Inbox and Environment News: Issue 380

October 21 - 27, 2018: Issue 380

Community Planting Day On Saturday October 27

Can you join us to plant native trees and shrubs  To restore the native vegetation?
When:  Saturday 27th October 2018  
Time:  8:30 am – 11.30am 
Where:  Barrenjoey Road adjacent to Careel Bay playing fields (opposite Crane Lodge Place) 
Wear: Hat, enclosed shoes, long pants & long-sleeved top Tools, gloves, morning tea and equipment provided. 

For further information please contact the Bushland Management Officer on 9970 1363 or 0417 040 945  

Sydney Freshwater Wetlands Restoration Careel Creek  Project  is funded with a grant from Greater Sydney Local Land Services  awarded to Pittwater Natural Heritage Association   & managed in partnership with Northern Beaches Council. 

NSW Grows Its National Park Estate

17 October 2018: NSW Office of Environment & Heritage
The NSW Government is growing its national parks estate, adding over 4500 hectares to the network.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said: "More than seven million hectares in NSW is now managed and protected for conservation with our National Parks Estate (Reservations) Bill being passed in Parliament."

"The additions include important koala habitat, an upland swamp-threatened ecological community in Upper Kangaroo Valley, significant areas of rainforest in the Upper Hunter and sites of significant cultural heritage.

"The areas have been selected for their conservation and connectivity values and include 5 separate transfers:
  • Part of Carrai State Forest (2080 hectares) to Willi Willi National Park
  • Yarrawa State Forest (120.6 hectares) to Budderoo National Park
  • Part of Mernot State Forest (1144 hectares) to Curracubundi State Conservation Area
  • Yango State Forest (647.5 hectares) to a new Yango State Conservation Area
  • Muldiva State Forest (513 hectares) to be vested in the Minister for the Environment for the purposes of Part 11 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.
These transfers are part of a NSW Government plan for an additional 43,000 hectares of conservation land to be added to the national park estate including:
  • 24,000 hectares of new koala parks and reserves as part of the NSW Koala Strategy
  • 5400 hectares of new additions to the national park estate
  • 14,200 hectares of state forest to be dedicated as flora reserves and transferred to the management of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
"The Government is proud of its commitment to biodiversity conservation: we do it smartly, we do it uniquely, and of course the benefits of these new parks and reserves do not stop with the native fauna and flora that reside within them," Ms Upton said.

"Our national parks are a boon to local economies, bringing in valuable tourist dollars and providing local employment opportunities."

Littleproud Calls Coles And Aldi’s Weak Responses

October 16, 2018
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has called out Coles and Aldi over their responses to criticism yesterday, asking “Is that the best they’ve got?”

Minister Littleproud yesterday called out Coles for its “milk levy” which will not go back to those farmers who supply it at ten cents per litre supplied – because Coles doesn’t even know which farmers supply it milk; it deals with a milk processor instead.​

He also criticised the big German retailer Aldi which sells very cheap milk for not participating in any kind of dairy reform, calling it a one finger salute to Australian dairy farmers.

“For Coles to pretend I wasn’t aware of their most recent ‘system’ to get milk to farmers is BS. I couldn’t give a rats Coles want to criticise me for calling out their media stunt - they make millions of dollars a year from farmers and if I have to go to the media to call out their slippery corporate behaviour then bad luck.

“Obviously, Coles’ first lazy idea was to just give money to the NFF and hope they’d sort it out – which didn’t happen.

“I’m well aware their recent announcement includes a Coles ‘independent’ person who will look at the grant applications from farmers, but Coles is still forcing farmers to apply for grants which farmers will see as welfare, and Coles has no way of knowing which farmers supply it what milk because Coles deals with a processor, not individual farmers.

“Farmers want fair trade, not aid.

“If I were Coles, or Aldi for that matter, I wouldn’t be baiting farmers to go to media by telling everyone how great I am to farmers. That has already backfired today when a dairy farmer on ABC Radio National detailed how he had to wait months to be paid for his milk.

“Dairy farmers are telling me a mandatory code of conduct for processors and farmers is a good thing - but the supermarkets need oversight too. That makes sense to me.

“The Australian consumer has the power here – they can make change with their wallets. They can buy branded milk, preferably from an independent, and put a fairer return back in farmers’ pockets.

“I’m well aware supermarkets rub their hands together when I tell people to go to branded milk, because the supermarkets make more money from branded milk than they do from $1 milk. The fact is the farmer gets paid more fairly for branded milk and that’s the point. Milk shouldn’t be cheaper than water.

“Australia without dairy farmers would be a sad place, reliant on other countries to supply our needs.”​

Creating Energy From Waste In Western Australia

18 October 2018: Joint media release - The Hon. Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and The Hon. Melissa Price MP, Minister for the Environment

Western Australian families and small businesses will benefit from reliable, baseload energy produced by the state’s first large-scale energy from waste plant thanks to support provided by the Australian Government.

The $668 million development located in Kwinana, south of Perth, will be capable of processing up to 400,000 tonnes of household, commercial and industrial waste a year.

Expected to be completed in 2021, the plant’s installed capacity of 36 MW will be enough to power up to 50,000 Western Australian homes with reliable, baseload energy and will also contribute to grid stability in WA’s South West Interconnected System.

The Australian Government is supporting the project with $23 million in grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and up to $90 million in debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). The CEFC finance is part of its Sustainable Cities Investment program, which invests in clean energy and energy efficient technology solutions in cities and the built environment.

Global fund manager DIF holds an equity stake in the project, which will be delivered by Phoenix Energy and Macquarie Capital.

This project builds on around $270 million mobilised for waste to energy and bioenergy projects through ARENA and the CEFC, as part of a suite of industry growth initiatives.

The reduction, reuse and recycling of waste into energy demonstrates the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to better management of waste in Australia.

Celebrating The Achievements Of Our Rural Women Leaders

15 October 2018​: Media Release - The Hon. David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources 
The outstanding contribution rural women make to Australia’s rural industries and communities will be celebrated tonight at the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Awards.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the annual awards had for nearly twenty years recognised and celebrated the achievements of rural women – vital in driving change.

“Women are farmers and leaders and always have been,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award celebrates the talent, leadership and essential role of women in agriculture and rural enterprise.

“The awards provide financial assistance and mentoring via its nation-wide network of business and community leaders for selected state winners.

“Previous award winners include Georgie Somerset who is now a Director at the ABC and the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Danica Leys, now CEO of the CWA.”

This year’s finalists are:
  • Linda Blackwood, NT
  • Alex Thomas, SA
  • Krista Watkins, QLD
  • Melissa Connors, VIC
  • Jillian Kilby, NSW/ACT
  • Darrylin Gordon, WA
  • Allison Clark, TAS
​“The finalists were chosen from a highly competitive field and are incredible women who are leaders at work, at home and in their communities,” Minister Littleproud said.

“I want to congratulate all female leaders who put themselves forward.

“I also congratulate AgriFutures on setting a culture in which both genders can thrive. I congratulate it on appointing great female leaders within the organisation. I congratulate it on being a trailblazer in terms of recognising and celebrating the achievements of rural women - investments which have already paid huge dividends to our nation.”

NB: Winner and more below

Humpback Whales Bubble Net Feeding | WWF-Australia

Published by WWF Australia on October 18, 2018
INCREDIBLE FOOTAGE of humpback whales 'bubble net feeding' in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Working together in a group, they swim in a shrinking circle and blow bubbles below a school of krill to force them towards the surface.

The Antarctic Peninsula is a crucial feeding ground for many species of whales, including the humpback. Unfortunately, they’re in direct competition with industrial krill fishing.
That’s why we need to establish a marine protected area for these beautiful animals. Stay tuned as we advocate to protect the homes of these gentle giants.

WWF has a long and proud history. We've been a leading voice for nature for more than half a century,. As the seventh largest member of the WWF Network, WWF-Australia has a challenging brief. We're striving to conserve biodiversity in Australia and throughout the Oceania region. It's a big task and not one we can tackle alone. But together we can.

NB: The Thirty-seventh Meetings of the Commission and the Scientific Committee of CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) commences this week in Hobart. On the Agenda  are a range of topics including krill as a harvested species and a Review of conservation measures - Editor, Pittwater Online News.

Seeing Double! Two Takhi Foals Born At Dubbo Zoo

October 19, 2018
By Taronga Zoo
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has double the reason to celebrate with the birth of two Takhi (Przewalski’s Horse) foals just one day apart last week.

Keepers are delighted with the arrival of a female Takhi foal to mother Mila on Tuesday 9 October 2018, and a male Takhi foal to mother Tegus on Wednesday 10 October 2018.

The sire of both foals is Nikolai, and both mothers are first time mums, creating further genetic diversity in the herd. The mothers are each being very protective of their foals, a natural maternal behaviour. 

“Both foals were born on exhibit during the day time, much to the delight of visitors during the last week of the school holidays,” said Keeper Jacinta Vaughan.

“The foals were standing and suckling quickly and we couldn’t be happier with how both mums are doing given they are first time mothers.”
The Takhi foals are yet to be named but are both doing well so far. The foals will stay close to their mothers’ side for some time as they grow and develop, and will start to explore their surrounds over the coming months.

“This year has been very successful for the Takhi breeding program with four foals born to date and potentially another one on the way in the coming few months,” Jacinta said. 

“The Zoo has also opened the new Wild Herds precinct which really highlights this species, the Zoo’s successful breeding program and its role in assisting to bring the species back from extinction in the wild,” said Jacinta. 

The two new foals bring the total Takhi herd to 14, with four foals in the herd, including Dash born in January and Khan born in May this year. 

“It’s so wonderful to see the foals of varying ages in the herd. Khan and Dash are already interacting with each other and enjoy galloping around the paddock, so I am sure the two latest additions will join them once they are a little older and more confident,” said Jacinta.

Takhi are today classified as endangered, but were once extinct in the wild. Prior to reintroduction programs in the early 1990s, Takhi were last seen in the wild in the Gobi Desert, in south Mongolia. Their numbers dwindled as a result of human interference such as poaching and capture. Today, their main threats are habitat loss and low genetic diversity.

Takhi foal and mum - photo by and courtesy Taronga Zoo

Antarctic Ice Shelf 'Sings' As Winds Whip Across Its Surface

October 16, 2018: American Geophysical Union
Winds blowing across snow dunes on Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf cause the massive ice slab's surface to vibrate, producing a near-constant set of seismic "tones" scientists could potentially use to monitor changes in the ice shelf from afar, according to new research.

The Ross Ice Shelf is Antarctica's largest ice shelf, a Texas-sized plate of glacial ice fed from the icy continent's interior that floats atop the Southern Ocean. The ice shelf buttresses adjacent ice sheets on Antarctica's mainland, impeding ice flow from land into water, like a cork in a bottle.

When ice shelves collapse, ice can flow faster from land into the sea, which can raise sea levels. Ice shelves all over Antarctica have been thinning, and in some cases breaking up or retreating, due to rising ocean and air temperatures. Prior observations have shown that Antarctic ice shelves can collapse suddenly and without obvious warning signs, which happened when the Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula abruptly collapsed in 2002.

To better understand the physical properties of the Ross Ice Shelf, researchers buried 34 extremely sensitive seismic sensors under its snowy surface. The sensors allowed the researchers to monitor the ice shelf's vibrations and study its structure and movements for over two years, from late 2014 to early 2017.

Photo: Study co-author Rick Aster during a station installation trip on the Ross Ice Shelf, holding a broadband seismometer. These sensitive sensors were buried at depths of two meters (6 feet) to record micro-scale seismic motions of the ice shelf in three dimensions over the course of two years. Credit: Rick Aster.

Ice shelves are covered in thick blankets of snow, often several meters deep, that are topped with massive snow dunes, like sand dunes in a desert. This snow layer acts like a fur coat for the underlying ice, insulating the ice below from heating and even melting when temperatures rise.

When the researchers started analysing seismic data on the Ross Ice Shelf, they noticed something odd: Its fur coat was almost constantly vibrating.

When they looked closer at the data, they discovered winds whipping across the massive snow dunes caused the ice sheet's snow covering to rumble, like the pounding of a colossal drum (see: - runs below).

They also noticed the pitch of this seismic hum changed when weather conditions altered the snow layer's surface. They found the ice vibrated at different frequencies when strong storms rearranged the snow dunes or when the air temperatures at the surface went up or down, which changed how fast seismic waves travelled through the snow.

"It's kind of like you're blowing a flute, constantly, on the ice shelf," said Julien Chaput, a geophysicist and mathematician at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and lead author of the new study published today in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Just like musicians can change the pitch of a note on a flute by altering which holes air flows through or how fast it flows, weather conditions on the ice shelf can change the frequency of its vibration by altering its dune-like topography, according to Chaput.

"Either you change the velocity of the snow by heating or cooling it, or you change where you blow on the flute, by adding or destroying dunes," he said. "And that's essentially the two forcing effects we can observe."

The hum is too low in frequency to be audible to human ears, but the new findings suggest scientists could use seismic stations to continuously monitor the conditions on ice shelves in near real-time. Studying the vibrations of an ice shelf's insulating snow jacket could give scientists a sense of how it is responding to changing climate conditions, according to Douglas MacAyeal, a glaciologist at the University of Chicago who was not connected to the new study but wrote a commentary about the findings also published today in Geophysical Research Letters.

Changes to the ice shelf's seismic hum could indicate whether melt ponds or cracks in the ice are forming that might indicate whether the ice shelf is susceptible to breaking up.

"The response of the ice shelf tells us that we can track extremely sensitive details about it," Chaput said. "Basically, what we have on our hands is a tool to monitor the environment, really. And its impact on the ice shelf."

J. Chaput, R. C. Aster, D. McGrath, M. Baker, R. E. Anthony, P. Gerstoft, P. Bromirski, A. Nyblade, R. A. Stephen, D. A. Wiens, S. B. Das, L. A. Stevens. Near-Surface Environmentally Forced Changes in the Ross Ice Shelf Observed With Ambient Seismic Noise. Geophysical Research Letters, 2018; DOI: 10.1029/2018GL079665

Winds blowing across snow dunes on Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf cause the massive ice slab's surface to vibrate, producing a near-constant drumroll of seismic 'tones' scientists could potentially use to monitor changes in the ice shelf from afar, according to new research. The ice shelf's 'song' is too low in frequency to be heard by human ears, but it has been made audible here by geophysicist and mathematician Julien Chaput, who sped up a 2015 recording of the ice shelf's vibrations about 1,200 times.
Credit: American Geophysical Union, NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Queensland’s Krista Watkins Named The 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award National Winner

October 18, 2018: by AgriFutures
Queensland’s Walkamin banana grower and food waste innovator Krista Watkins, co-founder of Natural Evolution Foods in Far North Queensland, has been named the 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award National Winner, and Western Australia’s Darrylin Gordon the National Runner Up.

The AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s leading Award in acknowledging and supporting the critical role women play in rural and regional businesses, industries and communities.

Adding to the $10,000 bursary she was awarded as the QLD state winner, Krista will receive an additional $10,000 bursary from Westpac to further progress her winning project, which will look at uncovering by-products for sweet potatoes – an industry which wastes on average 50 tonnes per acre.

“Innovation at the farm gate is a major part of reducing food waste, so I am grateful to AgriFutures Australia and the AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award for giving me a stage on which we can magnify this opportunity to reduce unwanted produce, so that we can create a more sustainable and profitable future,” said Krista.

“Winning this prestigious award further highlights the level of industry support available for women making a difference in rural and regional Australia – no matter how remote you may be based.”

It’s estimated that food waste at the farm gate represents 10 per cent of gross food production, valued at $4 billion.

As a primary producer, Krista said it is difficult for any grower to see so much of their harvest thrown away because there isn’t a market for it, it’s oversupplied, or it doesn’t meet the aesthetic appearance of how consumers think fresh fruit and vegetables should look.

“Growers don’t choose to waste produce, most of the time it is out of our control. Factors such as market supply, weather and consumer demand impact us. By innovating and finding an alternate use through by-products helps to diversify the income stream and dramatically reduce the amount of leftover produce.”

Krista has already started research into developing by-products for the four most common sweet potato varieties grown in Australia.

John Harvey, AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, commended Krista for being an inspiring business woman, a positive rural role model and a warrior against the fight to reduce food waste.

“During these difficult times of drought, Krista exemplifies everything the AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award represents. Through her family business, she is creating change and is driving an inspiring revolution in looking at different ways to generate new on-farm revenue streams and business in regional and rural Australia,” said Mr Harvey.
“Krista and Darrylin are a great example of the remarkable women who are bringing about a positive change for their local communities and wider industries.”

The 2018 National Runner Up, Western Australia’s Darrylin Gordon, is looking to develop a skills training camp for unemployed locals in her region. The aim is to develop the community’s skillsets for local jobs and look at life skills, including cooking, work/life balance and how to deal with mental health issues.

Through her work as an Indigenous Community Alcohol and Drugs Officer, Darrylin knows the benefits skills training projects can have in ensuring successful employment. Farming, mining and tourism are the primary employers around Halls Creek however Darrylin noticed that many on-the-job training programs do not focus on up-skilling locals for these industries. As a Jaru woman, Darrylin thrives on her connection to her country and is in the process of planning a three-month skills training project on Lamboo Station, a family owned and run business.

The AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award Platinum Sponsor, Westpac, also congratulated Krista and Darrylin on their innovative projects and for winning the coveted national Award.

“Women make an incredible contribution to the prosperity of rural and regional Australia, whether it’s at home, in the community or out in the paddock. Westpac sees this firsthand so we’re delighted to shine a light on women such as Krista and Darrylin who are some of our country’s most extraordinary women,” said Steve Hannan, National Manager for Westpac Agribusiness.

Mr Hannan commended all the national finalists on their achievements and said he looks forward to seeing how their Westpac bursary helps them to pursue their future success.

The Honourable David Littleproud, MP, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources made the announcement during a black tie gala dinner at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday evening. Both Krista and Darrylin received their awards in front of over 490 guest including, alumni, government officials, industry representatives, media, friends and family of the finalists.

Applications for the 2019 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award are now open and close on Wednesday, 31 October 2018 at 11pm AEDT. Apply now at

3m Australians Living In Poverty, New Report From UNSW And ACOSS Shows

October 16, 2018: by Larissa Mavros/UNSW
A new analysis by the UNSW Sydney Social Policy Research Centre and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) released today shows national poverty rates remain high despite Australia experiencing decades of uninterrupted economic growth.

The Poverty in Australia 2018 Report, launched by ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie at the National Press Club in Canberra to coincide with Anti-Poverty Week, finds there are just more than 3 million people living below the poverty line, including 739,000 children. In Australia, the poverty line is defined as a single adult living on less than $433 a week, or $909 for a couple with two children.  

The report finds: 
  • One-in-eight adults (13%) and more than one-in-six children (17%) are living in poverty. 
  • Many of those affected are living in deep poverty – on average $135 a week below the poverty line. 
  • Those experiencing poverty at the highest rates are those unable to find paid work, relying on government allowances – Youth Allowance (64%) and Newstart (55%). 
  • A major source of child poverty is the high poverty rate (32%) among sole-parent families, who must generally rely on a single income.
Lead researcher, UNSW Professor Peter Saunders, Research Chair in Social Policy at the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre, said though the Australian government has joined other nations in adopting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – a blueprint for addressing 17 global challenges from poverty to peace and justice – Australia is a long way from achieving them. In Australia, these Goals include reducing poverty rates for men, women and children by half by 2030.

Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO, and Professor Peter Saunders, from the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW.

“Australia lacks a poverty reduction plan and we do not have regular monitoring and reporting by governments on progress to address poverty,” said Professor Saunders. “This report seeks, in part, to fill that data gap and our hope is that, informed by this research, action to reduce poverty becomes a national priority for governments, businesses and the community.” 

ACOSS Chief Executive Officer Dr Cassandra Goldie said the evidence released today shows that through social security, housing and employment policies, Australians choose the level of poverty they are prepared to accept.

“The government argues that poverty in Australia is not the problem,” Dr Goldie said. “They are wrong. People on the lowest incomes cannot afford to pay for the very basics of life, housing, food, energy, health and getting their teeth fixed. Poverty is now a consistent feature of Australian life. Are we prepared to accept this?”

Dr Goldie said the solutions are clear:
  • lifting the social security safety net for those most acutely affected – people living on Youth Allowance and Newstart
  • boosting family payments for the lowest income families
  • overhauling social and affordable housing policies
  • providing an adequate increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance
  • revamping employment services, including a commitment to full employment, and
  • guaranteeing at least two days of early childhood education and care for every child, regardless of their background. 

“Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world,” said Dr Goldie. “With strong signs in the economy, and an improved federal budget position, the top priority for any prime minister must be to end poverty in all its forms, not deliver another round of tax cuts to corporations. It is time that our politicians stopped talking about themselves and turned their attention to the issues that the community cares about.”

For a copy of the report please go to the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre.
Snapshot of poverty in Australia
In 2015-16:
  • The poverty line (50% of median income, before-housing costs) for a single adult is $433 a week. For a couple with two children, it is $909 a week.
  • 3.05 million people (13.2% of the population, more than one in eight) are estimated to live below the poverty line, after taking account of their housing costs.
  • 739,000 children under the age of 15 (17.3% of all children, more than one in six) are living below the poverty line.
  • The average ‘poverty gap’ (the difference between the incomes of people in poverty and the poverty line) is $135 per week.
  • 53% of people below the poverty line are in households that rely on social security as their main source of income, while 38% rely on wages as their main income.
  • 26% of people in households whose reference person receives an income support payment are living below the poverty line, including 64% of those on Youth Allowance, 55% of those receiving Newstart Allowance, 52% of those on Parenting Payment, 36% of those on Disability Support Pension, 17% of those on Carer Payment, and 12% of those on the Age Pension.
  • A major source of child poverty is the high poverty rate (32%) among sole parent families, who must generally rely on a single income.
  • The majority (52%) of people below the poverty line were in rental housing, while 15% of people in poverty were home-owners without a mortgage.
  • Australia has the 14th highest poverty rate among 34 OECD countries, part of a group of English-speaking wealthy nations with above–average poverty levels.

TPP-11 To Open New Doors For Aussie Farmers And Businesses 

October 11, 2018
The Hon. Scott Morrison
Prime Minister of Australia
Australian farmers, businesses and investors will get access to new markets across the Americas and Asia, with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) Agreement passing Parliament today.

The Agreement means more market access for our farmers, greater opportunities for our businesses, more jobs and increased investment for Australia.

This landmark agreement is one of the most comprehensive trade deals ever concluded and strips 98 per cent of tariffs for 11 countries with a combined GDP of more than $13.8 trillion and close to 500 million consumers.

Independent modelling shows Australia is forecast to see $15.6 billion in net annual benefits to national income by 2030 from the TPP-11.

International trade creates jobs and drives investment.

The TPP-11 offers significant advantages for Australian exporters including accelerated reductions in Japan’s tariffs on Australian beef, greater quota volumes for wheat and barley, new access for dairy products and clear investment regimes for mining and resources.

Australia’s leadership on the TPP-11 has been another important demonstration of our commitment to the international rules-based approach to trade. 

That’s why our Government will continue to pursue a trade agenda that opens new markets for Australian businesses and creates certainty for exporters. It is a key plank of our government’s plan to further strengthen our economy and guarantee the essentials Australians rely on. 

The TPP-11 will enter into force 60 days after six countries have ratified the Agreement. So far, Mexico, Japan and Singapore have completed their domestic processes.

This passage of legislation through Parliament brings Australia one step closer to being part of the first group of countries to ratify the Agreement.

Japanese Heavyweights Commit To The Western Sydney Aerotropolis

October 16, 2018: The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of NSW
In a major coup for the State, the NSW Government has signed two international investment agreements with two of Japan’s biggest multinationals to establish a presence in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

Just a year after Premier Gladys Berejiklian visited Japan to drum up investment in NSW, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group have signed two separate agreements with the NSW Government and committed to be a significant part of the Aerotropolis.

“It is so exciting that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group have decided to have such a large footprint in the Aerotropolis and we can’t wait to hear more about their plans,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“It is not every day you get the chance to build a city from the ground up, but we know we are on the right track because, as we can see, international business confidence in the Aerotropolis is sky high.

“The Western Sydney Aerotropolis will be the heart of the Western Sydney Parkland City where there will be 200,000 jobs, the best educational opportunities and the highest quality lifestyle you can imagine.

“Federal, State and Local Governments are working together to make the Aerotropolis the most advanced city on Earth and now we are seeing the biggest companies in the world come on this journey with us.”

The latest investment agreements have been signed a month after the University of Newcastle, University of NSW and University of Wollongong, and Western Sydney University agreed to join forces and create a world-class, higher education institution at the Aerotropolis. It also follows an announcement last year from global defence and aerospace company Northrop Grumman of a $50 million investment in an advanced defence electronics maintenance and sustainment centre.

Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the nation building activity of the Aerotropolis and Western Sydney Parkland City is attracting some of the biggest names in the game.

“It’s no wonder companies from NSW’s second biggest trading partner, Japan, are first in line to sign up to the Western Sydney Aerotropolis,” Mr Ayres said.

“The Japanese companies which have committed today will promote investment opportunities in transport, logistics, healthcare, education and renewable energy as well as other commercial, residential and community developments.”

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is a global heavyweight in aircraft, space, defence, transport, energy, maritime, automotive, industrial machinery and infrastructure. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG Group) has a network of global clients across 40 countries and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) is one of Japan’s biggest banks managing a balance sheet in the trillions of dollars – more than the entire Australian economy.

New Maths Strategy Prepares Students For Jobs Of The Future

October 16, 2018: NSW Government
Students will be equipped with important life skills from more specialist teachers and a new maths-based HSC course.

It is important for all students to feel confident with maths and numbers by the time they leave school so they are set up for success in whatever career they choose. A new education strategy will inspire more students to study maths and give them with the skills they need to thrive after leaving school.

The new strategy includes:
  • new maths-based HSC course piloted from next year, for students who have not typically chosen to study maths, focusing on numeracy and practical applications for everyday life
  • recruitment of 100 specialist primary school maths teachers over five years
  • 320 scholarships valued at $50,000 each for STEM undergraduates and career changers to fund a Master’s degree
  • work with universities to encourage students to take higher level HSC maths courses
  • introduce more Maths Ambassadors to encourage students in developing a love for maths.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that about 82 per cent of students currently take up maths-based subjects in their HSC and with this new strategy, this number may get closer to 100 per cent.

“I am a passionate believer that education is the great enabler – I, like many others, am living proof of that. I am also a passionate believer that we need to do everything we can to prepare our students for a stronger, better future,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“My vision is for every child in NSW to have the necessary maths skills to succeed in life – whether that’s managing home budgets or preparing them for the high tech jobs that will be on offer in coming years.”

Mr Stokes said it is important for all students to feel confident with maths and numbers by the time they leave school so they are set up for success in whatever career they choose.

“Everyone can be good at maths with the right support, encouragement and hard work,” Mr Stokes said. “I want more students to develop an early interest in maths so that they are able to participate in more advanced mathematics subjects in the later years of schooling.

“Our maths teachers all around NSW do a brilliant job of inspiring students to improve their mathematical literacy from kindergarten all the way through to the HSC.”

Award-winning maths teacher Eddie Woo, who was earlier this year appointed a NSW Maths Ambassador, welcomed the announcement.

“I am so delighted that the Premier and Minister share my passion for maths,” Mr Woo said.

“Maths is an integral part of all of our lives and I am confident more students will be inspired to study it with a little bit of encouragement and guidance from passionate ambassadors and teachers.”

Sydney Metro Now Tunnelling Under The City

October 17, 2018: The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of NSW
Tunnelling started today to deliver twin new metro railway tunnels below the centre of Sydney and deep under Sydney Harbour as part of Australia’s biggest public transport project, Sydney Metro.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance officially launched tunnel boring machine (TBM) Nancy – one of the five mega borers which will build 31 kilometres of tunnels between Marrickville and Chatswood.

“Sydney Metro is at the centre of the NSW Government’s transformation of public transport which will give people more choice in how they get around Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Today marks the start of the huge task of digging twin tunnels under the city, delivering Sydney’s new world-class metro railway and building a stronger, better future for the people of NSW.

“Sydney Metro is an incredible project and it is only possible because of the strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals.”

The TBM has been named Nancy in honour of transport pioneer Nancy Bird Walton OBE.

Nancy and another TBM will tunnel 8.1 kilometres from Marrickville to the new Sydney Metro station sites at Waterloo, Central, Pitt Street, Martin Place and on to Barangaroo, where they will be removed from deep underground.

The TBMs are about 150 metres long – that’s longer than two Airbus A380s – and specially designed for Sydney’s geology to cut through hard sandstone.

The five TBMs will excavate 5.9 million tonnes of rock – enough to fill about 940 Olympic swimming pools.

This is the first time in Australian history that five TBMs have worked on a transport infrastructure project.

“These machines are underground factories, mechanical worms designed to dig and line the tunnels as they go so that Sydney Metro can be delivered as quickly as possible,” Mr Constance said.

“Nancy is specially designed to cut through our city’s unique sandstone and shale and will tunnel an average of 120 metres a week.”

Two TBMs will also dig 6.2 kilometres from Chatswood to the edge of Sydney Harbour. A fifth machine has been specially designed to deliver the twin tunnels under Sydney Harbour.

It is traditional to give a female name all machines which work underground, because workers look to Saint Barbara for protection.

Nancy Bird Walton OBE was an Australian pioneer aviator, the first female pilot in the Commonwealth to carry passengers and the founder of the Australian Women Pilots' Association. Yesterday (16 October 2018) would have been Nancy Bird-Walton’s 103rd birthday.

Sydney Metro opens in the city’s north west in the second quarter of next year – with 13 metro stations, 4000 commuter car parking spaces and 36 kilometres of new metro rail.

Metro rail is being extended into the Sydney CBD and beyond to Bankstown – in 2024, Sydney will have 31 metro stations and a 66 kilometre metro railway.

NSW Leads Trial To Save More Babies’ Lives

October 15, 2018: The Hon. Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Health
A Sydney baby is the first in the world outside of North America to receive lifesaving gene- replacement treatment under a NSW Government $2 million newborn screening pilot.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said in an Australian first, all babies born in NSW and the ACT are now offered screening for the deadly condition Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is the leading genetic cause of infant death in Australia.

“This is a tragic condition – in some cases, babies are born so weak they only survive a few weeks. This trial will potentially give those babies a much greater chance at life,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Within a month of introducing SMA to the newborn bloodspot screening program, a baby girl was diagnosed before any symptoms had begun and she is now getting lifesaving gene- replacement therapy.”

The routine heel prick screening will also now include Primary Immunodeficencies (PID) – a range of serious disorders that weaken the immune system that occur in 1 in 40,000 births and are usually fatal in a baby’s first year of life.

The additional screening over two years is being funded by the NSW Government through Paediatrio, the NSW paediatric research collaboration between Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Children’s Medical Research Institute and Children’s Cancer Institute.

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network paediatric neurologist Dr Michelle Farrar said early screening for SMA and some PID conditions will greatly improve outcomes.

“It will help detect these rare and life-threatening conditions in newborns and improve access to clinical trials and early treatment,” Dr Farrar said.

“One approach to treatment is gene-replacement therapy, given as a one-off dose before symptoms arise and could save a baby’s life.”

The newborn bloodspot program screens for more than 25 medical conditions, including cystic fibrosis, primary congenital hypothyroidism, phenylketonuria and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

SMA occurs in one in every 10,000 births and affects motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, causing progressive muscle weakness through to adulthood.

UNSW Panel Frames Better Digital Access For People With Disabilities

October 17, 2018: by Diane Nazaroff/UNSW
An increase in digital accessibility for people with disabilities, and a right of redress if it is not forthcoming, was a key message of an event supported by UNSW’s Disability Innovation Institute in Sydney.

The Legislation, Policy and Practice for Digital Inclusion panel discussion heard about the digital divide that happens when digital platforms, the digital economy and digital interfaces are not acceptable for people with disabilities.

Prior to the panel discussion, panelist and Interim Director of the UNSW Disability Innovation Institute, Rosemary Kayess, who was elected to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in June, outlined a number of issues with digital accessibility.

“Options for voice recognition, options for alternative security confirmations, and things like touch screens can be really problematic for people with disabilities,” she said.

“How do you make the digital world accessible for deaf people? How do you balance that access?

“This is a big focus of the UN committee, ensuring that people with disability are not discriminated against in terms of access to the digital world and changing technologies.”

An internationally respected lawyer, researcher and academic, Rosemary Kayess is a Visiting Fellow at UNSW Law, and Senior Research Fellow at UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre.

She is Chair of the Australian Centre for Disability Law and is one of the driving forces behind UNSW’s Disability Innovation Institute, a ground breaking initiative to help transform the lives of people with disability by harnessing research and innovation across all faculties and disciplines.

Rosemary Kayess

Other panelists included Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alistair McEwin, and US disability rights lawyer Lainey Feingold.

Ms Feingold works with blind people to improve their access to web and mobile content and works to make technology and other information available to disabled people.

She developed an alternative dispute resolution process called the Structured Negotiation approach, which helps avoid lawsuits by negotiating comprehensive agreements with some of the largest US organisations.

Ms Kayess said it was important there was an appropriate and adequate regulatory framework that both ensured that people with disabilities had digital access, but also gave a right of redress if access wasn’t happening.

“People with disabilities aren’t embedded in design frames,” she said.

“That is the Disability Innovation Institute’s remit here at UNSW, to bring people with disability and bring the experience of people with disability into the research space and to develop new innovative technologies, new innovative solutions to things.”

The panel was a side event to this year’s A11y Camp, Australia’s premier conference on accessibility and inclusion, and was a feature of the Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance’s Digital Accessibility Awareness Week.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity for us to host Lainey Fiengold and have her join us on the panel to be able to look at the US perspective but it’s great that we have been able to align it with the A11y camp that’s happening as well,” Ms Kayess said.

Seniors Call For Pension Means Test Exemption

October 18, 2018: from National Seniors
Better aged care and increased housing supply are the focus of National Seniors Australia’s call today for profits of the sale of the family home to be exempt from the age pension means test.

In the lead up to the federal election, the peak advocacy group is urging all political parties to back the campaign to exempt up to $250,000 from the sale of the family home from the means test.

National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the $250,000 exemption would encourage older Australians to downsize to age-suitable safe housing, put more housing stock on the market and improve housing options for more Australians, including first home buyers.

“It would also help address the aged care crisis by freeing up funds for older Australians to delay moving into residential aged care, purchase the home care and health services they need, and avoid the some of the issues to be investigated by the Aged Care Royal Commission,” Mr Henschke said.

The call comes after National Seniors research showed while more older Australians wanted to downsize, the biggest barrier was the financial impact on their age pension. Almost one in five older Australians who didn’t want to downsize would consider it if the extra money did not affect their pension.

Mr Henschke said older Australians should be able to downsize without losing their pension.

“Many older people live in housing that is inappropriate for their needs and difficult and expensive to maintain,” Mr Henschke said. “This increases the risk of injury and hospitalisation. It can also bring on early entry into residential aged care.

“Many older people cite home maintenance issues as a key motivation for downsizing, while others are keen to stay in the home where they have raised their families or in an area that’s familiar.

“But if they could sell without losing their pension, there’s no doubt many would.

“This would free up existing homes for families and promote the construction of purpose-built homes for older Australians, as another key barrier to downsizing is a limited supply of ‘accessible’ housing stock with universal design features,” Mr Henschke said.

The National Seniors Australia Rightsizing campaign welcomes the views of all Australians on this important housing issue. If better housing is an issue important to you, sign up to the campaign at to receive regular updates.

The full research report can be read online at

NSW’s First Islamic Faith Aged Care Home Opened

October 14, 2018: Media Release - The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Minister for Indigenous Health, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care
New South Wales’ first aged care home for senior Muslim Australians has formally been opened today.

The not-for-profit organisation, Gallipoli Health Services, received a $10 million capital grant from the Coalition Government to develop the new Gallipoli Home residential aged care service in the Sydney suburb of Auburn.

Speaking at the opening, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, said the Government was committed to ensuring aged care was available for all of Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

“This is a unique facility. It is the first home in New South Wales to specialise in aged care services for Australians of the Islamic faith from more than 10 different cultural communities,” Minister Wyatt said.

“These include Turkish, Lebanese, Indian, Egyptian, Iranian, Syrian, Afghani, Iraqi, Pakistani and Bangladeshi. Staff here will speak Turkish, Arabic, Hindi, and Urdu to cater for all residents’ needs.”

Gallipoli Home’s opening coincides – to the day – with the arrival of the Turkish community in Australia. Fifty years ago, in 1968, the first group of migrant workers from Turkey arrived in Sydney.

“Designed to be culturally sensitive to the Islamic community, Gallipoli Home is a state-of-the art, purpose-built, aged care home that fuses modern architecture with Turkish, Indigenous Australian, and Islamic art,” Minister Wyatt said.

“It offers 102 places comprising 82 single rooms and 10 double rooms, an atrium, reception, lounge, communal facilities, a café, village shops with halal foods, wellness centre, and underground car park. 

“Furniture, linen, crockery and fittings are culturally familiar, along with specific religious requirements including prayer rooms, and residential areas to allow men and women to meet separately.”

Minister Wyatt said the Government’s commitment to safe, quality, compassionate, flexible and affordable aged care services for our senior Australians was absolute. 

“We are also profoundly committed to ensuring aged care is available for all of Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities,” he said.

“We want all senior Australians – regardless of where they are born – to live a socially connected life that will enhance their health and wellbeing as they age.”

Macquarie Lightstation: Celebrating 200 Years Of Light

October 16, 2018: Sydney Harbour Trust
Australia’s original navigational light source – Macquarie Lightstation in Vaucluse – is turning 200! To celebrate this significant milestone, the Harbour Trust will host a free Community Day on Saturday, 1 December, with lighthouse tours* plus a VR experience and kids activities.

Between 10am and 4pm, the Harbour Trust will host free 20-minute tours of Macquarie Lighthouse. Our volunteer guide will regale attendees with the lighthouse’s storied history as they lead them up to the balcony for a panoramic views of Sydney.

*Note: All Community Day activities are free; however, we will only be releasing a LIMITED number of complimentary tickets for the lighthouse tours. These tickets will be released at 9am on Thursday, 1 November (online bookings essential). Tickets will be available here:

Attendees will have an opportunity to embark on an immersive virtual tour of the Vaucluse cliff side, courtesy of cutting-edge VR technology from Macquarie University. The tour will reveal an abandoned World War II gun emplacement, halfway down the cliff.

The Community Open Day will feature plenty of family-friendly activities. Kids can get their face painted, have their photo taken with Blinky the Lighthouse and engage in art making and other fun games.

About Macquarie Lightstation
Macquarie Lighthouse is Australia’s first and longest operating navigational light source. Designed by convict Francis Greenway, it was completed in 1818 and named for Lachlan Macquarie, the Governor of NSW.

On Monday, 30 November, the lantern was lit for the first time, providing sailors with the means to safely navigate into and around Sydney Harbour.

Governor Macquarie was so pleased with the lighthouse that he granted the convict Greenway a pardon for his work. However, the locally-sourced sandstone used to build the lighthouse soon began to erode, and the tower was held together with iron hoops. In 1883 it was replaced by a new lightstation designed by James Barnet to closely resemble the original. 

For a short time the two towers stood side-by-side (the original was eventually demolished). 

In the 1880s, quarters were built for the head keeper, engineer, and other lightstation staff; many of these structures still stand today.

Collectively, these buildings are referred to as Macquarie Lightstation.

Clinical Trial Of ANAVEX®2-73 For The Treatment Of Early Alzheimer’s Disease

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (“Anavex” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: AVXL), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Rett syndrome and other central nervous system (CNS) diseases, has announced that it has enrolled the first patient in its Phase 2b/3 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, 48-week safety and efficacy trial of ANAVEX®2-73 for the treatment of early Alzheimer’s disease. The Phase 2b/3 study will enroll approximately 450 patients, randomised 1:1:1 to two different ANAVEX®2-73 doses or placebo. 

“We are very excited to have now commenced the study, having enrolled our first patient. This highly-anticipated trial has generated great interest in Australia and overseas, and we now look forward to a phase of rapid recruitment of those who have registered their intent to participate,” commented A/Prof Stephen Macfarlane, FRANZCP, Head of Clinical Services for The Dementia Centre, HammondCare, and Principal Investigator of the Phase2b/3 study.

The ANAVEX®2-73 Phase 2b/3 study design incorporates genomic precision medicine biomarkers identified in the ANAVEX®2-73 Phase 2a study. Primary and secondary endpoints will assess safety and both cognitive and functional efficacy, measured through ADAS-Cog, ADCS-ADL and CDR-SB. ANAVEX®2-73 Phase 2a Alzheimer’s disease study previously demonstrated dose dependent improvement in exploratory endpoints of cognition (MMSE) and function (ADCS-ADL).

“We are very pleased to initiate our first patient enrolment into the Phase 2b/3 study of ANAVEX®2-73,” said Christopher U Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex. “This is an important step toward achieving clinical data in regard to the treatment of early Alzheimer’ disease, which continues to represent an area of very high unmet need for the growing number of patients globally. Incorporating genomic precision medicine biomarkers identified in the ANAVEX®2-73 Phase 2a study is an incredibly important aspect of this study and we look forward to the insights gained through this data.”

About the ANAVEX®2-73 Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Phase 2b/3 Study
For patients within Australia who wish to be considered for participation in this study, please visit the Ethics Committee (EC)-approved website, Patient candidates can register their interest in the study and answer a few simple screening questions. For those without internet access, expressions of interest can be registered by calling 02 8437 7355.

About ANAVEX®2-73
ANAVEX®2-73 activates the Sigma-1 receptor (S1R) protein, which serves as a molecular chaperone and functional modulator involved in restoring homeostasis. S1R activation has demonstrated ability to reduce key pathophysiological signs of Alzheimer’s disease: beta amyloid, hyperphosphorylated tau, and increased inflammation. In a Phase 2a Alzheimer’s disease study, ANAVEX®2-73 has shown dose dependent improvement in exploratory endpoints of cognition (MMSE) and function (ADCS-ADL). Whole DNA Exome Sequencing (WES) and RNA expression genomic analysis of ANAVEX®2-73 Phase 2a Alzheimer’s disease patients was performed. The ANAVEX®2-73 Phase 2b/3 study design includes genomic precision medicine biomarkers identified in the ANAVEX®2-73 Phase 2a study.

About Anavex Life Sciences Corp.
Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (Nasdaq: AVXL) is a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, other central nervous system (CNS) diseases, pain and various types of cancer. Anavex’s lead drug candidate, ANAVEX®2-73, recently completed a successful Phase 2a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s disease. ANAVEX®2-73 is an orally available drug candidate that restores cellular homeostasis by targeting sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors. Preclinical studies demonstrated its potential to halt and/or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease. ANAVEX®2-73 also exhibited anticonvulsant, anti-amnesic, neuroprotective and anti-depressant properties in animal models, indicating its potential to treat additional CNS disorders, including epilepsy. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research previously awarded Anavex a research grant, which fully funded a preclinical study to develop ANAVEX®2-73 for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. ANAVEX®3-71, which targets sigma-1 and M1 muscarinic receptors, is a promising preclinical drug candidate demonstrating disease-modifying activity against the major hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease in transgenic (3xTg-AD) mice, including cognitive deficits, amyloid and tau pathologies. In preclinical trials, ANAVEX®3-71 has shown beneficial effects on neuroinflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Further information is available at 

MACA Award Winners 2018

October 15, 2018: NSW Government - NSW Seniors
The MACA Media Awards seek to challenge negative stereotypes towards older people by highlighting examples of balanced and realistic media reporting on older people and ageing.

By holding up media reports that demonstrate that there is more to ageing than becoming old, the Awards program aims to improve public perceptions of older people.

There were over 100 nominations received for this year's awards, hosted by SBS INSIGHT host, Jenny Brockie. The award ceremony, held on Monday the 15th of October at the Australian Museum saw nearly 200 guests enjoy a night of culture, music, high profile and distinguished guests and of course, the winners of the following categories:

• Lifestyle and Health & Gold Award – Ita Buttrose and Bianca Balzer, Ita Buttrose's Healthy Lifestyle Tips, TODAY Extra
• Current Affairs – 7.30 Report Team, Concerns Over the Rise in the Number of Elderly who are Homeless, ABC Australia
• News – Cathy Stubbs, Penisula Village Celebrates Sixth 100 year old Resident, Central Coast Express Advocate 
• Images – Tracey Muir, Skydive Australia 'Cheeky' Couple Celebrate 73rd Wedding Anniversary with Wollongong Skydive, Illawarra Mercury
• Regional – Cessnock City Seniors Festival Program Recognised at Local Government Week Awards, The Advertiser Cessnock
• Advertising – Pimp My Ride – Smashing the Stereotypes, Feros Care
• Special Commendation – "The Late Shift" SBS, Are we Entering the Age of No Retirement?, SBS Australia.

The 'Gold Award' went to Ita Buttrose and Bianca Balzer for their TODAY Extra segment, which represented active ageing in a positive light.

MACA Winners 2018 - NSW Seniors photo

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.