Inbox and environment News: Issue 353

March 25 - 31, 2018: Issue 353

Articles This Week:

Park Bench Philosopher Restoring Coastal Headland Ecosystems: Grants Continue to Eradicate the Toll of the Past and Encourage the Return of Habitat Sunday, 25 March 2018 - 8:30am to 12:30pm at Mona Vale Basin. Free native plants are on offer to local residents. Participants are welcome to help out with planting and weeding on the day, supporting the restoration works by the Mona Vale Basin Bushcare volunteers.

Sydney's First Fauna Overpass To Be Installed On Mona Vale Road + RMS March 2018 Mona Vale Road update

Aquatics: Community Rally Against Seismic Testing Off Newcastle States: 'No Gasfield Off Newcastle and The Central Coast!'

DIY Ideas Reducing Ticks in Your Garden: Garden care, Plants that Repel, What to Wear Outdoors - Autumn is Tick Larvae active season

Sonic Sea Screening At Avalon Bowling Club

Thursday, April 5, 2018:  7:00pm-9:00pm
Avalon Bowling Club, Bowling Green Lane, Avalon
Hosted by Living Ocean

Learn about the impact of noise on sea lifeand how it effects us all in the long term. Seismic testing for gas is about to commence off our coastline here and its development could have profound consequences. 

This is an extremely important topic, the science of which is only just becoming known. 

This is especially relevant as Living Ocean has been at the forefront of raising awareness regarding seismic testing scheduled just offshore here in the SEP 11 region off the northern beaches up to Newcastle.

Knowledge is the key to change.
"We value a Living Ocean"

Please indicate your intention to attend here so we can accommodate.

Sonic Sea ( ) is a 60-minute documentary about the impact of industrial and military ocean noise on whales and other marine life. It tells the story of a former U.S. Navy officer who solved a tragic mystery and changed forever the way we understand our impact on the ocean. 

The film is narrated by Rachel McAdams and features Sting, in addition to the renowned ocean experts Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Paul Spong, Dr. Christopher Clark and Jean-Michel Cousteau. 

Sonic Sea was produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Imaginary Forces in association with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Diamond Docs.

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
Publication of EP summary 16/02/2018 -(not published/available at this date or yet - 25/2/2018)
Activity started 09/04/2018


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. 

Paintback Collection Event: Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale

Saturday, April 7 at 8 AM - 4 PM
73 Bassett St, Mona Vale

The problem of unwanted paint & packaging has been solved. 
Trade painters and householders are invited to dispose of unwanted paint and packaging responsibly at the following collection event. 

Mona Vale Collection Event
Date: April 7, 2018
Time: 8am to 4pm
Location: Johnson Bros Mitre 10, 73 Bassett Street Mona Vale, NSW 2103
Drop off is FREE

For more info on Paintback go to

Paintback accepts up to 100 litres per visit, secured in containers of 20 litres or less.

Zest For Life Festival

Hosted by Avalon Community Garden
Sunday, April 8 at 10 AM - 2 PM
In the Grounds of Barrenjoey High School, via Tasman Road gates, North Avalon.
Add some zest to your life at Avalon Community Garden. Hear amazing legends speak about their passion for the planet, for soil, for plastic free living, caring for the Oceans and much more. 

Indulge in the Garden’s Natural Food Café, open all day for lunch, organic produce, tea, coffee and cakes. Relax listening to some cool beats from a bevy of Avalon’s talented performers.

For the kids there is craft & painting, music al entertainment, gardening and their own café!

Take a tour through the Garden grounds whilst visiting our eco partners’ stalls. Plus a day of eco workshops, films, talks and fun activities: 

10:10 Smoke ceremony and welcome to country 
Neil Evers - Aboriginal elder of the Guringai people.

11:00 The Importance of Soil talk
Peter Rutherford - Eco House and Garden, Kimbriki.

11:30 Making Compost From Food Scraps workshop.
Tim Seaton - Coastal Environment Centre / ACG.

12:00 No Plastic Please talk.
Robbie Luscombe-Newman – Living Ocean. 

12:30 Plastic Free Lifestyle film - Living Ocean.

12:30 Aspara Gus entertains the kids
Luke Escombe - The Veggie Plot.

1:00 No more gladwrap on your sangers – make your own beeswax wrap workshop.
Tim Seaton – The Coastal Environment Centre / ACG.

1:30 Make your own essential oil sunscreen workshop.
Phyllis Agius – ACG.

1:30 Make and retain good soil on steep sites using Hugelkulture method.
Sam Gibbons – ACG.

Please Help: Contribute To Significant Trees Register For Our Area

Significant trees listings wanted
February 28, 2018: Avalon Preservation Association
The next step in the Avalon Preservation Association's Avalon Cultural Audit is to identify and list significant trees in the area.

Roger Sayers has nominated the Spotted Gums in the reserve opposite Careel Bay Wharf.

Please help us by contributing your pick of significant trees in the area so we can map them and enter into our database.

You can either post a picture/s on the APA Facebook page and identify location of tree/s and species type if known or email us with same at

Our new Avalon Preservation Association Noticeboard is finally installed on corner of Belle Property Building near Herforts Chemist Old Barrenjoey Rd Avalon Beach. Many thanks to Mark Griffin Belle Property for use of wall and Robert Adema for installation.

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities

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

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

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

Narrabeen Lagoon Eco Paddle
1pm Sat Mar 31, 2018
A relaxing 2 to 3 hour afternoon paddle. No previous kayaking experience required, tuition given. BYO boat or a hire kayak can be arranged at cost.
Bookings essential.
Email or call 0417 502 056

Upper Deep Creek Catchment walk 
Sat 28/4/18 
Start 10am at Terrey Hills and allow 3 hours and bring a screwdriver for some voluntary weeding near the end of the track. 
See and identify spectacular Sydney sandstone flora in “autumn” blossom. Carpool required. Bookings essential: Conny Harris 0432 643 295 

Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment transverse 
Sat 19/5/18 
Start 9am - finish 1.30pm.
This walk is a hidden gem. Also lovely scenic views and sometimes rare fauna. Plant ID as we go and a brief lunch break BYO. Carpool back.
Bookings essential: Conny Harris 0432 643 295

Cromer to Oxford Falls 
Sun 10/6/18 
Start 10am from Cromer Rd, allow 4 hrs and bring lunch to see great carvings near Red Hill, fantastic views over Narrabeen Lagoon and as typical for this catchment very different vegetation communities. Plant ID as we go. We will walk down to Oxford Falls and carpool back. Bookings needed: Conny Harris 0432 643 295 

Permaculture Northern Beaches 2018 Events

Manly • Warringah • Pittwater | Sydney
Permaculture Northern Beaches (PNB) is an active local group based on Sydney's Northern Beaches.  Our parent body is  Permaculture Sydney North.

PNB hold monthly permaculture related events on the 4th Thursday of each month at 7:15pm at the  Nelson Heather Community Centre,  Banksia Room, 5 Jacksons Rd, Warriewood

Sunday, March 25, 2018: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
For anyone interested in Seed Saving, join our PNB seed saving afternoon at Bungan Edible Sanctuary.  Every three months,  we meet to exchange seeds, package up excess seeds for distributing at the PNB monthly meeting and share whatever knowledge we have about seeds, seed saving and what grows well in our area. 

This seed workshop will also include a garden tour around Bungun Edible Sanctuary which includes aquaculture, native bees, raised beds, chickens and a lot more.

Bring along seeds to swap that you are pretty sure are open-pollinated (not hybrid) and have been sourced from your own garden, or from somewhere you know OR  bring a plate of food or healthy drinks to share around the table.

Please register for the Seed workshop by emailing  JJ –

Sunday, April 15, 2018: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Learn how to make  Eco-cleaning products such as dish washing liquid, householder cleaning spray, toilet cleaner, and furniture polish. We also make skin care products such as organic body moisturiser, essential oil perfumes and natural tooth powder. 

Today's workshop at Avalon will involve making these products with an experienced team so as you can them make them for your own use at home. Spaces are limited. If you would like to be involved in the team and this workshop at Avalon please  book your place by email to :

We are exposed to over 2,000 chemicals in our homes. For many of us this is the most exposure we will receive in our daily lives. This workshop is an easy and effective way to use non-chemical and non-petroleum based products.

This is part of our Green Home initiative and our focus in February and March for a non-toxic lifestyle made possible by the community grant program from the Northern Beaches Council.

Saturday, April 28, 2018 – Sunday, April 29, 2018: 9:30am

This two-day permaculture course is a great overview of all aspects of permaculture - so as to enable you to take the next steps to incorporate this into your life. Over the weekend we will cover topics from organic gardening, sustainable housing, soil, site analysis for your garden/site, permaculture design, and zoning. You will receive an Introduction to Permaculture certificate and a copy of Bill Mollison's book " Introduction to Permaculture."  The course will be held at the Coastal Environment Centre (CEC) on Pelican Walk, Narrabeen Lagoon.  This will also allow for some practical exercises such as PLANTING A RAISED BED GARDENand NATIVE BEES. You will learn how to include permaculture design in your own home and garden.

The course will be from 09:30 - 4:30 pm on both days. For bookings and information please contact - with the subject heading ITP April 2018.

Teachers for the weekend include Margaret Mossakowska, biologist, and Moss House Sustainability founder and Michelle Sheather, international ecologist, Permaculture Northern Beaches coordination team.

Cost:  $290 for permaculture group members, $330 for non-members, concessions available for students, pensioners, unemployed.

Saturday, May 12, 2018: 10:00am – 1:00pm

There are many scenarios where garden space is minimal including rental properties; apartments with balconies;  townhouses with small courtyards; retirement homes; caravan parks; community garden allotments and many suburban blocks.

This workshop on small space gardening is to help you make the most of the space you have.  You will learn techniques such as stacking, hanging pots, lattices, using narrow niches and wall and fence spaces, portable grow bags, clever plant choices such as dwarf varieties and low maintenance plants that take up minimum space with a high yield. 

Design your garden to optimise your space. Join Angela Penn, kitchen garden teacher at Manly West Primary School; and science teacher for this workshop at Manly Vale Community Garden.

Organised by PNB in cooperation with Backyard in a Box. Bookings are essential inquiries:

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. 

Autumn Equinox 2018 Means Autumn Has Officially Begun

Autumn Equinox 2018 in Southern Hemisphere was at 3:15 am on Wednesday, 21 March (AEDT

The Autumnal equinox, two moments in the year when the Sun is exactly above the Equator and day and night are of equal length; also, either of the two points in the sky where the ecliptic (the Sun’s annual pathway) and the celestial equator intersect. 

According to the astronomical definition of the seasons, the autumnal equinox also marks the beginning of autumn, which lasts until the winter solstice (December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere, June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere).

Powerful Owl Release

March 18, 2018: Avalon Preservation Association
PNHA's Jacqui Marlow has advised that a Powerful Owl chick has been released in Plateau Park following its recuperation in Taronga Park. 

If you see it there being harassed, or even if you see it at all, can you please phone her on 0458 194 127.

North Ryde Station Urban Activation Precinct

Modification 4 to SSD 5093 - M2 site
Modification Application seeks to amend the approval for the North Ryde Station Urban Activation Precinct to: 
- construct a temporary pre-assembly shed (83 x 38m) to assist in the fabrication of the approved pedestrian bridge over Delhi Road; 
- allow 24-hour construction of the temporary bridge pre-assembly shed, the pedestrian bridge and works associated with the delivery, installation and deconstruction of these items; 
- remove an additional 17 trees (total 43 to be removed on the site) to facilitate the construction of the pedestrian bridge; and 
- stratum subdivide the pedestrian bridge. 

Exhibition Start 22/03/2018
Exhibition End 05/04/2018

Documents and make a comment/submission here

Unearthing Junior Mining Exploration Opportunities

19 March 2018:  Joint media release with the Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann and Senator the Hon Matt Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia

The Coalition Government is supporting smaller exploration companies to undertake “greenfields” mining exploration and so make mineral discoveries crucial to the Australian economy, thanks to legislation that passed the Senate today.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said that, through the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive, the Government would provide $100 million over the next four years to allow greenfields exploration programs to distribute their tax losses as a credit to Australian resident shareholders.

“The Government recognises the critical role that smaller, or ‘junior’, mineral explorers play in maintaining a healthy and vibrant resources sector, and we are committed to supporting this sector.

“Greenfields mineral exploration underpins the Australian resource sector by finding new mineral deposits and ensuring a strong investment pipeline.

“Our Government is focused on promoting investment and driving economic activity. Ongoing exploration and the discovery of new mineral resources are essential to the longer-term future of Australia's resources sector. They are also the vital components for the tools of our modern economy – from smartphones to solar panels.”

Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said the Treasury Laws Amendment (Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive) Bill 2017 amended the tax law to replace the former Exploration Development Incentive with the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive.

“This tax incentive will encourage junior explorers to take risks and to have a go at discovering the next large-scale mineral deposit,” Minister Cormann said.

“We want to back these businesses.

“We are working to get the economic fundamentals right to build a strong prosperous Australia, improve the business climate and unleash our economic potential. We are doing so to create a stable platform for investor confidence and growth.”

Minister Cormann said this new incentive entitled Australian resident investors in small minerals exploration companies to a refundable tax offset (or where the investor is a corporate tax entity, additional franking credits) if the company in which they have invested issued them an exploration credit.

“The ability of an exploration company to give up their tax losses to distribute credits to investors as a tax offset will make investing in a junior explorer much more attractive,” he said.

Minister Cormann said mineral exploration acted as a catalyst for new investment opportunities and job creation while supporting local businesses in regional communities across Australia.

“This incentive builds on the exploration development incentive, which ceased in 2016-17, and has been developed based on industry feedback.

“It aims to improve on the timeliness of the offset and to target new investors that participate in new capital raisings. This will help maximise the incentive for additional investment in minerals exploration.”

Minister Canavan said that, despite good prospects, Australia had not had a world-class minerals discovery in more than 20 years.

“Expenditure on greenfields exploration declined by almost 70 per cent over the five years to 2015-16. This incentive will make it more financially attractive for our mineral explorers to find resources in untapped regions, continuing discovery of quality resources.”

Nominating A Species, Ecological Community Or Key Threatening Process Under The EPBC Act

Any person may nominate a native species, ecological community or threatening process for listing under any of the categories specified in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

An overview of the nomination and listing process is provided in the nomination process flowchart.

An invitation to nominate is extended by the Minister each year ahead of a new assessment cycle. Nominations submitted within the advertised invitation period and that satisfy the EPBC Regulations are forwarded to the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (the Committee), who prepare a Proposed Priority Assessment List (PPAL) of nominations for consideration by the Minister. The PPAL may include species that are nominated by states and territories through the common assessment method process.

Developing the proposed priority assessment list of nominations
The Minister considers the PPAL developed by the Committee and may make changes. The Finalised Priority Assessment List (FPAL) is published on this website and nominators will be notified of the outcome.

Nominations included in the FPAL are assessed by the Committee within the timeframe set by the Minister. The Committee will invite public and expert comment on these nominations during the assessment period.

Comment on nominations
The Committee's advice is forwarded to the Minister, who decides whether the species, ecological community or key threatening process is eligible for listing under the EPBC Act.

For a comprehensive understanding of the provisions relating to nominations and listing, please refer directly to the EPBC Act and Regulations.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 

Nominations are now invited for threatened species, threatened ecological communities or key threatening processes to be considered for listing under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Nominations may be submitted until 5 pm on Friday 30 March 2018. For further information regarding the call for nominations, The priorities for assessment will be determined in July 2018, and the assessment period for the prioritised nominations will commence 1 October 2018.

Before submitting a nomination
Please note and use the nomination forms and guidelines providedhere. Before you submit a nomination for a species, ecological community or key threatening process, please check to see if it is 1) already listed on a current EPBC Act list, 2) currently under assessment, 3) previously assessed and found to be ineligible, 4) data deficient species, 5) removed from the EPBC Act lists, 6) not prioritised for assessment or 7) disallowed from the EPBC Act lists. For ecological community nominations also refer to the list of potential gaps in national protection identified in the report of the National Threatened Ecological Communities Strategic Workshop

Review Of The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) (Native Forest From Managed Regrowth) Methodology Determination 2013

The Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee has commenced a review of the Native Forest from Managed Regrowth method.

Method reviews are undertaken to ensure ERF methods continue to meet the scheme’s offsets integrity standards, including that emissions reductions credited through the scheme remain genuine and additional.

Public consultation
The Committee invites written submissions from the public to inform its review of the Native Forest from Managed Regrowth method.

The Committee has released a discussion paper to support the review. The discussion paper provides information on the methods, and issues submissions may wish to consider.

The public consultation period commenced on 2 March 2018 and will run until 13 April 2018. Further information about making a submission is provided here.

The Committee has also commenced a review of the Human-Induced Regeneration method. The discussion paper also refers to the review of this method.

Bushcare in Pittwater 

For further information or to confirm the meeting details for below groups, please contact Council's Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367

Where we work                      Which day                              What time 

Angophora Reserve             3rd Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Dunes                        1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Golf Course              2nd Wednesday                 3 - 5:30pm 
Careel Creek                         4th Saturday                      8:30 - 11:30am 
Toongari Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon (8 - 11am in summer) 
Bangalley Headland            2nd Sunday                         9 to 12noon 

Winnererremy Bay                 4th Sunday                        9 to 12noon 

North Bilgola Beach              3rd Monday                        9 - 12noon 
Algona Reserve                     1st Saturday                       9 - 12noon 
Plateau Park                          1st Friday                            8:30 - 11:30am 

Church Point     
Browns Bay Reserve             1st Tuesday                        9 - 12noon 
McCarrs Creek Reserve       Contact Bushcare Officer     To be confirmed 

Old Wharf Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      8 - 11am 

Kundibah Reserve                   4th Sunday                       8:30 - 11:30am 

Mona Vale     
Mona Vale Beach Basin          1st Saturday                    8 - 11am 
Mona Vale Dunes                     2nd Saturday+3rd Thursday     8:30 - 11:30am 

Bungan Beach                          4th Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
Crescent Reserve                    3rd Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
North Newport Beach              4th Saturday                    8:30 - 11:30am 
Porter Reserve                          2nd Saturday                  8 - 11am 

North Narrabeen     
Irrawong Reserve                     2nd Saturday                   2 - 5pm 

Palm Beach     
North Palm Beach Dunes      3rd Saturday                    9 - 12noon 

Scotland Island     
Catherine Park                          2nd Sunday                     10 - 12:30pm 
Elizabeth Park                           1st Saturday                      9 - 12noon 
Pathilda Reserve                      3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon 

Warriewood Wetlands             1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 

Whale Beach     
Norma Park                               1st Friday                            9 - 12noon 

Western Foreshores     
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay      2nd Sunday                        10 - 1pm 
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay           1st Monday                          9 - 12noon

Powerful Owl Release

March 18, 2018: Avalon Preservation Association
PNHA's Jacqui Marlow has advised that a Powerful Owl chick has been released in Plateau Park following its recuperation in Taronga Park. 

If you see it there being harassed, or even if you see it at all, can you please phone her on 0458 194 127.

Powerful owl family - photo courtesy PNHA

Revelations Of Political Intervention On Environmental Groups During Regional Forest Agreement Consultation Highlights A Sham Process

March 23, 2018 BY NPA NSW 
Revelations that Federal Senator Anne Ruston wrote to the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) questioning our integrity during the recent Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) consultation process should concern anyone who takes seriously the importance of community input to policy.

Instead of considering feedback from environment groups and their supporters to improve the environmental performance of logging, Senator Ruston instead dismissed concerns and recommitted to new RFAs.

The Senator’s actions highlight that the current RFA process is not community consultation, it’s box-ticking for a pre-determined outcome.

Senator Ruston’s extraordinary intervention saw NPA accused of deliberately misleading the Australian public on the performance of the RFAs.

It’s an accusation that NPA rejects completely. In fact it is Senator Ruston who failed to provide evidence to back up the assertions in her letter, instead repeating industry assertions that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

NPA CEO, Alix Goodwin, said: “As a non-government environment charity, whose financial support comes from members and donors, honesty, integrity and trust are our core values.

“In order to foster trust, we pride ourselves on evidence-based advocacy. And that trust is why we’re proudly celebrating our 60th year of protecting the biodiversity of NSW.

“The submission that so annoyed Senator Ruston was based on a review of RFAs that we presented to Senator Ruston’s office in April 2016. We received no feedback that day that any of the content was misleading or dishonest, nor have we since then.

“We can only assume that the Senator’s letter was triggered by our efforts to drive submissions from the wider community on a matter of public importance; the RFAs cover 2 million hectares of public land in NSW.

“We wrote a detailed, fully referenced, response to Senator Ruston and asked her to withdraw her accusations based on the evidence we presented. We received no response.

“In order to protect our reputation, we were left with little choice but to release the letter to the media to give us a platform upon which to publicly reject the Senator’s assertions.

“We again call on Senator Ruston to withdraw her statements, and we call on the Prime Minister to reconsider the Government’s commitment to RFAs based on the overwhelming weight of evidence that they are a failed model for forest management.”

World Water Day: Launch Of Queensland Regional Water & Adani Roadshow

March 22, 2018: by Lock the Gate
Lock the Gate Alliance and Farmers for Climate Action are marking World Water Day by launching a regional “Our Water, Our Lifeblood” speaking tour with farmers and water experts, highlighting the impacts of the Adani coal mine on Central Queensland’s water resources.

A number of community groups will also deliver World Water Day cards and water lilies to the Premier and Ministers for Environment and Natural Resources and Mines, and to parliamentarians in Mackay and Townsville.

The cards will have a message requesting protection of Queensland’s precious water and cancellation of Adani’s water licenses for surface water and groundwater.

The Our Water, Our Lifeblood Regional Roadshow features public forums in Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville on the 11th, 12th and 13th of April respectively. Supporters of the campaign will be invited to sign a new pledge calling for cancellation of all Adani’s water licences.

A referenced background paper about the risks Adani’s mine presents to water security is available for download here.

Central Queensland grazier Angus Emmott said “Water is the lifeblood of Central Queensland.  Farmers work hard to put food on the table for people across Australia and the world, but we need clean, reliable water.

“It’s dry country out here and we can’t afford to throw our water supplies away on risky coal mining projects that we don’t need and don’t want.

“The Adani mine is just one of nine coal mines proposed in the Galilee Basin which together may extract over 2,007 billion litres of groundwater – almost double the amount of water in Wivenhoe Dam.

 “The Queensland government is responsible for water security. If the government took this job seriously it would cancel Adani’s water licenses,” he said.

Angus recently delivered 110,000 petition signatures to the Queensland Government calling for the Adani groundwater licence to be rescinded.

Tom Crothers, former General Manager of Water Planning and Allocation with the Queensland Government, said “If built, it is estimated that Adani’s Carmichael coal mine would drain at least 270 billion litres of groundwater over the 60 year life of the project. 

“The mine puts at risk ancient springs and aquifers that form part of the Great Artesian Basin which are vital in times of drought. 

“The Adani mine will leave behind devastating hazards for Queenslanders – six unfilled coal pits that will drain millions of litres of groundwater every year, forever.

“Our politicians need to think very carefully about the legacy they want to leave Queensland.

“They should not let mining companies do what they like with our most precious resource at the expense of clean and green agricultural production which will still be operating long after the miners have left,” he said. 

Rockhampton Forum: Gracemere Cattle Sale yards, Wednesday 11th April, 6.30pm

Mackay Forum:  Iona West Uniting Church Hall, Thursday 12th April, 6pm

Townsville Forum:  Seagulls Resort, Friday 13th April, 5.30 Drinks, 6.00 forum

Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions Would Help Spare Cities Worldwide From Rising Seas

March 21, 2018: National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
Coastal cities worldwide would face a reduced threat from sea level rise if society reduced greenhouse gas emissions, with especially significant benefits for New York and other U.S. East Coast cities, new research indicates.

The study, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), used a powerful computer model to tease out the ways that winds and currents in a warming world push ocean water around, lifting it in some regions and lowering it in others. The scientists examined how these variations in sea level rise would change under two conditions: if emissions continue on their current trajectory, or if they are sharply reduced.

The results showed that, if society can implement cuts soon on emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, the projected increases in sea level around the globe would be significantly less toward the end of the century. This would help coastal cities in much of the world as they try to fend off rising waters, with the benefits most pronounced for cities on parts of the Atlantic and Indian oceans.

"Mitigating greenhouse gases will reduce sea level rise later this century, with some regions seeing especially significant benefits," said NCAR scientist Aixue Hu, the lead author of the new study. "As city officials prepare for sea level rise, they can factor in the compounding effect of local conditions, which are due to the winds and currents that cause internal variability in the oceans."

Hu and his co-author, NCAR scientist Susan Bates, caution that the modeling study presents an incomplete picture, because it does not include runoff from melting ice sheets and glaciers -- two factors that scientists are just now incorporating into computer models. Instead, it simulates the influence of climate change on variations in sea level worldwide to reveal which coastlines will benefit most from emission reductions associated with the additional heat absorbed by the ocean.

The study, published this month in the journal Nature Communications, was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and by the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR's sponsor.

Global changes with local impacts
Sea level rise is one of the most consequential impacts of climate change, threatening to swamp low-lying islands and major coastal cities. Sea levels in some regions are expected to rise by several feet by the end of this century, due to a combination of melting ice sheets and glaciers (which account for about two-thirds of sea level rise) along with thermal expansion, or ocean waters expanding as they warm (which accounts for the remaining one-third).

To study how changes in emissions would affect global sea level rise and local variations, Hu and Bates used two sets of computer simulations that are based on two different greenhouse gas scenarios.

In the business-as-usual scenario, with emissions from human activity continuing to increase at current rates, global temperatures by late this century would rise by about 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) over late 20th century levels. In the moderate mitigation scenario, with society taking steps to reduce greenhouse gases, warming would be held to about 3.2 degrees F (1.8 degrees C).

The scientists found that reducing greenhouse gas emissions would not significantly restrain sea level rise for the next two decades. The reason, in part, has to do with the inertia of the climate system (once heat enters the oceans, it is retained for a period of time). In addition, winds and currents are naturally variable from year to year, pushing ocean water in different directions and making it hard to discern the full impact of planet-scale warming over the span of a decade or two.

But the scientists found that later in the century, from 2061 to 2080, reduced emissions would have a significant impact across almost the entire world. The simulations showed that the extent of mean global sea level rise from thermal heat expansion (but not runoff from melting ice) was reduced by about 25 percent, from about 17.8 centimeters (7 inches) in the business-as-usual scenario to 13.2 centimeters (5.2 inches) in the moderate mitigation scenario.

Locally, winds and currents make a difference
For some cities, the benefits of the lower-emission scenario would be especially significant. New York City, where sea levels this century are expected to rise more than almost anywhere else in the world, would see a difference of 9.8 centimeters (3.9 inches). Other cities that would see a greater-than-average reduction include Boston (9.3 cm/3.7 in), London (8.3 cm/3.3 in), Dar es Salaam (6.8 cm/2.7 in), Miami (6.5 cm/2.6 in/), and Mumbai (5.8 cm/2.3 in).

On the other hand, some cities in South America (such as Buenos Aires), Asia (such as Bangkok and Jakarta), Australia (such as Melbourne), and the west coast of North America (such as Vancouver and San Francisco) would see lower-than-average benefits. And reducing greenhouse gases would have no statistically significant effect on sea level rise along the western coasts of Australia and the Philippines.

The reason for the local differences in sea level rise has to do with the influence (or lack thereof) of a changing climate on major currents and on atmosphere-ocean interactions around the globe.

In the northern Atlantic, for example, warming temperatures are expected to weaken the Gulf Stream that transports warmer water from the subtropics to the Arctic. The powerful current draws water away from much of the east coast of the United States, and scientists have warned that a weakening current would send those waters back toward the coastline and significantly raise sea levels. If actions taken by society resulted in reduced emissions, the Gulf Stream would be less affected and, therefore, sea level rise in the north Atlantic would be less substantial.

In contrast, the currents in some other ocean basins appear to be less sensitive to climate change. Across much of the Pacific, for example, sea levels are influenced by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a phenomenon related to winds and sea surface temperatures. Although climate change is affecting winds and causing sea surface temperatures to rise in the Pacific, it is not disrupting currents there as much as it is in the northern Atlantic. As a result, climate change mitigation that reduces thermal expansion would generally have a less significant effect on Pacific sea levels.

The study also found greater variations in future sea level rise in different regions, including some cities where local sea levels are influenced by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or by an Atlantic climate pattern known as the North Atlantic Oscillation. As a result, the projected sea level rise in the model varied more for London and Tokyo than for New York.

"City planners in some places will be able to make decisions based on more certain sea level projections, but for other places it's going to be more difficult to know what the sea levels will be," Bates said.

Aixue Hu, Susan C. Bates. Internal climate variability and projected future regional steric and dynamic sea level rise. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03474-8

The “Ag Bag” – The One Showbag That Will Make You Feel Good!!

March 21 2018: Royal Agricultural Society of NSW
Every year it is hot property and this year is no different – The “Ag Bag” goes on sale at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, every cent raised being returned to rural and regional NSW in the way of community projects.
The Ag Bag is proudly the invention of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation or the RASF, the charitable arm of the not for profit RAS of NSW.
At just $20 with a value of more than $60, the Ag Bag is a showbag celebrating Australian agriculture and offers a range of products donated by Australian companies.
Across two days this month a dedicated team of volunteers packed 3500 bags ahead of the Sydney Royal Easter Show beginning this Friday, March 23.
“Everyone loves a Showbag, but taking home an Ag Bag leaves you knowing your well spent $20 will be directed entirely to community projects in rural and regional New South Wales,” said RAS Foundation Manager Cecilia Logan.
“It’s a feel good Showbag and we want to see every bag sold,” she said.

This Easter Show the RASF will again sell the Ag Bag from a location outside the iconic CWA Tea Room in the Home and Lifestyle Pavilion.
Projects funded by the RASF in the past year include:
  • Dungog High School - Farmbot - STEM in Agriculture - $8450.
  • Kyogle Pony Club - Fencing for Kyogle Showground Multipurpose Area - $12,624.
  • Burren Junction Hall Committee – Restoration of Supper Room at Burren Junction Hall - $25,000.
  • Coonabarabran Pastoral Agricultural, Industrial and Horticultural Association - Cattle and Horse Pavilion for Coonabarabran Showground - $25,000.
  • Walgett Jockey Club – Transformation of Gordon Pavilion Community Hall - $25,000.
Products in the Sunrice sponsored 2018 Ag Bag include:
Kurrajong Kitchen Lavosh Bites  145g
Carmen's Bliss Balls Almond, Super Seed & Vanilla 45g
Breakfast in a Bag Choc-lish - Muesli 60g
SPC Bean Pots 175g
Go Natural Nut Delight Chopped 35g
Staminade Lemon Lime Sachet x 2 22.75 per sachet
SunRice Steamed Rice (Microwave Rice) 250g
Royston Petrie Seeds Tomato Urbana 10g
Roasted Fav-va Beans Tomato Onion & Basil 25g packs
2017 Australian Country Magazine 350g
Australian Country Diary 350g
Vegesorb sachet 10g
Tucker’s Natural Supergrains Snack Bites 25g
Australia Made Bumper Sticker
Buck Off Melanoma SPF50 Sunscreen 10g
RAS Times Magazine 135g
Cassia (Senna pendula). Also known as Senna and Arsenic Bush. Originating in South American, Cassia is a perennial sprawling multi-stemmed shrub or tree up to 5m tall. 

This weed replaces native vegetation and establishes in a wide range of native plant communities, including coastal heath and scrubland, hind dunes and riparian corridors. The large seed pods are eaten by birds and other animals which spreads the weed further. 

Currently flowering - please pull out and get rid of if you have in your garden or join a local Bushcare Group to help Pittwater rid itself of this weed.

Colour Run / Obstacle Course

Published on 21 March 2018 by Barrenjoey High School
Video by Tia Parkes

Russell Vale Colliery (Formerly The 'NRE No. 1 Mine'); Preliminary Works Project Modification 4 Bellambi Creek Gully

Modifications to the Russell Vale Colliery Preliminary Works Project Approval regarding requirements for works on Bellambi Creek Gully
Exhibition Start      16/03/2018
Exhibition End     30/03/2018

Austen Quarry Extension - Mod 1

Various conditions of consent would be modified under the proposed modifications that include: 
1. Modification to the annual product despatch limits and associated truck limits. 
2. Modification to the hours of operations for product loading and despatch. 
3. realignment of the extraction area 
4. Modification to the final extent of the overburden emplacement. 
5. Modification to the wording of conditions relating to biodiversity offsetting 
See included Statement of Environmental Effects for more details.

Exhibition Start     14/03/2018
Exhibition End   10/04/2018

Documents and have your say at:

Draft Plans Of Management For NSW Reserves, State And National Parks: Have Your Say

The Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve Draft Plan of Management is now available for review and comment.
Public exhibition of the draft plan provides an important opportunity for members of the community to have a say in the future management of Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve.

The draft plan of management is on public exhibition until 18 June 2018 and anyone can review the plan and provide comments.

The Queens Lake Nature Reserve and Queens Lake State Conservation Area Draft Plan of Management is available for public review and comment. The exhibition of the draft plan provides an opportunity for members of the community to have a say in future management directions for the park. 
Submissions must be received by 9 April 2018.

The Yanga National Park, Yanga State Conservation Area and Yanga Nature Reserve Draft Plan of Management is available for public review and comment. The exhibition of the draft plan provides an important opportunity for members of the community to have a say in future management directions for the park. 
Submissions must be received by 23 April 2018.

The Toorale National Park and Toorale State Conservation Area Draft Plan of Management is available for public review and comment. The exhibition of the draft plan provides an important opportunity for members of the community to have a say in future management directions for the parks. 
Submissions must be received by 7 May 2018.

The Bobbiwaa Parks Draft Plan of Management covers Bobbiwaa State Conservation Area, Couradda National Park, Killarney State Conservation Area and Moema National Parkand is now available for public review and comment. The exhibition of the draft plan provides an important opportunity for members of the community to have a say in future management directions for these parks. 
Submissions must be received by 21 May 2018.

Vivid 2018 Dates Announced

The world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney, returns from 25 May to 16 June 2018. 
Back for its 10th year with a stellar festival program, Vivid Sydney features a mesmerising free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures and a cutting edge contemporary music program. 

Highlights include:
  • an animated projection of the classic Australian characters Snugglepot and Cuddlepie at Customs House(external link), to celebrate 100 years since May Gibbs’s story was first published
  • a moving installation at Luna Park(external link)  that brings to life the characters, the artworks and soul of this much-loved Sydney institution
  • an unforgettable projection across the sails of the Sydney Opera House, with artwork by North Coast NSW artist Jonathan Zawada(external link). 
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said each Vivid Sydney program continues to outshine the last and 2018 will be no different. 

“Every year we are attracting more and more people to our state because of our world class events,” Ms Berejiklian said.

"Since 2011 the overnight visitor spend from Vivid Sydney has gone from $6 million to $143 million.”

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall added that TAFE NSW students will again have the opportunity to gain incredibly valuable work experience as part of Vivid Sydney.

“In a collaborative effort across various campuses from Sydney and rural and regional NSW, students have designed beautiful lighthouse structures for the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney; and a 3D large-scale mapped projection for the Vivid Sydney debut of Government House.”

Getting To The Sydney Royal Easter Show From Mona Vale

Sydney Olympic Park Major Event Buses will run each day during the 12-day Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Services start running between 07:00 and 07:30, depending on the route, each day. Services run every 15 to 25 minutes and more frequently during peak times and begin arriving at the precinct from around 08:45 each morning until 17:30 in the evening.

Return services start running from Olympic Park at around 12:45, with the last bus on each route leaving the precinct at 23:00 each night of the Show.
Note: scheduled wheelchair accessible buses will travel on each route. Find the closest stop to you using the Major Event Bus interactive map. 

Route To / from SOP (Forest Coach Lines)
1A Warriewood via Dee Why
1B Warriewood via Mona Vale

You can also view:

Travel to the Royal Easter Show
All pre-purchased ShowLink tickets include return public transport for your trip to the Royal Easter Show on any one day.
You can pre-purchase your ShowLink ticket on the Sydney Royal Easter Show website. ShowLink tickets are not sold at train stations, ferry wharves or on buses.

Travel public transport with ShowLink tickets
Present your ShowLink ticket for travel on:
  • Train services (bounded by Bomaderry (Nowra), Goulburn, Bathurst and Dungog stations)
  • Sydney Olympic Park major event buses
  • Regular bus services
  • Sydney Ferries services
  • Light rail services.
Keep your ShowLink ticket for your return trip home as you will need to present your ShowLink ticket or have a valid ticket when travelling on public transport.

ShowLink tickets are not available for purchase on-board transport services or at train stations. ShowLink tickets are only available at selected Woolworths outlets or online via Ticketmaster. Alternatively, you can purchase your ShowLink ticket at the Sydney Showground ticket booths located at the entry gates to the Show, however we strongly encourage you to pre-purchase your ticket where possible as there will be queues.
Remember to keep your ShowLink ticket safe for your return trip home as you will need to present your ShowLink ticket or have a valid ticket when travelling on public transport.

Single day, two-day or Twilight (after 4pm entry) ShowLink tickets are available. For more information on all the available ticketing options, seeTicket types. For more information on the terms and conditions that apply to ShowLink tickets on public transport, visit Please note there are no exchanges, refunds or cancellations on purchased ShowLink tickets.

Early Bird ShowLink: Available online until 22 March 2018

Little Hands On The Land At The Sydney Royal Easter Show

Little Hands on the Land is one of our favourite activations that combines education and entertainment. Taking kids through the crop-to-shop experience so little ones can understand the fundamentals of Agriculture in Australia, this is an activity that you don't want to miss! 

Little Hands on the Land is a free activity that takes children aged 2 - 10 on a journey through 10 stations including a chook shed, fruit orchard, tractor pull and more before they get to the farmer's market to trade their produce for farm dollars. Their hard-earned farm dollars can be spent at the last station - the supermarket.

See what fun other youngsters have already been having at this year's Sydney Royal Easter show (on every day 9.30am - 6.30pm);

Photos courtesy Sydney Royal Easter show

BYRA News 

March 24 & 25 NSW Optimist State Championships.
It will truly be a sight to see, 200 Optimists and their helms on Pittwater during one weekend.

Run by Royal Prince Alfred Sailing Club the main fleet will be in the North whilst the Green Fleet will be on the south course.

Six BYRA Juniors will be taking part  in the Green fleet. Susie Lawson our Registrar and Will Doyle have been organising for some weeks now. Their boats will be towed over to RPA and left overnight.
A terrific experience and right on our doorstep!

As it's a green fleet they are allowed some coaching and I hear that there may be a prominent National Champion Crew, BYRA member, doing some of it. They have all been equipped with a ' BYRA TEAM ' singlet  and our best wishes and good luck to all of them.

NS14 State Championships At BYRA Easter 2018

Friday 30 March to Monday 2 April.
Entry closes 1 March 2018 for those wishing to order shirts.

Monday 2 April is a reserve DAY for if the scheduled races have not been completed by Sunday. Saturday social function is a spit roast at BYRA being organized by the Association. The NS14 is an Australian designed sailing dinghy, intended for competitive family sailing. It has a simple rig, is light enough to be lifted from a trailer into the water by 3 persons of average strength, requires only reasonable fitness to sail, and is affordable by the private sailor.

April 8th Portuguese Beach Picnic

It wont be long now until our annual visit to Portuguese Beach between Longnose and the Basin.

For new members it is a time when all three dinghy clubs, Avalon, RPA and BYRA, get together at the end of the racing season to mingle in day clothes without their wetsuits on.Some of us sail there, some take the club launches some even hike there! There are the inter-club sports challenges, the egg hurling/catching contest, the tug of war, the hessian sack race and of course the Lace Monitor spotting pastime. I'll give more details of  times and transport nearer the date.

The Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA) is a sailing club based on Pittwater. We specialise in dinghy sailing and offer learn to sail courses and racing for Lasers, Spirals, Flying Elevens, Manly Juniors, Optimists and other classes. We also offer twilight racing on Pittwater for keel boats.

Visit:  - Profile

2017 Portuguese Beach BYRA-ASC-RPAYC Picnic day, photo courtesy BYRA

New Inquiry Into Environmental Water

March 1, 2018: House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy has commenced an inquiry into the management and use of Commonwealth environmental water.

The inquiry will examine the role of Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder in determining how environmental water should be used, and also consider how the impact of environmental watering is monitored and evaluated.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder is an independent statutory position established to manage Commonwealth environmental water for the purpose of protecting or restoring environmental assets.
Since its establishment, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder has become the largest single holder of water entitlements in the Murray-Darling Basin.

The Chair of the Committee, Mr Andrew Broad MP, said the inquiry is an opportunity to understand how environmental water has been managed to date and to identify opportunities to improve the use of environmental water into the future.

“Rivers, floodplains, and wetlands are cornerstones of the Australian environment and support economic activity in regional communities across the country. Environmental water has an important role in ensuring that Australia’s river systems are sustained in the long term,” Mr Broad said.

“In launching this inquiry, the Committee is keen to understand how the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder makes decisions about when and where to use environmental water, and to examine how the water holder taps into local knowledge and uses the latest science in order
to achieve genuine long-term environmental outcomes,” Mr Broad said.

“The Committee is not inquiring into the broader Murray–Darling Basin Plan, and we are not looking to duplicate the work already underway in this area. Our focus is on Commonwealth environmental water,” Mr Broad said.

The Deputy Chair of the Committee, Mr Pat Conroy MP, explained the Committee would also seek to ensure that environmental water is used efficiently.

“Commonwealth environmental water holdings represent a significant investment by the Australian public in our natural environment. As part of this inquiry, the Committee will examine the integrity of the management of environmental water and seek to ensure that environmental water is used
efficiently and for the purpose for which it was acquired,” Mr Conroy said.

The Committee will accept written submissions, addressing one or more of the terms of reference, until Thursday, 12 April 2018.

Further information about the inquiry, including the terms of reference, is available on the inquiry webpage. Information about how to make a submission to an inquiry can be obtained from the Parliament of Australia webpage.

Management And Use Of Commonwealth Environmental Water

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy has resolved to inquire into the 2016-17 annual report of the Department of the Environment and Energy. In doing so, the Committee will inquire into and report on the management and use of Commonwealth environmental water.

The Committee will be conducting public hearings and site inspections to gather evidence from stakeholders.

Submissions are invited until Thursday 12 April 2018.

Inquiry Into The Effectiveness Of The Implementation Of The Basin Plan

7 March 2018: Media Release - The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, Joint media release with The Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

The Coalition Government has announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into the effectiveness and implementation of the Basin Plan and water resource plans.

The Basin Plan supports the integrated management of water resources in the Murray-Darling Basin to optimise social, economic and environmental outcomes.

This inquiry will fulfil the statutory requirement for the first of the Commission’s five-yearly assessments of the effectiveness of the Basin Plan and water resources plans as required by the Water Act 2007.

The Commission is due to report to Government by 31 December 2018.

Public consultation will be undertaken as part of the inquiryand the Government encourages all interested parties to participate. Further information and the terms of reference are available on the Commission's website.

One Call Away: Our NSW Police Force

There are many versions of Charlie Puth's song 'One Call Away', being used to tribute Law Enforcement Agencies around the World. This is the first one within Australia using his song, first published in 2016.

Vivid 2018 Dates Announced

The world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney, returns from 25 May to 16 June 2018. 
Back for its 10th year with a stellar festival program, Vivid Sydney features a mesmerising free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures and a cutting edge contemporary music program. 

Highlights include:
  • an animated projection of the classic Australian characters Snugglepot and Cuddlepie at Customs House(external link), to celebrate 100 years since May Gibbs’s story was first published
  • a moving installation at Luna Park(external link)  that brings to life the characters, the artworks and soul of this much-loved Sydney institution
  • an unforgettable projection across the sails of the Sydney Opera House, with artwork by North Coast NSW artist Jonathan Zawada(external link). 
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said each Vivid Sydney program continues to outshine the last and 2018 will be no different. 

“Every year we are attracting more and more people to our state because of our world class events,” Ms Berejiklian said.

"Since 2011 the overnight visitor spend from Vivid Sydney has gone from $6 million to $143 million.”

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall added that TAFE NSW students will again have the opportunity to gain incredibly valuable work experience as part of Vivid Sydney.

“In a collaborative effort across various campuses from Sydney and rural and regional NSW, students have designed beautiful lighthouse structures for the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney; and a 3D large-scale mapped projection for the Vivid Sydney debut of Government House.”

History In The Making - Work Starts To Make Sydney Harbour Bridge More Accessible

Wednesday 21 March 2018: Media Release - RMS
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, alongside member for the North Shore Felicity Wilson, today announced the commencement of work to install lifts on the Sydney Harbour Bridge at The Rocks and Kirribilli.

Mrs Pavey said the NSW Government fast tracked $5 million last financial year to finalise project planning and ensure that one of the world’s most iconic pieces of infrastructure is more accessible for people with a disability, who use prams or who have difficulty climbing stairs.

“With more than 3,000 pedestrians making their way across the bridge each day, the NSW Government is investing in improvements so that the bridge is open for everyone,” Mrs Pavey said.

“These new lifts are fantastic news for the thousands of pedestrians who cannot currently access this amazing bridge.

“The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the Australia’s most well-known heritage structures and we have a design that is both functional and considerate of the heritage of this national icon.”

Ms Wilson said the 61 steps on Broughton Street at Kirribilli and 64 steps at Cumberland Street in The Rocks could be the difference between people experiencing the Sydney Harbour Bridge first-hand or only from a distance.

“The view from the bridge is spectacular and I’m really pleased that this work means that soon everyone will be able to experience it from the deck of the bridge,” Ms Wilson said.

“When the bridge was opened in 1932 access wasn’t a consideration as it is now, so it makes sense that the bridge moves with the times to make it inclusive.”

Initial work to build the lifts will include setting up a site compound, removing part of a City of Sydney building at 7 Cumberland Street at The Rocks and landscaping the area.

Discovery Offers Hope For Improving Physical Performance As We Age

March 23, 2018  by LUCY CARROLL, UNSW
Researchers from UNSW and Harvard have identified that replacing two naturally occurring molecules can reverse the ageing process of blood vessels in mice, boosting the animals' physical endurance.
Researchers found that two molecules could replicate the benefits of exercise, a finding that could lead to better athletic performance and improved mobility in the elderly. Illustration: Kevin Krull.

Researchers from UNSW and Harvard Medical School have discovered that replacing two naturally occurring molecules in the body could reverse symptoms of ageing, potentially influencing how the body responds to and performs exercise.

In a ground-breaking paper published in Cell, researchers found that a decline in the blood flow to tissues and organs with age can be reversed by restoring molecules that improved exercise capacity and physical endurance in mice. The researchers found that the two molecules could replicate the benefits of exercise, a finding that could lead to better athletic performance, improved mobility in the elderly and the prevention of ageing-associated diseases like cardiac arrest, stroke, liver failure and dementia.

For the first time, the study showed that as levels of the metabolite NAD+ decline with age, the body’s capacity to exercise decreases because of fewer blood vessels and reduced blood flow. By treating mice with the NAD+ booster NMN and increasing levels of hydrogen sulphide, physical endurance was extended in mice by over 60%. This was the case in both young and old mice.

Senior author Dr David Sinclair, head of laboratories at Harvard Medical School Boston and Professor at UNSW School of Medical Sciences, says the study showed why the endothelial cells, the cells that line the blood vessels, are the main culprit in ageing and the likely reason we feel tired and have less energy as we age.

“We become weaker and less fit after 50, and eventually succumb to diseases of ageing,” says Dr Sinclair. “Remarkably, by feeding mice NMN and H2S it restores NAD+ levels in endothelial cells and makes them believe they are young and exercised.

“With exercise, the effect is even more dramatic. We saw 32-month-old mice, roughly equivalent to a 90-year-old human, receiving the combination of molecules for four weeks run, on average, twice as far as untreated mice. Mice treated only with NMN alone ran 1.6 times further than untreated mice.”

The scientists identified that this mechanism is due to a restoration of capillary formation in muscle by stimulating the activity of the protein SIRT1, a key regulator of blood vessel formation.

Lead author Dr Abhirup Das, from UNSW’s School of Medical Sciences and a visiting scientist at Harvard Medical School, emphasises the significant effect NMN and H2S could have on frailty, circulation and the capacity to run.

“H2S alone has some anti-ageing properties but the two combined have a synergistic relationship that helped mice to run at least 50-60% further,” says Dr Das.

If these findings translate from mouse to human, we could have a revolutionary impact on the quality of life of older people.

“Age plays a critical role in the links between blood vessels and muscle, and points to a loss of NAD+ and SIRT1 as the reason people lose the capacity to exercise as they age.

“It has significant impact on frailty because one of the main reasons for frailty is reduced blood flow that affects every part of our body. And reduced muscle function makes us weak. Our bodies already make NAD+ in our cells, but after 50 its levels drop dramatically. Exercise is a way to prevent decline in blood flow but these findings show that by restoring the levels of NAD+ in mice equivalent to 60-year-old humans, we can get the same benefits of exercise,” says Dr Das.

In a paper published in Science in 2017, Dr Sinclair identified that the metabolite NAD+, which is naturally present in every cell of our body, has a key role as a regulator in protein-to-protein interactions that control DNA repair. Treating old mice with NMN improved their cells’ ability to repair DNA.

Dr Sinclair and Dr Lindsay Wu, co-Head of the Laboratory for Ageing Research at UNSW, have been working for five years to make NAD+ boosters into therapeutic agents with their companies MetroBiotech NSW and MetroBiotech International.  Human trials with a NAD+ booster called MIB-626 were completed in Boston in 2017, with the second phase predicted to begin later this year.

The goal is to work towards developing NMN-based drugs that mimic the benefits of exercise – increasing blood flow and oxygenation of muscles.

“If these findings translate from mouse to human, we could have a revolutionary impact on the quality of life of older people,” says Dr Wu, “and not to mention the benefits of avoiding diseases of ageing.”

“This new study adds to the body of work showing that the restoration of NAD+ in mammals can delay and reverse many of the effects of ageing. NAD+ boosters, particularly when combined with H2S, are some of the most promising molecules in medical research today,” says Dr Sinclair.

This work was funded by a grant from the NHMRC of Australia to Dr Wu and Dr Sinclair.

Dr David Sinclair sits on the fiduciary board, and/or has an equity interest in EdenRoc Sciences, ArcBio, Segterra, Life Biosciences, Metro International Biotech, Liberty Biosecurity, Animal Biosciences, Senolytic Therapeutics, Spotlight Biosciences and Continuum Biosciences. Lindsay Wu has an equity interest in EdenRoc Sciences, Metro Biotech, Liberty Biosecurity, Life Biosciences, Jumpstart Fertility, Continuum Biosciences, Senolytic Therapeutics and Intravital.

High-Sensitivity 3-D Technique Using Single-Atom Measurements

March 23, 2018: Griffith University
Researchers at Griffith University working with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have unveiled a stunningly accurate technique for scientific measurements which uses a single atom as the sensor, with sensitivity down to 100 zeptoNewtons.

Using highly miniaturised segmented-style Fresnel lenses -- the same design used in lighthouses for more than a century -- which enable exceptionally high-quality images of a single atom, the scientists have been able to detect position displacements with nanometre precision in three dimensions.

"Our atom is missing one electron, so it's very sensitive to electrical fields. By measuring the displacement, we've built a very sensitive tool for measuring electrical forces." Dr Erik Streed, of the Centre for Quantum Dynamics, explained.

"100 zeptoNewtons is a very small force. That's about the same as the force of gravity between a person in Brisbane and a person in Canberra. It can be used to investigate what's occurring on surfaces, which will help miniaturise ion trap type quantum computers and other quantum devices."

Griffith researchers have been pioneering the application of such lenses in quantum physics since 2011, but this is the first time they have been used to achieve such high levels of accuracy in sensing the forces influencing a particular atom.

By intentionally moving their optics slightly out of focus, the researchers were able to measure displacements in all three dimensions, with the third direction determined by if the atom was shifting back into focus or further out of focus.

Along with the research's applications for fundamental physics of magnetic, atomic, quantum and surface phenomena, Dr Streed is also working as part of Griffith's Institute for Glycomics to adapt these sorts of quantum technologies for medical and biological research.

"With the Institute for Glycomics I'm also interested in developing this into a tool to measure the electrical fields outside a single isolated biomolecule, like the dipole moment, as a new way to help understand how they behave," he said.

The heightened accuracy of the technique is precisely due to the use of a solo atom as a 'probe' in obtaining these measurements. Previous techniques similar to this used many atoms as the electric force sensor and were limited to only one dimension.

This research was supported financially by the Australian Research Council, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Manufacturing facility at Pullenvale, Queensland, Griffith University, and the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.

Valdis Blūms, Marcin Piotrowski, Mahmood I. Hussain, Benjamin G. Norton, Steven C. Connell, Stephen Gensemer, Mirko Lobino, Erik W. Streed. A single-atom 3D sub-attonewton force sensor. Science Advances, 2018; DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao4453

Apply For An Investing In Women 2018 Grant

March 9th, 2018: NSW Government
Grants between $25,000 and $100,000 are on offer to support women in the workforce.
The Investing in Women program funds organisations to develop and implement projects that support economic opportunity, participation, empowerment and leadership.

Projects should address at least one of the seven focus areas:
  • women’s economic opportunity and advancement
  • equitable workplaces for women and men
  • women in small business
  • women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers
  • women in male-dominated trades
  • women in leadership roles
  • leadership pathways for young women.
Minister for Women Tanya Davies said the NSW Government wants to further support gender equality in all industries and at every level.

“We want this funding to have a renewed focus on supporting proven projects that are sustainable, as well as helping new initiatives come to life,” Mrs Davies said.

Eligible organisations are encouraged to apply by 22 April 2018.

Vale David Cooper: Australia's Pioneer In HIV Research

20 March, 2018:   UNSW MEDIA
UNSW Sydney has paid tribute to highly respected Scientia Professor David Cooper, AO after his death at the age of 68.

UNSW Scientia Professor David Cooper. Photo Maja Baska

Professor David Cooper was the inaugural Director of UNSW’s Kirby Institute, a leading global research institute dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of infectious diseases. He made significant contributions to the University and broader society, with a 30-year career dedicated to research into HIV epidemiology, treatment and prevention that has saved countless lives in Australia and globally. 

Internationally, Professor Cooper is recognised as a leading HIV clinician and clinical investigator who authored more than 800 published scientific papers. He was among the first responders when the HIV epidemic reached Australia in the early 1980s and was pivotal in the ongoing fight against HIV.

In the mid-1980s, Professor Cooper’s research led to the first description of the seroconversion illness which accompanies initial HIV infection in many people. He then took a leading role in most of the key trials that ultimately led to the optimal use of life-saving combination treatments that are now widely available to people with HIV all over the world.

“David’s importance as a clinician scientist in the field of infectious diseases cannot be overstated,” the Acting Dean of UNSW Medicine, Professor Tony Kelleher, said. “He contributed to the development of every therapeutic drug used in HIV. All over the world he was respected as a leader, and at home he was an insightful colleague and unparalleled mentor,” continued Professor Kelleher, who is also the head of the Kirby Institute’s Immunovirology and Pathogenesis Program.

In 2003, Professor Cooper was made Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) for “service to medicine as a clinician, researcher and leading contributor in the field of HIV/AIDS research and to the development of new treatment approaches”.

One of the world's oldest and best known general medical journals, The Lancet, described Professor Cooper as “Australia's fighter against HIV and discrimination”, and noted that “Cooper’s work has helped transform Australia’s research landscape”.

His quest to remove the stigma surrounding AIDS patients and to share his knowledge on HIV and other infectious diseases to disadvantaged communities symbolise his devotion to the greater good.

Professor Cooper was working right up to the time of his illness, running large-scale international clinical trials to improve HIV treatment, building research capacity in Indonesia and Myanmar, and leading the trial of pre-exposure prophylaxis to eliminate HIV transmission in NSW.

UNSW Sydney President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said: “David was a great man who will be deeply missed by the UNSW community. He led the Kirby Institute for over 30 years and in that capacity had a key role in the response nationally and globally to HIV and AIDS.

“David will forever remain a hero to the Darlinghurst gay community where his work on finding an effective treatment for HIV began in earnest. That tireless devotion to his local community had a global impact on the understanding of the AIDS virus and on its containment, worldwide.

“But equally important was the genuine compassion which drove so much of David’s career. His quest to remove the stigma surrounding AIDS patients and to share his knowledge on HIV and other infectious diseases to disadvantaged communities symbolise his devotion to the greater good.

“The Kirby Institute, UNSW, and indeed all who have benefited from his life-saving work, have been fortunate to have the brilliant mind and boundless passion of David Cooper at our service. He has left a void but has also left a solid legacy upon which the Kirby Institute will continue to build.

“Our loss at the Kirby Institute and UNSW is great but David’s family’s loss is unfathomable. Our thoughts at this time are with Dorrie, Becky and Ilana.”

Professor Cooper's full biography can be viewed here and a full obituary viewed here.

Antioxidants And Amino Acids Could Play Role In The Treatment Of Psychosis

March 22, 2018: University of Manchester
A scientific paper has revealed that some nutrients found in food may help reduce the symptoms of psychotic illness, when used in the early stages of treatment.

The systematic review, led by Dr Firth, honorary Research Fellow at The University of Manchester and Research Fellow at NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University an examined if nutrient supplementation could provide effective 'add on' treatment for young people with psychosis.

The team brought together data from eight independent clinical trials of nutrient supplementation in 457 young people in the early stages of psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia.

The review is published in Early Intervention in Psychiatry.

Researchers found that certain nutrient supplements, used alongside standard treatment, may improve mental health in young people with psychosis more than standard treatment alone.

The study by Firth and colleagues is the first evaluation of nutrient supplementation trials in 'first-episode psychosis' (FEP).

Dr Firth said "Nutrient supplementation in the treatment of mental illness is something which can be surrounded by both cynicism and 'hype'.

"We conducted this review just to see if there is any 'real evidence' if such nutrients can actually help young people with psychosis.

"Certainly, there is early indication that certain nutrients may be beneficial, not to replace standard treatment, but as an 'add-on' treatment for some patients"

One nutrient reviewed was Taurine, an amino-acid found in foods such as shellfish and turkey.

A clinical trial conducted in Melbourne in 121 young patients with psychosis found that 4 grams of Taurine per day reduced psychotic symptoms within just 12 weeks.

Certain antioxidant supplements, such as n-acetyl cysteine and vitamin C, may also be effective -- particularly for patients with high levels of 'oxidative stress'.

Studies on omega-3 supplements showed that although these appear to improve brain health in young people with psychosis, the evidence for actually reducing psychotic symptoms is conflicting.

"We have to be careful to replicate the results of these initial studies before jumping to firm conclusions" Dr Firth said.

Now, the team are aiming to do just that: launching a new clinical trial in which all of the potentially beneficial nutrients are combined within a single supplement, and provided to young people with psychosis.

He added: "Individual nutrients appear to have moderate effects on mental health, at best.

"A combined nutrient intervention, explicitly designed from the evidence-base in psychosis, may therefore confer larger and more beneficial effects for young people with this condition.

"We will be testing this in Sydney, Australia in 2018, to learn more about the potential role of nutrition in mental health for the future."

Joseph Firth, Simon Rosenbaum, Philip B. Ward, Jackie Curtis, Scott B. Teasdale, Alison R. Yung, Jerome Sarris. Adjunctive nutrients in first-episode psychosis: A systematic review of efficacy, tolerability and neurobiological mechanisms. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/eip.12544

Country Women's Association Backs Scholarship In Food Security

March 22, 2018: The University of Sydney
The Country Women’s Association of NSW is making a contribution to the way Australia eats that goes way beyond baking scones. The organisation has donated $105,000 to the University of Sydney to fund a scholarship for a PhD student investigating nutritional security and sustainability.

The scholarship will support a student working to develop sustainable ways of improving nutrition and health for women and children in NSW. Applications are open to those with a background in public health, nutrition, veterinary science, agriculture or allied health.

“We feel convinced that sustainable diets and food – how we produce it and how we use it – are important for the sustainability of the whole world,” said Robyn Alders, Professor of Food and Nutrition at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and the Charles Perkins Centre. “We know that climate change is going to mean we no longer do agriculture as we’ve always done it. So coming up with a sustainable approach to how we feed and nourish ourselves is really important.”

The gift is in keeping with the CWA’s longstanding commitment to improving the lives of women and children, particularly those in regional and rural Australia.

“Among our members, there is an inherent interest in agriculture, but we’re also really focused on community, children and health outcomes,” said Danica Leys, Chief Executive Officer of the Country Women’s Association of NSW. “We’re not just looking at how to get more out of the paddock, but also at the health outcomes of how we produce food.”

We are pretty famous for our scones, but the real reason we came into existence was to stand up for women and children.
Danica Leys, Chief Executive Officer of the Country Women’s Association of NSW
The scholarship is possible thanks to a bequest to the CWA from late member Edna Winifred Blackman. In her honour, it will be named the Country Women's Association of NSW and Edna Winifred Blackman Postgraduate Research Scholarship.

“We are really hopeful that it will give someone passionate about these issues the chance to pursue them and make a real difference,” said Leys.

Professor Alders, who will supervise the PhD student, said the ideal candidate would be interested in working with regional communities, “but also looking to join up what’s happening in regional communities with what’s happening in urban areas”.

Professor Alders lives near Taralga in the Southern Tablelands of NSW and is a member of her local CWA branch. “I was inspired to join in 2012 after witnessing the CWA’s savvy, non-partisan political manoeuvring in support of rural and regional communities,” she said.

While the organisation has a long history of advocacy and driving social change, it is perhaps still best known for its baked goods. “It’s not so much about fighting the scone stereotype as making sure we are telling the broader story,” said Leys. “We are pretty famous for our scones, but the real reason we came into existence was to stand up for women and children, and that’s still what we’re doing.”

Applications for the Country Women's Association of NSW and Edna Winifred Blackman Postgraduate Research Scholarship close on 13 April. Details here

Geoffrey The West Australian Berkshire Boar One Of The First Animals To “Bump In” To The Sydney Royal Easter Show

Monday, March 19, 2018: From Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS)
His owner calls him “Geoffrey”, though his stud name is “Bungendore Koonibba F66” and he is one of the first animals to arrive on site ahead of the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show at Sydney Showground.

Geoffrey is one of the prized boars from the highly respected Black Label Berkshire operation based at Beverley in Western Australia and has been sent across the country in search of Porcine glory at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

This Saturday Geoffrey will be up against 120 animals for the honour of Best Pig in Show.

Geoffrey has travelled 56 hours across the country accompanied by a truckload of beef cattle and within minutes of arrival at Sydney Showground this afternoon was drinking and laying in his new straw bed, the very first pig to arrive ahead of the competition.

Eight-and-a-half month old Geoffrey has been described by his owner Linton Batt as one of the most docile and well-natured pigs he has dealt with and who relishes his diet of apples, yoghurt and fresh eggs as treats when he is home in WA.

At the conclusion of the Sydney Royal Easter Show Geoffrey will be transported to South Australia where he will be added to the breeding stock at the Sabor Breeding Centre in the Clare Valley. 

Past Chairman of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Pig and Goat Committee, Adrian Saines was on hand to accept Geoffrey when he was unloaded this afternoon and immediately declared him a “well structured pig who will be a strong contender for the championship”.

Mr Saines says Geoffrey would have shed a few kilos on the trip from Western Australia, but he will put that back on in no time ahead of the competition this Saturday. 

Geoffrey typically converts about 20% of what he eats to body weight.

The Pig Judging will be held from 8.30am until 4pm this Saturday, March 24th at the Pig and Goat pavilion.

The 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show runs from Friday March 23 until Tuesday April 3.

Tickets are available on line now via; 

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.