Inbox and environment News: Issue 358

May 6 - 12, 2018: Issue 358

Avalon Boomerang Bags Update: May 2018

Tuesday 8th May 2018
Last days of stitching at Kate's creative space - SewCraftCook - thanks again for sharing it with us over the past year.

Saturday 12th May - Stall outside Woolies Avalon 
Come & join us in the morning - spreading the word, promoting a plastic free environment and selling some of our beautiful "Bought to support" bags as well as other enviro friendly cups, toothbrushes, straws and cutlery sets name a few.

Can you help for an hour or two- please send an email or call Robyn 0412 314 754

Tuesday 15th May 2018
We're moving - back to The Avalon Recreation Centre.
Moving from 11am from SewCraftCook, 20/14 Polo Ave, Mona Vale back to the Recreation Centre.

We have several wonderful, amazing bodies lined up to help but if you're available please send an email to us. Thanks

Tuesday 22nd May 2018
We'll be ready to start creating our bags again from 11am - guaranteed the parking will be easier and the company terrific.  

Please come and join us.
We need sewers AND non-sewers , any enthusiastic body welcome. Please join us for an hour or two, even three or four. Pick up some fabric and create some bags at home, even help me create better newsletters.

Saturday 21st July
Avalon Car Boot Sale 8am-2pm Dunbar Park

It's on again- an awesome way for the community to clear those now unused items.

As well as our stall, we're having the "sausage sizzle", a great fundraiser for us......................thanks in advance to all our bar-b-quers, onion choppers and sandwich wrapperers.

Needing a few hands for this - it gives us great exposure and helps spread the message. Please reply or call Robyn for more info 0412 314 754

Geological And Bioregional Assessment Of Beetaloo Sub-Basin

April 27, 2018: Joint media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy and The Hon. Matt Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia

In the wake of the Northern Territory Government’s decision to lift its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, the NT’s Beetaloo Sub-basin has been selected as the third and final region to be assessed by the Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program.

“The program will assess the environmental safety of extracting gas from the region as the Coalition Government seeks to ensure that Australia can access our plentiful resources in a responsible way,” Minister Frydenberg said.

The 28,000 square kilometre Beetaloo Sub-basin lies southeast of Katherine in the Northern Territory and was selected for its high prospectivity, demonstrated shale gas flows and its proximity to new pipeline infrastructure – all of which make it an excellent candidate to deliver new gas supplies to the east coast gas market.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said initial estimates suggest the NT could be sitting on a massive gas resource of more than 200 years’ supply.

“That huge quantity of gas means jobs and investment in the North,” Minister Canavan said.

“It’s not only the jobs involved in extracting the gas. Access to this gas could also attract new industries such as manufacturing and refining and create more new jobs in Northern Australia.”

The $30.4 million Geological and Bioregional Assessments Program is part of the ‘Towards a New Energy Future’ package in the 2017-18 Budget.

The studies will be conducted by Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO, supported by the Bureau of Meteorology and managed by the Department of the Environment and Energy.

The independent scientific studies will assess the geology, water quantity and quality of surface and groundwater as well as protected environmental assets to determine the potential impacts and environmental safety of shale and tight gas developments.

This work will directly contribute to the Strategic Regional Environmental Baseline Assessment (SREBA) which was a key recommendation of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory.

Work on the Beetaloo Sub-basin assessment will begin in mid-2018. It is the third and final region to be assessed as a potential source of gas by the Coalition Government. Assessments have already commenced in the Cooper Basin in Queensland and South Australia and the Isa Superbasin in Queensland.

Nominations Open For 2018 NSW Green Globe Awards

Sustainability leaders and innovators can now be nominated for the 19th annual Green Globe Awards, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced today (April 17, 2018).

Ms Upton said the environmental awards honour people and projects across all sectors in NSW, with past winners setting the standard for a sustainable and clean NSW.

“The Green Globe Awards are a fantastic way to showcase the sustainability leaders who are inspiring environmental action and making a real difference in our communities,” Ms Upton said.

“I really encourage everyone to nominate leading sustainability initiatives out there – whether you’re a tiny social enterprise or a large organisation and everyone in between.”

The Green Globe Awards invite a diverse range of entries for 10 categories of awards, including business and community leadership, resource efficiency, Young Sustainability Champion and the ‘Best of the Best’ Premier’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

“You can nominate yourself or others working in sustainability in any sector – from fashion to food, built environment to biodiversity,” Ms Upton said.

“Last year we saw amazing finalists from micro-breweries to floating solar farms, from sustainable food education initiatives to seaweed research.”

Luke Menzel, Lead Chair of the Green Globe Awards judging panel, said that judges are impressed every year by the high standard of applications.

"The energy and enthusiasm we see in Green Globe Award candidates is always inspiring, and we're looking forward to another great showing in 2018," Mr Menzel said.

The Awards will be judged by a panel of independent experts and presented at a gala awards night on 4 October 2018.

Nominations are now open until 5pm on 8 June 2018. For more information and to nominate visit Green Globe Awards.

Microbeads Successfully Phasing Out In Cosmetics And Personal Care Products

April 27, 2018: Joint media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy and The Hon. Melissa Price MP, Assistant Minister for the Environment
Industry has successfully risen to the challenge issued by Australia’s environment ministers to voluntarily phase out the use of microbeads in cosmetic and personal care products, with 94 per cent of these products now microbead-free.

An independent assessment, commissioned by the Coalition Government, found that of approximately 4400 relevant supermarket and pharmacy products inspected, only six per cent were found to contain microbeads.

“While our original target was 90 per cent, we will continue the good work done to date until 100 per cent of cosmetics and personal care products are microbead-free,” Minister Frydenberg said.

Microbeads are plastic particles of around one millimetre in diameter and have been widely used as an ingredient in cosmetic and personal care products, especially exfoliants.

They can have a damaging effect on marine life and marine environments because of their composition, ability to attract toxins and ability to transfer up the marine food chain.

They can also pollute our waterways, meaning the removal of products containing microbeads from our supermarket and pharmacy shelves will not only benefit the environment, but also human health.

“The best solution is to prevent them from entering marine environments in first place – and governments have been working with industry to do just this since the Meeting of Environment Ministers in 2016,” Minister Frydenberg said.

The independent assessment found no shampoos, conditioners, body washes or hand cleaners contained microbeads, indicating that the phase out in these products may be complete.

The remaining six per cent are predominantly not ‘rinse-off’ products and therefore pose a much smaller risk of entering marine environments.

“I thank industry for their cooperation and look forward to continuing to work with them until we reach 100 per cent,” Minister Frydenberg said.

Assistant Minister for the Environment Melissa Price said she was pleased with how well the phase out had gone, considering it was an optional phase out of products by the industry.

“I am really pleased to see such a strong industry response, given the damage that microbeads can do to our marine ecosystems,” Assistant Minister Price said.

“This is further proof that industry is capable of making the right choices when it comes to environmental protection.”

The Coalition Government will commission a further assessment in late 2018 to provide an additional level of assurance of the success of the phase out.

Please Help: Contribute To Significant Trees Register For Our Area

Significant trees listings wanted
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.

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

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:

World Environment Day 2018 - Beat Plastic Pollution: If You Can’t Reuse It, Refuse It

Beat Plastic Pollution”, the theme for World Environment Day 2018, is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. Chosen by this year’s host, India, the theme of World Environment Day 2018 invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health.

While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences. Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. 500 billion disposable plastic bags are used worldwide every year. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use.

Nearly one third of the plastic packaging we use escapes collection systems, which means that it ends up clogging our city streets and polluting our natural environment. Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic leak into our oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates.

Plastic also makes its way into our water supply – and thus into our bodies. What harm does that cause? Scientists still aren’t sure, but plastics contain a number of chemicals, many of which are toxic or disrupt hormones. Plastics can also serve as a magnet for other pollutants, including dioxins, metals and pesticides.

If you can’t reuse it, refuse it
This year’s World Environment Day provides an opportunity for each of us to embrace the many ways that we can help to combat plastic pollution around the world. And you don’t have to wait until 5 June to act.

There are so many things that we can do – from asking the restaurants you frequent to stop using plastic straws, to bringing your own coffee mug to work, to pressuring your local authorities to improve how they manage your city’s waste. Here are some other specific ideas:
  • Bring your own shopping bags to the supermarket
  • Pressure food suppliers to use non-plastic packagin
  • Refuse plastic cutlery
  • Pick up any plastic you see the next time you go for a walk on the beach
What else can we do to tackle this problem? Share your ideas on social media using the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution.

Newcastle Region - Vital Places For Australian Birds

Published on 1 May 2018 by BIBYTV
In April 2018, BIBY TV visited three great bird places in the Newcastle Region. This video showcases Stockton Sandspit, Newcastle Rock Platform and Hexham Swamp.

Wetland Nightlife Walk

Hosted by Coastal Environment Centre
Saturday, May 26 at 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Our local wetlands are a unique environment supporting a great diversity of native animals. The wetlands are a wonder by night with many of our nocturnal creatures coming out to play. 

Come and join us after dark for an exciting evening looking for some of these nocturnal creatures. This spotlighting activity is suitable for children aged five and over.

BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL - ONLINE or Phone: 1300 000 232

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

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 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.

Woolworths To End Single Use Plastic Bags From June 20th, 2018

Woolworths: We've set the date for the end of single-use plastic bags.

The removal of single-use plastic bags has been a really important topic for our customers and our team. Which is why, Woolworths committed to phase out all single-use plastic bags at our checkouts nationally.

After listening to our customers and working with our teams, we're proud to announce that from the 20th of June 2018 all Woolworths stores will be single-use plastic bag free. We are committed to playing our part in reducing plastic usage and believe that this is the right thing to do for our environment.

This means that we, from the 20th of June, will no longer provide ‘free’ plastic bags at our checkouts in store. We've always encouraged the use of reusable bags and with this change it's now more important than ever for customers to bring in their own bags from home or pick up one of our reusable bags in store.

The Woolworths team continues to work hard to reduce our impact on the environment by supporting the reduction and recycling of plastics throughout our stores. Other initiatives include reducing the amount of plastic packaging on fruits and vegetables; introducing the new Australasian Recycling Label to help educate our customers on what can be recycled and where, as well as the expansion of our soft plastic recycling program.

Photo - Notice at Woolworths checkouts, Avalon Beach - A J Guesdon, May 2018

Student's Shrimp Bioplastic A Big Splash In USA

May 4, 2018: CSIRO
When 15-year-old Sydney Girls High School student Angelina Arora started investigating bioplastics almost two years ago, she never imagined her investigations would earn her world-wide attention.

Now, Angelina and her shrimp bioplastic will be representing Australia at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania alongside over 1,800 high school students from 75 countries, regions, and territories.

After becoming a finalist in the 2017 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards for her research into the commercial viability of bioplastics, she decided to refine her research and worked with a CSIRO mentor to develop a completely biodegradable plastic made from prawn shell and sticky protein from the silk of silkworms.

It was this research that won her the Innovator to Market Award in the 2018 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards, a partnership between the BHP Billiton Foundation, CSIRO and the Australian Science Teachers Association.

Angelina said her project was inspired by being asked to pay for a plastic bag at a shop which prompted her to think of a way people could still have the convenience of plastic, without the harmful environmental effects.

"I'm driven by wanting to help – whether it's people, the environment or animals. It was amazing after months of research that I found a plastic that was suitable," she said.

"I was always a curious child asking why things work and this developed into a love of science. I believe science is the key to all the worlds' mysteries.

"I couldn't imagine a future where it isn't part of my life. I think I'd like to go into medicine as it is all about helping people."

Angelina will be in good company at ISEF with 2018 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards student finalists Caitlin Roberts, Kavinya Welikala, Ella Cuthbert, Cassandra Dods, Ashley Cain and teacher winner Adele Hudson also representing Australia at the fair.

All of their projects will be on show at the competition.

CSIRO Education and Outreach Director Mary Mulcahy said showcasing Australia's brilliant science, technology, engineering and mathematics projects on the world stage was a key part in enabling Australia to adapt for a rapidly changing future.

"The world is changing faster than many of us can keep up with, but science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) can guide that future through innovation," Ms Mulcahy said.

"These students are showing on a world stage that Australian students are prepared more than ever for the future."

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public is the world's largest international pre-college science competition. Each year over 1800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for on average $4 million in prizes. The BHP Billiton Foundation and Intel Foundation provide support for the BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards Australian delegation attending the fair.

Angelina Arora winner of the Innovator to Market award.

Study Reveals New Antarctic Process Contributing To Sea Level Rise And Climate Change

April 17, 2018: University of Tasmania
A new IMAS-led study has revealed a previously undocumented process where melting glacial ice sheets change the ocean in a way that further accelerates the rate of ice melt and sea level rise.

Led by IMAS PhD student Alessandro Silvano and published in the journal Science Advances, the research found that glacial meltwater makes the ocean's surface layer less salty and more buoyant, preventing deep mixing in winter and allowing warm water at depth to retain its heat and further melt glaciers from below.

"This process is similar to what happens when you put oil and water in a container, with the oil floating on top because it's lighter and less dense," Mr Silvano said.

"The same happens near Antarctica with fresh glacial meltwater, which stays above the warmer and saltier ocean water, insulating the warm water from the cold Antarctic atmosphere and allowing it to cause further glacial melting.

"We found that in this way increased glacial meltwater can cause a positive feedback, driving further melt of ice shelves and hence an increase in sea level rise."

The study found that fresh meltwater also reduces the formation and sinking of dense water in some regions around Antarctica, slowing ocean circulation which takes up and stores heat and carbon dioxide.

"The cold glacial meltwaters flowing from the Antarctic cause a slowing of the currents which enable the ocean to draw down carbon dioxide and heat from the atmosphere.

"In combination, the two processes we identified feed off each other to further accelerate climate change."

Mr Silvano said a similar mechanism has been proposed to explain rapid sea level rise of up to five metres per century at the end of the last glacial period around 15,000 years ago.

"Our study shows that this feedback process is not only possible but is in fact already underway, and may drive further acceleration of the rate of sea level rise in the future.

"Currently the ice shelves resist the flow of ice to the ocean, acting like a buttress to hold the ice sheet on the Antarctic continent.

"Where warm ocean waters flow under the ice shelves they can drive rapid melting from below, causing ice shelves to thin or break up and reducing the buttressing effect.

"This process leads to rising sea levels as more ice flows to the ocean.

"Our results suggest that a further increase in the supply of glacial meltwater to the waters around the Antarctic shelf may trigger a transition from a cold regime to a warm regime, characterised by high rates of melting from the base of ice shelves and reduced formation of cold bottom waters that support ocean uptake of atmospheric heat and carbon dioxide," Mr Silvano said.

Alessandro Silvano, Stephen Rich Rintoul, Beatriz Peña-Molino, William Richard Hobbs, Esmee van Wijk, Shigeru Aoki, Takeshi Tamura, Guy Darvall Williams. Freshening by glacial meltwater enhances melting of ice shelves and reduces formation of Antarctic Bottom Water. Science Advances, 2018; 4 (4): eaap9467 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aap9467

This is the Mertz Glacier in January 2017. Credit: Alessandro Silvano

Indigenous Artwork To Be Enshrined In Print

May 2nd, 2018: GBRMPA
A local artist’s stunning acrylic on canvas piece will be showcased on the cover of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s first Reconciliation Action Plan — scheduled for release later this year.

Titled ‘Step of Change’, the work is a creation of Nicky Bidju Pryor, a Juru Traditional Owner from the Burdekin-Bowen area and a descendant of the Birrigubba and Gunggandji nations.

The artwork features traditional depictions of marine life and a symbolic ‘step forward’ set against waves of striking blues and teal.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority reef protection branch general manager Dr Simon Banks said the artwork was selected from a wide range of high-quality designs submitted during an Expressions of Interest callout earlier this year.

“The piece perfectly captures the meaning and importance of reconciliation and the Great Barrier Reef,” Dr Banks said.  “The Reconciliation Action Plan will demonstrate our commitment to strengthening relationships, respect and opportunities for our staff that identify as First Australians, and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Mr Pryor said the Great Barrier Reef played a significant role in his life, having spent part of his childhood enjoying various forms of fishing and educational activities with his family.

“As an adult, I have been on conservation trips with family to learn more about turtles and what is being done to conserve our Traditional Land,” he said.

“I hope my work brings about intercultural understanding for the many people that see it and therefore contributes to reconciliation.”

A ‘Step of Change’ contains multiple symbolic elements including:
  • A foot – shown as a group of islands. It depicts the step we need to take to make positive changes for the Reef
  • Background blues – these colours represent a ripple in the water, indicating the change that will happen if we take a step now
  • Animals – representing life in and around the Reef
  • Teal lines – represent recovery and the Reef coming to life.

Mr Pryor's artwork will be displayed in a prominent location in the Marine Park Authority’s Townsville office to emphasise the commitment of the organisation to reconciliation.

Reconciliation Action Plans are strategic documents that include practical actions that will drive an organisation’s contribution to reconciliation both internally and in the communities in which it operates.

From left: Marine Park Authority Senior Project Manager Rachel Reese and Reef Protection Branch General Manager Dr Simon Banks, artist Nicky Bidju Pryor with his work ‘Step of Change’, Marine Park Authority Indigenous Compliance Manager Peta Rossand Special Projects Manager Eliza Glasson. Image: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.


Pittwater YHA opens its doors to green-hearted and green-thumbed guests who'll save the gorgeous Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park from imminent asparagus fern invasion. Yes, seriously.


Bush Regeneration sees eco-conscious, kind hearted humans restore and rehabilitate the gorgeous, sprawling Aussie bush from its weed-infested, degraded state into a healthy, thriving plant community, which will prosper and delight forevermore. Far from just weed removal; Regenerators focus on habitat, drainage, weed sources and establishing native communities. These are big words which probably don’t make much sense – but we have an interactive learning opportunity for you!


Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Sydney’s protected north coast, is home to rock engravings, red ochre rock paintings, the fuzziest wildlife you ever did see and the most breathtaking views a Sydneysider or visitor could comprehend; and is currently under threat from invasive asparagus fern; which needs removing. Who knew your Auntie’s fave veggie could be so aggressive?


The blissed-out, babbling-brooked, spectacular-viewed, fresh-aired oasis that is our Pittwater YHA, alongside the Northern Beaches Council, are offering you fine green-thumbed and hearted folk the opportunity to volunteer alongside professional Regenerators for a weekend of Pittwater Restoration from May 11 – 13, 2018. Spend two mornings of tending to the gorgeous surrounds and you’ll be rewarded with two nights’ accommodation, two days of meals (morning teas, BBQ lunches and evening dinners) and kayak use throughout your stay. Plus, you’ll be chuffed with yourself for doing your bit for the planet and our futures.  

Along with your towels, two sheets, a pillowcase and, sturdy shoes, sunscreen and your breakfasts; you’ll need a $20 contribution for the weekend. For all the T&Cs; head to Pittwater YHA, shoot them an email or give them a ring on (02 9999-5748) – the only thing those guys love more than a regenerated bushland is chatting to ladies and gentleman who are keen on the idea!  

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

Australian Paramedics Find Better Drug To Tame Violent Patients

May 2nd, 2018: Emergency Medicine Foundation (Australia)
Australian paramedics are leading the world by introducing a new drug, droperidol, to quickly and safely calm violent patients fueled by alcohol and drugs.

With backing from the Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) Australasia, the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) has also conducted the world's first comparison of the standard sedative, midazolam, with droperidol in a prehospital setting.

QAS found droperidol sedated patients nearly 70 per cent quicker, was three times safer and significantly fewer patients needed additional sedation either in the ambulance or once in hospital in comparison to midazolam.

Within a week of the data being published, QAS had received requests for further information from ambulance services in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, according to QAS Executive Manager Clinical Policy Development, Lachlan Parker ASM.

"Midazolam is the accepted standard internationally, but it can have significant side-effects so there's been a huge gap in paramedics' ability to safely sedate violent patients," said Mr Parker.

"Our paramedics and emergency department staff welcome the impact droperidol is having and there are some amazing stories of how it quickly it works to calm really aggressive and violent patients.

"It's also simple to administer, there are much fewer side-effects, it rarely over-sedates and patients wake up much nicer. We're so happy to finally have a safe drug to use.

"And because we've also collated data on comparing droperidol with midazolam outside the hospital setting, we've produced one of the true practice-changing pieces of research. We can now demonstrate to other paramedics just how effective the drug is for us. I believe we'll see droperidol embedded extensively in ambulance services around the world."

Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said research projects just like this pave the way for positive change across the healthcare system.

"Sadly, there are thousands of incidents each year where frontline healthcare workers are subject to violent outbursts, mostly as a result of alcohol and drug abuse," he said.

"It's fantastic to see Queensland research making a positive impact in protecting our first responders and emergency department clinicians. Projects like this highlight the importance of investing in medical research and finding new, more effective and more efficient ways of providing vital health services to Queenslanders."

The QAS introduced droperidol in 2016 as one of several initiatives to reduce the escalating violence against paramedics, mostly by drunken patients.

Mr Parker championed the uptake of droperidol based on research involving Princess Alexandra Hospital emergency physician and clinical toxicologist, Dr Colin Page. Dr Page, who has $450,000 Noel Stevenson Fellowship from EMF, led the evaluation of the QAS droperidol roll out.

Dr Page said the real value of this latest research was in confirming that droperidol was safer and more effective in the prehospital setting, which mirrored previous results in the emergency department environment.

"The days of repeated doses of midazolam being given by paramedics are over, it just takes too long to sedate patients using this drug and it is more dangerous," he said.

"We're now pushing for paramedics and clinicians to administer the droperidol intramuscularly -- there is no need for people to use it intravenously -- and to stop mixing different sedatives.

"Based on our extensive research, the standard protocol for violent patients should be 10 mg droperidol (65 to 75 per cent effective) followed by second dose of 10 mg (which is 95 per cent effective) and then ketamine."

EMF Chair, Dr Anthony Bell said the QAS-led research showed the importance of evaluating changes in treatment protocols.

"A Queensland-led initiative is set to change treatment protocols globally and lead to better patient care because there was research funding available for an evaluation," said Dr Bell.

The QAS research comparing droperidol with midazolam is available in the 2018 March edition of the Journal of Prehospital Emergency Care.

EMF's Queensland Research Program is funded by Queensland Health.

Colin B. Page, Lachlan E. Parker, Stephen J. Rashford, Emma Bosley, Katherine Z. Isoardi, Frances E. Williamson, Geoffrey K. Isbister. A Prospective Before and After Study of Droperidol for Prehospital Acute Behavioral Disturbance. Prehospital Emergency Care, 2018; 1 DOI: 10.1080/10903127.2018.1445329

$3.9 Million Investment In Multicultural Mental Health

May 4th, 2018: The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
The Australian Government is investing $3.9 million for tailored mental health support for Australians from multicultural backgrounds.
The $3.9 million investment over three years will help to ensure that our mental health system reflects and responds well to Australia’s diverse population and that quality and culturally-responsive care is available to everyone when they need it most

Australia’s multicultural community has contributed to the success of our country and this investment reflects the fact that mental health services need to be delivered in culturally-appropriate ways. 

Many studies have highlighted that people from culturally diverse backgrounds can face barriers when accessing or attempting to access timely and appropriate mental health care.

These barriers include language limitations, cultural differences between client and clinician and stigma from the differences in cultural explanations and perceptions surrounding mental health. 

Pre-migration and post-migration experience or trauma can or also be a barrier to seeking help over mental health. 

Mental Health Australia will work with the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, the National Ethnic Disability Alliance and consumer and carer representatives from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds to deliver this important work.

This investment will build on the Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia which was developed to help organisations and individual workers evaluate their cultural responsiveness and enhance their delivery of services to CALD communities.

The Turnbull Government is transforming the way mental health care is delivered in Australia. In 2017-18, we will provide an estimated $4.3 billion from the health portfolio for mental health.

The Government’s Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan will create an integrated mental health system across all states and territories, but with services and programs adapted to local needs

Medicare Record For Australian Patients

May 2nd, 2018: The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
The latest Medicare data from July 2017 to March 2018 shows Australian patients have set a new record for the highest GP bulk-billing rate ever achieved for this period – increasing to 85.8 per cent.

This is nearly 4 per cent higher than Labor’s 82.0 per cent, which they achieved when they were last in Government for the same period. 

The statistics released today show more Australians are seeing their doctor without having to pay than ever before. 

More than 97.7 million bulk-billed GP visits were provided to patients over this time period, an extra 3.7 million services compared to last year. 

The number of fully subsidised services across Medicare has also risen with an additional 13 million bulk-billed services delivered compared to last year, with a total of 241 million bulk-billed services. 

Labor should welcome these figures and cease their campaign of misinformation on Medicare and hospitals. 

Our commitment to Medicare is rock solid and we will continue to ensure Australian patients are supported more than ever. 

And although more Australians are benefiting from these record figures we must continue to drive down the cost of private health insurance and address out-of-pocket costs.

That’s why we’re working with the medical profession to address the large and sometimes unanticipated out-of-pocket medical fees some patients face. 

Last year we brought in the Medicare Guarantee Fund on 1 July 2017, guaranteeing the first call on the Budget, and this year we look forward to delivering more record health funding.

I want to thank the thousands of doctors right across the country who continue to deliver world-class services to patients.

$41 Million Boost To Fight Cancer

April 30, 2018: NSW Health
Australia’s position as an international leader in cancer research has been strengthened with a $41 million boost to expand research to fight cancer.

The NSW and Commonwealth Governments joined forces today to announce the funding to help researchers apply cutting-edge science to detect, diagnose and treat cancers.

The joint investment will support a world-first proteomics project, ProCan, at the Westmead Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI).

The project is analysing and measuring thousands of proteins simultaneously in cancers, and using advanced techniques to learn how to predict the most effective treatments for individual cancers.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government is investing $21 million in the project.

“The NSW Government is proud to support the CMRI and the ProCan project that will support the work to ultimately crack the cancer code.”

“This will also boost NSW’s international competitiveness and reputation for being at the forefront of research and innovation,” she said.

“Our strong economic management means the NSW Liberals & Nationals have the resources to invest further in medical research and innovation.”

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Commonwealth Government is contributing $20 million to enhance Australia’s international reputation as a cancer research leader.

“This will support ProCan to create an unprecedented database containing massive amounts of molecular information on all types of cancer,” Mr Hunt said.

“This will have direct benefit for patients and significant potential economic benefits for NSW and Australia.”

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the combined investment would allow the CMRI to make ProCan a truly global and revolutionary project.

“The concept behind ProCan is to make Westmead the home of the world’s first database of the entire cancer spectrum,” Mr Hazzard said.

The technology will generate results within five to seven years, which will help develop a new method of cancer diagnosis and treatment planning that can give clinicians guidance within 36 hours. It will be particularly powerful for rare cancers.

Australia’s First Research Hub For Eating Disorders Launched In NSW

April 30, 2018: NSW Health
Earlier diagnosis, improved evidence-based treatment and ongoing support during recovery for people living with an eating disorder will be the focus of a new collaborative partnership between NSW researchers.

Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies and Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt today launched the InsideOut Institute for Eating Disorders and announced it would be home for the NSW research team and the first national research hub dedicated to eating disorders.

“The Institute’s renewed research agenda is really exciting. We’ve worked closely with the Institute since 2013 to deliver the country’s first dedicated Service Plan for Eating Disorders and it’s been a game-changer for improving the care we provide patients and families.”

“Today’s announcement complements the NSW Government’s commitment to improving access to evidence-based care for people with eating disorders,” Mrs Davies said.

The NSW Government has committed more than $400,000 per year to the Institute for the continued implementation of the NSW Service Plan for Eating Disorders, which includes specialist training for frontline staff and workforce development. An additional $1.2 million has also funded ongoing projects.

The Institute, formerly known as the Centre for Eating and Dieting Disorders, is a collaboration between Sydney Local Health District and the University of Sydney.

Mr Hunt expressed support for the Institute and its commitment to helping the more than one million Australians living with an eating disorder.

“Bringing eating disorders out of the dark and into the light of public discourse is essential to drive change and I applaud the InsideOut Institute’s mission to further transform the Australian treatment landscape for eating disorders,” Mr Hunt said.

Institute Director Dr Sarah Maguire said today’s launch at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre was an important step in driving forward a national research agenda for eating disorders.

“Eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness – fortunately, they are
solvable. Our research work will explore innovative treatments and better ways to intervene with early intervention,” she said.

The NSW Government’s total investment in services for people living with an eating disorder in 2017- 18 is $5.8 million.

If you or someone you know needs help contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511, for crisis support phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Gonski Review To Achieve Educational Excellence In Australian Schools Report Released

April 30, 2018
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
The Federal Government has released a landmark report on Australia’s schooling system and accepted its recommendations in principle.

The Government commissioned Mr David Gonski AC to undertake the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools alongside a panel of seven eminent education and policy experts to determine how Australia can improve student achievement and school performance.

The Review finds that Australia’s education system needs to reform for the future.

While many other countries have been changing their education systems to keep pace with the challenges they face, the performance of Australia’s schools has stagnated and declined, both in comparison to other nations and in real terms. For example, between 2000 and 2015, the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment shows Australia dropped from 4th in the world for literacy to 16th, 7th in mathematics to 25th and 4th in science to 14th.

The Government has implemented the needs-based schools funding model Mr Gonski recommended in 2011, however, we have said all along that establishing fair funding arrangements alone do not produce better results. In fact, Australia already invests more per student than other countries that outperform us.

We need to get better outcomes for the record and growing funding we are investing.

The Review makes it clear Australia’s education system should make fundamental changes that would improve the prospects for every student across every school:

“Australian students should receive a world-class education, tailored to their individual learning needs, and relevant to a fast-changing world. They should be challenged and supported to progress and excel in their learning every year of school, appropriate to their starting point and capabilities.”

Australia must focus on creating an education system that gives each student the opportunity to excel and to be their individual best.

The Review identifies 23 recommendations under five themes:
  • Laying the foundations of learning before the school years and in the home environment
  • Equipping every student to grow and succeed with the knowledge they need and a focus on growing each individuals’ skills
  • Creating, supporting and valuing a profession of expert educators including building on the Government’s reforms to date in teacher education
  • Empowering and supporting school leaders with experience and autonomy
  • Lifting aspirations with quality assurance, data and evidence-based research
The Review’s findings and recommendations are informed by extensive consultation with education, policy and business leaders as well as 279 submissions.

The recommendations outline a blueprint for everyone involved in school education, charting clear opportunities for federal leadership while respecting state and territory autonomy. Together, we can ensure Australia’s education system is a world leader for generations to come.

The Government thanks Mr Gonski and the Review panel for their diligent work.

Mr Gonski will brief state and territory education ministers at a special meeting of the COAG Education Council this Friday.

The Government will work with states and territories and non-government school systems to determine how the reforms set out in the Review should be delivered. A new reform agreement between the Commonwealth and jurisdictions will be negotiated this year to come into effect from 2019.

This Review is an opportunity for all levels of government, educators and families to turn around Australia’s performance and build a stronger school system. This is an opportunity we all must grasp to ensure this and future generations of students get the opportunities they need to succeed.

Through growth to achievement; Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools is available

Archibald Prize Finalists 2018: Finalists And Packing Room Prize Announced

Australia’s most extraordinary art event: NSW Art Gallery
The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes is an annual exhibition eagerly anticipated by artists and audiences alike.

The Archibald Prize, first awarded in 1921, is Australia’s favourite art award, and one of its most prestigious. Awarded to the best portrait painting, it’s a who’s who of Australian culture – from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes to artists.

The Wynne Prize is awarded to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture, while the Sulman Prize is given to the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media.

Each year, the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW judge the Archibald and Wynne, and invite an artist to judge the Sulman. The 2018 judge is Angela Tiatia.

Visit the exhibition to vote for your favourite portrait in the ANZ People’s Choice award before voting closes on 12 August and see the work of budding artists aged 5-18 on display in the Young Archies.

Winner: Packing Room Prize 2018
Jamie Preisz
Title: Jimmy (title fight)
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 153 x 116.5 cm
Further information
Jamie Preisz’s subject is rock star Jimmy Barnes, who has a massive following both as the lead singer of Cold Chisel and as a solo performer. His two memoirs – Working class boy (2016) andWorking class man (2017) – are both bestsellers.

‘Jimmy has never been afraid to stand up and fight; he’s fought for his career, his family and even his life,’ says Preisz.

‘His dad, Jim Swan, was a prize-fighter in Glasgow and that formed part of my inspiration to depict him as a boxer. After losing my sister to suicide, I was touched deeply when I saw an interview with Jimmy speaking about his own suicide attempt. To me, he was fighting against the stigma of mental health issues by speaking so publicly about his own struggles, especially to generations of men who don’t feel that having emotional intelligence is a masculine quality.

‘The red drapery in the background is a reference to Caravaggio’s Judith beheading Holofernes, a painting often considered to represent triumph over tyranny. The drapery also suggests backstage – a place Jimmy knows well.’

Born in 1990 in Sydney, where he still lives and works, Preisz studied at the College of Fine Art. This is his first time in the Archibald Prize.

Jamie and Jimmy - (Supplied: Art Gallery of NSW)

The exhibitions for the Archibald, Wynne (landscape) and Sulman (subject, genre or mural painting) prizes runs from May 12 to September 9.

If you or someone you know needs help contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511, for crisis support phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Submarine Design To Move To Australia

May 3rd, 2018
Critical design work on the Turnbull Government’s Future Submarine Program will move to South Australia from 2022, fuelling more local jobs and investment.

The 12 new submarines will be constructed in Adelaide, utilising a national supply chain and ensuring this $50 billion initiative is completed with Australian expertise.

The project will deliver the best submarines to the Royal Australian Navy, and create almost 3000 jobs directly and throughout the supply chain.

Now the Turnbull Government is also confirming that the detailed design work will move from France to Australia in 2022.

Currently, initial design work is taking place in Adelaide and Cherbourg, France.

Up to 270 Australian jobs will be created in the detailed design and production planning activities.

This announcement coincides with the visit to Australia by the French President, Emmanuel Macron.

The engagement of France’s Naval Group represents the enormous opportunity being delivered through Australia’s strategic partnership with France.

Naval Group’s commitment to building Australia’s sovereign defence industry capability is reinforced by the decision to migrate detailed design of the Future Submarine to Australia.

Preparations will involve a range of training activities for Australians to ensure they achieve the necessary qualifications and develop the essential skills to undertake both detailed design and production planning.

Undertaking the detailed design and production planning locally will ensure our sovereignty goals are met, in a smooth transition to construction of the submarines in Adelaide.

During detailed design the Future Submarines will be developed and planned to a high level of precision using advanced computer-aided software, which includes the layout of all systems in each compartment of the submarine.

At the same time, the schedule for the construction of the submarine will be planned in detail, guiding shipyard workers on each stage of the build.

More than 600 Australian companies have so far registered interest with Naval Group to be part of the Program.

Maintenance Work To Pay Tribute To Australian Troops Past And Present

April 30, 2018: NSW Roads & Maritime dept.
The legacy of those who served in the Australian Defence Force during World War Two and other conflicts will live on with work now under way to maintain a memorial on the Federal Highway.

A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said the NSW Government is funding the $400,000 project to improve road user safety by removing and replanting more than 100 remembrance trees.

“Remembrance Driveway is a living memorial in the Wollogorang Creek Area which links Sydney with Canberra,” the spokesperson said.

“Roads and Maritime is planting around 280 advanced Pin Oak trees with a larger clearance of 13 metres from the highway in two stages.

“The majority of the new trees will be planted along a three kilometre section of the western side of the northbound lanes to take advantage of better conditions and provide an avenue effect.

“A smaller row of new trees will also be planted along a one kilometre section of the eastern side of the southbound lanes.

“The new Pin Oak trees will be planted in a single row, grow to around 10 metres tall and have spectacular colours during autumn.”

The spokesperson said this work will ensure the heritage value of the Remembrance Driveway memorial is sustained for future generations while improving safety for motorists.

“There are around 120 existing trees which were planted beside the road to pay tribute to those who served in World War Two and other conflicts around the world or in defence of the nation’s interest.

“Several mature or dead trees have fallen near or on the highway in the past two years, so it is essential all trees planted within five metres of the road are removed to improve motorist safety.

“Trees to be removed are poplars and pine trees nearing the end of their life located on the eastern and western sides of the southbound lanes and on the western side of the northbound lanes.

“Watering and maintenance will be carried out for six months after the new trees are planted to ensure they thrive until they are established.

“During autumn this year work will be carried out to remove the trees at Wollogorang and plant new trees along a one kilometre section on the eastern side of the southbound lanes.”

Work will take place on weekdays between 7am and 5pm for around six weeks from Monday 30 April and require temporary changed traffic conditions for community safety.

One southbound and one northbound lane will be closed to traffic during work hours and there will be intermittent short delays outside of peak times.

The second stage of work planned for autumn 2019 will involve planting new trees on the western side of the northbound carriageway to complete the project.

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.