Inbox and Environment News: Issue 371

August 12 - 18, 2018: Issue 371

Newport Community Garden: Working Bee Second Sunday Of The Month

Newport Community Gardens Inc. is a not for profit incorporated association. The garden is in Woolcott Reserve.

Local Northern Beaches residents creating sustainable gardens in public spaces
Strengthening the local community, improving health and reconnecting with nature
To establish ecologically sustainable gardens for the production of vegetables, herbs, fruit and companion plants within Pittwater area 
To enjoy and forge friendships through shared gardening.
Membership is open to all Community members willing to participate in establishing gardens and growing sustainable food.
Subscription based paid membership.
We meet at the garden between 9am – 12 noon
New members welcome

For enquiries contact

Greening Your Home - Eco Retrofitting The Suburbs - Special Event

There’s no need for a ‘tree-change’ or ‘sea-change’ - Permaculture has made a shift to the suburbs 

An extraordinary evening is planned for up to 400 people at Dee Why RSL on Tuesday 9th October at 7pm. 

‘Our aim is to better equip residents of the Northern Beaches and beyond to live sustainably in the suburbs.’ said Michelle Sheather, Permaculture Northern Beaches Green Home team leader. ‘Over the last 18 months, PNB’s Green Home project has run dozens of workshops, meetings and courses on organic living, sustainable building, clean energy and wise use of resources.’

The culmination of the project, made possible by a community grant from Northern Beaches Council, is the October 9 special event on Eco Retrofitting the Suburbs. The panel of speakers for one night only, is David Holmgren, Jo Gillies and Costa Georgiadis. The talks will show how ordinary Australians can downshift and retrofit their houses, gardens, and lifestyles to be more sustainable and resilient.

David Holmgren, is one of the founders of permaculture, a leading ecological thinker, teacher, respected writer and speaker. He promotes permaculture as a realistic pathway to sustainability and a powerful way of life. David’s talk will introduce his best-selling new book RetroSuburbia - the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future (2018) that empowers us to make positive changes to everyday actions extending from the household out into neighbourhood and wider community activity.

Jo Gillies is founder and director of Archisoul Architects in Manly. She has worked with clients across the Northern Beaches to design sustainable houses that suit our climate, region and lifestyle. Jo will speak on aspects of sustainable house design including passive solar, energy options and which materials can be used to lessen our environmental footprint. Design efficiencies for existing buildings and how do an eco-friendly retrofit will be discussed. Jo will show that good design principals can create a sense of community and soul for the household.

Costa Georgiadis has been the host of Gardening Australia, the ABC's iconic gardening show, since 2012. He is a landscape architect who has a passion for plants and people. For Costa, soil and water are central to absolutely everything. Costa has written the forward for the book  ‘Don’t be afraid to throw open RetroSuburbia on any page at any time and dive into the possible …’ says Costa.

Come along to be part of this great evening. 
A donation of $5 is recommended as entry fee.

The talk night will be during the school holidays, older children and teenagers are most welcome with an adult. A raffle with prizes of eco products and a copy of David’s book will be held on the night.

Permaculture is a design system for sustainable living in your home, garden and lifestyle. It originated in Tasmania in the 1970s with co-founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and is now practiced worldwide. The word is the merging of permanent/sustainable and culture.

9 Million More Ways To Save Threatened Species

Tuesday June 26, 2018: NSW Minister for the Environment, The Hon. Gabrielle Upton 

The NSW Government has put $9 million on the table to deliver more local projects to save threatened species.

"This is the first time this scale of funding has been available to the community from the Saving our Species (SOS) program," Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said.

"The new grants program is designed to maximise the number of species that can be secured in the wild under the NSW Government's Saving our Species initiative.

"Saving our Species is investing $100 million over five years to secure populations of threatened species in the wild. Projects are currently in place for some 350 species. Applications open today and I encourage groups to apply for funding for local projects," Ms Upton said.

"By creating long-term partnerships between the NSW Government, community groups and other organisations, more threatened plants and animals can be managed and supported. All applicants are strongly encouraged to develop and deliver projects with other collaborating partners."

Minister Upton announced the grant funding at a function for the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife held in Manly today.

"This grant is a tremendous opportunity for community groups and organisations to identify a threatened or iconic species and seek shared funding for a project," said the Member for Manly, James Griffin.

"Here in Manly, native animals such as the Long Nosed Potoroo on North Head have benefitted from Save our Species funded programs.

"It's a win for the community, a win for the environment and, most importantly, it's a win for animals facing the threat of extinction," he said.

Under the program individual grants of up to $350,000 are available for projects that will run for 7 years and will require a contribution from the successful organisation and project partners.

Applications are open from 26 June – 13 August 2018.

More information and forms on the: Saving Our Species Contestable Grants Program 2018 webpage

Entries Open For 2018 NSW Farmers Of The Year Award

July, 24, 2018: NSW DPI
NSW Minister for Primary Industries and outgoing NSW Farmers President Derek Schoen have announced applications for the prestigious NSW Farmer of the Year award have opened for 2018.

Speaking at the NSW Farmers Annual Conference today, Minister Blair said the award is both a celebration and recognition of farming excellence through the diverse range of enterprises across NSW.

“Our farmers represent some of the most innovative, industrious primary producers in the country and produce some of the highest quality food and fibre to be found anywhere in the world,” Minister Blair said.

“The state’s $15 billion primary industries sector is going from strength to strength under the stewardship of our farmers, who demonstrate drive and determination to run efficient, profitable and sustainable businesses.”

Mr Schoen has served as a judge of the award throughout his Presidency and said the 2017 finalists represented the breadth of NSW’s farming sector.

“From biodynamic, organic egg farming to a commercial cropping enterprise gaining efficiencies through environmental practices, from young guns through to farmers who have had a life-long commitment to farming excellence, the calibre of applications to the NSW Farmer of the Year award continues to be hugely impressive,” he said.

“The award helps identify outstanding farmers who are pushing the boundaries within their industry and in farming generally, and recognises people with outstanding management skills who demonstrate a combination of innovation, profitability, sustainability and community involvement.

“I strongly encourage all farmers in the primary industries sector to enter to become the 2018 NSW Farmer of the Year.”

The successful 2018 Farmer of the Year will be awarded $10,000, and finalists will receive $2,000.

The award is an initiative of the NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Farmers, with support from SafeWork NSW and Fairfax Agricultural Media. 

The application process is now online, where you can both apply and nominate a farmer by visiting entries closing 26 September 2018.

New Rules To Help Mulloway Recovery

August 6, 2018: NSW DPI
The NSW Government is working with fishers to ensure the future of one of NSW’s most prized fish species.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, said Mulloway is a highly regarded sportfish and an important commercial species.

“In 2013, the NSW Government introduced a recovery plan with a number of new rules to halt the decline of Mulloway stock and help the recovery of the species,” Mr Blair said.

“Despite efforts by fishers, a recent scientific review showed Mulloway are still overfished.

“In order for stocks to recover, the review recommended that more action needed to be taken.

“Given the seriousness of the issue, I asked both the commercial and recreational advisory councils to come up with actions for their sectors, with each council establishing expert working groups to investigate the best options.”

The advisory councils provided advice on this important issue, which included:

The removal of the possession limit of 10 Mulloway between 45 and 70 cm that currently applies to Estuary General meshing net fishers. This will mean that a 70 cm Mulloway minimum size limit will apply to all fishers.
A reduction in the recreational bag limit from two to one.
The changes come into effect on 1 September 2018 and will be closely monitored by NSW DPI. An advisory campaign will also ensure all fishers are aware of the new rules.

“I know this has been a tough call but it’s needed to ensure Mulloway stocks grow,” Mr Blair said.

“The reduction in the recreational bag limit from two to one still provides opportunities for fishers to catch these magnificent fish and if they wish, keep a fish for the table.

“It will also ensure that consumers can still access wild caught Mulloway now and into the future.”

Both councils will continue to look at other measures, including investigating options where commercially-caught Mulloway can be differentiated to reduce black market opportunities, further monitoring to ensure the effectiveness of these actions, as well as more research on fishing gear technologies to reduce bycatch of Mulloway.

Katandra Season 2018

Open Days at Katandra Bushland Sanctuary are suspended for a few weeks as there was a hazard reduction burn around the yurt on Saturday July 28th. The last fire here was in January 1994, so it is overdue for a burn, which will really bring on the wildflowers in a couple of years.

Visit Katandra's Profile for more details and pop up and visit from August 12th.

4 Pines Brewery Newport will be providing up-cycled malt bags from the brewery to store the trash and keep it from our shores. 

Do you get a beer? 
Absolutely! 4 Pines will hand out tokens to participants which will be redeemable for a fresh cold beer back at Public House. 

Bee Keeping Talk At Warriewood

Thursday, September 27, 2018
7:15pm – 9:00pm
Nelson Heather Centre
4 Jacksons Rd.
At tonight's meeting hear about native and European honey bees and what PNB is doing as part of our bee program on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Native bees are an important part of our biodiversity chain as well as a great source of nutritious honey.

Sydney has over 200 species of native bees many of which are solitary bees that require habitat in our gardens. You can also promote bees by providing a chemical free garden for them to pollinate. PNB has a program for selling native bees hives to supporters or program hives for free to community organisations. 

More information on this and a lot more will be available on the night.

Paul Hoskinson is the bee team leader for PNB and also was a key driver in the setting up of the Northern Beaches Beekeepers Association.

‘If bees were to disappear for the globe, humankind would have only four years left to live’ Albert Einstein.  Bees help us with pollination and are a vital part of our ecosystem. This will be a night not to be missed!

Doors open 7:15 pm at the Banksia Room, Nelson Heather Centre, 4 Jacksons Rd. Warriewood. All welcome, entry by donation. No need to book. There will also be a swap table - enjoy honey tasting + bring along plants, books, pots to swap.

Organic teas and coffee available, bring a plate of food to share also.

PNHA Newsletter 76 

Read about wild life in the 'Burbs - How to identify local owl calls, the Wing Tag project and PNHA's latest campaign news.

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment August 2018 Forum

Next forum: Creeks in the Catchment
7pm Monday August 27, 2018
Coastal Environment Centre, Pelican Path,
Lake Park Road, Narrabeen

Presenters: Staff members from Northern Beaches Council will outline the works needed to control erosion and protect against flooding. Plus information about the bush regeneration projects in near creeks in the catchment.

Are you concerned about any of these issues?
* Water quality in creeks leading to Narrabeen Lagoon
* Health of aquatic wildlife
* Creek flooding
* Blockages in creeks
* Erosion of creek banks
* Rubbish in creeks
* Weeds in riparian zones?
Bring your concerns and questions to the forum on August 27 and find out more about creek care from Council staff.

Entry is free but we ask for a donation to cover expenses.
Make sure you get a ticket preferably by emailing Judith Bennett 

Farmers Given More Power To Manage Roos

Wednesday, 8 August 2018: Media release - The Hon. Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water, Minister for Trade and Industry
The NSW Government has cut red tape and given more power to our drought-stricken farmers in order to help manage the damage caused by kangaroos.

As part of the NSW Drought Strategy, the new approach will allow farmers to apply for licences over the phone or via email, to cull kangaroos, and more shooters will be able to operate on a property under the same licence.

Under the new system, carcasses will no longer need to be tagged and left in the paddock and landholders will be able to use the carcass for a range of non-commercial purposes such as bait meat. There will also be increased limits on the number of
kangaroos that may be culled, based on property size. Previous and current licence holders can apply for licences over the phone.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said these changes are giving farmers more power to protect their properties, especially as they manage the challenging conditions. These changes will also maintain animal welfare standards and ecologically sustainable kangaroo populations.

“Kangaroos around local food and water sources are putting significant pressure on farms - we must start to turn that around as soon as possible,” Mr Blair said.

“Many farmers are taking livestock off their paddocks, only to then see kangaroos move in and take whatever is left – this is the last thing any farmer needs at the moment.

“If we don’t manage this situation we will start to see tens of thousands of kangaroos starving and suffering ultimately leading to a major animal welfare crisis.

“I know both farmers and our regional communities are under immense pressure right now but I hope these changes are another way the NSW Government can assist in reducing some of the burden of drought.”

In addition, the NSW Government has announced extensions to the commercial kangaroo harvest zones in South East NSW. This is expected to occur during 2019.

These changes will reduce biosecurity risks, incentivise experienced shooters to support landholders in reducing numbers, and enable NSW to move towards the commercial culling quotas set by the Commonwealth Government.

Permaculture Northern Beaches 

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


Earth At Risk Of Heading Towards 'Hothouse Earth' State

August 7, 2018: Stockholm Resilience Centre
Keeping global warming to within 1.5-2°C may be more difficult than previously assessed, according to researchers.

An international team of scientists has published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showing that even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met, there is a risk of Earth entering what the scientists call "Hothouse Earth" conditions. A "Hothouse Earth" climate will in the long-term stabilize at a global average of 4-5°C higher than pre-industrial temperatures with sea level 10-60 m higher than today, the paper says. The authors conclude it is now urgent to greatly accelerate the transition towards an emission-free world economy.

"Human emissions of greenhouse gas are not the sole determinant of temperature on Earth. Our study suggests that human-induced global warming of 2°C may trigger other Earth system processes, often called "feedbacks," that can drive further warming -- even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases," says lead author Will Steffen from the Australian National University and Stockholm Resilience Centre. "Avoiding this scenario requires a redirection of human actions from exploitation to stewardship of the Earth system."

Currently, global average temperatures are just over 1°C above pre-industrial and rising at 0.17°C per decade.

The authors of the study consider ten natural feedback processes, some of which are "tipping elements" that lead to abrupt change if a critical threshold is crossed. These feedbacks could turn from being a "friend" that stores carbon to a "foe" that emits it uncontrollably in a warmer world. These feedbacks are: permafrost thaw, loss of methane hydrates from the ocean floor, weakening land and ocean carbon sinks, increasing bacterial respiration in the oceans, Amazon rainforest dieback, boreal forest dieback, reduction of northern hemisphere snow cover, loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and reduction of Antarctic sea ice and polar ice sheets.

"These tipping elements can potentially act like a row of dominoes. Once one is pushed over, it pushes Earth towards another. It may be very difficult or impossible to stop the whole row of dominoes from tumbling over. Places on Earth will become uninhabitable if "Hothouse Earth" becomes the reality," adds co-author Johan Rockström, Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and incoming co-Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, says, "We show how industrial-age greenhouse gas emissions force our climate, and ultimately the Earth system, out of balance. In particular, we address tipping elements in the planetary machinery that might, once a certain stress level has been passed, one by one change fundamentally, rapidly, and perhaps irreversibly. This cascade of events may tip the entire Earth system into a new mode of operation."

"What we do not know yet is whether the climate system can be safely 'parked' near 2°C above preindustrial levels, as the Paris Agreement envisages. Or if it will, once pushed so far, slip down the slope towards a hothouse planet. Research must assess this risk as soon as possible."

Cutting greenhouse gases is not enough
Maximising the chances of avoiding a "Hothouse Earth" requires not only reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions but also enhancement and/or creation of new biological carbon stores, for example, through improved forest, agricultural and soil management; biodiversity conservation; and technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground, the paper says. Critically, the study emphasizes that these measures must be underpinned by fundamental societal changes that are required to maintain a "Stabilized Earth" where temperatures are ~2°C warmer that the pre-industrial.

"Climate and other global changes show us that we humans are impacting the Earth system at the global level. This means that we as a global community can also manage our relationship with the system to influence future planetary conditions. This study identifies some of the levers that can be used to do so," concludes co-author, Katherine Richardson from the University of Copenhagen.

Will Steffen, Johan Rockström, Katherine Richardson, Timothy M. Lenton, Carl Folke, Diana Liverman, Colin P. Summerhayes, Anthony D. Barnosky, Sarah E. Cornell, Michel Crucifix, Jonathan F. Donges, Ingo Fetzer, Steven J. Lade, Marten Scheffer, Ricarda Winkelmann, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. PNAS, 2018 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1810141115

Iceberg floating in near Greenland. Credit: © the_lightwriter / Fotolia

Delightful Diamond Firetails - Capertee Valley

By Birds in Back Yards TV (BIBYTV)
These Diamond Firetails (Stagonopleura guttata) were filmed during May and June 2018 visits to a private property in the Capertee Valley, NSW. Given the number of juveniles seen, the Diamond Firetails appear to be thriving here. (Indeed, they have been recorded nesting on the property.) They are one of several threatened bird species in NSW and are listed as Vulnerable because their numbers and range have declined. Their preferred habitats – i.e. grassy eucalypt woodlands, open forests and natural temperate grasslands – are particularly susceptible to destruction, degradation, modification and fragmentation due to suitability for agriculture and other development. As predominantly seed eaters, Diamond Firetails can utilise some exotic grasses and weeds, but these plants reduce the availability of suitable food overall and roosting/nesting shrubs and trees. (The Diamond Firetails we observed regularly used trees as a vantage and calling point, a behaviour not apparent in the other finch species on this site.) Environmental modification also favours larger, more aggressive birds such as the Noisy Miner and Pied Currawong, both of which can interfere with reproductive success. 

The Capertee Valley appears to be a stronghold for the Diamond Firetail, relatively speaking. As the area has been significantly modified since the early 1800s for agriculture (grazing mostly), their presence is heartening.  However, there are special factors here that need to be recognised.  For starters, the valley is fringed by national parks (e.g. Wollemi National Park, Gardens of Stone National Park and Capertee National Park). While the prime bird habitat is woodland on the valley floor, the forested slopes of the national parks provide refuge and connectivity for several species. Additionally, remnant woodland can be found throughout the valley and many landholders have actively preserved and/or restored this crucial habitat on private property. Where we filmed the Diamond Firetails is one such place.

Although this restoration has had wonderful results, it takes some years and considerable dedication to provide a rich diverse environment similar to natural grassy woodland. Our first action to ensure the future of threatened birds should be the preservation of existing natural habitat, as well as expanding potential habitat through ongoing tree-planting programs. 

Yellomundee Living Culture Camp 2018

Published on 6 Aug 2018 by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
The six Aboriginal language groups across the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area celebrate living and breathing culture at the Yellomundee Living Country Culture Camp 2018, Shaws Creek Aboriginal Place, Yarrumundi NSW alongside the Darug Caring as Country project with Uncle Lex Dadd, Macquarie University and Newcastle University.

Mojave Desert Birds Crashed Over The Last Century Due To Climate Change

August 7, 2018: University of California - Berkeley
Bird communities in the Mojave Desert straddling the California/Nevada border have collapsed over the past 100 years, most likely because of lower rainfall due to climate change, according to a new University of California, Berkeley, study.

A three-year survey of the area, which is larger than the state of New York, concludes that 30 percent, or 39 of the 135 bird species that were there 100 years ago, are less common and less widespread today. The 61 sites surveyed lost, on average, 43 percent of the species that were there a century ago.

"Deserts are harsh environments, and while some species might have adaptations that allow them to persist in a desert spot, they are also at their physiological limits," said Kelly Iknayan, who conducted the survey for her doctoral thesis at UC Berkeley. "California deserts have already experienced quite a bit of drying and warming because of climate change, and this might be enough to push birds over the edge. It seems like we are losing part of the desert ecosystem."

The collapse could have an impact on desert plants that rely upon birds to spread their seeds and for pollination, she said, as well as on a host of creatures that prey on the birds.

Though the decline has happened across the entire Mojave Desert, sites with available water saw less decline, suggesting that dehydration is a major factor. To halt further losses, the authors suggest, it may be necessary in the short-term to create additional water resources and limit groundwater pumping, which depletes desert springs. The best long-term solution is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reverse climate change, the authors say.

The loss of bird species has happened even though much of the Mojave Desert is protected national park or preserve, including Death Valley National Park, one of the nation's largest.

"This is a shot across the bow of our nation's national jewels, telling us that climate change is already having an adverse impact even in our largest national parks and wilderness areas, and that we have got to reduce dependence on fossil fuels by smartly employing green energy," said Steven Beissinger, senior author of the study and a UC Berkeley professor of environmental science, policy and management.

Iknayan and Beissinger will report their findings this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Raptors are down, ravens are up
The UC Berkeley team found a 42 percent drop in the number of bird species at Mojave sites. Raptors, with their meat-based diet, were one of the groups of birds that declined the most, including the American kestrel, prairie falcon, turkey vulture and sharp-shinned hawk -- all fairly common in the early 20th century.

Rarer birds, such as the Virginia's warbler, red crossbill, mountain quail and Lawrence's goldfinch, are now even rarer.

Birds that are more adapted to the desert -- the roadrunner and cactus wren, for example -- and birds that can live in a variety of habitats, such as the Bewick's wren and California towhee, fared better. Those adapted to grassland or forest did worse.

"A lot of these birds aren't exclusively limited to the desert," Iknayan said, noting declines in relatively widespread mockingbirds, killdeer and various sparrows and flycatchers. "Protecting their populations across the whole range can help a lot of these species to persist into the future."

The only birds more common today in the Mojave are the common raven and four exotics: the great-tailed grackle, which migrated northward from the U.S. Southwest and Mexico; an imported gamebird called the chukar; and the purposely introduced Eurasian collared dove and European starling.

Beissinger refers to the widespread decline as a collapse because it has occurred across the whole desert bird community, unlike changes in bird communities elsewhere, which consist of some declining and some increasing species. The 42 percent decrease in species richness across the Mojave contrasts markedly with a 2 percent decline in richness at sites in the Sierra Nevada revealed by similar surveys.

Breeding bird surveys conducted by citizen scientists dating back to the 1970s confirm the drop in abundance in the Mojave, "which is why we think we are seeing a new, lower baseline" for desert bird populations, he said.

"Studies elsewhere have found that climate change typically makes places unfavorable for some birds but opens the door for others to come in," Iknayan said. "In the desert we are not seeing increases in any of our species except for the common raven. There are a lack of climate change winners in the system."

Cactus Wren - photo by Chelsea Hofmeier photo

Taking good notes
Beissinger leads the Grinnell Resurvey Project to survey again areas of California that UC Berkeley biologists surveyed nearly 100 years ago, starting in 1908 with the arrival of Joseph Grinnell to head the campus's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. The goal of the project is to understand the changes wrought by human occupation of the state, including the impact of global warming and climate change.

Thanks to Grinnell, who introduced a now-widely used method of recording field notes, today's scientists have detailed data about bird and mammal populations and occurrence throughout the state, ranging from the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges to the Coast Ranges and Central Valley, and encompassing Southern California and, most recently, the deserts of the state's southeast. Grinnell and his students conducted and dutifully recorded their observations between 1908 and after his death in 1940.

Iknayan and her colleagues visited the 61 Mojave sites, including 9 in Nevada, that Grinnell and his colleagues visited between 1908 and 1947. She spent three consecutive days at each site walking a path as close to Grinnell's as possible, stopping at 10 places along each path and recording all the birds she saw or heard within 7 minutes.

She and Beissinger then conducted a statistical analysis to take account of the fact neither Grinnell nor Iknayan detected all the birds living at a site. The result was a chart of "occupancy" for each of the 135 birds, representing the proportion of surveyed sites the birds actually inhabited, even if undetected, in the early 1900s and now.

They subsequently correlated occupancy with other data for the sites, such as long-term change in average annual temperature, average maximum temperature and average yearly rainfall as well as similar measures for recent years. They also looked at the history of fire, grazing and other habitat changes.

The upshot was that the most significant change associated with bird declines was a long-term decrease in precipitation. Sites that had reduced rainfall suffered more loss of species than sites that remained wetter. The long-term change in maximum temperature at a site was unrelated to species loss.

"The study is clearly showing an erosion of the number of species and the diversity at these sites that is pretty striking," Beissinger said. "The Mojave Desert is now nearly half empty of birds. Is this a bellwether of changes to come in other protected areas?"

The Grinnell Resurvey Project is supported by the National Science Foundation (DEB-1457742, DEB-1501757, DGE-1106400), National Geographic Society, National Park Service and Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

Kelly J. Iknayan, Steven R. Beissinger. Collapse of a desert bird community over the past century driven by climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018; 201805123 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1805123115

For The First Time, Scientists Are Putting Extinct Mammals On The Map

August 8, 2018: Aarhus University

The blue color shows the range of brown bear today. The red color shows, where you would also find brown bears today, had they not been driven away by human activity. Credit: Soeren Faurby, University of Gothenburg

Researchers from Aarhus University and University of Gothenburg have produced the most comprehensive family tree and atlas of mammals to date, connecting all living and recently extinct mammal species -- nearly 6,000 in total -- and overturning many previous ideas about global patterns of biodiversity.

While others have tried to map the ranges of all mammals or figure out their family tree, previous studies always left out one crucial group of mammals: species driven to extinction by humans.

"This is the first time we've been able to comprehensively include extinct species like the Tasmanian tiger or the woolly mammoth as well as account for human-induced regional range losses among extant species in such a large database, and it's really changing our beliefs about what is 'natural' or not," said biologist Søren Faurby of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, who co-led the assembly of the database and the study, which was resently published in the scientific magasine Ecology.

Scientist often use maps of mammal species ranges to investigate patterns of biodiversity or to predict how climate change will affect species. But these maps are incomplete because they don't show species' natural ranges, only where they occur today. Many species have had their ranges drastically reduced by humans, for instance, through overhunting and habitat destruction.

"Brown bears may be emblematic of Alaska or Russia today but their range used to stretch all the way from Mexico to Northern Africa before widespread hunting by humans. If we want to predict how a warming climate will affect these bears, we can't leave out these natural areas of their range," said Faurby.

Tasmanian tigers and mammoths back on the map
It is also important to include species that have been totally exterminated.

"If we are studying global patterns of biodiversity, we really need to start considering species like the Tasmanian tiger that was hunted to extinction less than 100 years ago, a mere eye blink in geological time," said paleontologist and co-leader Matt Davis of Aarhus University in Denmark.

We associate large mammals like elephants and lions with Africa today, but for most of the last 30 million years, big animals roamed all over the Earth. It was only relatively recently that humans drove many of these large mammals extinct, leaving a world depauperate of giants.

"Even a species like the woolly mammoth, that we think of as prehistoric, lived up to the time the Great Pyramid was being built," Davis said.

Old maps and new algorithms
Assembling a database that included every species of mammal was no easy task. It took the research team, headquartered at Aarhus University, months just to stitch together existing datasets and fill in missing holes in the data.

They then poured over old maps and checked museum records to see where species natural ranges might be without the interference of modern humans.

Adding extinct species to the mammal family tree and making modern ranges for them was even harder. The scientists combined DNA evidence and data from fossil dig sites around the world with a powerful new computer algorithm to predict where extinct species fit in with mammals that are alive today.

New baselines for restoration
"This comprehensive database has already provided much needed evidence to inform restoration baselines and to provide re-assessments of several hotly debated ideas in biology, but this is just the beginning" said Jens-Christian Svenning, professor at Aarhus University and leader of the Aarhus team.

He expects that other researchers, conservationists, and educators will also find the easy to use and publicly available database valuable.

"We are already using the database to quantify and map human-induced biodiversity deficits and assess restoration potential across the globe.

Søren Faurby, Matt Davis, Rasmus Østergaard Pedersen, Simon D. Schowanek, Alexandre Antonelli, Jens-Christian Svenning. PHYLACINE 1.2: The Phylogenetic Atlas of Mammal Macroecology. Ecology, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2443

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

Fight Against Phytophthora In NSW Gets $174,000 Boost

August 8, 2018: NSW Office of Environment & Heritage
Researchers from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney have received $174,000 to start a conservation project to fight disease affecting many endangered plants in NSW.

"Many threatened species in NSW are at risk of the root rot pathogen called Phytophthora cinnamomi, which poses a significant threat to the survival of many plant species and ecosystems," Dr Edward Liew, Manager, Plant Pathology, Royal Botanic Gardens said.

"This new project will inform management actions to reduce the spread of Phytophthora and will complement existing work being done under the Office of Environment and Heritage's Saving our Species program to help individual species threatened by the disease."

Phytophthora attacks the roots of plants and is spread through water and along root systems. At least 83 threatened plant species and threatened ecological communities are either known to be susceptible to this disease, or are located near habitat that may be vulnerable to the disease.

"Limiting the disease's spread and managing infected sites using hygiene and quarantine protocols is the most practical and powerful way to address this threat," said Dr Liew.

The first step for the project will be to undertake soil sampling and testing to better understand the geographic distribution of Phytophthora and the sites where it is found. This information will help produce a map, identifying the main spots where the disease is found and the plant species most at risk.

"There is currently no statewide map of Phytophthora risk areas in NSW, so this new resource will be a key tool to identify and prioritise sites for management and monitoring and where to deploy strategies to stop new occurrence of the disease in unaffected areas.

"The project will also evaluate the effectiveness of a range of hygiene methods to limit the spread of the disease, and identify the most effective techniques which will be used to develop a set of hygiene protocols for NSW.

"Most of the contemporary hygiene measures like boot scrubbing stations or vehicle wash down facilities have had very little research on their effectiveness in helping stop the spread of Phytophthora, so it is important we test and evaluate these methods", Dr Keith McDougall Snr Threatened Species Officer, OEH said.

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

Free Meningococcal Vaccine For NSW Students

August 6, 2018: NSW Government
Thousands more NSW students will be offered the free meningococcal vaccine over the next year to protect them against the disease.

The NSW Government will provide an additional $3.6 million to extend the NSW Meningococcal W Response Program to students in Years 10 and 11 to protect against the rising threat of the W strain. The strain has an eight per cent mortality rate compared to four per cent for other strains.

$17 million has been invested into the program since it was introduced in 2017 for students in Years 11 and 12. The free vaccine has been provided to more than 200,000 teenagers to date.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the meningococcal vaccination program targets upper high school students as they are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

“Just one dose of this vaccine provides strong, long-term protection while building immunity in the community and helping prevent the spread of this crippling disease,” Mr Hazzard said.

“This vaccine has the added benefit of protection against the A, C and Y strains, which don’t occur as frequently but have equally devastating consequences.”

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said early treatment for meningococcal disease is vital.

“We’re heading towards early spring when people are most at risk and we tend to see a rise in case numbers,” Dr Chant said.

“If you experience symptoms including a sudden onset of fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, joint pain or rash of red-purple spots, go straight to your nearest emergency department to seek help. Acting quickly can save your life.”

Quicker Diagnosis And Help For Stroke Victims

August 10, 2018: The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
The Australian Government is providing $1.5 million to ensure doctors have the latest research and information on treating stroke at their fingertips, giving patients the best chance for survival.

Most clinical guidelines are currently in paper form but this funding will allow Stroke Foundation and Cochrane Australia to provide health professionals with the latest clinical guidelines and real-time research findings via an app.

This will allow doctors to treat patients with the most up-to-date breakthroughs.

Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest causes of mortality, killing more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer, and is a leading cause of disability.

Every nine minutes an Australian experiences a stroke, with 56,000 strokes occurring in 2017.

When it comes to diagnosing and treating strokes we know that time is vital. 

Minutes can literally mean the difference between life and death. 

But strokes are also treatable and I am proud to supporting doctors to have the latest, best clinical evidence for treatments at their fingertips. 

Ensuring stroke sufferers get treatment quickly is essential to their prospects of survival and rehabilitation. 

The availability of the latest living guidelines will help clinicians base their treatment decisions on the most up-to-date information and research. 

The app will be accessible to clinicians on tablet, phone and desktop.

All Australians benefit from investment in health and medical research, with the Turnbull Government investing $7 billion over six years through the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Medical Research Future Fund and the Biomedical Translation Fund.

My Health Record Opt-Out Period Extended

August 10, 2018: The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
The Turnbull Government has today extended the opt-out period for My Health Record by an extra month to 15 November 2018, as was announced last week. 

This was a key request from the Australian Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners and gives Australians more time to consider their options as we strengthen the 2012 My Health Record legislation. 

The Government will amend the 2012 legislation to ensure if someone wishes to cancel their record they will be able to do so permanently, with their record deleted from the system forever.

This means any Australian will be able to opt-out of the system permanently, at any time in the future, with their record deleted for good.

We will also strengthen the legislation to match the existing Australian Digital Health Agency policy. 

This policy requires a court order to release any My Health Record information without consent. 

The amendment will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order.

The Australian Digital Health Agency’s policy is clear and categorical - no documents have been released in more than six years and no documents will be released without a court order. This will be enshrined in legislation. 

As the Australian Digital Health Agency has already stated, contrary to incorrect claims made by unions this week, under the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010, specifically subsection 14(2), healthcare providers cannot be authorised to collect, use or disclose a healthcare identifier, and as a consequence access a patient’s My Health Record, for employment and insurance purposes.

Under the Act it is expressly prohibited and using or disclosing a healthcare identifier without authority is an offence and subject to severe penalties, including two years in jail and a fine of $126,000.

Last week in Alice Springs all health ministers unanimously reaffirmed their support for My Health Record, the national opt-out approach and our steps to strengthen the legislation. 

I welcome the bi-partisan support from both Labor and Liberal state governments for this important health reform.

As health ministers noted at the meeting, the expert clinical advice is that My Health Record will deliver better health care for patients. 

The Government will also work with medical leaders on additional communications to the public about the benefits and purpose of the My Health Record, so they can make an informed choice.

Job Training To Support Vulnerable Youth

August 9, 2018
A new mentoring program will provide vulnerable young people with the right skills and training to secure employment.
The RISEUP program aims to steer vulnerable 15 to 18-year-olds away from crime and into education, vocational training and employment.

Supported by the NSW Police and Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC) youth workers, the statewide program links young people with businesses so they receive real-life, on-the-job training in the workforce.

The program also includes workshops on relationship building, nutrition, literacy, numeracy, leadership and assistance to tackle the underlying causes of crime.

Business and organisations that have joined the RISEUP program include Allianz, TAFE, Snowy Hydro, Hungry Jacks and the Commonwealth Bank.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM said RISEUP is breaking through barriers to engage vulnerable young people from heading down a less desirable path in life and giving them a career start.

“Employment gives our youth a sense of achievement, pride and structure they might not be getting in a traditional family environment and it’s humbling to know we have some of the country’s biggest businesses standing beside us to support our future leaders,” Commissioner Fuller said.

Discovery Presents Treatment Hope For Alzheimer's And Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

August 9, 2018: University of South Australia
There is new hope for the treatment of Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases following a ground-breaking discovery made by an Australian-Chinese research collaboration.

Researchers from the University of South Australia and the Third Military Medical University in China have discovered a signal pathway within cells, and also invented a potential drug that could stop degeneration and actually improve learning and memory in affected patients.

UniSA's Professor Xin-Fu Zhou and colleagues have been investigating tauopathies -- which refers to a class of diseases caused by misfolding of the tau protein inside nerve cells that results in cell damage and eventually cell death.

These diseases include Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Motor Neuron Disease, all of which presently have no cure.

Specifically, the team has looked into frontotemporal lobe degeneration (FTLD), a term representing a group of clinical syndromes related to cognitive impairment, behavioural abnormalities and speech disorders.

Professor Zhou says that previously it was unknown how the gene mutation was responsible for causing cell death or damage -- referred to generally as neurodegeneration, and dementia in patients with FTLD and other motor neuron diseases. "Right now there is no treatment available at all," Prof Zhou says. "We have been investigating how these tauopathies (diseases) have some common pathology, including a particular tau protein that plays a critical role in nerve cell function."

Tau protein is a protein that stabilises microtubules and it is specifically abundant in neurons of the nervous system, but not in elsewhere.

"Our research found that in both the animal model and human brains, the signal of neurotrophins and receptors is abnormal in brains with FTLD," Prof Zhou says.

"We discovered an increase in the neurotrophin signalling pathway that is related to life and death of nerve cells, known as proNGF/p75, and then found blocking its functions was shown to reduce cell damage.

"Thus, in this paper we not only discovered a signaling pathway but also invented a potential drug for treatment of such diseases."

Given this strong evidence now available, the next stage is a clinical trial and South Australian biotech company Tiantai Medical Technology Pty Ltd has recently acquired a licence to further develop and commercialise this medical technology.

Professor Zhou says this industry involvement means there is an opportunity to translate the discovery into a treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies.

The paper published in Molecular Psychiatry is a collaborative work between two laboratories led by Professor Xin-Fu Zhou, University of South Australia and Professor Yanjiang Wang, the Third Military Medical University.

Lin-Lin Shen, Noralyn B. Mañucat-Tan, Shi-Hao Gao, Wei-Wei Li, Fan Zeng, Chi Zhu, Jun Wang, Xian-Le Bu, Yu-Hui Liu, Chang-Yue Gao, Zhi-Qiang Xu, Larisa Bobrovskaya, Peng Lei, Jin-Tai Yu, Weihong Song, Hua-Dong Zhou, Xiu-Qing Yao, Xin-Fu Zhou, Yan-Jiang Wang. The ProNGF/p75NTR pathway induces tau pathology and is a therapeutic target for FTLD-tau. Molecular Psychiatry, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41380-018-0071-z

New Vision For Sydney Tech Industry

August 7, 2018: NSW Government
The NSW Government is joining forces with the tech industry to help design a major new technology and innovation precinct that will generate more jobs and cement Sydney’s reputation as the innovation capital of Australia.

Atlassian, Australia’s largest tech company, along with other industry players including co-working space Fishburners, and industry representative body Tech Sydney, will work with the NSW Government to co-create the precinct. 

A NSW Government taskforce, headed by Jobs for NSW chair David Thodey, will be created to lead design and development of the new technology and innovation precinct, stretching from Central to Eveleigh.

Representatives from University of Technology Sydney, University of Sydney and Sydney Business Chamber will join the taskforce, as well as industry experts from a wide range of Australian start-ups.

The initiative is expected to create 10,000 new jobs by 2036.

As well as driving more employment and investment, the planned technology precinct will help revitalise the Central to Eveleigh area and safeguard its important heritage.

“Sydney and NSW are generating the jobs of the future and this new technology precinct will help turbo-charge our economy,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This will cement Sydney as the technology capital of Australia and create more secure jobs. Central to Eveleigh is already home to Australia’s largest cluster of start-up firms. We want to use that as a base to grow new jobs and new businesses.”

Minister for Trade and Industry Niall Blair said this was not just about a location but about creating a shared vision for the growth of NSW’s tech sector over the next 30 years.

“We know that government can’t do that alone and we need to work with the firms that are driving innovation today, and those that will be delivering the opportunities of tomorrow,” Mr Blair said.

“The Central to Eveleigh area is uniquely placed as an innovation precinct and is ideal for technology firms to attract and retain Australian and international talent.

“The new precinct, which will benefit from excellent transport links, will help revitalise this part of Sydney and support a thriving services, education and related industries.”

Atlassian Co-Founder and co-CEO Scott Farquhar said he’s excited to be involved in the creation of Sydney’s new technology precinct.

“If you look at every successful innovation hub in the world, from Silicon Valley to Tel Aviv, they all have a centre of gravity – a place the start-up community calls home,” Mr Farquhar said.

“I’m delighted that now our tech community will have the same opportunity to point to a map and call it home.

“Sydney has the potential to be of one of the world’s leading tech cities and the creation of a tech hub sends a very loud signal – not only to the country, but to the rest of the world – that we’re in the race.”

Developing Female Leaders In The Australian Sport Sector

August 9, 2018: Senator The Hon. Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Sport and Minister for Regional Communications
The Coalition Government is calling for applications for the Women Leaders in Sport program, which assists females involved in sport with grants and leadership development.

The Women Leaders in Sport program has provided support to more than 24,000 women since 2002, assisting to develop their leadership potential in the sports industry.

Previous participants in the program have included Olympic rowing gold medallist and Deputy Chair of the Australian Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission, Kim Brennan; former Australian cricketer and Cricket NSW board member, Alex Blackwell; and Tracey Scott, General Manager Leagues, Football Federation Australia.

Sports Minister, Senator The Hon Bridget McKenzie, said the program is crucial to ensuring women continue to develop leadership skills across Australian sports sector. 

“Previous recipients have said the program helped increase opportunities for them to move into senior leadership roles in the sports industry. This feedback shows just how important this program continues to be after so many years,” Senator McKenzie said.

“Sport in Australia is an $83 billion industry and we need to ensure that all of our leaders, from athletes right through to administrators, have the skills to lead the sporting industry into the future”.

Minister for Women, The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer, said the Women Leaders in Sport program provides excellent opportunities for future female leaders in the sport sector.

“The Australian Government is pushing for equal representation of women in leadership roles in all industries. While we’ve seen a rise in the profile of women’s sport generally, we want to ensure there’s continued opportunity for women to pursue leadership roles and careers in sport as administrators, coaches, officials and leaders,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“By the calibre of participants in this program, I’m very much looking forward to seeing the next generation of women leaders moving into senior roles in the sports sector soon.”

The 2019 Women Leaders in Sport program comprises of leadership workshops for individuals and organisations, as well as development grants of up to $3,000 (individuals), and up to $20,000 (organisations).

The Australian Sports Commission, recently branded Sport Australia, will continue to jointly fund the program with Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women,

Applications for the Development Grants and Leadership Workshops open on August 8 and close on 5 September 2018. For more information and applications go to the Sport Australia website. 

New Rent Program Assists Those In Need Avoid Homelessness

August 9, 2018: NSW Minister for Social Housing, The Hon. Pru Goward
Tenants in the private rental market struggling to pay their rent due to financial shock will be offered relief under a new rental subsidy to be rolled out by the NSW Government.

Rent Choice Assist provides rental assistance for up to three years while tenants are supported to find job and study opportunities to help restore their financial independence.

Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward said Rent Choice Assist was the latest private rental assistance support to help people keep a roof over their heads.

“Unforeseen events such as illness or retrenchment can put people at risk of homelessness but Rent Choice Assist can support them while they get back on their feet,” Ms Goward said.

“This Government is committed to preventing homelessness, which is why we are investing in initiatives like this to help vulnerable people at risk of homelessness maintain their leases in the private rental market,” Ms Goward said.

Rent Choice Assist will be trialled in four locations: Blacktown, Campbelltown, Hurstville and Newcastle/Lake Macquarie.
Up to 200 participants are expected to take part in the pilot, to begin next month.

Rent Choice Assist complements existing programs such as Rent Choice Youth, Rent Choice Veterans, and Rent Choice Start Safely for victims of domestic violence.

The NSW Government has committed $1 billion for homelessness services over the next four years.

Rent Choice is a form of Private Rental Assistance (PRA) that supports households to access safe and affordable housing in the private rental market. It provides a time limited private rental subsidy for up to 3 years and facilitates access to support services, including training and employment opportunities, to build capacity for independent living.

The following Rent Choice products may be offered to eligible clients:
  • Rent Choice Start Safely
  • Rent Choice Youth
  • Rent Choice Veterans
  • Deeper Subsidy
  • Moderate Income
Rent Choice supports access to safe and affordable housing in the private rental market to eligible clients who are able to demonstrate a capacity to sustain their tenancy in private rental accommodation.

In addition to Rent Choice assistance, the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) can also offer or facilitate access to Rentstart assistance products to assist with costs to establish and maintain a tenancy in the private rental market through the provision of a Bond Loan, Advance Rent, assistance to pay rental arrears, or Temporary Accommodation for homeless people. For more information, go to the Rentstart Assistance Policy.

For more information on Rent Choice, visit:

London Calling! Travellers Seek 'Trust' In Holiday Destinations

August 9, 2018: Queensland University of Technology
Tourists considering overseas travel 'trust' a destination like London would provide a positive experience, says new research from QUT researchers.

Consumer behaviour experts from QUT Business School investigated the effectiveness of the official tourism website, Visit London, for tourists choosing the city as a destination to explore.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Strategic Marketing, have implications for the global travel industry amid an emerging trend to 'personify' places to build long-term bonds with tourists.

Professor Brett Martin said the research investigated psychology in tourism and the same principles could be applied other tourism-related websites.

"The key is to generate trust," Professor Martin said. "People who are looking online at holiday information need to trust the information.

"If they do, then they have a more positive attitude towards the destination.

"This is more important than making people feel happy."

Professor Brett Martin said study participants were told to imagine London as a person and rate what human characteristics they thought would represent the UK capital.

The survey of 515 ready-to-travel Australians rated London as a destination based on its vibrancy, contemporary, competence, sophistication and sincerity.

Professor Martin said the results showed London as a brand destination that was trusted, and as a result more desirable for tourists to invest their holiday dollars.

He said trust was created when a destination showed aspects of competence such as success, leadership, confidence, independent and intelligent.

"It turns out that when people regard a destination as competent they see the tourist organisation as more trustworthy," he said.

"This is more important than showing images that are unique and glamorous," he said.

Professor Martin said holiday destinations which conveyed an individual brand personality could create a set of particular associations in the tourist's mind and influence their choice to visit or not.

"The takeaway for managers is to think about a destination as a person and ask what sort of personality should be conveyed, then promote competence and communicate trustworthiness," he said.

"A glossy picture or a logo doesn't carry as much weight for tourists making a decision whether to visit a destination or not," Professor Martin said.

It's estimated 20 million international visitors flock to London every year.

Seyedamir Sharifsamet, Hyun Seung Jin, Brett Martin. Marketing destinations: the impact of destination personality on consumer attitude. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 2018; 1 DOI: 10.1080/0965254X.2018.1485726

$1.3 Million To Address Prostate Cancer And Male Infertility

August 9, 2018: The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
The Turnbull Government will provide medical research funding for prostate cancer and infertility, marking the first step towards a new National Male Health Strategy.

The National Male Health Strategy 2020 - 2030, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of all men in Australia over the next decade, especially those at the greatest risk of poor health.

Experts in male health, representatives of disadvantaged populations and peak medical bodies met in Canberra today to develop the new ten year plan.

Together we identified key issues and priorities to help us improve the health outcomes for men across the country. 

Two National Health and Medical Research Council grants totalling $1.3 million will go towards new approaches for prostate cancer and research into understanding male infertility.

Professor Melissa Southey at Monash University is working on a new way to manage prostate and breast cancer using precision medicine, which will substantially improve health outcomes.

Prostate cancer is the sixth leading cause of death for males. It is also the most common cancer among men, with more than 16,000 cases diagnosed each year.

Only recently the Turnbull Government created a new Medicare item for the 26,000 men who need a prostate cancer MRI each year.

The University of Newcastle’s Professor Brett Nixon is working to improve our understanding of sperm function and the causes of male infertility. His work will be used to develop innovative therapies to help the one in 35 men with a fertility issue.

We know that men have different health challenges to women, and that their outcomes are often worse.

Almost 50 per cent of men have one or more chronic illnesses including back problems, arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or mental health conditions.

Coronary heart disease, lung cancer and dementia remain the leading causes of death for men, while nearly one in two men will experienced a mental health condition in their lives.

Despite these statistics, men are less likely than women to seek help.

The ten year strategy will aim for equal health outcomes for all population groups at risk of poor health.

$18 Million For Medical Research To Improve Women’s Health

August 8, 2018: The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
An $18 million investment by the Turnbull Government in a range of medical research projects will aim to improve the health of Australian women, marking the first step towards a new National Women’s Health Strategy.

The National Women’s Health Strategy 2020 - 2030, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of all women in Australia over the next decade, especially those at the greatest risk of poor health.

The Strategy is the first since 2010 and is expected to be completed in 2019.

It will identify what is required to improve health outcomes for women and girls and provide a framework for action.

Women experience health challenges differently to men and we need to ensure that this is reflected in our health system.

Maternal and infant health, chronic disease, healthy aging and mental illness and other conditions affecting women will be a major focus of the new national strategy.

The 29 new medical research projects into women’s health conditions is the first commitment of the new strategy.

The projects will zero in on significant health challenges that affect Australian women including breast cancer, maternal health, immunisation rates and cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in Australian women.

Specific research will include ways to reduce the failure rate of IVF, improve immunisation uptake in under-immunised children and pregnant women and seek new treatments for women with aggressive and metastatic breast cancer.

These cutting edge research projects have the potential to save many lives and change the way we approach women’s health.

Though females born in Australia in 2015 can expect to live to 84.5 years, women continue to face health challenges.

More than half of all women have a chronic disease and almost one in two Australian women will experience a mental health problem over the course of their lives. 

Maintaining a healthy weight while pregnant is also a challenge for many women.

The women’s forum held in Canberra today is the first in a number of consultation opportunities for the development of the National Women’s Health Strategy. 

The meeting involved more than 50 groups from a wide range of organisations including the Australasian Menopause Society, the Jean Hailes Foundation, the Australian Women’s Health Network, Butterfly Foundation and the Australian Medical Association. 

A public consultation process will also take place later in the year.

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.