing.

“The rushed and potentially unlawful actions of two of the Coalition government’s ministers have put wildlife at risk and undermined the principles of good government in NSW.

“If our legal challenge is successful, the government should scrap these bad laws, go back to the drawing board and make new codes that actually protect our threatened species.”

The Nature Conservation Council, represented by public interest environmental lawyers EDO NSW, is challenging the government’s land-clearing codes on two grounds: 

1. Failure to adequately consider the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development
The Primary Industries Minister and the Environment Minister had a legal duty to consider the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development when making the land-clearing codes. That includes proper consideration of internationally recognised legal principles such as intergenerational equity, the precautionary principle, and conservation of biodiversity. Documents obtained under freedom of information laws suggests the Ministers failed to do so.

2. Failure of the Primary Industries Minister to obtain concurrence of the Environment Minister
The Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair had a legal duty to obtain the “concurrence” (more simply the agreement) of the Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton before “making” the codes. Documents obtained under freedom of information laws suggest that Ms Upton approved the codes on August 25, one day after Mr Blair had made them on August 24.

“This is not how environmental law should be made in this state,” Ms Smolski said.

“These land-clearing laws are a matter of life and death for wildlife. They are degrading our soils and water supplies and driving species to extinction in regions across NSW.

“More than 1000 plant and animal species are at risk of extinction in this state, including the koala and 60 per cent of all our native mammals.

“Land clearing is the main threat to many of these animals, and the land-clearing codes this government has introduced potentially unlawfully are pushing them closer to the brink.”

Bioregional Assessment Of Cooper Basin

29 November 2017: Joint Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy and Senator the Hon Matthew Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia

The Cooper Basin in Queensland and South Australia will be assessed as a potential source of gas as the Turnbull Government seeks to boost our energy supplies, while protecting our natural environment.

The $30.4 million Geological and Bioregional Assessments Program is part of the “Towards a New Energy Future” package in this year’s Budget. The program will evaluate selected priority areas that are prospective for shale and tight gas, aiming not only to boost supply to the eastern states’ gas market, but also to support strong regulation of unconventional gas projects.

The independent scientific studies will be conducted by Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO, supported by the Bureau of Meteorology and managed by the Department of the Environment and Energy. The studies will assess the geology, water quantity and quality of surface and groundwater as well as protected environmental assets to determine the potential impacts and environmental safety of shale and tight gas developments.

“Governments, industry and local communities must all be assured that Australia can access our plentiful gas resources in a responsible way,” said Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg.

“As we work with states, territories and industry to get more gas to market, it is crucial that our decisions about resources are based on a sound scientific understanding of the region’s geology and environmental values.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said increasing our access to gas supplies will help create Australian jobs and support investment in regional Australia.

“It is vital that we unlock our gas resources and bring more gas to market. By taking steps to unlock our gas reserves, we will help put downward pressure on gas prices,” Minister Canavan said.

“This investment will make use of the best science to map and access our gas supplies to keep Australian industry running.”

Initial work on the Cooper Basin studies is underway. The next priority areas for the Geological and Bioregional Assessments Program will be announced in coming months.

“This is yet another step the Turnbull Government is taking to deliver affordable and reliable energy for Australian households and businesses as we transition to a lower emissions future,” said Minister Frydenberg.

Call For National Heritage List Nominations

1 December 2017: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
Nominations are now open for places of outstanding natural, Indigenous or historic significance to the nation for possible inclusion on our National Heritage List.

“Our prestigious National Heritage List celebrates and protects places that reflect our unique landscapes, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and development as a nation,” said the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy.

“The List currently includes more than 100 sites from across Australia and its territories, ranging from icons such as Bondi Beach, Fraser Island and Kakadu National Park to lesser-known gems such as the Dirk Hartog’s Landing Site, Darlington Probation Station, Mount William Stone Hatchet Quarry, Witjira-Dalhousie Springs and the High Court-National Gallery Precinct.”

“Each year, more places are added to the List as our national story unfolds and understanding of our heritage deepens.”

Nominations are open until 26 February 2016 and will be considered by the Australian Heritage Council before a final list of places to be assessed in 2018-19 is developed. As part of that assessment process, there will be further opportunities for public comment on each proposed listing.

Nominations of natural, Indigenous and historic places with significant heritage value for possible Commonwealth heritage listing are also being sought.

Four NSW Regions Set To Become The State’s Clean-Energy Superpowers

November 27, 2017
Four regions in NSW have been identified as potential clean-energy superpowers that could replace the state’s five coal-burning power stations with clean energy by 2030, a new report has found.

“The transition from coal and gas to solar, wind and storage will attract $25 billion of investment, the construction of about 2,500 wind turbines and installation of more 42 million solar panels across the state,” said report author Dr Brad Smith.

“It’s a big job, but making the NSW electricity system 100% renewable is 100% doable. The only thing missing is strong political leadership.

“Repowering the state’s electricity system with clean energy will be one of the biggest infrastructure roll-outs that state has seen. It will make renewable energy a new pillar of rural economies in many parts of the state, generating and sustaining more than 22,000 new jobs in NSW.”

The report, titled Repowering our Regions: A clean-energy road map for NSW, found four regions with outstanding wind and solar resources could supply 70 per cent of the state’s electricity needs through large-scale wind and solar farms, and rooftop solar. Those regions are Western NSW, New England (including the Northwest), the Central West, and the South East. The other 30 per cent would be supplied by rooftop solar in other parts of the state.

“These regions are poised to become renewable-energy powerhouses that will repower NSW with clean energy and drive down the state’s carbon pollution,” Dr Smith said.

“To ensure we get the jobs and investment on offer, the Berejiklian government must put in place the required policy settings.

“At the moment, NSW is the only government in eastern Australia without a plan to clean up our electricity system and slash our carbon emissions.”


The Berejiklian government must slash carbon pollution, increase the reliability of our power supply, and promote jobs by:
  1. Setting enforceable targets to source 50% of NSW’s electricity from renewables by 2025 and 100% by 2030.
  2. Planning for the quick, orderly closure of antiquated coal-fired power stations, ensuring the transition is fair for power-station workers and communities.
  3. Creating incentives for storage technologies like batteries and pumped hydro to make our electricity grid more stable and reliable.

The Nature Conservation Council is part of the #Repower campaign of Australians who are working to transition from dirty coal and gas to 100% renewable power by 2030. We recognize that climate change is already occurring, and we can’t wait for the Federal Government and the big polluting energy companies to lead. It’s up to us, right now. Together, we can make it happen starting right here in NSW. Join us

Exhibition Of Proposed Changes To Noise And Dust Assessment For Mining Projects

November 30, 2017: Departmental Media Release, Department of Planning and Environment
Proposed planning policy changes will help improve the management of noise and dust impacts on properties near proposed mining projects.
The Department of Planning and Environment’s Deputy Secretary for Policy, Strategy & Governance, Alison Frame, said the proposed changes to the NSW Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy respond to the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) recently updated policies for assessing noise and air quality.
"The NSW Government applies the Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy during the assessment of state significant resource proposals, such as mines, to address potential noise and dust impacts on neighbouring land," Ms Frame said.  
"We’ve based our revised air and noise assessment criteria on those developed through recent reviews conducted by the EPA, which underwent public consultation.
"In addition, we’ve also improved the language to explain terms and processes more clearly such as negotiated agreements, acquisition and mitigation processes, and valuation of land.
"We’re interested in hearing from any interested individuals, land-owners, and community groups wishing to provide feedback on the proposed changes.
"Public submissions provide important feedback to our Department, which we will consider as we finalise the policy.
"In the coming months, we will separately be consulting stakeholders across a range of sectors on the potential to provide more policy guidance on negotiated agreements and dispute resolution," Ms Frame said.
The proposal to revise the NSW Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy also requires amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007.
To view the proposed changes or make a submission between November 30 and 16 February 2018, visit the Department's website here.

Rare Moving Underground Orchid Baffles Scientists

29 November 2017
An elusive underground orchid has been discovered in Barrington Tops National Park and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Area Manager, Anthony Signor, is thrilled at the discovery.

"Barrington Tops is known for harbouring a remarkable range of rare plants and animals, and the underground orchid is an exciting new addition," Mr Signor said.

"If this discovery is the Eastern Australian Underground Orchid, this will be the first time in more than a decade that a new population of this species has been found in NSW.

"A single flower head was discovered recently in Barrington Tops by local fungi enthusiast Maree Elliott, who quickly realised she had stumbled on something extraordinary.

"This year, we were delighted to find not one but two flower heads at the same location," said Mr Signor.

Dr Mark Clements, an orchid specialist from the Centre of Australian National Biodiversity Research is carrying out DNA testing to determine if the flower heads are the Eastern Underground Orchid species.

Very little is known about underground orchids and their preferred habitats. The Eastern Underground Orchid has only previously been found at a handful of sites in eastern NSW including Bulahdelah, the Blue Mountains and Nowra.

They produce a flower spike that just penetrates the soil surface for a few weeks each year, possibly to attract small flies searching for fungal fruiting bodies in which to lay eggs.

The orchid is known to 'move' slowly across the forest floor, since it grows at one end and dies off at the other.

The NSW Government's Saving Our Species (SoS) program is funding further survey work to inform the management and protection of this extraordinary threatened plant.

"If you think you have spotted an underground orchid flower head while enjoying our beautiful national parks, please contact the NPWS Barrington Tops Area office at Gloucester on 02 6538 5300."

Dolphins And Turtles Found Dead In Ghost Nets Retrieved In The Top End

November 28, 2017: Australian department of Immigration and Border Protection, Joint media release with Australian Fisheries Management Authority
The results of reckless fishing practices have been highlighted after a number of marine animals were found deceased in two ghost nets retrieved approximately 40 nautical miles north of the Tiwi Islands and 190 nautical miles north west of Darwin respectively. 

The ghost nets were spotted by a Dash-8 aircraft as part of regular surveillance by Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the Australian Border Force (ABF), made up of officers from the ABF and the Australian Defence Force.

HMAS Ararat retrieved the ghost nets, which contained dead marine species, including three dolphins, three skeletons believed to be from dolphins, two turtles, nine Blacktip reef sharks, one crab and a number of small reef fish.

The nets, one weighing approximately 2.1 tonnes and the other approximately 3.6 tonnes were taken to Darwin to be disposed of by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said ghost nets are lost or abandoned fishing nets that drift in the ocean, entangling and slowly killing marine life such as turtles, dugongs, seabirds, dolphins and other fish species.

“We all need to do our part to keep our oceans free from marine debris and rubbish, from ghost nets to plastic bags and general rubbish,” Mr Venslovas said.

Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Peter Laver, said protecting Australia’s vast maritime domain from pollution is one of MBC’s key objectives.

“As we’ve seen in this instance, these nets are incredibly damaging to our unique maritime environment and it’s an important part of our operations to locate and remove them,” Rear Admiral Laver said.

“Sadly we see a number of these nets floating in our waters and we work closely with our counterparts at AFMA to locate, remove and destroy them to stop them causing any further damage.”

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:

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. 

Draft Environment SEPP

October 31, 2017: NSW Dept. of Planning and Environment
• Draft Environment SEPP (PDF: 6.215 MB)
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.

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

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
Request for further information: 30/11/2017 Titleholder action: 21/12/2017

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. 

National Parks And Wildlife Service Statement On Blue Mountains Rock Fall Incident

29 November 2017
The National Parks and Wildlife Service is deeply saddened by the events that occurred today on a closed section of the National Pass track in Blue Mountains National Park.

Our condolences go to the family of the contractor who was killed and our thoughts are with the other members of the crew who were injured.

The National Pass walking track between Valley of the Waters and Slack Stairs has been closed since 31 August due to an identified risk of unstable sections of rock.

Work to make the track safe was underway by experienced contractors.

NPWS will be assisting NSW Police and Safework NSW with their enquiries into this matter.

The NPWS routinely monitors walking tracks in the Blue Mountains for rock fall hazards.

This track was closed due to an identified risk. 

NSW To Become A Greener State 

November 28, 2017: Ministerial Media Release- The Hon. Anthony Roberts, Minister for Planning and Housing
The NSW Government will create a greener Sydney and State to improve the health, economy, environment, infrastructure and biodiversity for all its families and people as part of NSW’s statewide green infrastructure policy, Greener Places. 

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, made the announcement today during the Greening Sydney Symposium held at Sydney Olympic Park, which brought together stakeholders from local government, developers, community groups and industry bodies. 

The Symposium facilitated discussion and promotion of the draft Green Infrastructure Policy, Greener Places, and the collaborative work government was doing to make NSW greener. 

“Our commitment to enhancing green, open space will complement the new homes and infrastructure being delivered to address NSW’s increased population, which is expected to grow by 2.2 million people by 2036," Mr Roberts said. 

“Our plan will improve the lives of our residents through an unprecedented commitment to green, open spaces."

“Tree canopy is one of the biggest factors in addressing heatwaves in our suburbs and reducing the urban heat island effect." 

“Through partnership with local government, developers, industry and the community, this program will see trees planted in our streets, parklands, and front and back yards."

“The Greener Places policy aims to create a healthier, more livable and sustainable urban environment by improving community access to recreation and exercise, and supporting walking and cycling connections”.

The initiative will be led by Department of Planning and Environment’s newly formed Office of Open Space and Parklands.

Commissioner for Open Space and Parklands, Fiona Morrison, said that tree canopy was one of the biggest factors in addressing heatwaves in our suburbs and reducing the urban heat island effect. 

“Trees not only offer shade and shelter from rain and wind but they also help keep the air clean by producing oxygen, support wildlife while also adding value to the aesthetics and economy of our cities and suburbs,” Ms Morrison said.
The draft Green Infrastructure policy Greener Places: Establishing an urban Green Infrastructure policy for New South Wales – was produced by the Government Architect NSW (GANSW to guide the planning, design and delivery of Green Infrastructure in urban areas across NSW. 

Greener Places explores why Green Infrastructure is needed and the vision for its implementation. 

Identified as the interconnected network of open space, Green Infrastructure includes parks, rivers, bushland and private gardens that are strategically planned and designed. 

NSW Government Architect, Peter Poulet, said: “We need to think of Green Infrastructure as equally essential as roads, transport infrastructure, storm water and drainage because of the many benefits it provides”. 

The community and stakeholders can now provide feedback on the draft policy until 2 February 2018. 

All feedback will be considered before a final policy is developed.

”The NSW Government, councils, community groups, Sydney Water and the development industry will continue to work together to contribute to the delivery of the policy, creating a healthier, greener, more prosperous Sydney and NSW,” Mr Roberts added.

To download a copy of the draft Greener Places policy or to provide us with your feedback, please visit

For more information on Greening Sydney, please visit

Keep It Clean: EPA Issues Soil Warning Ahead Of Summer DIY Season

29 November 2017: Media Release - EPA
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has launched a community awareness campaign on Gumtree, warning residents to make sure they take the right precautionary steps to protect their property from contaminated fill this renovation season.

The EPA and councils are receiving increasing numbers of reports of fill (soil excavated from one site and used as a base material in building, landscaping or general fill somewhere else) being delivered to unsuspecting property owners with false promises that it is clean and harmless, only to find that it is contaminated with building and demolition waste, general rubbish, chemicals, heavy metals or even asbestos.

Many tradespeople, gardeners and renovators use online classified websites like Gumtree to search for free or cheap fill material. From November, some searches for fill material on Gumtree will prompt an EPA pop-up advertisement, to warn potential consumers to make sure any soil they accept on their property is clean and good quality.

EPA Director Waste Compliance Greg Sheehy said waste investigators were too often hearing of stories where unsuspecting property owners had responded to ads for free fill, only for contaminated or poor-quality fill to be delivered.

“We know dodgy operators advertise their ‘clean’ or ‘certified’ fill through classified ads websites, roadside signage, letter box drops and sometimes even door-knocking directly,” Mr Sheehy said.

“Not all operators are dodgy. Through this campaign, the EPA is reminding residents thinking of undertaking any DIY works this summer to think twice when it comes to free fill, because if the ‘dirt deal’ seems too good to be true, it probably is.

“These sorts of scams are not a new problem but one that is occurring with increasing prevalence, particularly in rural and semi-rural areas where property owners are often looking for clean fill to level out a yard or do some landscaping.

“To the untrained eye, the soil may seem fine but unfortunately, this is not always the case.”

By accepting contaminated waste onto a property, owners are inadvertently breaking the law and can be left holding the bill for any clean-up costs, as well as dealing with any environmental pollution. The best way to prevent the financial and environmental risks that can come with contaminated fill is to stop the material reaching your property in the first place. To do that, you can follow the simple steps laid out in the ‘Clean Fill Drill’.

  • Get the approvals – Council approval is often required so check with your local council before you accept any fill.
  • Do your research – Use a reputable supplier and, if you have doubts, request that the material is sampled or analysed. Contact your council or ring the EPA for more information.
  • Record details - Take down the details of anyone delivering fill to your property, including name, driver’s licence, vehicle registration, vehicle signage or any other information you might observe. This can be used to track down dodgy operators in cases where fill is found to be contaminated.
  • Be there - Be at your property when all the fill is delivered. If you see something odd such as chunks of bricks, tiles, fibrous material or sheeting - ask the transporter to stop and call your local council or the EPA Environment Line immediately on 131 555.
  • Secure your property – Once your job is complete, make sure that you secure entry to your property to prevent dodgy operators from coming back with unclean loads.
If you suspect contaminated  fill has been delivered to your property or are worried that a transporter cannot show you enough information to prove it is clean, don’t let the material be deposited and contact the EPA’s 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555 with as much relevant information as possible.

Murray Cod Season Opens December 1

November 27, 2017: NSW DPI
Recreational fishers will again be able to target Murray cod, when the season opens on Friday, 1 December 2017, following the annual three month breeding closure.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Senior Inland Fisheries Manager, Cameron Westaway said the native species, which is found in the Murray-Darling River system, is a prized catch as it’s the country’s largest freshwater fish.

“Every year a three month ban on taking, or attempting to take, Murray Cod in all inland waters other than Copeton Dam is put in place to protect this very important species during its breeding season,” Mr Westaway said.

“Since the closure was first introduced more than a decade ago there have been numerous reports of significant increases in Murray cod numbers.

“Murray cod numbers have been boosted through government stocking programs including the dollar for dollar native fish stocking program. Over 920,000 were released last year and similar numbers of Murray cod are planned for release this season.”

The annual Murray cod season opens on Friday, 1 December, and fisheries officers will continue to monitor inland waterways, particularly during the holiday season, to ensure fishers follow all recreational fishing rules.

DPI’s Director of Fisheries Compliance, Patrick Tully said fishers will need to adhere to Murray cod possession limits, size limits and catch and release best practice.

“A daily bag limit of two Murray Cod per person per day and a total possession limit of four will apply when fishing in any inland waters,” Mr Tully said.
“Fishers are required to release Murray Cod which are smaller than 55cm, or bigger than 75cm, with the least possible harm.”

Other rules relating to the Murray cod include:
  • Set lines cannot be used in any inland waters and are totally prohibited.
  • Two attended lines may be used in all inland waters except some trout and closed waters, but these lines must be within 50 metres and in your line of sight.
  • Live finfish including carp, birds and mammals cannot be used as bait.
More information can be found in the NSW Recreational Fishing Freshwater Fishing Guide, which is available from DPI offices and most places where NSW recreational fishing licences are sold.

Anyone with information on suspected illegal fishing activity is urged to contact their local Fisheries office, call the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536 or report illegal fishing activities online.

The Future Of The National Landcare Program

By Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. Luke Hartsuyker
The Australian Government is investing more than $1 billion into the future of the National Landcare Program (NLP). In September, the Coalition Government launched the next phase of the NLP, and mapped out the nationally-agreed priorities for delivering on-ground natural resource management and sustainable agriculture outcomes that will benefit rural communities and deliver environmental and agricultural outcomes.
Protecting and improving the condition of our natural resources, soils, water and biodiversity—is a never-ending goal, which requires long-term, on-the-ground planning, investment and delivery. The NLP has been structured to achieve this through building knowledge and engaging the community and industry in projects to improve those land management practices needed to benefit the condition of these natural resources and farm production.

The Australian Government is significantly contributing to this effort through the NLP and is a national leader in the cause to protect soils, water and biodiversity in our farms, communities and environments.

Key programs in the $1 billion dollar NLP investment include the $450 million Regional Land Partnerships Program and the $134 million Smart Farms Program. These programs were developed in consultation with Landcare groups and the Australian community.

Smart Farms
The Smart Farms program will protect and improve the condition of natural resources on farms, which in turn drives improved productivity and profitability. ‘Farming smarter’ is the mantra for the next round of Landcare projects—helping organisations and individuals to put their heads together to develop innovative sustainable agriculture practices.

The $134 million Smart Farms program will encourage farmers, fishers and foresters to adopt sustainable agricultural best practices. Giving farmers, fishers, foresters and regional communities the tools, technologies and funding will allow them to invest in their soils, water and biodiversity.
Farmers have a natural instinct to care for their land and we want to support these ideas that have been put to the test on a local farm by helping our smart farmers to share that idea with the local community and the nation.

The Smart Farms Program is made up of three components: the $60 million Smart Farming Partnerships, the $50 million Smart Farm Small Grants and the $24 million Building Landcare Community and Capacity Program.

Calls for the first round of grant applications (closes December 7th, 2017) under the Smart Farms Small Grants and Smart Farming Partnerships were announced in October 2017.
More information on the programs and how to apply is available at I encourage you all to continue your involvement in Landcare through the Smart Farms program which will put Australian farming at the forefront of land resource management into the future.

Regional Land Partnerships
From July 2018, the Australian Government will invest $450 million over five years to deliver the national priorities of protecting soils, water, vegetation and biodiversity and supporting agriculture productivity at the regional and local level.

The Regional Land Partnerships Program builds on the strengths of the existing program, with national coverage that will connect and involve communities, including Indigenous communities. We want to fund the most innovative projects that tackle today’s challenges and harness the next generation of ideas.

There is great awareness about the Landcare movement and the benefits it brings to communities across Australia. Through our consultations and reviews one thing that has come to the fore is the strong support for continuing to deliver the NLP through a regional model. Local Landcare groups have local know-how and we want to continue to tap into that local environmental and land management knowledge.

There will of course be refinements to make sure we meet the needs of landholders, volunteers and communities across Australia’s diverse farming communities.

Landcare across the country continues to play a critical role in helping to improve farming practices and land management. The NLP has seen an increase in uptake of sustainable practices, with an estimated area of more than 9.5 million hectares of land being sustainably managed to improve natural resources with corresponding environmental, agricultural productivity and social outcomes.

The next six years of Landcare will be exciting as we look to take advantage of technological advances in land management and seek to continue to do what comes naturally to all of us—taking care of the land.

I look forward to continuing to work with Landcare communities across Australia, research organisations and farmers to deliver these new Australian Government investments that will ensure Landcare delivers real, tangible benefits for all of Australia, ensuring we have healthy and productive farms into the future.

A New National Landcare Organisation – Talks Progress

24 November 2017: by Landcare Australia
The boards of the NLN and Landcare Australia met in Canberra on 23rd November to re-affirm their commitment to move forward with the formation of a new national Landcare organisation. They agreed on the next steps to make this happen, with the due diligence to be completed by Christmas and the new entity to be established before the end of this financial year.
Once formed, a new organisation will give the Landcare movement a single national organisation working on its behalf, which will combine and build on the representative capacity and voice of the NLN and the marketing, education, fundraising and program delivery skills of Landcare Australia. Both organisations are committed to doing what is best for community Landcare and recognise that they will have a greater impact together.

New Arrangements For The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

30 November 2017: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
The Coalition Government has today released its response to the Independent Review of Governance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, accepting all 24 recommendations to further strengthen the Authority and position it to best meet the significant challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef.

A key part of the response is to create a separate Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer for the Authority. The board will also be supplemented with one additional part-time member and a broader range of skills and expertise.

A formal process using a new skills matrix will be developed to guide the recruitment of all board members – including the Chairperson and CEO – and will reflect Government policy on gender equity on boards.

“The Coalition Government is committed to the preservation and management of the Great Barrier Reef – a commitment made all the more important by the recent challenges facing the Reef,” said the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy.

“Our response to this Review will ensure that the Authority is best placed to continue its important work with reef users, business, research and government and non-government partners.”

“It builds on a strong record of Coalition Government support for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, recently demonstrated by the commitment of $124 million of funding over 10 years.”

The Independent Review report, released on 5 October 2017, offered recommendations that aim to build on the governance of the Authority and take steps to further strengthen the organisation.

The Government will immediately move to implement key actions, starting by bringing forward amendments to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.

The Government’s full response is available on the Department’s website:

Start Of Summer Will See All Eyes On The Great Barrier Reef

November 28, 2017: Media Release - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
While it is too early to tell whether mass coral bleaching will occur on the Great Barrier Reef this summer coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish continue to pose a high risk, according to Australia’s leading marine experts and scientists.

The statement comes after this year’s annual meeting of scientists, Marine Park managers, partners and stakeholders — convened by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority — to assess risks to the Reef over summer.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chief scientist Dr David Wachenfeld said Marine Park managers would keep a close eye on climate models from the Bureau of Meteorology and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and welcomed reports from those out on the water over the summer months.

“The climate is changing and we’re concerned about the risk of coral bleaching each summer but it’s too early to tell whether bleaching will occur this summer,” Dr Wachenfeld said.

“There’s a high ongoing risk to corals from the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish and control efforts are underway. We will soon add a third crown-of-thorns vessel to the fleet and the Australian Government has committed to continue funding the control program until June 2020.”

The workshop concluded there is a low risk of bleaching from rainfall and flooding — based on a five-point risk scale from very high to low. Coral disease is a high risk, but likely to occur at a localised scale.

“Corals are still dealing with residual stress from two years of mass bleaching and there’s been above average summer and winter sea surface temperatures throughout the year,” Dr Wachenfeld said.

“What happens over the next few months will be driven by sea surface temperatures and the influence of localised weather conditions, such as storms and cyclones.

“All eyes will be on the Reef over summer — our field management officers will continue to check for change on the Reef as part of their surveillance program and we encourage anyone out on the water to report any signs of bleaching through our Eye on the Reef app.

The El Nino Southern Oscillation is currently neutral, with an increased chance of La Niña developing. La Niña typically sees wetter conditions for eastern Australia and increased cyclone activity. If a La Niña does develop, it is likely to be relatively weak and short-lived, with no strong climate influence on the summer outlook for the Reef.

Generally, the peak time for bleaching is at the end of February when the temperature is hottest.

Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) research scientist Hugh Sweatman said his team would survey 56 reefs along 1000 kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef in coming months, to assess the extent of change caused by bleaching, crown-of-thorns starfish and cyclones.

“The AIMS long-term monitoring program has been observing the Great Barrier Reef for the past 30 years, looking at coral cover and fish communities, and bleaching is one of the things that causes major losses in these communities,” Dr Sweatman said.

“We do see that reefs can recover if they get the chance between disturbances.”

Coral bleaching and a severe tropical cyclone impacted Great Barrier Reef Marine Park over the last two years, though impacts across the 344,000 square kilometres of Marine Park were variable given its vast size — bigger than Italy.

For example, in 2016, even in the northern areas most affected by bleaching, many outer reefs were in better condition.  

“Like all coral reefs around the world, the Great Barrier Reef is under pressure,” Dr Wachenfeld said.

“Climate change impacts on coral reefs are predicted to worsen and critically affect the survival of coral reefs globally without the strongest possible mitigation.

“Recent bleaching highlights the importance of global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and taking local and regional action to build Reef resilience.”

Nurturing Baby Coral To Restore The Reef

26 November 2017: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
A $600,000 Turnbull Government funded trial is underway on the Great Barrier Reef to identify highly resilient reefs and pilot 're-seeding' to restore coral.

"This project contributes to efforts already underway to improve the Reef's health through the Australian and Queensland governments' Reef 2050 Plan," said Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg.

"It also forms part of a number of immediate actions we're taking to accelerate efforts to enhance the resilience of the Reef in the face of climate change."

Re-seeding involves collecting millions of coral larvae (baby coral) and rearing them, before releasing them onto natural reefs to accelerate regeneration of coral areas. Coral larvae are produced as a result of a spawning event which occurs once a year starting in November.

The project is a partnership between Southern Cross University and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority with support from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

"Identifying highly resilient reefs and developing reef restoration trials were key outcomes of the Authority's Great Barrier Reef Resilience Summit which brought together the world's best minds on coral reef protection," said Minister Frydenberg.

"For the first time, this re-seeding trial will look at the effectiveness of the technique on a larger scale and pioneer the collecting of natural coral spawn slicks for restoring the Reef."

The Government remains concerned about the impacts of coral bleaching and is committed to action to address climate change through the Paris Agreement.

Together with the Queensland Government, we are investing more than $2 billion over the coming decade to improve the health and resilience of the Reef through the Reef 2050 Plan.

"Through projects such as this re-seeding trial, we will continue building the skills and knowledge we need to adaptively manage the Reef and protect it for future generations," said Minister Frydenberg.

This trial builds on previous work conducted by Southern Cross University which was backed by the Government's Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

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

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

Avalon Boomerang Bags

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Study Finds Heatwaves In NSW Cause 10 Per Cent Increase In Deaths

01 December 2017: NSW Health
​Extreme heatwaves lead to a more than 10 per cent increase in both deaths and ambulance callouts, according to a long-term study by NSW Health.
NSW Health’s Director of Environmental Health and co-author of the study, Dr Ben Scalley, said with the start of summer it is important people take heatwaves seriously.
“Prolonged periods of very hot weather can be dangerous because hot weather can overheat the human body, leading to a range of serious illnesses,” Dr Scalley said.

“Certain groups of people are particularly vulnerable, including older people, infants and children, people with a chronic medical condition and those who live alone.
“During hot weather, it’s important to stay in regular contact with elderly neighbours, friends and relatives and to look out for other vulnerable members of their community.” 

The study, published in the International Journal of Biometeorology, analysed the health effects of heat events from 2005-2015 and their impact on mortality, hospitalisations and ambulance call-outs.
Dr Scalley sad the study showed extreme heatwaves are associated with a 10.8 per cent increase in deaths, a 3.4 per cent increase in hospital presentations and 10.9 per cent hike in ambulance call-outs.
“The increases in all three measures were seen across metropolitan, regional and rural areas across the state,” Dr Scalley said.
The results of the study support several recent international studies that have linked heatwaves with significant impacts on human health and mortality.
Dr Scalley said the following simple precautions will help minimise the risk of heat-related illness:
  • drink plenty of water, and remember to carry some with you when out and about avoid alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks
  • plan your day around the heat, particularly in the middle of the day, and minimise physical activity
  • keep the sun out by shading windows with curtains, blinds or closing shutters
  • keep windows closed during the day until it cools down and in early morning
  • if you don’t have an air-conditioner, try to spend time in an air-conditioned place like a shopping centre, library or cinema
  • wear light, loose-fitting clothing
  • when outdoors, stay protected from the sun by wearing a hat and sunscreen. 
For more information, visit the NSW Health beat the heat website:

Osteoarthritis Guideline Released For Public Consultation

Thursday, 30 November 2017
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (the developer) has released the updated draft Guideline for the management of knee and hip osteoarthritis for public consultation until Wednesday 20 December 2017.

The developer will be seeking NHMRC approval of the guideline under section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992.

$53 Million To Find Better Mental Health Treatments And Care

29 November 2017: Media Release - National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
The Turnbull Government will provide more than $53 million for new research into better treatments, prevention and care for Australian patients facing mental health challenges.

A total of 47 projects will be funded across Australia to support some of our nation’s brightest researchers.

With four million Australians experiencing some form of mental illness each year, health and medical research is critical to addressing this growing and significant health challenge.

The Turnbull Government has made mental health a priority and it is a key pillar of our National Long Term Health Plan.

This year we will invest a record $4.3 billion in mental health – including over $120 million in mental health research.

Included in the $53 million announced today, Associate Professor Gurmeet Singh from the Menzies School of Health Research will receive $3.1 million for research on the physical and emotional health of Indigenous Australians.

Indigenous Australians have high rates of mental illness and very high rates of suicide. This study will focus on lifestyle risk factors for disease progression, including for mental health and chronic disease, such as alcohol consumption.

Professor Helen Christensen from the Black Dog Institute at the University of New South Wales will receive $2.18 million to research the use of smartphones to prevent and better understand the onset of mental health problems.

At the University of New South Wales, Professor Maree Teesson will receive $1.47 million to develop a school-based program to prevent substance abuse, anxiety and depression in young people.

Professor Teesson’s research is an important new study that brings together leading scientists from across Australia to study therapies for mental illness and substance use during the critical transition period from adolescence to young adulthood.

At the University of Queensland, Professor Maree Toombs has been awarded more than $996,000 to develop an Indigenous model of mental health care to treat mood and anxiety disorders in Indigenous Australians.

Professor Toombs’ research will encompass psychological therapy and cultural healing practices developed in consultation with local, participating Indigenous communities.

The Turnbull Government is also announcing today the establishment of a new Mental Health Research Advisory Committee to ensure that National Health and Medical Research Council funds are targeted to priority mental health projects with high potential for improving Australians’ lives.

Professor Jane Gunn will chair the nine person committee which will provide expert advice on investment in mental health research and identify emerging issues of need.

The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring people with mental health challenges get the support and treatment they need and the $53 million investment announced today is a clear sign of that commitment.

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:

Improving The Native Title System For All Australians

29 November 2017: Joint media release - Attorney-General, Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator The Hon George Brandis QC and Minister for Indigenous affairs, Senator for the Northern Territory, Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion
The Turnbull Government is today releasing an options paper considering how the native title system could be improved to better support all stakeholders involved with native title. 
The options paper considers reforms to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) to make the native title system operate more effectively for all Australians. It includes recommendations from a range of reviews, including the:
  • Australian Law Reform Commission’s report on Connection to Country: Review of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth),
  • Council of Australian Government’s Investigation into Land Administration and Use, and
  • Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations’ Technical Review of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006.
In developing the options paper, the Government has engaged extensively with key stakeholders, including the states and territories at a Native Title Ministers’ Meeting on 13 October this year.

The paper considers how native title holders could be given greater autonomy to resolve claims more simply by providing claim groups with greater authority to make decisions, and more options to resolve internal disputes.

The paper also contains a number of proposals designed to improve the operation of Indigenous representative bodies which play a vital role in representing native title holders. 

While claims resolution continues to be a priority for the Government, as more claims are determined, the focus of the system must shift to how native title holders can make agreements with other parties and resolve disputes. That is why a number of the proposals relate to reducing the regulatory burden and cost of the process so that native title holders have greater flexibility in making decisions about their land and water. 

The Government is committed to wide consultation on native title reform and stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback on the options paper by 25 January 2018. This feedback will contribute to the development of an exposure draft of legislation, which the Government expects to release in the first half of next year.

These proposals are further evidence of the Turnbull Government’s commitment to improving the native title system. In June, the Government successfully passed in Parliament key changes to the Act, restoring certainty to the native title system following the McGlade decision.

The options paper and more information on native title reform are available at

Submissions close on Thursday, 25 January 2018
Feedback from stakeholders will inform the development of an exposure draft native title amendment bill. It is anticipated that the exposure draft will be released for further public comment in March 2018.

New ARC Training Centre To Transform Australia’s High-Performance Carbon Composites Manufacturing Industry

28 November 2017 
Australian Research Council (ARC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Professor Sue Thomas, has welcomed the launch of an ARC Training Centre that will focus on the next generation of automated composite manufacturing innovations.

The ARC Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC), based at The University of New South Wales, is receiving $3.8 million over five years in funding through the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme.

“This new Training Centre, working with key industry collaborators, will utilise advanced automation technology to position Australian manufacturers as world-class producers of advanced composite materials and structures,” said Professor Thomas.

“AMAC has united university researchers and industry, to lower the barriers for Australian industry to access, engage, adopt and propagate automated composite manufacturing innovations. The range of organisations participating in the Training Centre reflects the diversity of applications that will arise from this research.

“A key objective of the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme is to foster opportunities for research students and postdoctoral fellows to pursue industrial training. AMAC will train the next generation of composite manufacturing innovators who will lead the future of the industry in Australia.”

Researchers at The University of New South Wales will team with researchers at The Australian National University and other participating organisations: Technical University of Munich, Germany; Advanced Composite Structures Australia Pty Ltd; Australian Sports Commission – Australian Institute of Sport; Omni Tanker Holdings Pty Ltd; Ford Motor Company of Australia Ltd; Carbonix; Field Electron and Ion Company; Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation; Advanced Fibre Placement Technology; Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

For more information about this Training Centre, please visit the ARC Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites website. For more information about the ARC and the Industrial Transformation Research Program, please visit the ARC website.

ASIC Appoints Expert To Review Fees And Costs Disclosure Settings

Tuesday 28 November 2017
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has appointed Darren McShane to conduct an expert review of fees and costs disclosure in superannuation and management investments.

This follows ASIC's announcement of its decision to have an external expert review Regulatory Guide 97 Fees and costs disclosure (RG 97) to ensure that it is effectively meeting its objective of providing greater transparency for consumers (17-369MR). Mr McShane will commence the review from December 2017. The review is expected to be completed by the end of the first half of 2018.

Darren McShane has extensive experience in the superannuation and managed investments industry and until recently was Chief Regulation and Policy Officer and Executive Director of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority in Hong Kong, where he led the development of the regulation of the Hong Kong pensions system. Until recently he was also Chairman of the International Organisation of Pension Supervisors Technical Committee.

The aim of the this review is to ensure that legislative modifications and regulatory guidance issued by ASIC will best meet in practice the objective of improving fees and costs transparency for consumers. The review will involve consideration of both:

the value of fee and cost  information for consumer decision making and the extent to which it assists consumers (including by contributing to market analysis) in comparing products; and
the practicalities and costs of producing fee and cost information. 
The review will build upon work and stakeholder feedback to date.

During the review ASIC will be facilitating industry input to Mr McShane, who will meet with service providers, representatives of both industry and retail funds, and funds at various levels of compliance with RG 97.

A public report will be released once the review is complete.

In the meantime, the facilitative compliance approach to fees and costs disclosure will continue. During this time, ASIC expects that funds will endeavour to comply with the current legal requirements in good faith and not mislead consumers about fees and costs. ASIC will continue to monitor disclosure to consumers.

Biographical information about Darren McShane 

2002-2017: Chief Regulation and Policy Officer and Executive Director of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority in Hong Kong.

2014-2017: Chairman of the International Organisation of Pensions Supervisors Technical Committee, leading the development of global standard setting work and best practice papers issued by the organisation. 

2003-2017: Member of the product advisory committee at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, advising on approval and policy issues relating to investment products and fund management. 

1990-2002:Director, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, including a leadership role in the development and implementation of the Managed Investments Act and the Financial Services Reform Act.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Laws, University of Queensland; Master of Laws, University of Sydney; Graduate of the Securities Institute of Australia.

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.