Inbox and Environment News: Issue 318

June 25 - July 1, 2017: Issue 318

The 2017 ORRCA Whale Census

Members and Friends, this is your Invitation to;
Go Wild About Whales with ORRCA on Sunday 25 June 2017 at five selected locations along the NSW coastline from Byron Bay to Sydney. 
It’s a great day out. Simply pick your favourite headland and call or email the hotline to register your location so we know where you will be. Make sure you print off some marine mammal sighting log sheets from ourwebsite

Then on the day, pack a picnic and your supplies; Binoculars, camera, a pen/pencil for recording details, a chair/rug to sit on, warm waterproof clothes and off you go and enjoy the sights that unfold in this great whale migration. Remember to record your sightings!

Finally, at the end of the day, please report your findings back into the ORRCA hotline (02 9415 3333) and post/email your log sheets

This year, NPWS guides will be on hand at selected locations to assist visitors observe passing whales and other marine life, while explaining the work of ORRCA. To get involved, download the NPWS Wild About Whales app and contribute to the live feed of whale sightings; or ring the ORRCA hotline with your sightings on 02 9415 3333. 

This major wildlife event can be enjoyed by the whole community as you watch the whale count tally rise with every passing marine mammal. Our NPWS guides will provide information sessions and interactive fun activities, including prizes for the children.

See below for more details:

Come along to our annual whale census this season and help NPWS and ORRCA spot the whales and record their behaviour as they travel by North Head, Sydney Harbour National Park.

Price: Free
When: Sunday 25 June 2017, 10am–2pm
Where: North Head, Sydney Harbour National Park

A Further $6 Million For 20 Million Trees Available For Community Projects

19 June 2017: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
Under our 20 Million Trees Program, the Turnbull Government will invest $70 million to plant 20 million trees by 2020. 

Community groups, organisations or individuals can now apply for grants between $20,000 and $100,000 for tree planting projects that will put back threatened bushland and support threatened species.

Priority will be given to projects that target nationally-listed Threatened Ecological Communities. 

Under previous 20 Million Trees funding rounds, Landcare groups and community projects across Australia have planted three million trees. With 13.4 million trees already contracted for planting, today’s announcement will ensure that the 20 million trees election commitment target is met.

The 20 Million Trees Grant Guidelines: Round Three are also now available and applications close on 15 August 2017.

The 20 Million Trees initiative is an important part of the Turnbull Government’s National Landcare Program.

More information is available at

Applications will be accepted from eligible individuals, landholders, community groups, Indigenous groups, non-government organisations and state, territory and local government agencies.

Projects may occur on public and private land; in urban, peri urban and regional areas across Australia.

There is no limit to the number of applications applicants can submit. Each application will be for a single 20 Million Trees Project.

Refer to Part 3 of the Guidelines for the eligibility and funding conditions for Applicants, Projects and Activities.

Key dates
Applications open: 19 June 2017
Applications close: 2.00pm AEST (Canberra time) Tuesday 15 August 2017

Round Three projects must be prepared to commence before 1 December 2017 and must be able to be completed by:
  • 30 June 2019, for Projects seeking grant funding of $20,000 to $60,000 (GST exclusive); or
  • 30 June 2020, for Projects seeking grant funding of $60,010 to $100,000 (GST exclusive).
Note: Projects will not be able to undertake any planting activities in the final six months of the project period with the exception of planting to make good on any losses. This is necessary for plantings to be sufficiently advanced to allow an accurate final survey to determine the number of trees established at the end of the Project period.

Legislation To Phase Out HFCs To Lower Emissions Passes Parliament

19 June 2017: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
The Turnbull Government has today successfully passed legislation to phase-down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which comprise up to two per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

HFCs are powerful synthetic gases used in refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers and insulating foam which can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The phase-down of HFC imports under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment Bill 2017 will begin in 2018 and reach an 85 per cent reduction by 2036.

Australia co-chaired the negotiations in Kigali last year that led to a global agreement of all 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol to phase-down these potent gases.

It is estimated that the global phase-down will reduce emissions by up to 72 billion tonnes by 2050 or roughly one and a third times global annual emissions. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, this action could avoid up to 0.5 degrees of temperature rises by 2100.

This phase-down builds on the successful approach taken to phase-out prior gases such as CFCs and HCFCs which is already leading to a recovery of the ozone layer.

Australia has a proud record of leadership in the Montreal Protocol, widely considered the world's most successful environmental protection agreement and the only one with universal acceptance.

The Coalition Government's early action on passing this legislation demonstrates our continued international leadership and will constitute a significant domestic emissions reduction of up to 80 million tonnes.

The Bill will achieve these environmental outcomes at the same time as significantly cutting red tape, including reducing the number of businesses required to hold a licence by one third, halving the reporting obligations and reducing the number of invoices sent by 94 per cent.

Proposed Pesticides Regulation 2017

The Environment Protection Authority is seeking comments on the draft Pesticides Regulation 2017 and Regulatory Impact Statement.

The Pesticide Regulation 2009 is due to be repealed on 1 September 2017.

The Regulation supports the operation of NSW’s principal Act for managing risks associated with the use of pesticides.

The EPA is seeking comments on the draft Pesticides Regulation 2017and Regulatory Impact Statement.

A majority of the provisions are remaining the same, however there will be a few key changes:
  • streamlining of record keeping requirements for non-licensed pesticide users
  • alternatives for retraining for agricultural users
  • new licences categories
  • updated licence fees
  • including universities in definition of public authorities required to have a pesticide use notification plan
  • updated penalty amounts.
Have your say

There are three ways you can submit your feedback:

Mail: Manager, Chemicals Policy
Environment Protection Authority
PO Box A290
Sydney South NSW 1232
Have your say by 7 July 2017.

New CEO To Lead Australian Institute Of Marine Science

20 June 2017: Media Release - Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science

I am delighted to announce that experienced environmental engineer Dr Paul Hardisty has been appointed as the CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) for the next five years, commencing 24 July 2017.

With the most recent AIMS Index of Marine Industry reporting that Australia's marine industries sector  now contributes more than $74 billion directly and indirectly to annual GDP, Dr Hardisty’s position is among the most important in Australian marine science—and Dr Hardisty’s skills and expertise are particularly well-suited to the role.

Dr Hardisty has more than 30 years’ experience in the environmental and sustainability fields, with global expertise in the resources and industrial sectors and advising corporations and governments regarding environmental economics and strategy.

He was the Director, CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, from July 2014 to March 2017, where he led a team of over 1000 research scientists, engineers and economists, delivering research and development in the fields of terrestrial and water management, pollution, social and economic sciences, cities, earth observation, and climate adaptation.

Previously, Dr Hardisty was Director of CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship, which researched options to address climate change and variability. 

Dr Hardisty will replace outgoing CEO John Gunn, a highly regarded leader within the scientific community, both nationally and internationally, with a strong understanding of science policy.

I thank Mr Gunn for his significant contribution to AIMS since November 2011.

AIMS is Australia’s premier tropical marine research agency. The institute plays a pivotal role in providing large-scale, long-term and world-class research that helps governments, industry and the wider community to make informed decisions about the management of Australia’s marine estate.

Department Seeks Community Input On Hume Coal Project Proposal

30.03.2017: Departmental Media Release -Department of Planning and Environment
The local community in the Southern Highlands is encouraged to give feedback on an application for an underground coal mine that will go on public exhibition today.

The Department of Planning and Environment is exhibiting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) application for the Hume Coal Project for an extended period of 90 days, beginning today until 30 June.

Clay Preshaw, Director of Resource Assessments, said members of the community are encouraged to give feedback as part of the community consultation process.

“Every submission is read and considered as part of the Department’s assessment of the EIS,” Mr Preshaw said. “We are seeking feedback from the public and a wide range of stakeholders. We encourage any landowner, individual or group to share their views on the Hume Coal Project and Berrima Rail Project with us.

“There is a high level of public interest in these applications and we understand the EIS is a lengthy document - that’s why we are going above and beyond in seeking community input.”

Mr Preshaw said the Department had arranged public information sessions, giving the local Southern Highlands community a chance to meet with Department representatives in person.

“Information on the assessment process will be provided and department officers will be able to answer any questions the public may have about the planning process,” he said. “We will also meet with special interest groups during the exhibition period.
“The Department assesses all applications on their merits, in accordance with the planning legislation and all relevant NSW Government policies and guidelines.”
Mr Preshaw added that the Department will apply a rigorous, scientific approach to the assessment of the proposal and seek the best advice available from independent experts.
“At this stage, the Department will seek advice from experts in the fields of groundwater, mining, subsidence, and economics. We will also be seeking expert advice from specialist government agencies.”
The Hume Coal Project proposals involves a new underground coal mine extracting up to 3.5 million tonnes of coal a year over 19 years. The associated Berrima Rail Project involves the extension of the Berrima railway line to connect the proposed mine to the Main Southern Railway.
For more information please visit the Major Projects website

Call For Public Comment On Draft Seabird Threat Abatement Plan

15th March 2017
Public comment is now being sought on the draft Threat abatement plan for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations (Threat abatement plan for incidental catch of seabirds). The public consultation period is open until 30 June 2017.

The draft Threat abatement plan for incidental catch of seabirds provides a national strategy to guide the activities of government, industry and research organisations in abating the impact of oceanic longline fishing operations on seabirds in Commonwealth fisheries.

The consultation paper and related documents are available on theDepartment of the Environment and Energy website. Your comments on this consultation paper are welcome.

Further information about the existing Threat abatement plan 2014 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations is available at the Threat Abatement Plan – seabirds page

A black-browed albatross with chick, on Macquarie Island. (Photo: Kim Kliska)

NSW Tags 100th White Shark

Friday, 23 June 2017: Media Release - Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water, Minister for Trade and Industry
NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair today announced that the NSW Government has now captured, tagged and released one hundred white sharks.

Mr Blair said scientists from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) tagged the 100th White Shark (female 2.5m) at Airforce Beach, Evans Head.

“Since August, 2015 we have been targeting White, Bull and Tiger sharks with a particular focus on the NSW North Coast,” Mr Blair said.

“The tagging program provides vital information about sharks and their movements along the NSW coastline and beyond - some sharks have been detected as far away as New Zealand.

“NSW is leading the world – we are the only government using SMART drumlines to catch and tag white sharks.”

SMART drumlines are used to intercept sharks beyond the surf breaks, before they are able to interact with surfers or swimmers.

When a shark is caught on a SMART drumline, researchers receive a phone, email and text alert and, if conditions permit, they tag, relocate and release the shark.

Mr Blair said the more information we have, the better equipped we are to reduce the risk of further attacks.

“In addition to the 100 white sharks, we are actively tracking 33 Bull and 2 Tiger Sharks, as part of our $16 million Shark Management Strategy.

“This is a fantastic achievement by our dedicated shark scientists and contractors who have been on the water day in and day out trialling these methods to make sure beachgoers are as safe as possible.”

20 satellite linked (VR4G) shark listening stations are installed along the NSW coastline to provide real-time tracking data of tagged sharks.

These are located at Kingscliff, Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Ballina, Evans Head, Yamba, Coffs Harbour, South West Rocks, Port Macquarie and Forster, Crescent Head, Old Bar, Bondi, Hawks Nest, Redhead, Kiama, Sussex Inlet, Mollymook, Batemans Bay and Merimbula. 

New Catalyst Paves Way For Carbon Neutral Fuel

June 21,2017: University of Adelaide
Australian scientists have paved the way for carbon neutral fuel with the development of a new efficient catalyst that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air into synthetic natural gas in a 'clean' process using solar energy.

Undertaken by University of Adelaide in collaboration with CSIRO, the research could make viable a process that has enormous potential to replace fossil fuels and continue to use existing carbon-based fuel technologies without increasing atmospheric CO2.

The catalyst the researchers have developed effectively drives the process of combining CO2 with hydrogen to produce methane (the main component of the fossil fuel natural gas) and water. Currently, natural gas is one of the main fuels used for industrial activities.

"Capturing carbon from the air and utilising it for industrial processes is one strategy for controlling CO2 emissions and reducing the need for fossil fuels," says University of Adelaide PhD candidate Renata Lippi, first author of the research published online ahead of print in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

"But for this to be economically viable, we need an energy efficient process that utilises CO2 as a carbon source.

"Research has shown that the hydrogen can be produced efficiently with solar energy. But combining the hydrogen with CO2 to produce methane is a safer option than using hydrogen directly as an energy source and allows the use of existing natural gas infrastructure.

"The main sticking point, however, is the catalyst -- a compound needed to drive the reaction because CO2 is usually a very inert or unreactive chemical."

The catalyst was synthesised using porous crystals called metal-organic frameworks which allow precise spatial control of the chemical elements.

"The catalyst discovery process involved the synthesis and screening of more than one hundred materials. With the help of CSIRO's rapid catalyst testing facility we were able to test all of them quickly allowing the discovery to be made in a much shorter period of time," said Dr Danielle Kennedy, AIM Future Science Platform Director with CSIRO. "We hope to continue collaborating with the University of Adelaide to allow renewable energy and hydrogen to be applied to chemical manufacturing by Australian industry."

With other catalysts there have been issues around poor CO2 conversion, unwanted carbon-monoxide production, catalyst stability, low methane production rates and high reaction temperatures.

This new catalyst efficiently produces almost pure methane from CO2. Carbon-monoxide production has been minimised and stability is high under both continuous reaction for several days and after shutdown and exposure to air. Importantly, only a small amount of the catalyst is needed for high production of methane which increases economic viability. The catalyst also operates at mild temperatures and low pressures, making solar thermal energy possible.

"What we've produced is a highly active, highly selective (producing almost pure methane without side products) and stable catalyst that will run on solar energy," says project leader Professor Christian Doonan, Director of the University's Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials. "This makes carbon neutral fuel from CO2 a viable option."

R. Lippi, S. C. Howard, H. Barron, C. D. Easton, I. C. Madsen, L. J. Waddington, C. Vogt, M. R. Hill, C. J. Sumby, C. J. Doonan, D. F. Kennedy.Highly active catalyst for CO2 methanation derived from a metal organic framework template. J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017; DOI:10.1039/C7TA00958E

It’s Time To Shine And Lead The World In Shark Management

June 14, 2017: Media Release - NSW Department of Primary Industries
The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has called on the world’s best minds to develop innovative projects to help protect beachgoers from shark attacks.

The Shark Management Strategy Grants Program invites technology developers, researchers, organisations, educational institutions, businesses and individuals to apply for funding for a range of technologies, in particular personal protective devices.

DPI Director of Fisheries Research, Dr Natalie Moltschaniwskyj, said this is the second round of $200,000, which is available to support projects that reduce the risk of shark interactions and minimise the impact on other marine life.

“We already lead the world when it comes to shark management and this will only ensure we continue to do so with both national and international applicants encouraged to apply,” Dr Moltschaniwskyj said.

“We have more data and research on sharks than we’ve ever had and I look forward to seeing what other ideas can be brought to life.”

Key areas for funding which align with the NSW Shark Management Strategy are:
  • Personal shark deterrents such as protective wetsuits, small electrical and magnetic devices and area-based shark deterrents.
  • Shark detection methods such as sonar technologies and shark recognition software.
  • Shark biology relevant to interactions with humans like sensory systems.
  • Socio-economics of shark-human interactions for example how changes in human behaviour and perceptions following the implementation of particular approaches.
Joint applications are encouraged and proposed projects should be one year in duration.
To apply for a grant, applicants will first need to complete an Expression of Interest (EOI) form.

EPA Invites Comments On NSW Noise Control Regulation Changes

Media release: 13 June 2017
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is inviting the community to have their say on the draft Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2016 and the accompanying Regulatory Impact Statement.  

“The proposed changes will bring the NSW Regulation in line with international best practice and standards, while also adding clarity and simplicity,” said David Fowler, EPA Director Regulatory Reform and Advice.

“This Regulation has and will continue to be critical to managing neighbourhood noise. It controls noise from motor vehicles and marine vessels and reflects community standards by setting use limits on appliances such as intruder alarms, music amplifiers, air conditioners and powered garden tools.

“It’s used by a number of organisations, including councils, NSW Police, the EPA and Roads and Maritime Services to control noise.

“We recently reviewed the current Regulation and found it to be working well. These proposed changes simply add clarity to the 2008 Regulation, without significantly altering its content. While the changes are small, it’s a great chance for the community to have their say on noise in NSW,” he said.

The changes in the proposed Regulation aim to:
  • Improve compliance by aligning labelling and limiting provision for noisy equipment to international best-practice and standards
  • Reduce red tape by aligning existing NSW provisions for heavy vehicles to the Heavy Vehicle National Law
  • Simplify the Regulation by making minor amendments to the definitions and removing the bulk of technical procedures and placing them in a new, separate document; and
  • Formalise existing assessment procedures for shooting ranges. 
To have your say on the proposed changes to the NSW Noise Control Regulation, visit the EPA’s website at 
The consultation will close on 7 July 2017 at 5pm.  

Battle For Bulga

Published on 19 June, 2017 by EDO
The story of Bulga, a sleepy town in New South Wales, and how the small community of residents there took on the might of mining company Rio Tinto, with the help of the Environmental Defenders Office New South Wales (EDO NSW).

Launch Of Publication Of Framework For A National Strategy On Climate, Health And Wellbeing

June 22, 2017
The Federal Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, MP spoke at the launch of publication of the Framework for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Wellbeing on 22 June.

Good morning and thank you for the introduction. 
Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, traditional custodians of the land on which we meet. I also extend my respects to Elders past, present and future and to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here this morning. 

I also acknowledge
Dr Liz Hanna, President, Climate and Health Alliance;
Fiona Armstrong, CHA Executive Director;
Senator Richard Di Natale, Leader of the Australian Greens;
The Hon Catherine King MP, Member for Ballarat;
Nobel laureate and former Australian of the Year, Professor Peter Doherty OA; and
Nick Horsburgh, who with his team put this report together.

I’d like to thank the Climate and Health Alliance for providing this report.

It provides a strategy framework for consideration of how the Commonwealth, states and territories can better work together and with all stakeholders to coordinate action on climate, health and wellbeing for Australia.

WHO’s warnings
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that global climate change during the past 30 years has already claimed an estimated 150,000 lives a year. 

WHO links climate change to many health conditions. 

It has reported that extreme high air temperatures contribute directly to deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory disease, particularly among elderly people. 

For example, the WHO says high temperatures also raise ozone and other pollutants in the air that aggravate cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

While pollen and other aeroallergen levels in extreme heat can trigger asthma, which affects around 300 million people worldwide.

Australia’s capability
We have a world leading health system that manages unavoidable risks, reduces people’s susceptibility to illness, and builds resilience. 

Nevertheless, in matters of health and climate change we must remain vigilant by maintaining and improving the resilience of our national health care system.

As one example the Medical Research Future Fund will double the Government’s investment in medical and health research. The first $65.9 million of the Fund is being invested in clinical trials, translational research and global health security. This includes global epidemic preparedness and antimicrobial resistance. 

Action to address climate change
Australia has signed and ratified the Paris Agreement on 9 November 2016. This reaffirms our strong commitment to effective and coordinated international action on climate change.

Australia’s target of a 26 to 28 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 on 2005 levels — is strong and responsible. This target represents a 50-52 per cent reduction in emissions per person between 2005 and 2030. 

We continue to carefully manage the shift to a low emissions economy, cutting emissions while safeguarding our priorities of energy security and energy affordability.

We successfully beat our first Kyoto target by 128 million tonnes and we are on track to meet and beat our 2020 target of 5 per cent below year 2000 emission levels by 224 million tonnes.

The $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund has contracted 189 million tonnes of emissions reductions at an average price of $11.83 per tonne. 

This is the largest ever emissions reduction commitment by Australian businesses and landholders.

We are doing this through better land use management, reduced waste activities, reafforestation and improving energy efficiency.

And the Government has established the $200 million Clean Energy Innovation Fund to support early stage and emerging clean energy technologies.

Improving Coordination between Commonwealth, states and territories
Commonwealth, states and territories are jointly responsible for our overall health system. 

For example, the Commonwealth Government assumes overall responsibility for the national perspective on health and climate change.

We share responsibility for health services with state and territory governments.

Actions to prepare for and manage the health effects of climate change are managed by state and territory governments as operators of our public hospitals.

As one example increased capacity at public hospitals and emergency service responses during extreme weather events.

Insights into ways in which the Commonwealth, states and territories can better coordinate our multiple interests and endeavours are important.

Building resilience to climate change
Australia’s National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy, which the Government released in 2015, recognises that all governments, businesses, households and communities all have different, but important, roles in managing climate risks. 

The Australian Government plays its part by:
  • providing climate change science and adaptation information;
  • good management of assets and services; and by
  • coordinating adaptation to climate change at a national level.
Preparedness and responses 
At a national level we manage programs to address many health conditions, including those that may be prone to climate change. 

They are managed on a relatively short timeframe, and can be scaled up or down to meet any long-term changes in prevalence. 

And Australia maintains a comprehensive surveillance system to monitor changes in incidence and trends of communicable diseases, including changes that may be due to climate change. 

Emergency response arrangements
Australia has well established emergency response arrangements in place.

These include ongoing management of key environmental risks and hazards, such as bush fires and cyclones.

Australia uses an ‘all agencies, all hazards’ approach based on prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from disasters and may task Australian Government agencies to deploy resources during an emergency.

For example:
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) provides a wide range of forecast and warning services.

It works closely with state, territory and international emergency services in all aspects of disaster mitigation planning, preparation, response and recovery.

Australia maintains a range of support services, which are made available for use in national responses to public health emergencies, including extreme weather events, through the National Health Emergency Management Standing Committee, which provides advice on national approaches to prepare for and respond to the health impacts of emergencies.

And we acknowledge the extensive consultation with health care and policy stakeholders in drawing up this report.
The independent voice of this strategy framework adds value to policy discussions and I thank all those involved in preparing this report. 

Thank you.

World First: Leading Health Experts Launch A Framework For A National Climate AndHealth Strategy

“Climate change is the defining health issue of the 21st Century.”
Dr. Margaret Chan
Director General
World Health Organization

In a world first initiative, a coalition of leading health experts and organisations, along with federal parliamentarians, today launched a Framework for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia

The Framework has been developed on behalf of a coalition of over thirty health and medical organisations, and follows a year-long national consultation to identify stakeholders’ priorities and concerns regarding the health impacts of climate change.

Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance Fiona Armstrong said: “The Framework provides a comprehensive roadmap to assist Australia in addressing the significant risks that climate change poses to the health and well-being of the community, and in meeting its obligations to citizen’s ‘right to health’ under the Paris Agreement.”

Nobel Laureate for Medicine and Our Climate Our Health campaign ambassador, Professor Peter Doherty said:“Australia must develop policy to address the health impacts from global warming on its citizen now, and take decisive action to reduce emissions as part of the global effort to limit the worst effects of climate change on current and future generations. We are currently conducting a planetary scale experiment with uncontrolled dumping of CO2 at a rate that is truly frightening. No university ethics committee would ever sanction such a study for mice, let alone humans. We have to stop.”

President of Health Care Without Harm (USA) Gary Cohen said: “In many parts of the world, hospitals and health services are increasingly showing the way toward a low-carbon future. A national policy framework, such as the one proposed for Australia, can help support these efforts, and help accelerate the roll out of low-carbon healthcare while supporting community resilience and well-being. Transitioning away from fossil fuels is preventative medicine on a grand scale.”

Executive Director at Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change, Dr Nick Watts:“This policy framework provides a coordinated and comprehensive approach to supporting Australia to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement. The implementation of a national strategy on climate change and health could put Australia in a leadership position globally and go a long way to ensuring the protection of community health and well-being while reducing carbon emissions.” 

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association CEO Alison Verhoeven said: “Our hospitals and health services are already under pressure. Climate change is a threat multiplier, so we must make sure our hospitals and the health workforce are supported with coordinated national policy approaches to ensure they are prepared and able to respond to climateinduced health impacts.” 

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners President, Dr Bastian Seidel said: “As GPs, we are witnessing the impacts of climate change on our patients. Heatwaves such as those in Victoria in 2014 contributed to 167 avoidable deaths. Without climate action, global warming could contribute to several thousand additional deaths nationwide by 2050. Governments must work with the health sector to prioritise climate-health policy to prevent these predicted public health consequences.”

Organisations including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM), Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), the Public Health Association Australia (PHAA), Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), Australian College of Health Service Managers (ACHSM), and the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) have supported the development of the Framework over the last 18 months.

The Framework entails seven Areas of Policy Action, some of which include phasing out coal, greening hospitals, and a coordinated approach to managing the health consequences of extreme weather events, such as heat stress and thunderstorm asthma. Implementation of a national strategy will require federal, state/territory and local government actions, and cross-portfolio cooperation, involving health, energy and climate/environment portfolios
working together.

The Framework is set to support Australia in reporting against a set of global climate and health indicators, published in the leading international medical journal, The Lancet, which will report each year on the progress of nations in addressing the health impacts of climate change, with the first report due in November 2017

  • Heatwaves in Victoria in 2009 and 2014 
    contributed to 374 and 167 excess deaths, respectively
  • The increased incidence and severity of heatwaves from global warming could 
    contribute to several thousand additional 
    deaths nationwide by 2050
  • Climate change is contributing to health risks posed by allergenic pollens and fungi, increasing the likelihood of events such as the 2016 thunderstorm asthma event in Victoria, 
    which caused a 3,000% increase in asthma related 
    admissions to intensive care and is thought to have contributed to the death of nine people
  • Air pollution from coal-fired electricity 
    generation is responsible for hundreds 
    of thousands of deaths globally each year, a
    nd thehealth impacts of coal-fired power 
    generation is estimated to cost Australia 
    AUD$2.6 billion annually (I)
  • The health and social costs of climate mediated events represent a significant economic burden, with the health and social costs of the Black Saturday bushfires and 2011 
    Queensland floods totalling AUD$3.9 and 
    $7.4 billion respectively
  • Reduced productivity due to extreme heat already costs the Australian economy over AUD$8 billion annually and the economic losses and health risks will increase significantly due to climate change
  • Many climate change mitigation and adaptation policies offer significant cobenefits for health. For example, the health benefits from climate mitigation policies which reduce air pollution can offset the cost of 
    implementation by up to 10 times
Key Policy Recommendations:
  • Establish national emissions reduction targets consistent with the recommendations of the Climate Change Authority and based on Australia’s fair share of the global task to reduce emissions
  • Evaluate the economic savings from additional health benefits associated with a range of emissions reductions strategies through a national study
  • Reduce deaths from air pollution by phasing out coal and strengthening national emissions standards for motor vehicles
  • Prevent poor health associated with inadequate building standards by including climate resilience measures in the National Construction Code
  • Avoid adverse health impacts from industry and infrastructure projects by incorporating health impact assessments in the evaluation of project applications
  • Promote healthy, low emissions diets and lifestyles through provision of funding for public education programs
  • Ensure health professionals are able to recognise, prepare for and respond to the health impacts of climate change through establishing a national education and training framework
  • Monitor health impacts through the establishment of a national environmental health surveillance system which includes climate-related indicators
  • Provide national leadership through the establishment of a Ministerial Health and  Climate Change Forum consisting of Commonwealth and State/Territory Ministers with responsibility for Health, Environment and Energy. This Forum would oversee the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the National Strategy for Climate, Health and Well-being and report to the Council of Australian Governments on the progress of the Strategy’s objectives, initiatives and policies

Jai Dee Meaning 'Good Heart'

The newest member of the Asian elephant family at Taronga Zoo has been named Jai Dee meaning 'good heart'.
The four-week-old calf was blessed in a ceremony on Friday with Thai Buddhist monks and Royal Thai Consul General Nathapol Khantahiran in attendance.

Jai Dee was watched by his mum Pak Boon, his sister Tukta and aunt Tang Mo.

The name was chosen by the late philanthropist Janis Salisbury who is considered 'the elephant grandma' due to her generous donations towards Taronga's Asian elephant breeding program.

This precious calf and the other Asian Elephants at Taronga play a vital role as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. The surviving population of Asian Elephants is estimated to be between 30,000–50,000 individuals, with numbers continuing to decline due to habitat loss and poaching. 

Taronga is working hard to secure a future for Asian Elephants and has had a Breeding Program in place for more than 10 years thanks to the partnership with ANZ Australia who support our conservation efforts. Commencing the partnership in 2006, the breeding program has seen the successful births of five elephants across both Sydney and Dubbo, including the newest arrival here at Taronga Zoo Sydney.

Jai Dee - photo courtesy Taronga Zoo

For mums and dads: if you're thinking of taking your littlies to see this littlie, Taronga is offering up to 20% off family tickets when purchased online.Find out more here about this offer

Also: Visit Taronga Zoo for $1 On Your Birthday in 2017
This offer is also valid at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo. Find out more here.

Elephant Calf Facts
  • Elephants have the longest pregnancy of all mammals with a gestation of 22 months
  • When born the calf weighed about about 130kg's
  • Immediately after birth, the calf is helped by its mother and other females to stand on their feet
  • Calves can't see very well at first, but they can recognize their mother by touch, scent, and sound
  • The calf will drink up to 12 litres of milk each day. At about four months old, they also begin eating some plants, but still need as much milk from their mother
  • At first, baby elephants don't really know what to do with their trunks. They swing them to and fro and sometimes even step on them
  • Female elephants help look after each others calves. Babysitting other female's calves is important for an elephants development

Taronga's Newest Arrival

Published on 28 May 2017 by Taronga Sydney

Jupiter’s Bands Of Clouds

June 23, 2017: By NASA
This enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s bands of light and dark clouds was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

Three of the white oval storms known as the “String of Pearls” are visible near the top of the image. Each of the alternating light and dark atmospheric bands in this image is wider than Earth, and each rages around Jupiter at hundreds of miles (kilometers) per hour. The lighter areas are regions where gas is rising, and the darker bands are regions where gas is sinking.

Juno acquired the image on May 19, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. PST (2:30 p.m. EST) from an altitude of about 20,800 miles (33,400 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops.

JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products at:

More information about Juno is at:

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt /Seán Doran

This is how North Manly looked after a cloudburst today caused the Manly Lagoon to break its banks and flood the Manly Golf Links (in background). Foreground street on the right is Pittwater Rd., and on the left is Buckingham St.
Rain turns large area of Manly into inland lake (1953, May 8). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 2 (LATE FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from 

ARC Centre Of Excellence To Examine Australia’s Unique Biodiversity And Heritage

June 22, 2017: Media Release - ARC
A new Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence to examine and better understand Australian biodiversity and heritage has been launched today.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, based at the University of Wollongong, is receiving $33.75 million over seven years through the ARC Centres of Excellence scheme, to undertake important research to address our natural and human history. Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, representing Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training, officially launched the Centre at Parliament House today.

ARC Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Leanne Harvey, said the new Centre of Excellence will support revolutionary transdisciplinary research collaboration across diverse fields including earth sciences, ecology, genetics, archaeology and Indigenous studies.

“The Centre’s main aims are to transform our understanding of Australia’s ancient Indigenous heritage and environmental past, and improve our understanding in order to help future-proof Australia’s unique biodiversity and cultural heritage,” said Ms Harvey.

“The ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage will also equip a new generation of researchers with the range of skills needed to traverse the interface between STEM and humanities, arts and social sciences.”

Researchers based at the University of Wollongong will work closely with 21 partner organisations including: Queensland Museum; Australian Museum; Scarp Archaeology Pty Ltd; South Australian Museum; State Library of New South Wales; Bioplatforms Australia Ltd University of Savoy; University of Papua New Guinea; University of Colorado, Boulder; Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History; Natural History Museum of Denmark; Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery; and Indonesian National Centre for Archaeology.

The University of Wollongong will also work collaboratively with The Australian National University; James Cook University; The University of New South Wales; The University of Adelaide; Monash University; University of Tasmania; and The Flinders University of South Australia.

The ARC Centres of Excellence scheme fosters significant collaborations between universities, publicly funded research organisations, other research bodies, governments and businesses in Australia and overseas, all to support outstanding research.

For more information about this Centre, please visit the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage website. For more information about the ARC and its grant schemes, visit the ARC website.

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) is a major new research and education initiative that brings together leading Australian universities with strategically important Australian and international partners.

Our goal is to tell the epic story of Australia’s rich and distinctive natural and human history by revolutionising our knowledge of the events and processes that have shaped this nation, and combining that knowledge with cutting-edge modelling techniques to manage and protect our natural and cultural resources into the future.

To achieve this ambitious goal, we will be appointing a large number of enthusiastic and talented postdoctoral researchers and PhD candidates to our team. We are committed to the principles of diversity, inclusion and respect. All positions will be offered either full-time or part-time. Applications are particularly encouraged from Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. Women are also strongly encouraged to apply.

Postdoctoral positions and PhD stipends are available in a variety of exciting disciplines across our nodes at James Cook University (Cairns), University of New South Wales (Sydney), University of Wollongong (Wollongong), Australian National University (Canberra), University of Adelaide and Flinders University (Adelaide), Monash University (Melbourne) and the University of Tasmania (Hobart).

CABAH’s research program crosses six broad themes, capturing a diverse array of opportunities:

Humans                                            Landscapes                          Climate 
Archaeology                                             Geomorphology                           Palaeoclimatology
Palaeoanthropology                                Quaternary geology                     Geochemistry
Indigenous studies                                   Palynology                                    Palaeohydrology

Wildlife                                                     Time                                          Models
Palaeontology                                           Geochronology                           Climate
Palaeoecology                                          Archaeology                               Demography
Genetics                                                    Geomorphology                          Ecology

Significant funding has been committed to CABAH’s Irinjili Research Training Program, designed to build future research capacity within STEM disciplines and at their interface with the humanities. Through this program, you will participate in regular Masterclasses, Short Courses and Thematic Workshops, with a transdisciplinary emphasis, to improve your technical, professional and communication skills. Cross-node projects, supervisory and mentoring arrangements, and researcher exchange fellowship opportunities will be integral to your CABAH research training experience.

Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders will have access to additional support through dedicated Indigenous Australian initiatives such as mentoring, bursaries and top up grants. Women will be supported through a range of initiatives, including internships and travel grants. Early- and mid-career researchers will also be provided with exceptional opportunities for research leadership development, as part of CABAH’s succession planning.

If you’d like to play a part in telling Australia’s Epic Story – past, present and future – express your interest by sending a CV and cover letter to 

Top Students Going For Aussie Gold In International Olympiads

19 June 2017: Media Release - Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science

Today I congratulated 27 of Australia’s top students as they prepare to compete in the 2017 International Science, Mathematics and Informatics Olympiads.

I was delighted to present the students with their team blazers ahead of the six Olympiad competitions taking place in July and August in locations around the world.

The Olympiads are the Olympic Games of science, mathematics and informatics and these young academic athletes have rigorously studied and trained through practice exams, field trips and intensive summer schools.

I acknowledge the support and encouragement of their parents, teachers and mentors throughout these preparations.

The secondary students from 18 schools will compete in practical and theory exams in physics, biology, chemistry, earth science, mathematics or informatics.

This experience will not only develop their STEM knowledge but also sharpen their skills in observation, critical thinking, creativity, communication, and teamwork that will provide a fantastic foundation for future study and careers in any field.

The Australian Government, through the National Innovation and Science Agenda, is working to ensure we have a strong pipeline of young people entering the workforce with these skills, which are increasingly required for the jobs of the future.

The Agenda also underpins the government’s vision for an Australian economy driven by innovation and a society engaged in and enriched by science.

I hope this will see us celebrate and support our science Olympians just as enthusiastically as we do our sporting Olympians as they strive for Aussie gold.

I wish the 2017 teams the very best of luck.

Upward Trend In Girls Making The Australian Science Olympiads Team

Girls bust gender stereotypes by making up nearly half of the science teams
Teams announcement at Parliament House, Canberra, 19 June 2017
Seventeen of Australia’s best student biologists, chemists, physicists and Earth scientists have made the teams to represent Australia at the UNESCO-sanctioned International Science Olympiads in July and August. They will compete in the world’s toughest science competitions against some of the smartest kids in the world.

Almost half of the science students (47%) putting their skills to the test for Australia this year are girls – equalling 2015’s highest representation of girls since Australia first began competing.

Three of the girls who have won places on the 2017 International Science Olympiads teams decided to try out after participating inCurious Mindsa national academic and mentoring program to empower Year 8 and 9 girls’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), funded by the Federal Government and jointly run by Australian Science Innovations (ASI) and the Australian Mathematics Trust.

“It is encouraging to see that early mentoring of highly capable female students during the Curious Minds program has helped inspire them to participate and succeed in the competitive national selection process for the International Science Olympiads. By bringing girls and mentors together the program helps counter the common stereotypes that STEM is not for girls,” says ASI’s Executive Director Ruth Carr.

The Year 11 and 12 students picked to compete this year represent 12 schools from NSW, VIC, QLD and the ACT. They have spent a year in exams and intensive training to make the cut. They outperformed 5,015 other students from more than 300 schools in the qualifying exams, making a shortlist of 93 to attend a two-week summer school at the Australian National University in preparation for the Olympiads.

The students will test their skills against the world’s best in competitions taking place in England (Biology), Thailand (Chemistry), France (Earth Science) and Indonesia (Physics).

“It’s an honour to represent Australia and I look forward to applying the knowledge I’ve learned so far in this program and gaining new skills as I compete against some of the world’s best physics students,” says Claire Yung from Narrabundah College in Canberra, who will compete at the 2017 Physics Olympiad.

“The Australian Science Olympiads program is future-proofing Australia’s pipeline of problem-solvers, innovators and game changers. It captures the attention of high-achieving students at a critical stage, exposing them to advanced learning at an international level.  For most, it marks the beginning of a successful future in STEM,” says Professor Ian Chubb, former Chief Scientist and Patron of Australian Science Innovations.

Students wanting to challenge themselves at next year’s International Science Olympiads can register for the Australian Science Olympiad Exams by 19 July at

The Australian team members for the International Science Olympiads are:
International Biology Olympiad
20 to 23 July, Coventry, England
Angus Cramond         Year 12 Balwyn High School                               VIC
Katherine Johnson Year 12 North Sydney Girls High School               NSW
Anne Pham                 Year 12 Balwyn High School                               VIC
Anna Sing                  Year 12 The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School    VIC

International Chemistry Olympiad
6 to 15 July, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
Ada Fang           Year 12             Sydney Girls High School                         NSW
Ivan Hou                   Year 12             James Ruse Agricultural High School NSW
Brandon Lee           Year 12             Sydney Grammar School                         NSW
Dylan Siow-Lee   Year 12             Sydney Grammar School                         NSW

International Physics Olympiad
16 to 24 July, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Bentley Carr         Year 12 Sydney Grammar School                         NSW
Steven Liu         Year 12 James Ruse Agricultural High School NSW
Yuyu Ma                 Year 12 James Ruse Agricultural High School NSW
Nishka Tapaswi Year 12 Hornsby Girls’ High School                         NSW
Claire Yung         Year 12 Narrabundah College                                 ACT

International Earth Science Olympiad
22 to 29 August, Côte d’Azur, France
Jemima Jeffree Year 11 Indooroopilly State High School QLD
Joshua Lee         Year 12 Barker College NSW
YiJie Neo         Year 12 John Monash Science School VIC
Chen Zhou         Year 12 North Sydney Boys High School NSW

Learn more about the Australian Science Olympiad Competition at:

Seclusion, Restraint And Observation Review Open For Public Submissions

22 June 2017: Media Release - Minister for Mental Health, The Hon. Tanya Davies
The public are invited to share their experiences of mental health care at NSW Health facilities, as part of the review into seclusion, restraint and observation practices.

Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said the review, led by NSW Chief Psychiatrist Dr Murray Wright, is now open for written submissions, and soon community consultation would begin across Sydney and several regional locations.

“We want to hear about the personal experiences of current and former patients living with mental illness, from their families, their carers, mental health workers and other members of the community,” Mrs Davies said.

“I recognise people want to be heard and I cannot stress enough how vitally important their experiences are to this review.”

Community consultations will take place in Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, Orange, Queanbeyan, Sydney, Wagga Wagga, Western Sydney and Wollongong.

Mrs Davies said the exact dates and venues for community consultations will be published on the NSW Health website soon.

“An independent expert panel, led by Dr Wright, will use all the information gathered to examine legislation, policy, clinical governance and practice standards, as well as make recommendations to support staff and implement change,” Mrs Davies said.

Written submissions can be made via post or email.
For more information, to lodge a submission or express interest in the community consultations visit 

For concerns related to other aspects of the NSW mental health system, members of the public are invited to contribute to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Management of Health Care Delivery in NSW via the Parliament of NSW website or contact

Researchers Discover Rare Disease In Australia

21 June 2017: University of Sydney
A rare infectious disease has been found in Sydney
A rare infectious disease thought to be non-existent in the southern hemisphere has been discovered in Australia by researchers from the University of Sydney.

Tularemia is a highly infectious and potentially deadly disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis that affects humans and animals. It has been endemic to North America and Eurasia for centuries but was thought to be non-existent in the southern hemisphere.

However, researchers have found the disease to exist in wild ringtail possum populations in Sydney as part of an investigation of unexplained animal die offs in collaboration with the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health at Taronga Conservation Society Australia, and also following two human cases of tularemia in Tasmania in 2011. This discovery was enabled by the innovative application of new genomic techniques and bioinformatics methods established by the University of Sydney researchers.

Co-author of the report published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Dr John-Sebastian Eden from the Faculty of Science says the disease can be deadly if left untreated.

“Tularemia is an infectious disease that needs to be treated. If an infected person doesn’t seek treatment then the disease could become deadly. With that being said, appropriate antibiotics can target the disease effectively so it’s important we identify any cases.”

“The main concern is that the disease is particularly potent when inhaled; it settles in the lungs which makes treatment more difficult,” he says.

Associate Professor Vitali Sintchenko from Sydney Medical School says there are three ways the infection can develop and each may lead to different clinical symptoms.

“The development of Tularemia can take several forms. For example, the ulceroglandular form can occur from a bite by an infected animal or tick and the bite site will become painful followed by the nearby lymph nodes becoming inflamed and enlarged in size.

“Another form is oropharyngeal which can develop after drinking contaminated water. This form is characterised by abdominal pain, vomiting and inflammation of the throat. The third form is pneumonic, which develops after inhalation of aerosols infected with Francisella tularensis and it can lead to severe pneumonia. In many cases up to a third of patients with severe disease may die if this uncommon infection is not recognized and treated,” he says.

Associate Professor Sintchenko adds that there is no risk of the infection being transferred from a person with the disease to other humans, and the appropriate antibiotics, prescribed once the diagnosis is confirmed by accredited laboratory tests, reduce the duration of symptoms and risks of complications.

“Infection in humans is the end stage for the pathogen. The disease is transferred from infected animals to humans by direct exposure or through vectors, i.e. tick bites,” he says.

Typically the disease is carried by a wide range of animal hosts but has been most prevalent in wildlife such as rabbits and rodents. In Australia the disease has been found to be carried by ringtail possums and transmitted to humans by bites or scratches.

“The cases we have seen have all been related to ringtail possums. However, in countries such as the US where the disease is endemic it’s also carried by mosquitoes and ticks. The majority of reported cases in the States is from people who have been infected due to a tick bite,” says Dr Eden.

Tularemia is mainly contracted through direct exposure to infected animals during hunting as well as through biting insects such as ticks and mosquitoes while waterborne and environmental sources have also been reported.

Dr Eden says that a commonsense approach to animals and animal bites will often be enough to prevent or treat the infection.

“If you do get bitten or scratched and the site of this bite is painful and infected go to your doctor immediately. A simple course of antibiotics should prevent a Tularemia infection setting in. Possums are nocturnal so if you see one that’s active in the day then there is a good chance it may be sick.

“My advice would be to stay away from any animal that appears to be sick or injured as their general response will be to attempt to bite or scratch, and call an animal services body such as Animal Health Australia to handle it. If you must handle wildlife, wear gloves and make sure the animal is well restrained.”

“This research also indicates that clinicians should be aware of Tularemia and for the disease to be considered when treating systemic infections following insect and animal bites.”

More information on Tularemia can be found here.

Specialist Care For Veterans And Their Families

June 20, 2017: NSW Government
Australia’s first comprehensive care centre for returned servicemen and women will help veterans with mental health and wellbeing, drug and alcohol support, specialist pain management services, and rehabilitation services.

The new Defence Force Centre of Excellence is part of the NSW Government’s upgrade of Sydney’s Concord Hospital.

Specialist services for veterans and their families at the new Defence Force Centre of Excellence include:
  • substance and alcohol misuse programs
  • mild traumatic brain injury services
  • specialist pain management services
  • rehabilitation services
  • psychological wellbeing services
  • family support services. 
The Concord Hospital upgrade will also include:
  • a new comprehensive cancer centre
  • enhancement and co-location of the ANZAC clinical research centre
  • additional inpatient capacity
  • enhanced ambulatory services
  • new ward accommodation for aged care, psychogeriatric and rehabilitation services
  • associated rehabilitation facilities such as gymnasiums
The upgrades will be funded by $341 million in the 2017-18 NSW Budget.

Early and enabling works are due to begin in the second half of 2017.

Work will be managed carefully and in a staged way to minimise disruption to patients and staff and keep the hospital operating during construction.

Exhausted Immune Cells Linked To Irritable Bowel Syndrome

June 20, 2017: University of Adelaide
Researchers have for the first time discovered that a specific type of irritable bowel syndrome is associated with exhaustion of the immune system in patients.

The discovery has been made by a team led by Dr Patrick Hughes, Senior Lecturer with the Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, and a member of the Nutrition & Metabolism theme, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Now published in the international journal Gut, the research focused on a small sample of patients with various types of irritable bowel disease, and, for the first time, followed them for a year comparing blood samples when patients experienced symptoms to when they were symptom free.

All patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) were found to have the same kind of exhaustion in their T-cells.

"For the first time, we've discovered that in patients with irritable bowel syndrome associated with diarrhea, their T-cells seem to be 'out of puff' or run down," Dr Hughes says.

"These normally active immune cells are less responsive to stimulation, secreting fewer mediators and dividing less. This type of response is often observed in chronic infections.

"This is an important discovery, particularly as it helps to further distinguish between the different types of irritable bowel syndrome. This may eventually help us to better understand how to diagnose and treat the disease," he says.

Dr Hughes says there is much research into IBS to show its links with stress, and it is known that cortisol and stress hormones can inhibit the immune system. But until now, such T-cell exhaustion had not been described in IBS-D patients.

"Irritable bowel syndrome takes a real toll on patients," Dr Hughes says. "It can affect people in the prime of their lives, it's a chronic disease that can last a long time, and the treatments currently available are poor.

"Anything we can do to better understand the disease and to help reduce its debilitating effects on patients will be welcome," he says.

Chris Mavrangelos, Melissa A Campaniello, Jane M Andrews, Peter A Bampton, Patrick A Hughes. Longitudinal analysis indicates symptom severity influences immune profile in irritable bowel syndrome. Gut, 2017; gutjnl-2017-314308 DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2017-314308

Community Awareness Grants To Help Boost Registration Of Organ Donation Decisions

19 June 2017: Media Release - The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP
Minister for Aged Care
Minister for Indigenous Health

The Australian Government today awarded $430,000 in Community Awareness Grants to encourage more people to join the Australian Organ Donor Register online and to discuss their donation decision with family and friends. 

The Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, said the Community Awareness Grants will support 16 national and local community-based projects aimed at increasing the number of registered organ and tissue donors in Australia. 

Ten of the winning projects will have activities during DonateLife Week 2017 (Sunday 30 July – Sunday 6 August) ranging from targeted engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and multicultural audiences through to local sporting and community events. 

“During DonateLife Week Australians will be asked to make their decision count by registering to save lives on the Australian Organ Donor Register,” Minister Wyatt said. 

“Another six projects will further encourage registration of donation decisions, including a presence at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in March 2018 and a suite of Auslan online resources for Australians who are deaf or hard of hearing.” 

Minister Wyatt said experience has shown that registration of donation decisions directly influences consent rates, with nine in 10 families agreeing to donation proceeding when their loved one is a registered donor. 

“In the first five months of this year, 211 deceased organ donors and their families have generously saved and transformed the lives of 582 people. At any one time, around 1,400 Australians are waiting for a life-saving transplant,” he said. 

“In 2016 a record number 1,713 lives were saved through the generosity of 503 deceased organ donors and their families and 267 living donors. More than 9,000 Australian lives were transformed through the gift of eye and tissue donation.”

The Community Awareness Grants are administered by the Organ and Tissue Authority as part of its Community Awareness and Education program. The register can be accessed at the DonateLife website.

To view the list of the 16 successful Community Awareness Grants recipients visit the DonateLife website.

Government Delivers On Major Bank Levy

June 20, 2017: Media Release - The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia
The Turnbull Government last night successfully passed legislation through the Parliament which will give effect to the Major Bank Levy from 1 July this year, as promised in the 2017 Budget.

This levy will ensure that Australia’s largest banks make an appropriate additional contribution to the Australian community, in recognition of the unique position and advantage they hold within the Australian banking and financial system.

It is legislated at a rate of 6 basis points – or 6 cents for every $100 of specified liabilities – and applies only to the big 4 banks and Macquarie Bank, which currently have liabilities greater than $100 billion.

Importantly, Treasury estimate the levy will raise around $6.2 billion in revenue over four years.

By reducing Australia’s largest banks’ funding cost advantages, the levy will also contribute to a more level playing field for smaller banks and non-bank competitors.

Both by domestic and international standards, the major banks are very profitable and the cost of the levy represents a small share (estimated at around 4 per cent) of profits.

They can choose to absorb the cost of the levy, in the same way that small businesses and families often have to absorb increased costs.

Implementation of the levy is not an excuse for applicable banks to increase costs for customers and the Government has directed the ACCC to undertake an inquiry into residential mortgage pricing. The consumer watchdog will be able to use its information-gathering powers to obtain and scrutinise documents from any bank affected by the levy and to report publicly on its findings.

Deposits protected by the Financial Claims Scheme (applying to protected deposit accounts of up to $250,000 per account-holder, per ADI) are not affected by the levy, nor are additional Tier 1 capital (held by the banks to help meet capital requirements which protect the stability of the financial system) or a banking group’s non-bank businesses - insurance and superannuation.

The levy will complement prudential reforms being implemented by the Government and APRA to improve the resilience of our financial system.

Passage of the Major Bank Levy legislation demonstrates that the Turnbull Government is getting on with the job of delivering its 2017 Budget, which made the right choices to secure better days ahead for Australians.

ESafety Commissioner To Enhance Online Safety For All Australians

20 June 2017: Joint Media Release - 
Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister For Communications
Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Women

The Turnbull Government will enhance online safety for all Australians and provide clarity for reporting online safety issues following the passage of the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Amendment Bill 2017.

The bill will rename the eSafety Commissioner, previously known as the Children's eSafety Commissioner, allowing it to take responsibility for the online safety of all Australians.

The eSafety Commissioner will be tasked with delivering the Government's commitments to improve the digital confidence and skills of senior Australians, and establish a national online complaints mechanism where victims can report cases of intimate photos or videos being posted without consent (i.e. “image-based abuse”) and access support.

The changes will make it easier for the public to identify where they can seek assistance and advice on a range of online safety issues, including additional guidance for vulnerable Australian communities.

In addition, the Government is currently seeking feedback on implementing civil penalties for the non-consensual sharing of intimate images.

Submissions can be made through the Department of Communications and the Arts' ‘Have your say' website.

Since its establishment by the Turnbull Government in 2015, the eSafety Commissioner has:
  • Resolved more than 450 serious cyberbullying complaints;
  • Conducted over 19,000 investigations into illegal or offensive online content;
  • Educated more than 217,000 people via Virtual Classrooms and face-to-face presentations;
  • Launched its youth-focussed initiative ‘Rewrite Your Story', helping to raise awareness about its cyberbullying reporting function; and
  • Launched the eSafetyWomen site with resources and advice for women, and provided training to over 2,000 frontline professionals across every state and territory to help women
The new laws passed today will build on this success, and ensure that the eSafety Commissioner can enhance online safety for all Australians.

The amendments only relate to the general functions of the commissioner and do not relate to the cyberbullying complaints scheme, which addresses material that is targeted at Australian children.

For more information about the eSafety Commissioner

Extra Funding For Prevention Initiatives To Help Stop Violence Before It Happens

19 June 2017 - Joint Media Release with: Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter and Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment , Minister for Women
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
The Turnbull Government is providing an extra $13.8 million to Our Watch to fund a range of important initiatives to help stop violence before it happens.

Stopping violence before it happens is one of the national priority areas for action under the $100 million Third Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said Our Watch will deliver the initiatives as part of their role to drive cultural change within Australia.

“Our Watch is the lead organisation in Australia driving nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children,” he said.

“The Turnbull Government and Our Watch will continue their longstanding partnership to stop violence against women before it occurs, with this new $13.8 million contract.”

Funding includes:
  • $3.3 million to help people take appropriate action to prevent violence against women and their children. 
  • $1.3 million to develop resources to raise awareness on the non-physical forms of violence, and the indicators that identify them.
  • $200,000 to collaborate with Indigenous stakeholders, and develop a companion guide for Change the Story, a shared framework to address the causes of violence against women and their children in Australia.
  • $3 million to deliver an evidence-based community awareness initiative to understand and counter the impact of pervasive pornography on young people, including image-based abuse.
  • $4.5 million to extend The Line campaign  to target diverse groups of young people.
  • $1.5 million to work with the media to positively influence the way they report on and engage with victims of domestic, family and sexual violence.
Minister for Women, Senator Michaelia Cash, said this work will build on the highly successful Stop it at the Start campaign, launched by the Turnbull Government in 2016 which is part of vital long-term work to change social norms around disrespect and gender equality.

“The programs and initiatives funded by the Australian Government and delivered by Our Watch will build on the significant progress already made to reduce violence against women and their children,” Minister Cash said.

“Violence against women begins with disrespect.

“The Australian Government has invested in primary prevention activities that will address the attitudes and behaviours that excuse, justify and promote violence against women and their children.”

Visit for more information on the Third Action Plan.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 000. For sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling services call1800RESPECT  on 1800 737 732 or visit

Humanitarian Assistance To Afghanistan And Pakistan

20 June 2017: Media release - Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Today on World Refugee Day I announce that the Australian Government will provide humanitarian assistance to support Afghan refugees in Pakistan, people returning to Afghanistan from neighbouring countries, and Afghan people who have been displaced by conflict.

The United Nations estimates over 3.3 million Afghan people are currently displaced across Afghanistan and Pakistan. Additionally, since January 2016 over 1.1 million people have returned to Afghanistan from neighbouring countries. Many returnees are in urgent need of assistance with resettlement and reintegration.

Australia’s assistance of $15 million will provide vital protection services, healthcare and nutrition to Afghan refugees in Pakistan, people returning from neighbouring countries, people displaced by conflict and host communities in Pakistan. It will focus on protecting the most vulnerable, including women and children and people with disabilities.

Our assistance in Afghanistan and Pakistan will be provided through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UN Children’s Fund, International Organisation for Migration, and the UN Population Fund.

The number of refugees and displaced people globally is the highest it has been since World War II. Australia continues to play its part resettling refugees from Afghanistan and other countries, and providing humanitarian aid overseas to assist refugees and their host communities.

Humanitarian Response To Conflict In Mindanao

20 June 2017: Media release - Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Today I announce that the Australian Government is providing humanitarian assistance to civilians displaced by the conflict in Marawi City in the southern Philippines.

The Australian Government is providing food and other supplies valued at $920,000 to help meet the urgent needs of more than 320,000 displaced people.  

Our support includes the provision of tarpaulins, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, and water and sanitation kits through the Philippine Red Cross to assist 1000 displaced families. 

We are providing over 500 tonnes of pre-positioned rice through the World Food Programme, which will help feed 60,000 children over the next three months.

We are also providing hygiene items, torches and whistles for protection, sanitary supplies and clothes, and clean birthing kits through the United Nations Population Fund, to assist over 6,400 women and girls.

This assistance is in addition to the package of support for the peace process and education in Mindanao that I announced when I visited in March 2017.

The Government is committed to supporting the peace process and development in Mindanao, which are critical for a strong and stable Philippines.

The Australian Government continues to work with the Philippine Government to combat terrorism in our region.

Small Businesses Encouraged To Claim Instant Asset Write-Off

June 20, 2017: Media Release - ASBFEO
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has encouraged small business operators to take advantage of the Government’s instant asset write-off extension.

More businesses are now eligible to buy equipment (new or second hand) up to $20,000 and write it off immediately after legislation passed the Senate. Multiple claims can be made under the program.

Small business has also been redefined for tax purposes as having a turnover less than $10 million, up from $2 million.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell welcomed the changes.

“The instant asset write-off program enables small business to immediately deduct assets costing less than $20,000 instead of claiming deductions over a number of years,” she said.

“This is a welcome incentive for small business to invest, which provides benefits for the broader economy and employment.”

Ms Carnell said anecdotal evidence suggested only a small proportion of eligible businesses were taking advantage of the opportunity.

“I encourage small business operators to invest before June 30 and claim the tax deduction,” she said.

Assets that cost $20,000 or more can't be immediately deducted.

Ms Carnell said small businesses in some industries would generally require assets above the $20,000 threshold.

“Effectively, this means that some industries are disadvantaged,” she said.

“It makes more sense for the threshold to be raised so that all businesses can benefit, upgrade their assets and continue to grow to benefit the economy.

“I will continue to urge the Government to lift the $20,000 threshold because for some industries, like farming, it’s too low for them to purchase equipment.”

For more information visit

Securing Our Energy Future

20 June 2017: Joint media release with the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Senator the Hon Matt Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia and the Minister for the Environment and Energy, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP

The Turnbull Government is taking immediate action to put downward pressure on power prices and ensure reliable energy for all Australians. 

Every decision we make in the energy sector is designed to ease pressure on household bills and make businesses more competitive. 

Today, the Turnbull Government agreed to:
  • Finalise tough new regulations in the gas sector to give Australian customers priority access to gas supply before it is exported. This will commence on July 1.
  • Strengthen the Australian Energy Regulator by providing it with an additional $67.4 million to stop energy network companies gaming the system and overturning rulings in the courts.
  • Ask AEMO how to ensure that new continuous dispatchable power is provided, including what support is needed to promote new investment.
This decisive action puts the needs of Australian families and businesses first. Our priority is to ensure all Australians have access to reliable and affordable energy supplies. 

The finalisation of our tough gas regulations will increase supply to the domestic market, putting downward pressure on gas prices which have risen because of supply shortfalls.  

We simply cannot allow Australians to pay more for Australian gas than competitors overseas do. 

Restrictions will be placed on gas exporters when there are shortages in the domestic market. 

The Turnbull Government will also take immediate action to address escalating electricity prices.

We will stop big electricity companies from running to the courts to try to overturn the Australian Energy Regulator’s decisions. Companies have made 52 appeals and the courts have ruled against consumers 31 times. This will end.

To back this, we will strengthen the Regulator by providing it with an additional $67.4 million to ensure it is fully equipped to address behaviour in the market that is pushing up electricity prices.  

Baseload power anchors our electricity system. Continuous generation underpins our household and economic security. With a significant amount of baseload generation being phased out over the next 15 years, we need to ensure we are prepared and have enough power to meet future needs. 

We will ask the responsible market body, the Australian Energy Market Operator, to:
  • identify the existing and potential loss of continuous, dispatchable (baseload) generation;
  • talk to suppliers and customers, particularly large-scale emissions intensive industrial users, about what they need to secure future investment; and
  • examine how much continuous power is needed in the short term to stabilise power prices.
On the back of the identified need, we will ask AEMO how best to ensure the new continuous dispatchable power is provided, optimising affordability and security for consumers, including what if any support, including support from Governments if new investment is needed.  

At an emergency COAG Energy Council meeting last year, following South Australia’s state-wide blackout, the Chief Scientist was tasked with developing a long term blueprint for the future security of the national electricity market.

The Chief Scientist's report was provided to COAG on 9 June. We are continuing to examine his report with the care it deserves.  

The Commonwealth will progress the recommendations of the Chief Scientist, through the COAG Energy Council, which focus on enhanced security, stability, transparency and governance of the energy system and will continue further to consider and analyse the Clean Energy Target.

Announcement Of The 2017 Australian Invictus Games Team

21 June 2017 - The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
It is an honour to announce the Australian team for the 2017 Invictus Games.

The Invictus Games is an international, adaptive multi-sports competition for current and former military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill in service.

Forty-three current and former military personnel have been selected to represent Australia at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada from 23-30 September.

More than 550 athletes from up to 17 nations are expected to compete in the games’ individual and team sports, including swimming, archery, cycling, track and field, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis, powerlifting, golf and indoor rowing.

As a nation we honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women who defend our freedoms and values.

And we respect the courage and determination of these Australian athletes who have trained, practiced and overcome adversity to reach an elite level of their sport.

Every Australian will be cheering on our team to succeed when they compete in Canada.

The 2017 Australian Invictus Games team is: Peter Arbuckle, PO Latisha Baker, David Bretherton, Chris Clarke, PTE Danielle Close, Mick Collins, Tyrone Gawthorne, Michaela Gilewicz, LCPL Samantha Gould, Tim Grover, Craig Hancock, SQNLDR Danny Jeffery, Jason Jinks, CPL Heidi Joosten, CAPT Emma Kadziolka, SIG Kristin Lane, Shaun Lawler, Michael Lyddiard, Scott Maclean, SGT Graeme Marshall, PO Ian McCracken, SQNLDR Paul McGinty, SPR Curtis McGrath, Jason McNulty, David Neagle, CPL Sonya Newman, PLTOFF Nathan Parker, Daniel Parker, PTE Christopher Rapson, LAC Wade Roberts, LACW Melissa Roberts, Garry Robinson, Darren Robinson, SGT Peter Rudland, Stewart Sherman, Sarah Sliwka, Tony Sten, Jamie Tanner, Richard Wassell, Sarah Watson, LCPL Gary Wilson, Jeff Wright, Donna Young.

Team biographies are online at

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Returned and Services League (RSL) are supporting a combined team to compete at the games. The athletes will be supported by dedicated coaches and a full medical and management team.

Fake Building Blocks Hide Real Biosecurity Risks

June 21, 2017: Australian Border Force (ABF) - This is a joint media release with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Authorities from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) and the Australian Border Force (ABF) have intercepted 50 turtles and lizards, concealed in an international mail consignment from Indonesia on 9 June 2017.

The package, declared as ‘toys’, was x-rayed by ABF officers in Sydney where anomalies were found. Biosecurity officers were swiftly alerted, who confirmed that 50 turtles and lizards were concealed among the toy blocks.

Head of biosecurity operations at DAWR, Nico Padovan, said vets secured the contraband and the animals were euthanised.

“People sending lizards and turtles through the mail have no concern for the welfare of the animals or the potential biosecurity risk they present to our country and people,” Mr Padovan said.

“Importing turtles and lizards without an import permit is not only breaking the law, but it puts human health and the health of our environmental ecosystems at risk.

“It is one of the reason why the Biosecurity Act 2015 was introduced; to provide essential protection for our $59 billion agricultural industries, natural environment and the health of Australian people, animals and plants.

“It is an ongoing battle, but with the latest technology available we will catch those who do the wrong thing.”

ABF Regional Commander New South Wales, Tim Fitzgerald, said this detection is a great example of Australia’s border security processes.

“Australian Border Force Officers at the International Mail Centre in Sydney have done an outstanding job in identifying and examining a high risk package being imported from Indonesia, where numerous turtles and lizards were cruelly concealed in building blocks,” Commander Fitzgerald said.   

Mr Padovan said biosecurity was not just about stopping things at the border.

“We work offshore to reduce the likelihood pests and diseases make it to Australia, at the border to stop them when they do, and onshore to detect and eradicate pests and diseases that make it here,” Mr Padovan said.

“In 2015-16 around 138 million international mail articles were sent to Australia, with 19 million international travellers coming through Australian airports.

“Managing Australia’s biosecurity system is a big job.

“We need people to do the right thing and not bring or send things to Australia that could result in pests of diseases getting here.

“That way we can concentrate our efforts on those who intentionally try to thwart our systems.”

For information about what can and can’t be sent to Australia go to

The turtle and lizard importation matter is still under investigation.

In text: one of the concealed turtles.

Commission Welcomes New President

Tuesday 20 June 2017
The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomes the appointment of a new President to replace Professor Gillian Triggs, who departs at the end of July after a five-year term.

The Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC today announced Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM will be the Commission’s next President.

Professor Croucher has been with the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) for more than 10 years, almost eight of those as President.

During this time, Professor Croucher has led nine law reform inquiries, including inquiries on Client Legal Privilege, Secrecy Laws, Family Violence, Discovery, Age Barriers, Disability Laws and Freedoms. She recently completed the Elder Abuse Inquiry.

Professor Croucher has had a distinguished career in legal education prior to joining the ALRC, with 25 years in university teaching and management. This included working as Dean of Law at Macquarie University and Acting Dean of Law at Sydney University. 

She has lectured and published extensively, was made a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law in 2007, and received a Member of the Order of Australia in 2015 for “significant service to the law as an academic, to legal reform and education, to professional development, and to the arts”.

All Commissioners and staff look forward to working with the new President.

Professor Croucher will begin her seven-year term on July 30, 2017.

Top Honour For Geoscience Australia Geophysicist Richard Lane

19 June 2017
The 2017 Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (ASEG) Gold Medal has been awarded to Geoscience Australia geophysicist Richard Lane.

This prestigious honour has only been awarded eight times since the Society was founded in 1970. Richard is the ninth recipient and his recognition is for "exceptional and highly significant distinguished contributions to the science and practice of geophysics by a member, resulting in wide recognition within the geoscientific community".

Richard is widely recognised throughout the global geophysical community for his keen intellect and insight into geophysical methods in both mining and petroleum, and his frequent contributions at conferences both in Australia and overseas. His current role at Geoscience Australia allows him to share his knowledge widely to improve the science of exploration for Australia's hidden minerals and energy resources.

He first joined Geoscience Australia in 2001 following a distinguished career in industry and academia. Richard's expertise is wide ranging and includes the airborne electromagnetic technique, 3D inversion and modelling of magnetics and gravity as well airborne gravity and gravity gradiometry. These fields are areas of technical strength in Geoscience Australia; with much of this capability due to Richard's endeavours.

Richard was instrumental in the development of the Geomodeller 3D geological modelling package and in establishing a national rock properties database to inform regional modelling studies. He has organised numerous pertinent and timely seminars as well as mentoring many younger scientists and graduates in the application of numerical methods for geoscientific problems.

He has previously received a Geoscience Australia Individual Award for Achieving Results in Geoscience in 2004, and a Sir Harold Raggatt Award as a Distinguished Geoscience Australia Lecturer in 2004.

To read more about this well-deserved recognition for Richard, visit theASEG Honours and Awards webpage.

New Colombo Plan

19 June 2017: Media release - Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Today I announce a second term for the New Colombo Plan Reference Group, in order to build on the remarkable achievements of the New Colombo Plan.

In its first four years, the New Colombo Plan has supported more than 17,500 Australian undergraduates from 40 Australian universities to live, study and intern in 35 locations in the Indo-Pacific region. It is a crucial element of the Government's long-term plan to build closer relations in our region and a fundamental pillar of our foreign policy engagement.

The New Colombo Plan Reference Group was established in 2014 to provide strategic advice on the implementation of the New Colombo Plan. In its second term, the group will focus on fostering the diversity of students participating in the New Colombo Plan, strengthening links to business, and maintaining the connection between the alumni community and the region.

I have appointed three new representatives to the group and reappointed 11 existing members, who will help to steer the program through its next phase:
  • Professor Steve Larkin, University of Newcastle Pro-Vice Chancellor for Indigenous Education and Research, is the group's first Indigenous representative. He will provide expert guidance to encourage diversity and Indigenous student participation in the program.
  • Mr Doug Ferguson is a New Colombo Plan Business Champion and KPMG Australia Partner in Charge for Asia and International Markets and Deals. He is a long-standing advocate of students undertaking regional placements, and will provide an important private-sector perspective.
  • Ms Emily Forsyth, New Colombo Plan Alumna and University of Tasmania graduate, will add a valuable voice on priorities for the New Colombo Plan alumni program as it becomes an increasingly influential community connected to the region.
I thank outgoing members, Ms Kate Carnell and Mr Tom Williams, for their service on the New Colombo Plan Reference Group since 2014.

Seeking Nominations From Veterans Of Milne Bay And Kokoda And The Beachheads

19 June 2017 - The Hon Dan Tehan MP 
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security 
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan has encouraged veterans to nominate to receive support to attend the commemorations of the Battles of Milne Bay and Kokoda and the Beachheads to be held in Canberra later this year.

Mr Tehan said the Government would arrange return travel and accommodation for eligible veterans and an accompanying carer from their home location to attend the commemorations at the Australian War Memorial.

Nominations are open to Australian veterans who served in Milne Bay between 25 August and 7 September 1942 to attend the 75th anniversary commemoration in Canberra on Friday 25 August 2017.

Nominations are also open to Australian veterans who served on the Kokoda Track and in the battles for the beachheads at Buna, Gona and Sanananda between 22 July and January 1943 to attend the 75th anniversary commemoration in Canberra on 2 November 2017.

Veterans who served in both theatres of war are welcome to apply to attend both commemorations. Nominations will close on 23 June.

Details about the commemorations in Canberra and the nomination process are available on the DVA Website. Alternatively, contact DVA on 02 6289 6057 during business hours.

“We will honour the service and sacrifice of the Australians who served at the Battles of Milne Bay and Kokoda and the Beachheads,” Mr Tehan said.

“The veterans of these engagements are central to these commemorations so I encourage eligible veterans to nominate for support to attend these services.”

Senior Members Of Veterans’ Review Board Reappointed

19 June 2017 - The Hon Dan Tehan MP 
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security 
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today announced that the Governor-General had reappointed four Senior Members of the Veterans’ Review Board (VRB).

The four members are Colonel Evan Carlin, Colonel Craig McConaghy SC, Dr Peter Salu and Group Captain Anne Trengove.

The VRB is an independent tribunal that exists to review certain decisions made by the Repatriation Commission under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and certain determinations under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 made by the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission and the three Service Chiefs.

“All four members have made an outstanding contribution to the VRB and to the welfare of veterans,” Mr Tehan said.

“The Board plays a vital role in ensuring veterans receive all the benefits and payments to which they are entitled.

“I congratulate all the appointees and look forward to their continuing contribution to the VRB.”

Senior Members of the VRB are lawyers or professionals who preside over hearings, usually on a part-time basis. All four members were originally appointed to the VRB on 4 August 2014, under subsection 158 (1) of the VEA.

The biographies of the appointees are available on the VRB website

10 Year Agricultural Sciences Plan Brings Innovation To The Farmgate

20 June 2017: Media Release - Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon. Luke Hartsuyke

Farmers, regional communities and Australian consumers will all benefit from an Australian Academy of Science plan for research and development across the agriculture sector over the coming decade.

Launching the Decadal Plan for Australian Agricultural Sciences 2017–26 at Parliament House today, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said the plan provided an analysis of where the future of our national investment in agricultural science and innovation will best be placed.

"Embracing new ideas in innovation, science and research will drive the next age of agricultural prosperity in this country," Minister Hartsuyker said. 

"From innovation in genomics, technology and big data, to chemistry, climate and metabolic engineering, this plan identifies the huge opportunities open to Australian agriculture over the coming decade.

"It is a plan that complements an ever-increasing focus on the ways that cross-disciplinary research in all areas of the economy comes to bear on the future of rural and regional Australia.

"In short, this plan informs the development of the Australian Government's continued investment in the science, innovation and R&D—an investment that will be vital to the future success of all of our agricultural industries."

Minister Hartsuyker said that the Australian Government already invested around $700 million in rural R&D each year.

"Technology and innovation has increased the productivity of Australian agriculture in a number of ways, in​cluding new crop varieties, selective animal breeding and precision agriculture techniques," Minister Hartsuyker said.

"That is why the Australian Government developed new rural research, development and extension priorities as part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

"The priorities are all key drivers of increased productivity in agriculture, fisheries and forestry—including a stronger focus on advanced technology; biosecurity; soil, water and management of natural resources; and adoption of research outcomes.

"These priorities are entirely consistent with those identified in the Decadal Plan for Australian Agricultural Sciences.

"Together, we are working towards a more profitable, more resilient and more sustainable agriculture sector."

The Decadal Plan for Australian Agricultural Sciences 2017-26 was developed using a $474,000 Australian Government grant in 2014-15 under the Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects scheme administered by the Australian Research Council.

National Heritage List Assessments For Finniss Springs Mission, SA And Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve, VIC

19 June 2017: Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
The Turnbull Government has asked the Australian Heritage Council to conduct National Heritage assessments of Finniss Springs mission and pastoral station in South Australia and the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve and environs in Victoria.

Together these places make up the Council’s National Heritage Finalised Priority Assessment List for 2017-18.

As part of its assessment the Council will seek feedback from the public, stakeholders and all affected people with rights or interests, including owners, occupiers and Indigenous people.

Consultation is an important part of the assessment process to help identify outstanding National Heritage values and stories associated with places.

The Finniss Springs mission and pastoral station located west of Marree, South Australia has Aboriginal traditions for Arabanna, Kuyani and Wangkangurru, and was a mission in the 1940s and 1950s.

The mound spring formations support biological diversity and relict plant species such as saw sedge (Gahnia species) and bare twig rush (Baumea juncea).

The Point Lonsdale lighthouse has navigational aids and defence structures associated with the first and second World Wars. The site was first used in the mid-ninteenth century to help guide the safe entry of shipping into Port Phillip for the Victorian colony.

The National Heritage List recognises our most significant Indigenous, natural and historic heritage sites. 

There are currently 110 places in the list reflecting the stories of our shared experience on this ancient continent, showcasing our struggles, achievements, and stunning natural environment.

For more information on the places visit 

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.