Inbox and Environment News: Issue 346

February 4 - 10, 2018: Issue 346

Bushcare Groups Recommence For 2018

Avalon Golf Course
Bushcare will resume on the 2nd Wednesday of the month from 14 February. That is Valentine’s Day and so let’s show the bush some love! The delightful Rachel will be taking care of and supervising us again this year. We will still be meeting in the same golf club car park and at 3pm. Anyone interested in helping out will be most welcome to join us.

No experience is necessary. A tool belt and tools will be provided along with information and a guarantee of good fun and feeling good about caring for the golf course also. For further information contact Geoff on 0439 292 566.

Angophora bushcare
Angophora bush care will resume on the third Sunday of the month from 18 February at 8.30 at one of the entrances to the reserve. Morning tea usually happens around 11. Any queries please call Geoff on 0439 292 566

Green Team Beach Cleans 2018!

Hosted by The Green Team
The Green Team is back for 2018! 
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! 

We will meet in front of the surf club. 
Hope to see you there!

The Green Team is a Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative from Avalon, Sydney. Keeping our area green and clean.

Beach Clean!
Saturday, February 10 at 8 AM - 9 AM
Newport Beach: We will meet in front of the surf club.

Beach Clean!
Saturday, February 17 at 8 AM - 9 AM
Palm Beach - We will meet at Kiddies corner (the south side)

Clean Up Australia Day 2018

Community - Sunday 4 March
Schools/Youth Clean Up Day - Friday 2 March
Business Clean Up Day - Tuesday 27 Feb

Clean Up Australia Day - Sunday 4 March.
But Remember - Everyday is Clean Up Day - so you can register an event at any time of the year.

Because when the rubbish is gone, nature can carry on ....
Register your own Clean Up site or  volunteer at a site near you .

You can see our Site Supervisor Checklist for how to go about finding, registering and organising your Clean Up.

Site Supervisors will receive a Clean Up starter kit.

For everything you will need and more Visit:

Harris Farms Goes Greener

January 31, 2018: Harris Farm Markets 
We are pleased to announce that we’ve said goodbye to single-use plastic bags at the registers of all our family owned stores! Off the back of the overwhelming support of the BanTheBag campaign last year, we made a commitment to be single-use plastic bag free at the registers by 2018. 

We’re proud to have honoured this promise. We now offer reusable paper bags free of charge while we transition, as well as recycled fruit boxes for free and a broad range of reusable BYO bag options, including carry bag and produce roll bag alternatives available for sale. You can check ‘em out here

We’d love to see all our customers bring their own BYO bags, or take a recycled box. Because even reusable paper bags still have a negative impact on the environment. We don’t mind what type of bag you bring - but we do hope you’ll start making a habit of it. 

Pictured below, founder of Clean Up Australia Ian Kiernan & Harris Farm Co-CEO, Tristan Harris.

Koalas Now Safer Thanks To New Pacific Highway Signs

2 February 2018: Media Release - NSW Roads and Maritime
  • 13 new koala hot spot signs installed on Pacific Highway at Wardell
  • Signs will have amber flashing lights with ‘slow down’ in white lights
  • 110 hectares of koala food trees have been planted with a further 20 hectares to come.
New flashing signs on the Pacific Highway at Wardell south of Ballina will alert drivers to koala ‘hot spots’ in the area.

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said 13 of the new signs had been permanently installed to make sure motorists slow down and watch out for koalas on the highway.

“The upgrade is already cutting travel times and freight costs, and saving the lives of drivers – and these signs will help protect the lives of koalas as well,” Mr Hogan said.

New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said the signs were a key part of Roads and Maritime Services’ Koala Management Plan, which aims to eliminate koala deaths on the Pacific Highway.

“Six of the signs, which are activated by approaching vehicles, have amber flashing lights in the top corners as well as ‘slow down’ in white lights at the bottom,” Mrs Pavey said.                                           

New South Wales Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin said about 110 hectares, equating to 80,000 koala food trees, had so far been planted and there were plans to plant another 20 hectares as part of the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade.

“About 16 kilometres of the new highway is also being fully fenced between Richmond River and Coolgardie Road,” Mr Franklin said.

The project team will install 26 wildlife crossings in the area, which equates to about one crossing every 500 metres. More information and updates about the Koala Management Plan are available on the Roads and Maritime Services website at 

Bloomfield Colliery Modification 4 Extension

Extension to the current life of mining.
No details up yet
Exhibition Start        02/02/2018
Exhibition End         02/03/2018

Current Threats To National Parks In NSW

 Media Release - National Parks Association
Over the past 60 years our NPA community of members and supporters has successfully influenced the establishment of most of the world-class national parks and protected areas in NSW, but today, very real threats to our national parks have emerged.

These threats are being driven by the government’s continuing pursuit of cost cutting and development above all else and timber industry demands for access to national parks for logging.

  • Murray Valley National Park – It took 30 years of persistent NPA campaigning to create the Murray Valley National Park. Today, the National Party is trying turn it into state forest so it can be logged.
  • Royal National Park – Earlier in the year we saw a proposal to put a motorway through Royal National Park. Overwhelming opposition from our community lead to the NSW government stepping back from this proposal. However, we can only take this as a reprieve.
  • Greater Blue Mountains National Park – The government is proposing to raise the Warragamba dam wall by an unbelievable 14 metres to open more land for development. This puts the world heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains National Park and its wild river system at risk of inundation.
  • Logging – Timber NSW is running a ‘beyond tenure’ campaign that seeks access to protected areas to shore up supplies by logging national parks.
  • National Parks and Wildlife Service – Funding cuts are setting the National Parks and Wildlife Service up to fail in what appears to be part of a strategy to revert parks to State forests to better ‘manage’ them – but in whose interest?
NPA will continue to oppose these and any other threat to National Parks in NSW through ongoing environmental advocacy and strong community action. Join us and together we will make sure national parks remain there for all of us and the native wildlife within them survives and thrives.

Australia’s Strategy For Nature 2018–2030: Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy And Action Inventory

by Department of Environment and Energy
Draft Revision of Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy

On 25 November 2016, Australian, State and Territory Environment Ministers agreed to revise “Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy: 2010 – 2030” based on the findings of a review into the first five years of the Strategy’s implementation.  During 2017 a working group of officials from Australian, state and territory governments, and the Australian Local Government Association has worked together to prepare a revised Strategy. 

The Strategy has been revised to improve its ability to drive change in biodiversity management priorities, and its alignment with Australia's international biodiversity commitments.

Called “Australia’s Strategy for Nature 2018-2030: Australia’s biodiversity conservation strategy and action inventory”, the draft revised Strategy is open for public comment from 15 December 2017 until 16 March 2018. 

No Gas Drilling Off Newcastle Petition

Gas company Advent Energy has approval to start seismic exploration for oil and gas off the coast from Newcastle and the Central Coast. 

Seismic exploration creates sonic underwater blasts that puts marine wildlife at risk, including migrating whales, and impacts productive local fishing grounds.

If Advent Energy finds gas, the next step will be a push for an oil and gas field off the coast off Newcastle and the Central Coast. That's a proposition the local community will never accept. 

It’s not worth risking the health of the marine environment, our valuable fisheries resources and the local jobs it sustains for oil and gas exploration where the community will never accept a future gas field. 

Sign the petition to say NO GAS DRILLING OFF NEWCASTLE:
Dear The Premier of NSW.,

I oppose seismic exploration off the coast of Newcastle and the Central Coast and call on your Government to take steps to cancel the existing exploration licence and ban future offshore oil and gas development in NSW. 

1. Seismic exploration has been shown to impact on the hearing and navigation of whales and negatively impact on marine habitat and biodiversity. 

2. Offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling puts at risk local fishing and tourism industries that rely on a healthy oceans and a vibrant marine and coastal environment. 

3. An oil spill off the coast between Sydney and Newcastle could be catastrophic. The risk of oil and gas leaks and spills has been shown around Australia and the world. No matter the quality of regulations, accidents happen. The risk is unacceptable. 

4. NSW should be pursuing clean renewable energy, not more polluting and risk fossil fuel. 

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
Acceptance of EP: 10/01/2018 Titleholder action: 20/01/2018Decision notification (PDF 707 KB)
Submission of EP summary 19/01/2018 NOPSEMA decision 29/01/2018

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 Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) regulates all offshore areas in Commonwealth waters, which comprise those areas beyond the first three nautical miles of the territorial sea. This includes the Ashmore and Cartier offshore territories and offshore areas adjacent to all states and the Northern Territory. 

NOPSEMA also regulates all offshore areas in coastal waters where a state or territory has conferred regulatory powers and functions. In jurisdictions where powers to regulate are not conferred, regulatory responsibilities remain with the relevant state or territory. 

Environment Groups Call On Premier To Halt Logging In Core Koala Habitat

January 25, 2018: Media Release - National Parks Association
Eight NSW environment groups have written to Premier Berejiklian today urging her to intervene to protect an area of Gladstone State Forest, near Bellingen, vital to the protection of koalas in NSW.

Logging operations are planned in Gladstone State Forest where hundreds of koala scats were found by community groups in July and August 2017. The groups say the planned logging operations, on top of operations carried out in August 2017, highlight how the regulation of public native forests is failing to protect koalas.

Despite Forestry Corporation’s own ecologists finding extensive evidence of koala scats1, and the hundreds of scats found last August by members of the Bellingen Environment Centre and Kalang River Forest Alliance, no steps have been taken to protect Gladstone’s koalas. Polling in the north coast seats of Ballina and Lismore in December 2017 showed people were very aware of the plight of koalas, and highly supportive of new national parks for their protection.

North East Forest Alliance spokesperson Dailan Pugh said: “Koala populations on the north coast have declined 50% in the past two decades. Logging has been proven to be contributing to this decline. We must protect the remaining breeding colonies to give koalas a fighting chance. Gladstone has been found to support a significant koala population, including a mother and her joey. This core koala habitat needs to be protected.”

Nambucca Valley Conservation Association spokesperson Lyn Orrego said: “The State Government has allowed Forestry Corporation to undertake intensive, clearfell logging—not valid under logging rules—of 23,000 hectares of high-quality koala habitat in our north coast public native forests over the past 10 years. We implore the Premier to take seriously our request for a stay of execution for the koalas of Gladstone State Forest. Unprecedented high levels of evidence of breeding koala populations in Gladstone State Forest have been found.”

Bellingen Environment Centre spokesperson Ashley Love said: “This is exceptional evidence of occupancy and demonstrates this area of forest is entirely unsuitable for logging. Forestry Corporation’s own ecologists have identified the importance of this area for koalas, yet no protections have been put in place. The Premier must intervene.”

Frances Pike of the Australian Forests and Climate Alliance said: “Not only is our forest wildlife getting hammered by logging, it is driving climate change too. Forests are the best technology we have for drawing down carbon dioxide, and this is recognised in the Paris Agreement. The government can’t credibly claim they’re tackling climate change when they’re sanctioning industrialised logging.”

NSW National Parks Association Senior Ecologist Dr Oisín Sweeney said: “This is clear evidence the logging laws are broken beyond repair and are failing to protect koalas. The government should use the end of the Regional Forest Agreements to protect koala habitat before we see more local extinctions.”

See Forestry Corporation harvest plan for these compartments showing koala locations 

Logging NSW North Coast - NPA photo

Regional Forest Agreements (RFA)

Have Your Say: NSW Government
The NSW and Commonwealth Governments are seeking feedback on five-yearly implementation reviews of RFAs and how to extend them for an additional 20-year term.

Consultation will enable a full appraisal of the current RFAs covering the Eden, North East and Southern regions of NSW. It will also drive optimal implementation of new agreements, including what we can learn from our experience over the past 20 years.

The government is committed to working closely with all parties in getting the balance right in the long-term management of their forest resources.

A number of community meetings are planned across the state. Details will be available shortly.

Have your say
Have your say on the extension of RFAs by 12 March 2018.

More Information
Email: Project Leader
Phone: 02 9934 0728

Promoting The Remediation Of Contaminated Land In NSW

January 30, 2018: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
The NSW Government is proposing planning policy improvements that will provide greater clarity, guidance and consistency for the remediation of contaminated land.
The Department of Planning and Environment’s Deputy Secretary for Policy, Strategy & Governance, Alison Frame, said the Department is reviewing the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) for the remediation of land and the Contaminated Land Planning Guidelines as part of our wider policy review program.
“For almost 20 years, the existing remediation state policy and associated planning guidelines have provided the planning framework for the management of contaminated land in NSW,” Ms Frame said.
“It’s worked well in the past. But as technology improves and community expectations evolve, we need to make sure we have the latest requirements for the remediation of contaminated lands.”
The Department is exhibiting an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for a new Remediation of Land SEPP, as well as draft Planning Guidelines and is seeking comment from the community.
It is proposed the new Remediation of Land SEPP will:
  • provide an updated and clearer State-wide planning framework for the remediation of land;
  • require consent authorities to consider the potential for land to be contaminated when determining development applications;
  • clearly list the remediation works that require development consent; and
  • introduce certification and operational requirements for remediation works that can be undertaken without development consent.
The EIE and the draft Planning Guidelines, as well as information on how to provide feedback, is available here.

Stop The Senseless Destruction Of Our Wildlife: Nature Conservation Council (NSW) Taking State Government To Court

By Nature Conservation Council (NSW)
Thousands of possums, quolls, koalas and gliders will be killed each year now that the Coalition government has gutted our tree-clearing laws. Nationals MPs, big agri-business and developers are being given powers to trash our precious woodlands under the new Biodiveristy Conservation Act. This new act will:
  • add extinction pressures to our state's 1000 threatened species;
  • threaten our clean, reliable water supplies;
  • turn our fertile land into wasteland through erosion and salinity; 
  • put landmark trees and bushland at risk; and
  • add further to Australia's carbon pollution.

Biodiversity offsets law will drive extinctions
The use of biodiversity offsetting schemes in NSW is adding extinction pressure to the very species those schemes are supposed to protect, anew report has found.

Biodiversity offsetting lets a developer clear bushland if they buy, protect and improve bushland elsewhere.

In theory, offsetting is supposed to ensure there is no loss in biodiversity values. In practice, offsetting is pushing species to the brink. Read our analysis of offsetting schemes in NSW over the past 10 years.

We are taking the Berejiklian government to court to scrap its destructive land-clearing laws, to defend nature and the rule of law.

More information on the case

Our case seeks to overturn the worst elements of the land-clearing laws 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.

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.

We are being represented by public interest environmental lawyers EDO NSW. The case was referred to the Land and Environment Court on Friday, November 24, and we are awaiting a hearing date. Check back to this page for updates as they occur.

We need to raise funds to run this court case.

Please donate today to protect nature from unsustainable land clearing. We urgently need your support. 

Proposed Amendments To The Voluntary Land Acquisition And Mitigation Policy And Mining SEPP

by NSW Dept.of Planning
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has revised its policies for noise and air quality impacts.
This has resulted in:
  • changes to air quality assessment criteria for fine particles (PM10)  from 30 µg/m3 to 25 µg/m3
  • the introduction of new regulation of very fine particles (PM2.5) at 25 µg/m3 (24 hour) and 8 µg/m3 (annual); and
  • changes to the noise assessment criteria to slightly modify assessment noise levels (however no changes to cumulative noise levels were made).
These changes have triggered a review of the Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy (VLAMP) to ensure the thresholds for the grant of voluntary acquisition and mitigation rights are consistent with the EPA's policies. These rights may be granted by the consent authority when a State significant resources project is determined.
As part of the review, the VLAMP has also been updated to provide clearer and more thorough explanations of policy, including policy related to:
  • negotiated agreements;
  • acquisition and mitigation operational processes;
  • the valuation of land that is to be acquired; and
  • the regulation of impacts on land subject to acquisition rights.
As a function of the changes it is proposed to amend the State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007 (the Mining SEPP). It is proposed that, following the completion of the VLAMP review:
  • Clause 12AB of the Mining SEPP will be revised to update the non-discretionary standards to align with the EPA’s revised policies for air and noise. The non-discretionary standards mean that a consent authority cannot require more onerous air and noise standards than the revised assessment criteria; and
  • Clause 12A of the Mining SEPP will be revised to refer to the revised VLAMP. This clause requires the consent authority to give consideration to the VLAMP before determining an application.
The proposed amendments to the VLAMP and Mining SEPP are currently on exhibition until 16 February 2018.
You can view the relevant documents below:
Proposed Mining SEPP amendments: Air and noise impacts - Explanation of intended effect (PDF, 980KB)

Call For National Heritage List Nominations

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.

Mine Rehabilitation Discussion Paper

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring major mining projects use best practice rehabilitation so that previously mined land can sustain other uses.
The Government is already implementing a number of reforms to strengthen operational rehabilitation requirements for all mining projects in NSW. As the next step in these reforms, we have released the discussion paper, Improving Mine Rehabilitation in NSW, to seek feedback on proposed improvements to the regulatory framework for rehabilitation of major mining projects. This feedback will be used to develop new state-wide policy and actions that provide certainty to industry and the community by clearly setting out Government expectations regarding rehabilitation and closure requirements for all major mining projects in NSW.
There are five proposed reforms set out in the discussion paper across the assessment, operational and closure stages of the mine life cycle. A key aim of the proposed improvements is to ensure mine rehabilitation is consistent with leading practice and delivers appropriate social, economic and environmental outcomes for communities.
We invite you to comment on the mine rehabilitation Discussion Paper until 16 February 2018

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.

New Course Set For Southern Ocean Observations

January 25th, 2018: CSIRO
CSIRO has announced a partnership with San Francisco-based ocean technology start-up, Saildrone, to radically improve measurement and monitoring in Australian waters and the Southern Ocean.

The research partnership over five years between Saildrone and CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere group will see the deployment of state-of-the-art unmanned ocean surface vehicles, Saildrones, for the first time in Australian waters.

Research with the Saildrones will expand CSIRO’s extensive network of marine and climate monitoring systems around Australia, collecting more information about sea-surface temperature, salinity, and ocean carbon, and providing a platform for continued development of the next generation of marine and climate technologies.

The Saildrones are solar and wind powered and can be at sea for up to 12 months at a time where they can be tasked to assist in science missions including conducting stock assessments, uploading data from subsurface sensors or responding to marine emergencies.

They can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world and are equipped with both automatic identification systems (AIS) and ship avoidance systems to alert and avoid other ocean users.

CSIRO Research Group Leader Andreas Marouchos said the partnership would see the organisation manage a fleet of three Saildrones deployed from the CSIRO in Hobart.

“This research partnership comes at a critical time for the marine environment, and at a time when technological innovation in the marine sector is booming,” Mr Marouchos said.

“Saildrones are long-range research platforms that can be sent to remote locations for an extended period of time, delivering real-time data back to scientists that was previously impossible to collect.”

“The devices gather fundamental information about our oceans and climate using a powerhouse of ocean chemistry, meteorological and marine acoustic sensors.

“CSIRO is at the forefront of advances in marine engineering and technology, with a demonstrated track record in providing new tools and methods for world-class oceans research.”

Australian Saildrone  founder and CEO Richard Jenkins said CSIRO provided a unique opportunity for marine research collaboration in the Southern Hemisphere.

“Saildrone and CSIRO share the same passion for innovation and engineering to help solve some of the most challenging problems facing the world,” Mr Jenkins said.

“Autonomy is a key technology for accessing the southern oceans, which are understudied due to the rough seas and the limited number of vessels that regularly pass through the region.”

CSIRO will collaborate on the development of Saildrone technology beginning with equipping the vehicles with specialised sensors designed to measure ocean carbon, as well as provide biomass estimates in the water column, added to the existing suite of marine and atmospheric sensors.

The ability to remotely control the Saildrones from anywhere in the world means they can be re-tasked quickly to meet CSIRO’s science needs, providing a new way to measure ocean conditions associated with events like marine heat waves or toxic algal blooms that in the past would have required extensive planning and expense for a ship and crew.

The partnership between Saildrone and CSIRO is just one of a number of new research collaborations currently underway through the CSIRO US Office which was launched in September 2017.
The research partnership over five years between Saildrone and CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere group will see the deployment of state-of-the-art unmanned ocean surface vehicles, Saildrones, for the first time in Australian waters. Photo courtesy CSIRO

International Year Of The Reef (IYOR)
The Third International Year Of The Reef (IYOR 2018) @IYOR2018 / #IYOR2018

At the 31st General Meeting (November 2016 in Paris, France), the International Coral Reef Initiative declared 2018 as the third International Year of the Reef and encourages to:
  • strengthen awareness globally about the value of, and threats to, coral reefs and associated ecosystems;
  • promote partnerships between governments, the private sector, academia and civil society on the management of coral reefs;
  • identify and implement effective management strategies for conservation, increased resiliency and sustainable use of these ecosystems and promoting best practices; and
  • share information on best practices in relation to sustainable coral reef management.
1997 was declared the first International Year of the Reef (IYOR), in response to the increasing threats on coral reefs and associated ecosystems, such as mangroves and sea grasses around the world. IYOR was a global effort to increase awareness and understanding on the values and threats to coral reefs, and to support related conservation, research and management efforts. Over 225 organizations in 50 countries and territories participated, and over 700 articles in papers and magazines were generated, and hundreds of scientific surveys were undertaken.

Recognising that, ten years later, there continued to be an urgent need to increase awareness and understanding of coral reefs, and to further conserve and manage valuable coral reefs and associated ecosystems, the International Coral Reef Initiative designated 2008 as the second International Year of the Reef, IYOR 2008 (Resolution to Designate 2008 as the International Year of the Reef).

IYOR 2008 was a year-long campaign of events and initiatives hosted by governments and non-governmental organizations around the world, to promote conservation action and strengthen long-term collaborations for coral reef conservation.

IYOR 2008 Goals were the following:
  • Strengthen awareness about ecological, economic, social and cultural value of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
  • Improve understanding of the critical threats to reefs and generate both practical and innovative solutions to reduce these threats
  • Generate urgent action to develop and implement effective management strategies for conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems.
Nations, organizations, and individuals around the world celebrated the International Year of the Reef 2008 (IYOR 2008): from international organizations to village children, to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and to motivate people to take action to protect them. A tremendous amount of material was produced in several languages during that year, including educational DVDs, posters, children's books, and much more. More than 630 events were organized in over 65 countries and territories around the world. IYOR 2008 has now come to an end, but the spirit lives on... To learn more about the IYOR 2008 accomplishment, download the IYOR Report.

Recognizing that public awareness is an essential element of coral reef conservation and is necessary to ensure that the value of and the threats to coral reefs are understood by the general public, and that sufficient resources are devoted to conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs and associated ecosystems; noting the importance of developing relevant public awareness initiatives that reflect national and regional priorities as well as local culture and knowledge concerning coral reefs and to facilitate public involvement in coral reef conservation related activities in all countries; and acknowledging the success of the International Year of the Reef 2008 in raising awareness of the importance of coral reefs and associated ecosystems; ICRI members adopted a recommendation on continuing coral reef awareness efforts.

The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is an informal partnership between Nations and organizations which strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world.

Although the Initiative is an informal group whose decisions are not binding on its members, its actions have been pivotal in continuing to highlight globally the importance of coral reefs and related ecosystems to environmental sustainability, food security and social and cultural wellbeing. The work of ICRI is regularly acknowledged in United Nations documents, highlighting the Initiative’s important cooperation, collaboration and advocacy role within the international arena.

Brief history
The Initiative was founded in 1994 by eight governments: Australia, France, Japan, Jamaica, the Philippines, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. It was announced at the First Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in December 1994, and at the high level segment of the Intersessional Meeting of the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development in April 1995. ICRI now counts more than 60 members.

ICRI emerged out of the recognition that coral reefs and related ecosystems found in tropical and sub-tropical regions are facing serious degradation, primarily due to anthropogenic stresses. Many nations face similar threats to coral reefs and related ecosystems as well as similar management problems. Recognising this, ICRI’s objectives are to:
  • Encourage the adoption of best practice in sustainable management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
  • Build capacity
  • Raise awareness at all levels on the plight of coral reefs around the world.
ICRI adopted a ‘Call to Action’ and a ‘Framework for Action’ as its foundational documents. Both documents set the four cornerstones of ICRI: Integrated Management; Science; Capacity Building and Review.
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Operation Crayweed Update: Success As North Bondi Restoration Works Produce Next Generation Of Crayweed Also: Green Globe Award For UNSW SIMs Operation Crayweed Project - Issue 334, 2017
Crosswaves - Newport Reef

Native Trees Of Australia By James Wales Audas - Publication Date 1930 By Whitcombe & Tombs, Melbourne.

Wyong Hospital 500-Space Car Park Underway

31 January 2018: Minister for Health, The Hon. Brad Hazzard 
​The NSW Government has marked a significant milestone in the $200 million Wyong Hospital redevelopment with the start of construction of the new 500-space car park.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, together with Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch and Taylor Martin, MLC, today attended a sod-turning event, marking the first step towards the amazing transformation of Wyong Hospital.
“The NSW Government is delivering on its election commitment for a first-class Wyong Hospital, which will future-proof health services for the growing region,” Mr Hazzard said.
“This $200 million redevelopment – which includes a new emergency department and expanded maternity, intensive care and paediatric services – is part of the NSW Government’s total $600 million investment in health services for the Central Coast.”
The single-level car park will replace the existing visitor car park, which will then become the location for the new hospital building.
By 2026, the Wyong region’s population is expected to grow by 13.9 per cent to 188,040, more than twice the rate of Gosford.
The $200 million Wyong Hospital redevelopment will include:
  • New emergency department
  • New intensive care unit
  • New paediatric assessment unit
  • Additional inpatient units
  • Expanded surgical services, including additional operating theatre capacity
Increased maternity services.
The car park is due for completion by the end of 2018, when main works will begin. The Wyong Hospital redevelopment is on top of the $348 million Gosford Hospital redevelopment to be completed this year, $20 million for the University of Newcastle’s medical school at Gosford and $35.5 million for the Gosford Hospital car park.
For more information visit

Australian-First Program Protecting Women With Diabetes And Their Babies Rolls Out Across South West Sydney

February 1st, 2018: Western Sydney University
An Australian-first program aimed at reducing malformations in babies born to mothers with diabetes has been rolled out across South-western Sydney, with the start of a district wide information programme and opening of specialised clinics.

The Diabetes Contraception and Pre-Pregnancy Program – a collaboration between Western Sydney University, South Western Sydney Local Health District and South Western Sydney PHN – ensures women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are aware of the risks surrounding pregnancy, and provides them with multi-disciplinary support and care to help them minimise these risks.

The official launch this week marks the beginning of specialised services in Liverpool and Bankstown, adding to a suite of existing services launched in Campbelltown last year.

Western Sydney University’s Professor David Simmons says the program is important for making sure women with diabetes who are of childbearing age understand the risks of becoming pregnant without the best glucose control and either use effective contraception or access the specialised care they need if they are thinking of becoming pregnant. 

“The chance of a woman with type 1 or type 2 diabetes giving birth to a baby with a malformation is around 4 per cent, which is twice as high as the rate for women without diabetes,” says Professor Simmons, from the University's School of Medicine.

“For women in South Western Sydney however, this figure is even greater - with evidence showing this risk is as high as 11 per cent in some areas. An increase caused not only by a limited understanding of the risks involved, but also by the use of ineffective contraception and a lack of access to tailored specialist services – all of which are addressed in our new program.”

Professor Simmons, who is also the Director of Endocrinology at Campbelltown Hospital, says similar programs have successfully reduced the number of babies with malformations born to women with diabetes in countries such as Ireland and the United Kingdom. Elsewhere, there have been reductions in perinatal mortality and other pregnancy complications.

The Diabetes Contraception and Pre-Pregnancy Program comprises specialised outpatient clinics at Liverpool, Bankstown/Lidcome and Campbelltown Hospitals, and comprehensive information resources for GPs, pharmacists and patients. GP’s will also have access to endocrinologist support, and a new online resource available with the support of South Western Sydney Primary Health Network. A practice liaison nurse, funded by the Primary Health Network, will also be engaged to visit hundreds of GP’s and pharmacists in the region to better educate them on best practice and the services and supports available.

Defence Chief Announces New Command

30 January 2018
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) continues to build its cyber capability, establishing the new Defence Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Cyber Command.
From 29 January, the new Joint SIGINT Unit and the recently established Joint Cyber Unit will operate under the Defence SIGINT and Cyber Command alongside civilian teams from the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).
“The Defence SIGINT and Cyber Command continues the long standing tradition of ADF personnel working within ASD to ensure support to military operations remains the agency’s highest priority,” Chief of Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.
Under inaugural commander, Commodore James McCormack, RAN, the newly formed Command brings all ADF SIGINT and cyber personnel working within ASD together in a more refined command structure.
“The new command arrangements will support a more coherent military workforce, and create an organisational structure to support the future growth of our military cyber workforce, which was outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper.”
The Chief of the Defence Force will exercise command of the Defence SIGINT and Cyber Command through Chief of Joint Capabilities (Information Warfare Division), which was established in July 2017.  

Australia's Tropical Medicine Expertise To Grow In 2018

29 January 2018: Media Release - Senator the Hon Matt Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia

Thirteen medical researchers and projects tackling critical health issues across northern Australia are the latest to receive funding through the Coalition Government’s HOT NORTH program.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the HOT NORTH program – led by the Menzies School of Health Research – was funding research into the north’s most pressing health issues.

“These issues include vector-borne and emerging infectious diseases, particularly malaria, and skin health, chronic disease, anti-microbial resistance and respiratory health,” Minister Canavan said.

“It is great to see the Government’s $6 million investment in this program continuing to build a stronger tropical and medical research capacity in the north.”

Minister Canavan said the first HOT NORTH research grants and fellowships for this year were going to researchers from the Menzies School of Health Research, Telethon Kids Institute, James Cook University and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

“These 13 new research projects add to more than 20 others already underway into health problems such as malaria, pneumonia, the spread of respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, diabetes and rheumatic heart disease in the Northern Territory and in nearby countries.

“I congratulate the latest researchers to join the HOT NORTH program.

“HOT NORTH is helping to build Australia’s reputation as a global leader in tropical medicine and to create a thriving community of researchers in the north who will make a real difference to the health of Australians and our regional neighbours into the future.

“This research is identifying emerging medical threats within the region and build local capacity to address them.”

Minister Canavan said innovation and research were keys to enhancing the north’s competitiveness.

“As well as building our research capacity in areas like tropical health and biosecurity, we are supporting researchers to commercialise new ideas, treatments and therapies, and to partner with international researchers and companies,” Minister Canavan said.

“Through initiatives like the CRC for Developing Northern Australia, we are also helping northern-based businesses and industry collaborate with researchers to generate new ideas and innovation that leverages the north’s strengths and address its challenges.”

Established in 2017, the four-year HOT NORTH program will run until 2020, and brings eight of Australia’s leading medical research institutions together to focus on the north. It will provide $1.5 million each year to support 48 health research projects and more than25 fellowships and scholarships.

To date, the program has awarded $1.74 million worth of funding to health professionals, scientists and students, and will fund another seven pilot research projects totalling $256,000 in the second half of 2018.

About 25 per cent of the HOT NORTH support goes to our near neighbours in the South East Pacific, where Australia supports two medical research hubs in Malaysia and Indonesia, and a number of Australian researchers are collaborating with local health professionals.

HOT NORTH is also running professional teaching workshops in remote locations in the north, such as Katherine, Broome and the Torres Strait, so that northern tropical medicine experts and local health practitioners can share knowledge and ideas.

Visit for more on the Australian Government’s work to support research and innovation in the north.

Read more about the Australian researchers working on HOT NORTH at

$6 Million Cannabis Medicines Hotline Opens

31 January 2018: NSW Health
The NSW Government today launched the country’s first cannabis medicines hotline in an effort to fast-track patient access, and provide more support to their doctors. 
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the $6 million NSW Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service provides doctors with timely, high-quality clinical advice.
“We appreciate that, to date, many doctors have been unsure about whether, what or how to prescribe cannabis medicines,” Dr Chant said.
“This hotline – part of a $21 million investment in cannabis medicines research – will simplify and speed up access for doctors whose patients may benefit from this type of treatment.”
Dr Chant said doctors anywhere in NSW can ring the hotline for guidance from leading clinicians in this emerging area of medicine.
The service will provide guidance for the use of cannabis medicines, including advice on clinical management, available medicines, and dosage information. The service will also provide advice on symptom relief for palliative care patients.
“The Service will also have access to tests to help doctors monitor their patient’s progress whilst using cannabis medicines,” Dr Chant said.
“This information, together with findings from our clinical trials program, will accelerate our knowledge and understanding about the role of cannabis medicines and inform future practice.” 
The advisory service is based at Hunter New England Health and is working with the Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence, based at the University of Newcastle. 
NSW Cannabis Medicines Advisory Hotline for doctors and health professionals: (02) 4923 6200
For more information on the NSW Government’s cannabis medicines initiatives, visit 

Statement - Strava Heat Map

30 January 2018
Defence is aware of the possible risks of the collection of location data through personal electronic devices and applications. The circumstances of this application do not constitute a security breach.

All Defence personnel are required to complete annual mandatory security training which includes information on the risks posed by internet-connected devices and online activities. Defence personnel are advised to actively use and manage privacy controls to limit the amount of information they make publicly available and report any suspicious online activities or contacts. Defence also provides regular personal security awareness information to personnel.

On operations, the online presence of ADF personnel and their use of electronic devices is managed in accordance with operational security requirements developed for each activity. Personnel are advised of pertinent restrictions as part of their force preparation and arrival in theatre.

Strava is one of many applications and devices, which collects user information. Many of these devices and activities are important to the quality of life of Defence staff.  Defence manages the risks associated with the collection of such information by having layered physical and information security protections for Defence personnel and facilities.

Australian Olympic Team Selected For PyeongChang 2018

The Australian Olympic Team for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games has been unveiled with more than 40 of the nation’s finest athletes set to hit the ice and snow when the Games kick offon February 9.

The Australian Team will feature in alpine skiing, bobsleigh, cross country skiing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, luge, short track speed skating, skeleton, snowboard and speed skating.

The athletes represent the best credentialed team sent to a Winter Olympics by Australia having claimed 54 individual World Cup medals to go with five World Championship podiums over the past 18 months between them.

Dual Olympic medallist Lydia Lassila will return for her fifth Winter Olympics appearance, Holly Crawford will attend her fourth Games while current WorldChampions Britt Cox and Scotty James, both just 23, will be back for their third Games.

Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman is excited to lead the Team that will take on the world’s best in a little over a fortnight’s time.

“PyeongChang is ready, our athletes are excited and the focus is on the final days of preparation before the Team starts to arrive in South Korea next week,” said Chesterman, who will lead the Australian Team at a Winter Games for the sixth time.

“The Team is a great cross-section of sports on the winter program which is important to the Australian Olympic Committee.

“Having taken a really young Team to Sochi there are a number of returning Olympians that will benefit from that experience while there are also a number of Olympic debutants that are the future of their sports, which is also great to see.”

The team features a total of 17 athletes who have claimed a medal since the start of the 2016/17 season and Chesterman believes the Team is in great shape 15 days out from the Opening Ceremony.

“This is the best performed Team that we’ve taken to an Olympic Games with a large number of athletes who have established that they are amongst the very best in their sports globally.”
Chesterman has been as close as anybody to see the rise of winter sport in Australia and he is proud that the country now heads to the Games not simply as a nation there to compete but a Team there to contend.

“This Team shows that winter sports in Australia are in really good shape, with real depth developing in a number of sports. We will field maximum team sizes in women’s aerials and moguls and men’s snowboard cross, which is a great position to be in.

“It is pleasing that winter sports are now embraced as mainstream in the Australian sports system and we hope PyeongChang produces the results that the athletes deserve.”

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Champion and Sochi 2014 bronze medallist Lassila has been part of this rise and is just as excited to be lining up at her fifth Games as she was her first.

The 36-year-old mother of two has overcome so much adversity throughout her career but has continually bounced back to the top of the sport and now heads into PyeongChang having twice landed on the podium at last weekend’s Lake Placid World Cup events.

“I never dreamed of going to five Olympics or having a career this long,” said Lassila.

“I’ve learned so much about myself, endured set backs and celebrated the victories.

“I love my sport, I love my country and that’s what has kept me coming back.”

Fellow podium regulars Britt Cox and Scotty James both head to PyeongChang as World Champions and will no doubt be looking to help Australia continue its run of six straight Winter Games with an Olympic medal.

“Representing your country at the Olympic games is a very special feeling, so I’m really excited to be named on the Aussie Team,” said Cox.

“Australia has such a rich Olympic history both in summer and winter sports, so be part of that legacy is a huge honour. I’m really inspired by the culture that exists within this Aussie team, we all push, encourage and inspire one another and that fuels me within my own personal sporting goals.”

James, who competes in his boxing kangaroo gloves, is equally pumped to be part of the Australian Team that has so many world-class athletes.

“With respect to the two previous Teams that I have been selected on, I think that this Team promises so much not only in PyeongChang but into the future,” James said.

“We have many athletes doing really amazing things, who are competitive on the world stage almost every week of the season and the standard of their preparation just gets better.”

The first Australian athletes to compete will be the moguls men and women who line up in the qualifications in the final hours before the Opening Ceremony kicks off on February 9.

The athletes selected to the Australian Team for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games follow.

There is the possibility that Australia will receive extra quota places in freestyle skiing (men’s moguls and men’s ski cross) and women’s cross country. If that is the case those athletes will be added to the team prior to the end of the week.

The selection of athletes to this Team is subject to appeal. It should be noted that any appeal is on the basis of the non-nomination of the appealing athlete and not an appeal against an individual who has been selected. The selection of some athletes is also pending medical clearance.

See the full 2018 Team HERE

By Matt Bartolo

NSW Paramedics Get “Ruggedized” Smartphones

1 January 2018: Minister for Health, The Hon. Brad Hazzard 
​Paramedics will get high-tech, “ruggedized” smartphones under a $314,000 trial to tackle mobile blackspots in rural and regional areas.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard today joined NSW Ambulance’s Acting Executive Director Operational Logistics, Peter Elliott, and paramedics at Bateau Bay Ambulance Station to announce the trial is underway at Bateau Bay, Batemans Bay and Dubbo.
The trial – which will see 200 vehicles fitted with the high-tech devices – is part of a
$35 million ongoing investment in radio and critical telecommunications.
“Every second counts in an emergency and a reliable communication channel could mean the difference between life and death for a patient,” Mr Hazzard said.
“These smartphones are a smart investment and will ensure paramedics have undisrupted phone connection at all times and can respond faster and with confidence in any weather condition from any corner of the state.”
The devices are shock-proof, waterproof and dust-resistant and function more efficiently than satellite phones in many environments.
Mr Elliott said the smartphones will complement existing radio communications to provide paramedics with multiple communications tools, under the revolutionary Vehicle Area Network program.
“The Vehicle Area Network program brings four radio and satellite networks into one communication hub to overcome communications challenges presented by the varying terrains and topographies across NSW,” Mr Elliott said.
“This hub streamlines communications by providing one access point for calls or communications made or accessed by paramedics in the field.”
The NSW Government’s $35 million ongoing investment includes new in-vehicle and portable radios, upgrades to regional ultra-high frequency infrastructure, new mobile data terminals for vehicles and a new, long range digital radio network for isolated regions.

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.