Inbox and environment news: Issue 350

March 4 - 10, 2018: Issue 350

In This Week's Issue:

Black-Necked Stork, Mycteria Australis, Now Endangered In NSW, Once Visited Pittwater:  DONATIONS TO THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM DURING APRIL, 1855. A fine specimen of the male gigantic crane, Mycteria Australis, shot at a lagoon, near Pittwater. Mr. George Lamont, Pittwater. DONATIONS TO THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM DURING APRIL, 1855. (1855, May 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from  +  DONATIONS TO THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM. JULY, 1855. mysteria Australis, or gigantic crane (female), shot at Pittwater-by Mr. George Mills, Bathurst-street. DONATIONS TO THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM. (1855, August 6). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from  = .

Local Avalon Lad Does Us Proud!

March 1, 2018: The MV Steve Irwin  
The MV Steve Irwin is very proud to announce the rise of our first mate Anteo Broadfield to be youngest Captain:

I have been sailing with Sea Shepherd since December 2013. 
During that time I have been sailing quite constantly on the ships and participated in campaigns on nearly every ocean. Ranging from the Faroe islands to the Antarctic continent.

Before I joined Sea Shepherd I was the skipper of a game fishing charter vessel but did not feel happy in my position, killing fish for tourists day in day out. So I realised I no longer wanted to interact with the ocean in that way, exploiting its inhabitants and managed to meet Peter Hammarstead at a fundraiser and found my self on the M/Y Brigitte Bardot shortly after.
Sea Shepherd still stands for the same values as I do and measures its success the same way I would, and that is number of lives saved every campaign.

So I am extremely proud and happy to be able to work for such an effective organisation.

Photo courtesy Sea Shepherd

Clean Up Australia Day 2018

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

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

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

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

Site Supervisors will receive a Clean Up starter kit.

For everything you will need and more Visit:

Scotland Island Is Registered To Participate Once Again! 

This event encourages and inspires thousands of Australians to take to their local park, beach, bushland and streets and really help make a difference to their local environment 

If you would like to help out, either by grabbing a bag and filling it, or helping to supervise activities, please email to put your name on the list. 

Come down to your nearest Wharf to collect a bag between the hours of 9am and 12.00pm.  
Bring gloves, sunscreen, hat, sensible clothes and footwear – and don’t forget to bring some water too!   
Toby and his crew will be out on the Laurel Mae to collect material. 

Coasters Retreat

Meeting Point: Fire Shed
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.

Next Clean Up: March 2nd 2018
End Date: March 4th 2018
Start time: 8:30 AM
End time: 4:30 PM

Site Coordinator Details
Wilma Taylor


Site Address
Pittwater Rd, Bayview NSW
NSW 2104

Meeting Point: Bayview Sea Scouts Hall
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.
Next Clean Up: March 4th 2018
End Date: March 4th 2018
Start time: 9:00 AM
End time: 12:00 AM

Site Coordinator Details
Jenny Hermann

Mona Vale Beach

Site Address
Mona Vale Beach
Mona Vale
NSW 2103

Meeting Point: Mona Vale Beach
Date: March 2nd 2018
Start time: 8:00 AM
End time: 10:00 AM

Site Coordinator Details
Natasha Power


Representing: Upper Northern Beaches Rotary Club
About Our Site
Join us to help clean up, fix up and conserve the environment.

Site Address
Coastal Environment Centre
Narrabeen lagoon, Lake Park Road North Narrabeen 2103
Mona Vale
NSW 2103

Meeting Point: Volunteers will meet at the Coastal Environment Centre and work north towards Warriewood SLSC
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.

Next Clean Up: March 4th 2018
End Date: March 3rd 2019
Start time: 9:30 AM
End time: 11:00 AM

Site Coordinator Details
Michael Baxter

Warriewood Beach And SLSC

Join us to help clean up, fix up and conserve the environment.

Site Address
Narrabeen Park Parade
NSW 2102

Meeting Point: Timber platform on beach next to car park.
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.
Next Clean Up: March 4th 2018
Start time: 09:30 AM
End time: 10:00 AM

Site Coordinator Details
Bruce Kelly

Narrabeen Rock Pool

Site Address
Ocean Street
North Narrabeen
NSW 2101

Meeting Point: Car Park
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.

Next Clean Up: March 4th 2018
Start time: 11:00 AM
End time: 12:00 PM

Site Coordinator Details
Peter Collings

Wimbledon Island, Narrabeen Lagoon

Site Address
Wimbleton Avenue Park
North Narrabeen
NSW 2101

Meeting Point: Park at end of Wimbleton Avenue
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.

Next Clean Up: March 4th 2018
End Date: March 4th 2018
Start time: 9:00 AM
End time: 12:00 PM

Site Coordinator Details
Rick Shires

CEO Of Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

27 February 2018: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
After overseeing 320 projects which have led to more than $3.5 billion dollars of investment over the last six years Ivor Frischknecht has advised the Government he will not be seeking a third term as the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Mr Frischknecht has helped to make ARENA a success by utilising his expertise in energy, innovation and early stage investment.

Under his guidance, ARENA has developed a clear set of priority investment areas consistent with the Turnbull Government’s emphasis on affordable and reliable energy.

Of significance ARENA has invested in the construction of 12 new large-scale solar farms, a variety of battery projects and the feasibility study for Snowy 2.0 during Mr Frischknecht tenure.

He has strengthened key relationships between ARENA, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

Mr Frischknecht has provided the Government with sufficient notice of his intentions to allow a thorough search to be undertaken to find a suitable replacement and ensure a smooth handover.

I thank Mr Frischknecht for the contribution he has made in helping the Government to deliver a more affordable and reliable energy system as we transition to a lower emissions future.

$4 Million For New Bushfire Research Hub

28 February 2018: NSW Dept. of Environment & Heritage
The NSW Government has provided $4 million and launched a new Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub, Minister for the Environment Gabrielle Upton and Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant announced 28 February.

The Hub is part of a 5-year research partnership between the University of Wollongong (UoW) and the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

"The Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub will provide the NSW-centred scientific research we need to ensure the safety of our communities, property and the environment," Ms Upton said.

"The Hub will host a team of world-class experts who will work with the communities most vulnerable to bushfires."

Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant welcomed the partnership and the Hub's specialised focus on NSW bushfires.

"Each year bushfires pose significant risks to lives and property across our state. This Hub brings together academic expertise and practical knowledge from our firefighters to develop ways we can mitigate bushfires in the future," Mr Grant said.

"What works for one area may not work for another, so it's great that this research will look at local solutions across the state," Mr Grant said.

Led by Professor Ross Bradstock, experts from the UoW, Western Sydney University, the University of NSW and the University of Tasmania will work together with OEH, the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW Environment Protection Authority to deliver research to reduce bushfire risk to urban, rural and indigenous communities.

Some of the key research focuses are:
  • impacts and management of hazard reduction burns
  • drivers of bushfire frequency and severity
  • impacts on air quality
  • impacts on the environment and endangered plants and animals.
The Hub will be located in the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires at UoW.

$37 Million In Conservation Funding For Landholders

2 March 2018: Media release - the Hon. Gabrielle Upton, NSW Minister for the Environment
The NSW Government has committed $37 million for the opening programs from the new NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT), Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced 2 March.
“The not-for-profit BCT has offered $37 million in its first round of programs for 2018,” Ms Upton said.

“This will deliver major benefits to the environment and support landholders to carry out important conservation management on their properties.”

The NSW Government made an unprecedented investment of $240 million over five years, and $70 million per year ongoing, in private land conservation as part of the land management and biodiversity conservation reforms.

BCT Chairperson the Hon. Robert Hill AC said the flexible program strategy was key to achieving the BCT’s goals and to meet the targets in the Biodiversity Conservation Investment strategy.

“In the coming two months we will call for up to $16 million in tenders from interested landholders to participate in the Conservation Management Program,” Mr Hill said.

“We will also invite tenders for up to $2 million to protect priority koala habitat, and we have allocated $2 million for fixed rate offers for conservation agreements in high priority investment areas and $2 million for Conservation Partners Grants.”

The BCT has also committed $15 million to its Revolving Fund to purchase high conservation value properties to be resold to landholders committed to NSW’s long tradition of private land conservation.

“The importance of private landholders being supported to conserve and manage biodiversity on their land is being recognised in Australia and internationally.

“This is a major step forward for biodiversity conservation in NSW. I am thrilled the new BCT is open for business,” Ms Upton said.

The BCT has today released its Business Plan and has committed to offering a further $60 million to programs in 2018–19. The Office of Environment and Heritage has released the Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy, which guides the BCT’s investment

Shaping Sustainable Forest Management For Decades To Come

February 21st, 2018: Media Release - NSW Dept. of Primary Industries
Climate change, industry certainty, and regulatory compliance are just a handful of the many topics discussed during the NSW Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) in-person consultation sessions over the past fortnight.
The 20-year agreements between the NSW and Australian Governments are currently undergoing a review and renewal process, which includes an opportunity to update and improve the content to capture emerging issues.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Group Director, Forestry, Nick Milham, said stakeholder feedback is imperative at this stage and views will help shape the renewed agreements.

“The consultation is a genuine chance to influence what form the NSW RFAs take for the sustainable management of our native forests for decades to come,” he said.

Mr Milham said the two governments have conducted in-person stakeholder meetings and public drop in sessions in Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Bulahdelah, Eden, Batemans Bay, Tumut and Sydney throughout February.

“In the sessions, we have heard from many environmental groups, industry members, local governments, the community and recreational forest users – providing a great insight into the key priorities and opinions of each group,” he said.

“Feedback, questions, criticisms and endorsements have been welcomed throughout the sessions and it has been great to hear the community’s views first-hand.

“The NSW Government has the difficult role of balancing the economic, social and environmental demands on forests, but there is sound logic, underpinned by peer-reviewed, internationally published science, to renew RFAs.

The only decisions that have been made so far are that the RFAs will be renewed and that their objectives and geographical regions will remain unchanged – the rest is on the table.”

RFAs are an overarching framework for the long-term sustainable management of the NSW Forest Estate, and for the needs of industry and users. They reflect international and national commitments for the sustainable management of forests.

“RFAs seek to achieve a balance between ecological, social and economic forest values and require a series of more detailed frameworks to be put in place to achieve this balance,” Mr Milham said.

“These include a Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative reserve system, a detailed regulatory framework covering the entire public and private forest estate, and industry certainty for timber supply and regulatory requirements.

“Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals, Forestry Codes of Practice and regulations and timber supply arrangements all sit underneath the overarching RFA framework and are the subject of separate review processes.”

Feedback captured at consultation sessions has been documented, and alongside the online submissions, will help shape the renewed agreements over the coming months.

“It’s not too late for stakeholders to have their say online, and we encourage those stakeholders yet to make a submission to strongly consider doing so,” Mr Milham said.

Submissions towards the renewal of the NSW Regional Forest Agreements can be made online at, via email and via mail before 5pm on 12 March 2018.

Regional Forest Agreements (RFA)

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

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

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

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

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

More Information
Email: Project Leader
Phone: 02 9934 0728

20-Year NSW Forest Peace Deal Teeters As Conservation Groups Walk Away

February 16, 2018: NSW Nature Conservation Council
The Berejiklian government is putting threatened forest wildlife and an historic 20-year peace deal at risk by pushing ahead with a sham consultation process designed to lock in unsustainable logging indefinitely.

The NSW Nature Conservation Council and NSW National Parks Association today walked away from stakeholder consultations on the extension of the state’s three Regional Forest Agreements.

Regional Forest Agreements were struck in the late 1990s and early 2000s and delivered a fragile peace in the Forests Wars that had raged for decades through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “We will not be party to a process that perpetuates the reckless mismanagement our precious forests.

“Koala populations in NSW forests have plummeted over the past 20 years during which these agreements have been in place.

“We insist the government conduct independent scientific reviews that will give us a clear understanding of what harm forestry has done to our threatened wildlife over the past two decades before we decide how our forests will be managed for another generation.”

National Parks Association CEO Alix Goodwin said: “Far from achieving ecologically sustainable forest management, the RFAs have permitted the extensive destruction of public forests because logging under the Agreements is not subject to scrutiny by Commonwealth law.

“As a result, many of our forests are in a worse condition now than when the agreements were struck two decades ago. Carbon stores are decreasing, and populations of forest species are in freefall.

“We have decided to not participate in the current round of stakeholder consultations because the NSW Government has not agreed to a fair, scientifically credible assessment and negotiation process.”

Specifically, the government has refused to:
  • Consider whether the RFAs are a suitable model for forest management.
  • Complete the RFA 10- and 15-year reviews before beginning negotiations on the RFA renewal.
  • Complete a socioeconomic assessment of all land-use options that considers, among other things, climate change impacts and the potential use of forests for carbon capture and storage.
  • Establish a fair process for RFA renewal negotiations, with balanced representation and moderation by a credible, independent third party.
  • Guarantee there would be no pre-emptive decisions (i.e., no new Wood Supply Contracts) before the end of the process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information on the case

Our case seeks to overturn the worst elements of the land-clearing laws on two grounds:
  1. Failure to adequately consider the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development
The Primary Industries Minister and the Environment Minister had a legal duty to consider the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development when making the land-clearing codes. That includes proper consideration of internationally recognised legal principles such as intergenerational equity, the precautionary principle, and conservation of biodiversity. Documents obtained under freedom of information laws suggests the Ministers failed to do so.

      2. Failure of the Primary Industries Minister to obtain                                    concurrence of the Environment Minister

The Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair had a legal duty to obtain the “concurrence” (more simply the agreement) of the Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton before “making” the codes. Documents obtained under freedom of information laws suggest that Ms Upton approved the codes on August 25, one day after Mr Blair had made them on August 24.

If our legal challenge is successful, the government should scrap these bad laws, go back to the drawing board and make new codes that actually protect our threatened species.

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

We need to raise funds to run this court case.

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

Please Help: Contribute To Significant Trees Register For Our Area

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

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

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

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

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

No Gas Drilling Off Newcastle Petition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bushcare in Pittwater 

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

Where we work                      Which day                              What time 

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

Winnererremy Bay                 4th Sunday                        9 to 12noon 

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

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

Old Wharf Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      8 - 11am 

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

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

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

North Narrabeen     
Irrawong Reserve                     2nd Saturday                   2 - 5pm 

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

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

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

Whale Beach     
Norma Park                               1st Friday                            9 - 12noon 

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

Nowra Bridge Project - Princes Highway Upgrade

Roads and Maritime Services is planning for a new Princes Highway bridge over the Shoalhaven River at Nowra. The project would also provide upgraded intersections at Bolong, Illaroo and Bridge roads and at Pleasant Way.

Have your say
Roads and Maritime is currently seeking feedback from the community on a preferred option for the project from Monday 19 February 2018 until Friday 23 March 2018.

The preferred option includes:
  • A new northbound four lane bridge
  • Reconfiguration of the existing concrete bridge to carry southbound traffic
  • Intersection upgrades at Illaroo Road, Bolong Road and Bridge Road
  • New Pleasant Way T-intersection
  • Keeping the old southbound bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.
Have your say
Send a written submission to or Nowra Bridge Project, PO Box 477 Wollongong NSW 2500
We also encourage you to complete the Online Survey

New Inquiry Into Environmental Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Management And Use Of Commonwealth Environmental Water

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

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

Submissions are invited until Thursday 12 April 2018.

Funding Local Environmental Projects

27 February 2018: Joint media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy and The Hon. David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
The Coalition Government is helping community and landcare groups restore local environments through local projects that also contribute to our national environmental priorities.

Applications are now open for groups to share in $5 million worth of grants, available under the National Landcare Program.

“I encourage community, landcare, environmental and other natural resource management groups to take advantage of this opportunity, tackle local issues and contribute to protecting our extraordinary environment,” Minister Frydenberg said.

“Activities can range from invasive pest and weed management, revegetation, erosion control and threatened species conservation to community engagement and Indigenous land and sea planning.

“The program complements the $450 million we’re already investing over five years to deliver national environmental priorities at both a regional and local level.”

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the grants would harness community support in dealing with invasive pests and weeds.

“Not all pests and weeds are found on farmland, public lands can be a breeding ground for them,” Minister Littleproud said.

“We want to control the problem at the source and stop the spread to neighbouring farmland.”

Applications close on 19 March. One-off grants between $5000 and $50,000 are available.

For further information, please visit:

$1 Million In Grants To Support Environmental Research

February 13, 2018: NSW OE&H
Current and future environmental issues will be boosted with grant funding of $1 million now available as the NSW Environmental Trust Environmental Research program opens.

Office of Environment and Heritage Director Grants, Peter Dixon said the funding supports academics and scientific institutions, working in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

"Projects to be funded will use applied research to investigate new knowledge and advanced techniques to answer complex environmental issues," Mr Dixon said.

"For the 2018 grant program, new research priorities have been set and proposals must focus on resource management; wetlands and river systems; landscape management and/or marine, coastal and estuarine ecosystems.

"The funding supports projects preventing environmental harm and forging successful, real-world solutions to solve environmental problems in NSW.

"Individual grants of up to $150,000 are available and I encourage interested researchers to apply.

"Past funding has played a critical role in a variety of projects, from investigating how to integrate Aboriginal Culture into long-term successful engagement in environmental issues, to developing a theoretical model to reduce the environmental impacts of unsorted waste leaving construction sites.

"A total of 146 expressions of interest were received in the last funding round so I anticipate high interest in this round too," Mr Dixon said.

The 2018 Environmental Research program, run by the NSW Environmental Trust, will close on Monday 12 March.

To find out more about the application process visit the Environmental Trust's Environmental Research grants page.

Funding For Australia's Natural Wonders

1 March 2018: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
Australia’s natural wonders will share in $47.4 million in Turnbull Government funding as part of our ongoing support for our World Heritage listed properties.

The funding provides certainty for treasures such as the Tasmanian Wilderness, Wet Tropics and Greater Blue Mountains world heritage areas by allocating funding from 2018-19 to 2022-23 for their management. It forms part of our investment of $1 billion in phase two of the National Landcare Program.

It consists of:
  • $25.5 million for Tasmania: for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
  • $15.4 million for Queensland: $13.5 million for the Wet Tropics of Queensland, $725,000 for Fraser Island, $725,000 for the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites – Riversleigh and $450,000 for Gondwana Rainforests
  • $3.91 million for NSW: $1.65 million for Willandra Lakes Region, $925,000 for the Greater Blue Mountains, $885,000 for Lord Howe Island Group and $450,000 for Gondwana Rainforests
  • $2.1 million for WA: $700,000 for Shark Bay, $700,000 for Ningaloo Coast and $700,000 for Purnululu National Park
  • $500,000 for SA: for the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites – Naracoorte
These beautiful places tell the story of our planet in their plants, animals and geology. They are of global importance. But they are also places we hold dear in our hearts. They are symbols of Australia, captured in our family photo albums and projected to the world as emblems of our nation.

This funding will help site managers protect, conserve and present the World Heritage values of their properties. It will also help their local communities, by improving visitor facilities, interpretation and promotion of the sites. It will be delivered through state governments with jurisdiction over these sites.

The Turnbull Government provides other separate funding to other World Heritage areas listed for their natural values, including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Macquarie Island and the Heard and McDonald Islands Group.

Environmental Restoration And Rehabilitation Grants

February 6th, 2018: NSW O&H
The Restoration and Rehabilitation grants program is now open toapplications, and will close on Monday, 26 March 2018

To assist in the ongoing sustainable management and stewardship of significant environmental assets and services in NSW.

Individual grants of up to $100,000 with a total of $2,000,000 for community organisations and $2,000,000 for government entities. 

Who can apply
Community groups and organisations, incorporated associations, non-profit organisations, non-commercial cooperatives, Trusts and government entities.

Finalists Announced For 2018 Australian Surfing Awards Incorporating The Hall Of Fame

March 1st,2018
The cream of the crop has risen to the top with category finalists announced in the 2018 Australian Surfing Awards Incorporating the Hall of Fame.
Big names like Julian Wilson, Tyler Wright and Steph Gilmore join up and coming stars and industry icons on the finalist's list with winners to be announced on stage next Tuesday evening, March 6th at QT Gold Coast.

The 40th inductee in the Hall of Fame will be announced Monday, March 5th before officially being inducted at the 2018 Australian Surfing Awards Incorporating the Hall of Fame on Tuesday evening, March 6th. 

2018 Australian Surfing Awards Incorporating The Hall of Fame Finalists List:

Male Surfer of the Year
Barney Miller
Julian Wilson
Owen Wright 

Female Surfer of the Year
Sally Fitzgibbons
Stephanie Gilmore
Tyler Wright 

Male Rising Star
Mikey McDonagh
Reef Heazlewood
Sandon Whittaker

Female Rising Star
Kobie Enright
Macy Callaghan
Piper Harrison 

ASB Greater Good Award
Barney Miller Charity Surf Classic
Laeticia Brouwer and family, Brouwer Scholarship
Nev Hyman's 'NevHouse'

Peter Troy Lifestyle Award
Dave Rastovich
Mont & Lorraine Bryant
Warren Smith

Milwaukee Heavy Water Award
Mick Corbett
Ryan Hipwood
Jamie Mitchell 

Simon Anderson Club Award
Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club (NSW)
Cowaramup Bay Boardriders Club (WA)
Noosa Boardriders (QLD) 

Surf Culture Award
Bells Beach Surf Film Festival
"On the Java Edge" by Jock Serong
"The Life of Brine" by Phil Jarratt 

Nikon Surf Video of the Year
Maurice Cole by Peter Baker
The Big Wave Project by Tim Bonython
The Church of the Open Sky by Nathan Oldfield 

Nikon Surf Photo of the Year Top 20
Alex Brunton (x 3 entries)
Craig Parry (x 2 entries)
Jack Dekort (x 2 entries)
Jamie Scott (x 2 entries)
Mark Onorati (x 2 entries)
Peter Jovic
Philip Thurston
Ryan Williams (x 2 entries)
Ted Grambeau
Trent Mitchell (x 2 entries)
Woody Gooch
 World-renowned Surf Journalist Nick Carroll continues in the role of Curator of the Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame.
Operated with the support of Tourism and Events Queensland, the Australian Surfing Awards is renowned for recognising the best in surfing talent.
The Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame is proudly supported by Tourism and Events Queensland, QT Gold Coast, the Australian Sports Commission, Nikon, Milwaukee, nudie, Hyundai Australia, Australasian Surf Business Magazine, XXXX Summer Bright Lager and DrinkWise.

Photo by Mark Onorati.jpg from Blainey Woodham (Andy Rosenberg)

Historic Step Towards Global Recognition For Budj Bim

2 March 2018: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
In Paris overnight the World Heritage Centre decided that the nomination for the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape has been formally accepted for assessment.

Passing this hurdle means Budj Bim is one step closer to inclusion on the World Heritage List.

Budj Bim, near Lake Condah in south-west Victoria, is home to its Gundijtmara traditional owners.

The Gunditjmara community have been working for years to get global recognition of their incredible heritage.

For at least 6,500 years, the Gunditjmara have used a highly sophisticated aquaculture system, developed on the remains of a lava flow.

The Gunditjmara engineered channels to manage and divert water and ensure a sustainable supply of kooyang or eels. Even today this aquaculture system continues to be actively managed by Gunditjmara.

As a Victorian it was great to see that Budj Bim was the first-ever Australian place nominated solely for its Aboriginal cultural values.

Thanks to today’s announcement, World Heritage bodies will further assess Budj Bim. They will then make a listing recommendation to the World Heritage Committee in mid-2019.

The Turnbull Government is proud to continue to support the Gunditjmara community and their aspiration to have Budj Bim World Heritage listed for its outstanding history.

Australia has 19 World Heritage places, with Kakadu National Park, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Tasmanian Wilderness and Willandra Lakes Region listed for both natural and Indigenous cultural values.

If added to the World Heritage List Budj Bim will be Australia’s 20th World Heritage place.

Budj Bim

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Budj Bim or Mount Eccles is an extinct volcano near Macarthur in southwestern Victoria, Australia. Budj Bim is also the Gunditjmara name, meaning High Head. The roughly conical shaped peak rises 178 metres (584 ft). The peak is a scoria hill that was thrown up beside a group of three overlapping volcanic craters that now contain Lake Surprise. A line of smaller craters and scoria cones runs to the southeast. Lava flows extend to form a shield volcano and are fed by several lava channels, or "lava canals" as they are known locally.

Initial estimates of the age of the eruption were all "minimum ages" from swamps that formed some time after the eruption and ranged from 6000 to 27,000 years, but the latest evidence suggests that the eruption was at least 30,000 years ago (using dated sediments in the floor of the Lake Surprise crater) and could have been as old as 40,000 for the Tyrendarra lava flow.

The eruptions produced the Tyrendarra lava flow which flowed in a generally southerly direction into the ocean at Tyrendarra, 50 kilometres (31 mi). The flow disrupted the earlier drainage system; to the east the Fitzroy River now flows cleanly between the rocks of the lava flow and the Mount Clay escarpment; to the west its tributary Darlot Creek flows through a more complex landscape of swamps, wetlands and adjacent low-lying land prone to flooding.

The eruptions altered the drainage in the area producing wetlands of the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape. The name Budj Bim has been given to two areas on the Australian National Heritage List, proclaimed in 2004, the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape - Tyrendarra Area and the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape - Mount Eccles Lake Condah Area.

The Budj Bim areas have been included on the Heritage List because of their importance in the history of the Gunditjmara. From some thousands of years before European occupation, the Gunditjmara developed a system of aquaculture which channelled the water of the Darlot Creek into adjacent lowlying areas trapping eels and fish in a series of weirs. This provided a year-round supply of eels which were harvested with woven traps and often smoked in hollows of the Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), and permitted a forager society to develop into a settled society constructing permanent stone dwellings.

After the European occupation from the late 1830s, the rocks and uneven land of the lava flow permitted attacks on settlers and the means to escape from reprisal as the terrain was unsuited to horses. Attempts to pacify the Gunditjmara led to the Eumeralla Wars which did not conclude until the 1860s.

The Lake Condah Mission, established in 1868, is important to the history of the Gunditjmara, under the various policies of State authorities.

Naming Mount Eccles
The mountain was named Mount Eeles in 1836 by Major Thomas Mitchell after William Eeles of the 95th Regiment of Foot who fought with Mitchell in the Peninsular War. A draftsman's error meant that the name was rendered Eccles from 1845.
The Mount Eccles Lake Condah Area.

Crater of Budj Bim (then, Mount Eccles)by Johann Joseph Eugene von Guérard (in Australia from 1852 until 1882)

Lake Surprise, Budj Bim—Mt Eccles National Park

This area includes the Mount Eccles National Park and the Condah Mission Station at Lake Condah on Darlot Creek to the west 38°03′44″S 141°50′00″E, with the addition of recently purchased properties linking the two and in the east towards Lake Gorrie.

Mount Eccles National Park at Lake Surprise encompasses 61.2 square kilometres (24 sq mi) and includes many interesting geologic features such as lava flows, lava caves, scoria cones and crater lakes. The park has a campground and the base of the vents supports Lake Surprise, which is generally closed for swimming due to blue-green algae issues. The dreaming of local Koori nations incorporates tales of volcanic eruptions from the past. Mount Napier is located 25 kilometres (16 mi) northeast of Budj Bim.

Condah Mission Station
The Condah Mission Station was established in 1868 after agitation from displaced Gunditjmara to be permitted to live near the places from which they had been removed. In 1885 the permanent mission church was built from local stone.

In 1886 the Half-Caste Act, or an Act to amend an Act entitled "An Act to Provide for the Protection and Management of the Aboriginal Natives of Victoria" was passed which provided for the removal of all people other than fullblood Aboriginals from reserves. The Aborigines Act of 1910 rescinded that decision, and many aboriginals returned.

In 1950 it was decided that the Mission would close and the church and other facilities were destroyed to facilitate this:

Condah Mission Station Church, 1885. Destroyed 1950. Stones used to enlarge Church of England Hamilton and to pave cowyards.

In 1959 the reserve was revoked and all remaining people were evicted.

Following the Aboriginal Land (Lake Condah and Framlingham Forest) Act 1987, the 53 hectare former reserve was vested to the Kerrup Jmara Elders Corporation. The Kerrup Jmara Elders Corporation entered liquidation during the 1990s.

The reserve was eventually vested to the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (Registered Native Title Corporate) in 2008 by the then Commonwealth Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Hon. Jenny Macklin.

The Tyrendarra Area
This area (38°12′S 141°46′E) comprises the Peters site between the Fitzroy River and Darlot Creek purchased by the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation in May 2010 (after some years' leasehold) and the Kurtonitj wetlands to the north acquired by the Corporation in September 2009.

Much of the area was part of the Mount Clay squatting run (established in 1841) and the later property Keeleeng; the landscape and vegetation was seldom disturbed leaving the tumuli, stone huts and the infrastructure of the aquaculture. To the south of the Australian National Heritage List area (on both sides of the Princes Highway the landscape has been compromised by the removal of stone for fencing and, more recently, the crushing of stone to provide material for road building. As a result, most rock features have disappeared.

Signs Of Earliest Stars Seen From Australia

March 1, 2018: CSIRO
Using a small radio telescope at a CSIRO observatory in Western Australia, US astronomers have detected a signal from the first stars to have emerged in the early universe about 180 million years after the Big Bang.

The discovery is reported in the journal Nature today.

[MRJ1] Artist's rendering of how the first stars in the universe may have looked.  ©N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation

After the Big Bang, the universe cooled and went dark for millions of years. In the darkness, gravity pulled matter together until stars formed and burst into life, bringing the 'cosmic dawn'.

This new-found signal marks the closest astronomers have seen to that moment.

"Finding this miniscule signal has opened a new window on the early universe," lead author Dr Judd Bowman of Arizona State University said. [Seeexplanatory video]

Dr Bowman has been running his Experiment to Detect the Global EoR (Epoch of Reionization) Signature (EDGES) for 12 years. Nine years ago he started doing the observations from CSIRO's Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), after searching for the best place on the planet for this work.

The radio signal Dr Bowman's team found was incredibly faint, coming from 13.6 billion years back in the universe's history.

It also fell in the region of the spectrum used by FM radio stations, making detection of this weak signal from most Earth-based sites impossible.

The MRO observatory is in a naturally extremely 'radio-quiet' location. This unique characteristic is protected by a legislated 'radio quiet' zone up to 260 km across, which keeps human-made activities that produce interfering radio signals to an absolute minimum.

The MRO's development was managed by Antony Schinckel, CSIRO's Head of Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Construction and Planning.

"Finding this signal is an absolute triumph, a triumph made possible by the extreme attention to detail by Judd's team, combined with the exceptional radio quietness of the CSIRO site," Mr Schinckel said.

"We worked hard to select this site for the long-term future of radio astronomy after exhaustive investigations across the country. We believe we have the gold standard in radio quietness, the best site in the world.

"This is one of the most technically challenging radio astronomy experiments ever attempted. The lead authors include two of the best radio astronomy experimentalists in the world and they have gone to great lengths to design and calibrate their equipment in order to have convincing evidence for a real signal," Mr Schinckel said.

Dr Robert Braun, Science Director at the SKA Organisation said "this is a powerful demonstration of what can be achieved with the combination of an excellent site and world-class engineering, boding well for the great discoveries that will be enabled by the SKA."

Dr Bowman praised the support he had received from CSIRO.

"The infrastructure and logistical support that CSIRO has provided for EDGES has enabled our small team to focus on developing the new instrumentation and techniques needed for the experiment.

"CSIRO's operations team at the MRO has been phenomenal. They have helped to install the experiment and maintain it between our visits to the site. Their expertise has been invaluable, they helped us learn how to operate in the outback environment.

"In addition astronomers at the Curtin University node of ICRAR supported the EDGES project by sharing equipment and supplies on site at the MRO," Dr Bowman said.

A timeline of the universe, updated to show when the first stars emerged. This updated timeline of the universe reflects the recent discovery that the first stars emerged by 180 million years after the Big Bang. The research behind this timeline was conducted by Judd Bowman of Arizona State University and his colleagues, with funding from the National Science Foundation.  ©N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation

The MRO was developed by CSIRO for its Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope and also hosts a low-frequency telescope, the Murchison Widefield Array, developed by an international collaboration, led by Curtin University.

These telescopes make use of the radio-quiet nature of the site and also are important precursors to the Square Kilometre Array itself. It is now the Australian site for the low-frequency telescope of the future Square Kilometre Array, SKA1 Low.

CSIRO hosts and manages a wide range of science-ready national research facilities and infrastructure that is used by thousands of Australian and international researchers each year.

CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri people as the traditional owners of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory site.

EDGES ground-based radio spectrometer. In each instrument, sky radiation is collected by a wideband dipole-like antenna consisting of two rectangular metal panels mounted horizontally above a metal ground plane. A receiver with two internal noise comparison sources is installed underneath the ground plane. A balun is used to guide radiation from the antenna panels to the receiver. The EDGES detection required the exceptional radio quietness at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, as Australian national legislation limits the use of radio transmitters within 260 kilometers of the site. This discovery sets the stage for follow-up observations with other powerful low-frequency facilities at the same radio-quiet site, including the forthcoming SKA-low.

Award Winning Eddie Woo Appointed NSW Super Teacher

March 2nd, 2018: Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Minister for Education, the Hon. Rob Stokes
Award-winning math teacher Eddie Woo has been appointed a NSW super teacher in a role which will see him train other educators to engage and inspire students across NSW.

Mr Woo, whose YouTube videos have received more than 10 million views, accepted the new position as a roving instructor, allowing him to continue in the classroom, while also travelling the State to teach our teachers.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian congratulated Mr Woo on his official appointment as Leader of Innovation for Maths Teaching.

“We are so lucky to have one of the world’s best teachers right here in the NSW public schools system and now we would like to see Eddie’s magic rubbing off on our educators across the State,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Mr Woo will now teach both students and his fellow teachers in schools, as well as conduct workshops and professional development sessions.

With more than a decade’s experience working as a high school maths teacher, Eddie’s rise to internet stardom began when he filmed and uploaded a classroom lesson to share with a student too ill to attend school.

Since then, he has built a global profile with his Wootube video channel, amassing more than 200,000 subscribers, while helping struggling students across Australia and around the world to develop confidence and competence in maths.

Mr Woo, the 2018 Australia’s Local Hero in the Australian of the Year Awards, was recently named one of the top 10 teachers in the world in the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize.

Education Minister Rob Stokes says Mr Woo’s infectious excitement for mathematics and how it is applied in the modern world is the type of resource that money simply cannot buy.

“Mr Woo’s expertise, knowledge and love of learning is something that cannot be taught in a textbook alone,” Mr Stokes said.

“I hope his new role will allow teachers and students across the State to share innovations and build on their passion for education.”

Max/Min In Geometry (1 Of 3: General Principles)

by Eddie Woo
Published on 14 Feb 2018
More resources available at

NSW Health Confirms More Listeriosis Outbreak Cases

March 2nd, 2018: NSW Health
NSW Health is urging high risk groups to be wary of foods that cause listeriosis, confirming there are now 15 cases linked to the national rockmelon outbreak, three of whom have died.
Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health, said four of the additional cases are from Victoria and one is from Tasmania. The onset of their illness occurred the week after the initial ten cases, most recently on 22 February.
“All 15 cases are elderly people, and most of them have significant underlying health conditions,” Dr Sheppeard said. “Six of these cases, including two of the people who died, are from NSW.
“We can confirm that 13 of the 15 cases consumed rockmelon before the onset of their illness. People vulnerable to listeriosis should discard any rockmelon purchased before 1 March.”
Listeriosis starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, and sometimes diarrhoea. The symptoms can take a few days or even up to six weeks to appear after eating contaminated produce.
Listeria is found widely in the environment and rarely causes serious illness in the general population, but for vulnerable people, such as those who are over 70, pregnant, or have diabetes, cancer or suppressed immune systems, it can be extremely serious or even life threatening. Typically around one third of cases die.
NSW Health is continuing to work with the NSW Food Authority and other state and territory departments on the investigation into the outbreak. The NSW Food Authority has advised the outbreak has been linked to one grower in Nericon NSW and is continuing its investigation to determine the cause.
People at risk should consult their local doctor as early as possible should symptoms appear. There are no useful tests for the infection prior to the onset of symptoms.
NSW Health reminds all people at risk of listeriosis to avoid the following foods:
  • Pre-cut melons such as rockmelon or watermelon
  • Pre-packed cold salads including coleslaw and fresh fruit salad
  • Pre-cooked cold chicken, cold delicatessen meats, pâté
  • Raw seafood, uncooked smoked seafood (e.g. smoked salmon)
  • Unpasteurised milk or milk products, soft cheeses (e.g. brie, camembert, ricotta or blue-vein)
  • Sprouted seeds or raw mushrooms.
For further information see the Listeriosis fact sheet and the NSW Food Authority Food safety during pregnancy brochure.

Better Maternity Services For Australian Women

March 2, 2018: The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
Following extensive work by medical experts and industry stakeholders, the Turnbull Government has released new national medical guidelines for the care of pregnant women, while also detailing a new approach to maternity services. 

The Clinical Practice Guidelines on Pregnancy Care provides evidence-based recommendations, reflecting the latest scientific evidence, for all health professionals caring for pregnant women. 

This information will support midwives, obstetricians, GPs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and allied health professionals

The guidelines recognise that body mass index prior to pregnancy, and weight gain during pregnancy, are among important determinants of health for both mothers and babies.

Health professionals are recommended to discuss weight gain, diet and physical activity with all pregnant women. They also say all women should be offered the opportunity to be weighed at every antenatal visit, and also encourage self-monitoring of weight.

The expert recommendations also encourage routine Hepatitis C testing at the first antenatal visit for pregnant women, and discourage routine testing for Vitamin D status in the absence of a specific indication.

These guidelines will support our medical professional to continue to offer Australia families a high standard of care. 

Today we also launch the start of a new National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services, led by the Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Professor Debra Thoms. 

We will work with state and territory governments in developing this new plan, alongside our medical professionals, including the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, the Australian College of Midwives, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Australian Medical Association, Maternity Consumer Network, and Maternity Choices Australia.

To be finalised by mid-2019, the strategy will guide national maternity services policy, aligning delivery of services with available evidence and monitoring performance and outcomes so that progress can be measured and improvements identified. 

The strategy will also build on the maternity support services provided by the Australian Government.

These include the pregnancy, birth and baby helpline and recent investments to provide a mental health assessment for all pregnant women, a home visit after birth by a registered midwife, GP or obstetrician and an increased rebate for managing a pregnancy.

I am pleased to be able to make these announcements today at the National Women's Health Summit in Sydney. 

The Pregnancy Care Guidelines can be downloaded from the Department’s website.

Medical Research Funding To Accelerate Action On Endometriosis

March 2, 2018:Joint Media Release - The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, Nola Marino MP, Member for Forrest, Nicolle Flint MP, Member for Boothby
The Australian Government will provide $2.5 million in medical research funding as part of the first-ever national approach to combat endometriosis.
Medical research is a key element of the National Action Plan for Endometriosis, which is focused on providing much needed support for women who face this often misunderstood medical condition. 

It is estimated that one in ten Australian women experience this debilitating condition, where uterine tissue grows on the fallopian tubes, the ovaries or tissue lining the pelvis or other parts of the body.

We are determined to do more to support endometriosis sufferers around Australia. 

The funding will be drawn from the Medical Research Future Fund and in the coming months we will seek grant applications from researchers which improve the treatment and diagnosis of endometriosis. 

Medical experts, key stakeholders and researchers met in Melbourne recently to set the priorities for the national plan.

The Plan will be finalised later this year and once complete it will be blue print to improve the diagnosis, treatment, understanding and awareness of endometriosis.

Although we are leading this process nationally on this overdue support, we call on the States and Territory Governments to come on-board with their own funding and services commitment. 

When we launched the start of the National Action Plan in December last year and at the time our commitment was to move quickly and we’re glad to already be delivering on that commitment today. 

This funding is the first for 2017–18 under the Medical Research Future Fund’s Accelerated Research Program, and will support research priorities identified under the national action plan. 

The Accelerated Research program was designed to stimulate targeted research in areas of identified unmet need, and by doing so nurture the development of new treatments and cures, providing hope to many Australians, with debilitating conditions.

Changes To The Ministry

March 1, 2018
The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull
Prime Minister of Australia
Today I’m pleased to announce changes to the Ministry that I will be recommending to His Excellency the Governor General.

The Hon Darren Chester MP will return to the Ministry as Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel and Minister Assisting for the Centenary of ANZAC.

The Hon Keith Pitt MP returns to the Ministry as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Mark Coulton MP will join the Ministry as Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

I thank the Hon Damian Drum MP for his service as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and thank the Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP for his service in the Ministry, most recently as Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

The Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, and I congratulate the new Ministers and look forward to working with them as part our strong Coalition Ministerial team.

The Government is committed to continuing to deliver on its commitment to ensure a safer and more prosperous nation for all Australians.

The new Ministers will be sworn in by the Governor-General on Monday in Canberra.

Historic Snowy Deal

March 2, 2018
The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull
Prime Minister of Australia
The Turnbull Government has reached an agreement with the New South Wales and Victorian Governments to take full ownership of Snowy Hydro Limited in a deal that will deliver more than $6 billion in Commonwealth funds for investments in infrastructure across both states.

The historic agreement will generate more reliable energy, cheaper electricity, better infrastructure and more jobs for NSW and Victoria.

Initiated by the Federal Government and announced at the 2017 Federal Budget, the deal includes a broad commitment to invest the proceeds in productive infrastructure projects, with NSW set to receive $4.154 billion and Victoria $2.077 billion, reflecting their respective Snowy shareholdings.

The agreement also builds on the Turnbull Government’s substantive energy sector reforms to ensure reliable and affordable energy for businesses and households.

In a win for Australian energy consumers, the agreement will pave the way for the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project to proceed to a final investment decision by the independent Snowy board.

The purchase will see this iconic infrastructure remain in Australian Government hands and NSW and Victoria will receive a fair market value for an important energy asset. The deal will be contingent on the Victorian Parliament confirming the sale and the Commonwealth Parliament passing an appropriation bill.

Key terms reached as part of the purchase are:
  • The Australian Government will increase its shareholding from 13 per cent to 100 per cent by purchasing NSW’s (58 per cent) and Victoria’s (29 per cent) shareholdings. The agreed fair market value of the enterprise is $7.8 billion. Allowing for Snowy Hydro’s debt as of 31 December 2017, NSW will receive $4.154 billion and Victoria $2.077 billion.
  • NSW and Victoria will invest proceeds of the sale into productive infrastructure, further boosting their already substantial capital works budgets and providing a vital boost to the national economy.
  • NSW will provide all reasonable assistance to Snowy Hydro in relation to its current and future operations (including planning and approvals process for Snowy 2.0);
  • The Australian Government will provide an assurance that Snowy Hydro will continue to be a successful operation. Importantly, it will continue to be in public ownership, and employment levels and existing head office locations will not change;
  • There will be no change to current arrangements on water issues; and
  • The transaction will not affect allocations of GST for NSW or Victoria.
Snowy Hydro is a critical player within the National Electricity Market. The company owns and operates 5,500 MW of generation capacity including the iconic Snowy Mountains Scheme. Snowy 2.0 is a proposed expansion of the Snowy Mountains Scheme and will provide an additional generation capacity of 2000 MW to power about 500,000 homes at peak demand.

The Commonwealth thanks the Secretaries of the Australian, NSW and Victorian Treasuries that have worked on this complex deal since May 2017. All jurisdictions have worked cooperatively in securing this important transaction.

Surf Dive 'N Ski Girls Go Surfing Day A Success

March 3, 2018: Surfing Australia
Fifty of Surfing Australia’s affiliated surf schools played host to the Surf Dive N Ski Girls Go Surfing Day across Aussie beaches today, in an initiative designed to drive mums, daughters, aunties, nieces, sisters and grandmas into the water to experience the joy of surfing for life. 

Surfing Australia affiliated surf schools from Queensland right around to Western Australia experienced a day full of fun under the sun for women of all ages. Surfing Services Australia hosted the program at Currumbin on the Gold Coast in perfect learner conditions with tiny fun waves peeling into the Alley.

The group even had a surprise visit from 2012 World Surf League Men’s World Champion Joel Parkinson and World Surf League Women’s World Tour competitor Courtney Conlogue.

Parkinson spoke about the importance of women in surfing, saying: "If you look at the progression in surfing, nothing's progressing faster than women's surfing. The things the girls on tour are doing are incredible."

$2500 was raised for the Surf for Life Foundation through participant entry fees with over 500 females taking part in the program today.

Participants had a two-hour surf lesson and received a $100 Surf Dive ‘N Ski participation pack with $5 from the $75 total cost per person going directly back into the Surf for Life Project. The pack also included goodies from nudie and 2XP.

Increasing Australia's Detector Dog Capability

Friday, 02 March 2018: Media Release - The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Home Affairs | Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Australia's world-class detector dog capability will be further enhanced with dogs from the Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police and Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to be co-located at a new facility at Banksmeadow in Sydney.

The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton officially opened the new Australian Government Detector Dog Facility during a ceremony today. 

"These remarkable animals play a significant role in protecting Australians from prohibited and restricted goods including narcotics, firearms, explosives, currency and tobacco," Mr Dutton said. 

"Last year ABF Detector Dog teams made almost 2,000 detections of illicit substances and prohibited items across airports, seaports and postal gateways. AFP canine teams also detected hundreds of kilograms of drugs and millions of dollars' worth of undeclared currency at the borders and in police operations around Australia. 

"These agencies already work closely together in both training and development of detector dogs and by co-locating these resources here in Sydney they will be able to quickly deploy to Australia's busiest airport and one of the country's largest maritime ports, as well as police operations across Australia.

"This is another example of the Government's commitment to bringing together the very best of Australia's border and law enforcement agencies and fostering coordination and cooperation across departments and agencies."

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said detector dogs help protect our valuable agricultural industries and unique environment.

"Last month alone, Australian biosecurity detector dog teams at the Sydney International Airport sniffed out over 1,100 biosecurity risk items including chicken feet, duck tongues and cooked eggs," Mr Littleproud said.

"Any one of these items could have threatened Australia's $63 billion agricultural industries, the environment and community health.

"Dogs are man's best friend and detector dogs are agriculture's best friend, protecting are valuable industries from foreign pests."

Initially almost 50 dogs will be kenneled at the facility, with 31 staff also working on site.

The new centre will complement world-class training and breeding facilities across Australia, including existing joint facilities in Adelaide, Brisbane and soon Perth and the ABF's breeding and training facility in Melbourne.

Detector dog teams undergo rigorous training to search in a range of challenging environments and are routinely tasked to search luggage, mail, air and sea cargo, vessels, vehicles, aircraft, buildings and people.

Dementia, Depression Warning Marks World Hearing Day

March 2, 2018: The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Minister for Aged Care, Minister for Indigenous Health
Australians are asked to ‘hear the future and prepare for it’, by committing to ear health for life, as the nation marks World Hearing Day on 3 March.

The Minister responsible for Australia’s hearing services program, Ken Wyatt AM, said the social, mental and economic impact of deafness was profound.

“We know that staying connected through hearing is vital for our emotional wellbeing,” said Minister Wyatt.

“However, new international research now indicates deafness and the failure to use hearing aids can increase the risk of dementia by more than 20 per cent and, in men, markedly raise depression risk.

“It also costs our community dearly, with the annual direct economic impact of poor hearing in Australia estimated at $15.9 billion.”

One in seven Australians suffer from hearing loss - around 3.6 million people - with more than 90 per cent of these aged over 50. Due to the ageing population, by 2050 the number affected is expected to rise to one in four.

“Hearing loss becomes more common as we get older but over 1.3 million Australians are living with a hearing condition that could have been prevented,” Minister Wyatt said.

“There is also growing evidence of deafness being caused by recreational noise. For example, it is estimated that in Europe, more than four million people suffer from hearing problems from the use of headphones.

“While avoiding hearing damage is best, modern hearing assistance can do wonders, so it’s important to have regular hearing checks and to seek help early.”

The Australian Government’s Hearing Services Program provides free or subsidised hearing services and devices to eligible Australians. In 2016–17, more than 750,000 Australian benefitted from its services.

Minister Wyatt, who is also Minister for Indigenous Health, said World Hearing Day was also a reminder of the particular challenges of hearing loss for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“Diseases such as otitis media can have a lifelong impact on education, employment and wellbeing, so working with Indigenous communities and families to improve ear health is one of my highest priorities,” said the Minister.

The Commonwealth’s Australian Hearing Specialist Program for Indigenous Australians provides diagnosis, professional ear health training, equipment and surgeries for people in more than 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities each year.

In addition, the Turnbull Government is supporting dedicated Indigenous ear health activities, allocating more than $76.4 million over 10 years.

NOTE: The research paper Death, Depression, Disability and Dementia Associated With Self-Reported Hearing Loss Problems: A 25-Year Studywas published in The Journals of Gerontology 2018 and to be presented to the European Parliament in March 2018, as part of World Hearing Week. It found that unaddressed hearing loss raised the risk of incapacity to carry out basic daily activities such as eating, showering and getting dressed by 28 per cent. It found the failure to use hearing aids increased dementia risk by 21 per cent and, in men, increased the risk of depression by 43 per cent.

Reminder: Have Your Say On Aged Care Staffing

27 February 2018
Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt AM is reminding all interested Australians to have their say on the staffing of Aged Care homes across the country, by participating in an online survey or by contributing to the current national review of the Aged Care workforce.

“Ensuring Australian aged care has a strong supply of appropriately trained, skilled and resourced staff is a top priority,” Minister Wyatt said.

“To ensure adequate staffing and skills, I announced a workforce taskforce last November which is due to produce Australia’s first aged care workforce strategy by July.

“This will be critical for provision of the care our senior Australians deserve, with predictions the Aged Care workforce will need to grow from the current 360,000 to almost one million by 2050.”

The workforce taskforce has a $2 million budget to support detailed consultation and research across the country, and is currently seeking public comment.

“I urge senior Australians, their families, community members and aged care staff to get involved by going to the taskforce’s online consultation hub and completing the survey,” said Minister Wyatt.

To contribute to the survey, go to the Department of Health's Consultation Hub.

People can contact the taskforce by or calling 1800 020 103.

Public submissions are open until 16 March.

Home Care Record As Reforms Benefit Senior Australians

March 2, 2018: The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Minister for Aged Care, Minister for Indigenous Health
A record number of home care packages have been assigned in the past quarter, as the Australian Government’s generational aged care reforms accelerate benefits for senior Australians.
“The latest figures indicate home care is now on a positive trajectory, with delivery ramping up at a great rate,” said Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.

“The latest figures show that in the December quarter 50,300 care packages were assigned, over 17,500 more than in the previous quarter. That’s a rate of over 3,800 every week.

“More than 36,000 of these went to people who were new to home care, and almost half of the total went to senior Australians with the highest levels of need.”

It is now one year since the Turnbull Government’s landmark Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms were introduced, giving senior Australians personal ownership and control of their home care packages for the first time.

The reforms allow seniors and the Government to track package demand and individual waiting times.

The reforms also allow people to choose their care provider and to take their home care package with them, wherever they live. There are four levels of home care packages, ranging from low to high care.

Minister Wyatt said he was pleased to see the home care allocation system was successfully prioritising the delivery of care to those in the queue for longest and to those with the highest priority needs.

“To give seniors in need support as quickly as possible, we try to provide them with a lower level interim home care package and I continue to encourage people to take up this option,” the Minister said. 

“In fact, the data shows us there are now almost 46 per cent of people in the queue accessing interim care, including almost everyone who’s been in the queue for 12 months or more.”

Minister Wyatt said the Turnbull Government was committed to aged care transparency.

“While indications are that home care package queue growth is slowing, hundreds of thousands of senior Australians are also receiving assistance from the Government’s $5.5 billion investment in the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, as well, the Minister said.

“Like many new reforms, things moved a little slowly at first last year, as senior Australians and their families grew accustomed to the changes.

“With the vast majority of senior Australians wanting to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, home care remains an absolute priority.

“To that end, I will have more to say about further landmark reforms in coming months.”

The December Quarter Home Care Packages Program data report is available at the GEN Aged Care Data website

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.