City of Ryde Council Have Your Say - Closing 8 June 2023:
FOOD SCRAPS RECYCLING SERVICE
City of Ryde Council is exploring the possibility of introducing a Food Scraps Recycling Service (also known as Food Organics, Garden Organics or FOGO) as part of their domestic waste management provisions. The NSW EPA Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy (WASM) requires that councils provide food and garden waste collections to all NSW households by 2030.
The Food Scraps Recycling Service would replace the existing green waste service and include the collection of food scraps and garden organics, which will then be processed into compost.
Residents of Ryde are invited to provide feedback on your thoughts of this proposal and willingness to pay for this service as part of the existing Domestic Waste Management Charge. Go to https://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/HaveyourSay/Have-Your-Say/Food-Scraps-Recycling-Service
NSW ELECTION RESULTS – A PROMISING FUTURE
Many groups – inspired by organisations including the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) and the Invasive Species Council (ISC) – campaigned in various ways to ensure natural environments were recognized as issues to be addressed by an incoming NSW Government.
According to the NCC, the incoming Labor government pledged to:
- Fully implement the Murray Darling Basin Plan
- Establish the Great Koala National Park
- Stop the destruction of pristine Blue Mountains World Heritage area that raising the Warragamba Dam would have caused
- Boost funding for clean energy, legislate emissions reductions targets and support the electrification of households.
The NCC will continue to press for establishment of the Great Koala National park, and for action to wind back the water theft from floodplain harvesting and limit destruction by Forest Corp NSW.
Incoming Environment Minister Penny Sharpe failed to rule out new coal and gas mines and, unlike her colleagues in Victoria and Western Australia, she refuses to end native forest logging.
For more details, see https://www.tec.org.au/nsw_state_election_2023_environmental_policy_scorecard
Invasive Species Council reports…
At the NSW election, we won many commitments including urgently reducing feral horse numbers and 100 new national parks staff focused on invasive species.
Incoming Labor government commitments achieved are:
- Ramping up efforts to reduce feral horse numbers in Kosciuszko National Park as quickly as possible, including more resources to dramatically reduce feral horse numbers
- 100 new National Parks and Wildlife Service roles specifically to control and eradicate invasive species… for protecting biodiversity in NSW National Parks and Reserves
- Developing a ‘permitted list’ approach to help stop the sale of weedy plants through nurseries
- Undertaking a Treaty making process with First Nations peoples which includes a commitment to examining a role of a Commissioner for Country through that process
- A Biosecurity Commission and a state-wide audit of the impact of invasive species on NSW's environment and agriculture
- $10 million to tackle weeds and pests on government land neighbouring private property
- Commitments to reviewing the Companion Animals Act to ensure it is fit for purpose to protect wildlife from roaming pet cats.
There were strong cross bench commitments, including from the Greens and independent Wagga Wagga member Dr Joe McGirr, whose electorate covers the western portion of Kosciuszko National Park. He is calling for the repeal of the feral horse protection legislation and supports calls for a Commissioner for Country along with statewide feral deer and pig coordinators.
ISC says there is still much more to be done, including more funding and staff for invasive species management and biosecurity, especially with new threats such as red fire ants on NSW doorstep.
And NSW needs to catch up with other states when it comes to responsible cat ownership.
MORE SACRED SITE ROCK ART AT RISK… AND MORE
In 2020, Rio Tinto blasted Juukan Gorge, destroying a 46,000 year old sacred site.
Now, this could happen again at MIDDLE ARM in the Northern Territory.
The expansion of Middle Arm’s gas hub could cause irreversible harm to cultural artefacts, stories, and dreaming, yet Labor is promising to fund the gas hub with over $1.9 billion.
Traditional Owners, Larrakia people, say that it is close to some of the only remaining Larrakia rock art, and are calling out the project and lack of consultation.
The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) are objecting to the Australian Government’s big investments in the gas industry, and ask that we email Treasurer Jim Chalmers – link:
https://aycc.good.do/contact-chalmers/email-jim/ – to send a loud and clear message.
After the Juukan Gorge destruction, Labor committed to new Indigenous heritage protections designed to protect sites like this from future damage, but now, Larrakia people are saying they have not even been consulted.
Public money should fund things that matter to our communities like clean and affordable renewable energy, investing in building strong public services like healthcare and education, and support for those already hit hard by climate change.
Instead, that money is going into a risky gas project that threatens a repeat of Juukan Gorge.
Remains of Juukan Gorge Rock Art – photo by ABC
THURLOO DOWNS: LARGEST ACQUISITION IN NSW NATIONAL PARKS HISTORY
Thurloo Downs is in the state's far north-west, between Bourke and Tibooburra. At almost twice the size of Australian Capital Territory, it is to become the largest acquisition of private land by the NSW Government for national parks in NSW.
The property contains exceptional biodiversity values, protecting landscapes and ecosystems not found in any other national park. These habitats support an array of threatened species, including black falcon, flock bronzewing (pigeon), bustard, stripe-faced dunnart and woma python.
Photo: NSW Environment and Heritage
It includes a complex network of rivers, salt lakes and floodplains with billabongs and waterholes, fringed with coolabah trees. A mosaic of woodlands with long parallel sand dunes transitions into sandplains and gibber country.
There is extensive Aboriginal cultural heritage with evidence of artefacts and other items of significance across the property. National Parks and Wildlife Service will work with the Aboriginal community to protect these important cultural sites.
Thurloo will transition to a national park over the next 2 years as the pastoral operation winds down. For more information, see https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/parks-reserves-and-protected-areas/establishing-new-parks-and-protected-areas/new-parks-and-changes-to-parks/thurloo-downs
DEFENDING COUNTRY AGAINST ADANI
News and photos from Adrian Burragubba, Senior Custodian: Nagana Yarrbayn Wangan & Jagalingou Cultural Custodians
Ceremonial grounds on Country at Waddananggu continue to thrive as we have established our second camp at Gamu Yuna Warba (an important free flowing spring), away from the noise and toxic dust of Adani’s mine pit. We have two sacred camps now – representing the fire and water elements of our peoples. Both camps sustain a sacred fire. This extends our continuous occupation and ceremony on our traditional lands, opposite Adani’s coal mine, to [now over 600] days. We are still here, and still going strong.
Gamu Yuna Warba is a beautiful, green spring system teeming with birdlife, a few kilometres north of Adani’s mine. My son, Gurridyula, has also established a secondary Yarrbayn Buri (sacred fire) sourced from our original fire. This is to protect our ceremony and ensure they never go out, as a fire is seen as the purest form of occupation. We now have two fires burning continuously.
Our ceremonies and culture, our laws and lore, are at the heart of our protection of Country and our continued resistance in the face of Adani’s destruction. This is so important to us. It is our life, it is who we are, and it literally embodies our rights as First Nations people.
Recently we held a sacred water ceremony at Gamu Yuna Warba.
Through this ceremony we connected my newborn grandson, Charlie, to Country and our sacred Doongmabulla Springs for the first time. Charlie is named after my great-grandfather, and he will carry that name for our family.
As part of our ancient tradition, Gurridyula made a Coolamon to carry Charlie in at Waddananggu, to signify being one with trees and nature.
This is part of our way of life since the beginning of time. It is intrinsic to who we are and is threatened by Adani’s expanding coal mine.
A mine we have opposed from day one; a mine we never consented to.
This is well known… International UN agencies, banks, insurers, and Australian governments of all persuasions know this. Adani knows this but continues its propaganda war against us to cover over the fact that a mining lease was issued by the State without free, prior and informed consent.
By practising our important fire and water ceremonies on Country, we assert our human rights as defined and protected under the Human Rights Act (Qld), and international law including The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Our cultural rights are protected but we must practise them as a means of caring for and protecting our Country, and to hold our ground against Adani. Not only do we assert our rights through our culture, but we continue to act to enforce them legally. We have a team of lawyers working with us to safeguard our cultural heritage and defend our human rights, which continue to be breached by the actions of the State Government and Adani.
Our lawyers attended our recent water ceremony to help them understand the importance of our presence on Country and why we assert our rights in the face of grave threats from Adani and their supporters. We are initiating further legal action to defend our cultural heritage, our sacred springs, and our right to be on Country, as Adani moves to expand the mine and mounts a new wave of pressure and threats upon us.
METHANE EMISSIONS FROM COAL MINES
Coal mines in NSW are flying under the radar, pumping methane gas into our atmosphere at an alarming and increasing rate. But it’s complicated to measure and report on methane, and the NSW government counted on that confusion to get away with doing nothing.
Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas that is 84 times worse than carbon dioxide for the climate in the short-term, but the NSW Environmental Protection Agency does not treat it as a pollutant.
Camberwell Ashton Mine in the Hunter Valley – aerial photo by Lock The Gate Alliance
Huge amounts of methane are released by coal miners directly into the atmosphere every year; seeping from underground mines as well as open-cut coal mines; yet the CSIRO has already developed ground-breaking technology to deal with this.
It’s time to treat methane for what it is - a serious pollution problem - and with a new, incoming NSW Labor Government we have an opportunity to get this huge issue on top of their agenda.
Problems with coal mine pollution will be even bigger if the 8 new coal mine expansions proposed in NSW this year are developed. Although NSW is closing down its coal-fired electric power stations, our coal mines continue to operate to supply overseas markets.
The problem with coal mine methane is so big, that the NSW Government predicts that coal mining will be the only sector in NSW that increases annual greenhouse emissions between now and 2030, while every other sector will be on a downward trajectory.
We can’t accept that the biggest cause of global climate change should be getting the easiest ride to keep on polluting as usual while the rest of our economy takes action to decarbonise.
On paper, the law requires coal miners to take action to reduce emissions. In reality, our previous government pretended to enforce the law and the coal industry pretended to reduce emissions, and things just got worse.
See https://lockthegate.good.do/coal_emissions/mps/ in which Lock The Gate Alliance has put together a short explainer video and a template for a letter which they recommend we send to our NSW members of parliament.
TOONDAH FEATURED ON THE ABC 7.30 REPORT - 5 MAY 2023
Peter McCutcheon reported on what the controversial Walker Corporation proposal means for precious Critically Endangered Eastern Curlews and for a local community, who are opposed to the development. For further information, see https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-04-25/proposed-development-on-protected-wetlands-at/102265270
We have already covered this issue, most recently in Wallumetta December 2022.
Toondah Wetlands – photo published in The Guardian
NEWS FROM BIRDLIFE AUSTRALIA
Disease among seabirds: the dire effects of ingesting plastic debris become clear It’s well known that many species of seabirds ingest huge amounts of plastic while foraging out at sea, but a recent study has discovered the plastic they consume is actually responsible for a newly described internal disorder — PLASTICOSIS.
Seabirds are attracted to plastic as they mistake it for their prey. Once it’s been eaten, pieces of plastic remain in the digestive tract of the bird, as plastic is undigestable, and it’s also difficult to regurgitate. This is known to cause starvation among seabirds, as it becomes increasingly difficult to feed effectively when they are full of bits of plastic debris.
A decade ago, the world was shocked when research revealed that Flesh-footed Shearwaters on Lord Howe Island — generally considered a rather pristine environment — had ingested high amounts of plastic as they foraged. Now, a team of scientists from institutions across the world under the banner of ‘Adrift Lab’ conducted a recent study on Lord Howe Island’s Flesh-footed Shearwaters, and found that the plastic ingested by these shearwaters has spawned a previously unknown disease. Known as plasticosis, it is caused by sharp pieces of plastic continually digging in to the bird’s digestive tract, which inflames delicate internal tissues.
Occasional damage would heal naturally, but when the tissue is repeatedly punctured and inflamed over time, the wound is prevented from healing and the scarring becomes permanent.
Further ingestion of plastic debris results in excessive amounts of scar tissue forming, which reduces the flexibility of the internal tissues of the digestive tract, making it difficult to digest real food. This results in profound effects on the bird’s rate of growth and, ultimately, its survival.
Plasticosis is difficult to detect without internal examination, as birds suffering from the ailment often appear outwardly healthy. Without a much wider investigation, the global extent of the disease is unknown. Logically it will almost certainly afflict a huge range of marine lifeforms right around the world, as over a thousand marine species are known to ingest plastic debris.
Cuisses De Crapauds on the Menu
Since introduction to Queensland in the 1930s, the spread of cane toads across Australia has been an ecological disaster. Because they have no natural predators, along with toxins in their skin to deter would-be assailants, their range expanded largely unhindered for nearly 90 years.
A few native Australian animals have latterly found ways to eat them without being poisoned.
The list includes several native birds, including Black Kites, Whistling Kites, Torresian Crows and Purple Swamphens. The latest addition to the list is the Australian White Ibis.
Image from The Guardian
Renowned for their flexibility and opportunism when it comes to finding food, White Ibis have turned their attention towards the plentiful amphibians, leading some to discover how to eat a cane toad. It’s called the 'stress-and-wash method', allowing the toad to be swallowed whole, rather than picking at their tongues or particular internal organs, as other birds do.
“It’s quite different from other native species and their methods of eating them," said Emily Vincent, Invasive Species Manager at Watergum. “The ibis pick up cane toads and they flick them about and stress out the toads… It makes the cane toads release toxins from the parotid gland at the back of their neck, which is their defence mechanism when they're faced with predators. After this [the ibis] either wipe the toads in the wet grass, or they go down to a water source nearby, and they rinse the toads out. This is a learned behaviour and it's been observed in multiple different regions…” she said.
NILPENA EDIACARA NATIONAL PARK
60,000-hectares have been proclaimed as a national park, containing one of the world’s most important fossil sites due to the unique preservation of complex animal life. It has significant biodiversity value and aims to protect both the current native landscape and the area’s globally unique window into the absolute depths of time. In 2021, the Australian Government placed the Flinders Ranges on Australia’s tentative list for World Heritage and the international significance of Nilpena’s fossil discoveries is fundamental in securing a formal listing slated for 2025.
The Friends of National Parks and Wildlife (FNPW) organisation was instrumental and supportive of this latest proclamation and project.
On June 17, 2021, the Nilpena Ediacara National Park was proclaimed, marking the creation of a brand new 60,000 hectare national park on the Flinders Ranges. The park was established in association with the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation, the South Australian Government, and the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW). The Nilpena Ediacara National Park is recognised as the richest and most diverse Ediacaran fossil site on Earth. It contains unique fossils of an early record of animal life (known as Ediacaran) evidenced by on-site research undertaken over the past 30 years.
The Ediacaran Period
This region is the only place in the Southern Hemisphere to have a geological time period named for it – the Ediacaran Period, in honour of the Ediacara Hills of the Flinders Ranges. This became the first new geological period declared by the International Union of Geological Sciences in 120 years. It spans 94 million years from the end of the Cryogenian Period to the beginning of the Cambrian Period.
Significance of Nilpena’s Fossil Discoveries
Scientists believe that this is the place from which all animal life as we know it originated. This region was once the sea floor, and it contains strange early life forms some half a billion years old that have been exquisitely preserved in the fine sandstone grain. The great naturalist Sir David Attenborough visited Nilpena and made the BBC documentary ‘First Life’ there.
Biodiversity and Conservation
Nilpena Ediacara National Park has also significant biodiversity value, containing two threatened ecological communities (River Red Gum woodland and Mulga low woodlands). It also contains 44 species of native animals and 111 species of native plants. FNPW’s goal is to protect both the current native landscape and the animals that live there, but also an area that provides a globally unique window into the absolute depths of time.
Continued Research and Protection
Nilpena will continue to be a working research site with discoveries promoting science as a key part of reinforcing the ongoing need to protect and care for Nilpena. The Australian Government placed the Flinders Ranges on Australia’s tentative list for World Heritage in April 2021, and the international significance of Nilpena’s fossil discoveries are fundamental in securing a formal listing slated for 2025. The World Heritage nomination of the Flinders Ranges will contain two sites on Nilpena Ediacara National Park, the excavated Nilpena fossil site and Ediacara Hill. With the establishment of Nilpena Ediacara National Park, we can ensure that this land and its unique heritage are protected and preserved for future generations, celebrated, and shared throughout the world.
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