WEPA community environment news
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Greetings WEPA members. As you can see we have revamped our news offering to provide you with more up to the minute alerts and news on the most pressing environment protection issues in your own backyard and across Australia. Expect to see WEPA NEWS every few weeks, depending on what’s afoot. We’d welcome your feedback on the new format – see contact details at the end of the news.

Gay Spies, President, WEPA

Canines for Conservation WEPA Talk

Come along on Tuesday 19 July to the WEPA meeting in Castlecrag to hear a truly fascinating talk about dogs and conservation from Steve Austin. Steve has been training dogs for over 25 years and is renowned as one of Australia’s top animal trainers. In Australia he is training dogs to assist with wildlife conservation by locating endangered or invasive species – finding cats and foxes from the Kimberley to Lane Cove, rabbits and rodents on Macquarie Island, cane toads in Queensland and little penguins in Manly amongst other work. Bring your family and friends to hear more about this new frontier in environmental conservation. 

When: 8pm Tuesday 19 July 2016
Glenaeon School Hall, 121 Edinburgh Road, Castlecrag
No charge, supper follows


Greater Sydney Commission & Community Consultation

WEPA recently endorsed a letter prepared by the Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society to the Greater Sydney Commission. The letter seeks community engagement prior to the release of the Commission’s draft District Plans in November 2016. This is particularly important given the powers of the Commission to override Local Environmental Plans and assess rezoning proposals and the chaotic nature of current Council amalgamations. If you want to find out more about the Commission, BPN Planning Network provides an overview here
Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society has invited Rod Simpson, Environment Commissioner in the Greater Sydney Commission to speak at its meeting on Tuesday 9 August. The meeting will be held in Lane Cove from 7.30pm to 9pm at a venue to be confirmed (watch the
Society Facebook site). All WEPA members are invited.

Stop land clearing and habitat destruction 

On June 24 WEPA members joined over 400 other campaigners outside Mike Baird’s electorate office in Manly to demand the Premier take control of the state’s environmental policy from big agribusiness, developers and the National Party and withdraw its flawed biodiversity laws package. The short consultation period for the reform package has now ended (June 28). WEPA added its voice to the over 5,465 submissions which challenged the proposal.

You can read NCC’s joint submission (representing over 150 members societies including WEPA)
here. Last week over 400 leading scientists called on the Baird Government to scrap their plans to increase land clearing across NSW saying "of the eleven world regions highlighted as global deforestation fronts, eastern Australia is the only one in a developed country". We need to keep the pressure on to defeat the Government’s damaging proposals – you can help by supporting the Stand Up for Nature petition and associated campaign.

New protest laws commenced

The NSW Environmental Defenders Office reports that changes to laws targeting environmental protesters commenced on 1 June. The changes include new trespass offences and new offences specific to coal seam gas protests. Changes made to the law to broaden police powers to move people on who are part of a genuine protest and to search and seize property have not yet commenced. The EDO Fact Sheet can be accessed here.
Federal Government attacks on green groups

Attacks on green groups are not only happening at the state level. Just as significant battles for the environment – on land clearing laws, marine protections and CSG – loom, the Cobb report has recommended strict new controls which could limit the ability of environmental groups to oppose bad laws and fight for nature. Find out more here. If the government silences environment groups, it silences you. Donate to the NCC here to keep the environmental voice strong.
Council amalgamations

Recent documents have emerged that suggest the NSW Government was merely going through the motions to achieve an ordained result in relation to council amalgamations. While 42 councils have been merged into 19, some, including Willoughby, are still awaiting the outcome of legal challenges. Mosman and North Sydney councils could spend more than $1 million combined in their fight to stay independent from the proposed merger with Willoughby. Willoughby Council will have to wait until the current legal action is finished and then well into 2017 for a new democratically elected council to return. In the meantime, the Government has proposed new laws to seize direct financial control of councils by providing power over local government spending to appointed ‘controllers’. Read more
Gore Hill Park Redevelopment

Council is currently seeking feedback on the Gore Hill Park redevelopment Draft Plan of Management and Draft Concept Plan. The current Park holds stands of Blue Gum High Forest and Turpentine. The major focus of the plan is the introduction of a multi-purpose indoor courts building along the Pacific Highway edge as well as replantings and some play areas. The Park borders the Gore Hill Cemetery which provides shelter and a foraging site for White-Browed Scrub Wren, Tawny Frogmouths, Welcome Swallows and other native birds as well as Brushtail and Ringtail Possums, Flying Foxes and several species of microbat. You can see the plans and make your comments before 4 Aug here.
National environment protection authority deserves green light

The case for a national Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is compelling … In the same way the Reserve Bank safeguards the national economic interest, a stand-alone national EPA would protect our shared national environmental interest and our fundamental need for clean air, clean water and the facilitation of genuinely sustainable development. Lyndon Schneiders, National Director of The Wilderness Society argues the case. Read more
Parliamentary Inquiry into Crown Land Management
The BPN Network has alerted WEPA to a current Parliamentary Inquiry into Crown Land Management which closes Sunday 24 July. In 2014, the NSW Government issued a White Paper on Crown Land Management 'reforms'. It proposed that much of the land should be transferred to councils where it would be at risk of subsequent sale and/or alternately commercialisation. Yet despite widespread public concern, the NSW Government seems intent on introducing legislation into Parliament in spring. In response the Upper House recently announced a Parliamentary Inquiry into Crown Land. Submissions are now invited to Sunday, 24 July.  If you have concerns about the past, current or future management of Crown Land now is the perfect time to get your voice heard!  See the BPN info sheet here and a Submission Help Sheet here.  For further information or to lodge a submission go to the Parliament of NSW Inquiry site.
Malcolm in the middle?

The release of the Climate Change Authority report was expected in late June, but was delayed until after the election, to the obvious relief of the government. So, too, was a report on options for the electricity sector, which had been due for release in April or May, and which leaked reports suggest strongly supported some form of mandatory carbon price. The reports are expected to confirm that Australia is trailing the world in emission reductions, needs to do more, and needs to adopt a carbon price. Can the PM shift further towards the centre and begin to address his climate change conundrum?  A thought-provoking article by Giles Parkinson.
Climate science denial

Pauline Hanson, leader of the One Nation party, has won election to Australia’s Senate and, as counting continues, she could bring more candidates with her. But as well as pushing xenophobia and division, the Queensland politician will also take a most extreme brand of climate science denial with her into the Senate. Graham Readfern explores the extremists behind One Nation’s climate policy.
Great Barrier Reef

Approximately 2,000 campaigners, including some WEPA members, joined the Climate Change Rally in Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate on 26 June to put their views on climate change and to focus on the recent Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching. The speakers urged bipartisan action on climate change to an enthusiastic crowd waving colourful coral cut-outs (which were bleached white when flipped over).  Former Liberal Leader, Dr John Hewson, was one of the speakers. Read his comments and view an amusing but telling animation about the fate of politicians who fail to face the climate challenge here.
Ecosystems in decline

Last week University of Queensland professor Hugh Possingham said that Governments must decide which parts of the Great Barrier Reef they most want to save and confront the prospect that some of it may be doomed.  Great Barrier Reef bleaching, however, is just one symptom of ecosystem collapse across Australia. Five ecologists from universities around Australia have sounded the alarm on forest dieback, amphibian and mammal extinction rates and the collapse of bird communities; all signs of massive ecosystem degradation. Read more. More recent reports note that marine heatwaves have killed extensive kelp forests off the Western Australian coast and ten thousand hectares of mangroves are dead across the coast from Queensland to the Northern Territory.
Oceans of plastic soup

Willoughby Council Is encouraging residents to participate in Plastic Free July by reusing single-use plastic bags. Council’s action is one of a number of critical approaches needed to tackle the problem of marine plastic pollution. A recent Senate Inquiry report, which received bipartisan support, confirmed the scale of our marine plastic pollution problem, and called for urgent action to stop its flow into our waterways, and our food.
Read their report A Toxic Tide: the threat of Marine Plastic.
AWC Partners with NSW Government

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) has announced an historic partnership with the NSW Government. AWC has been contracted to deliver national park management services in the iconic Pilliga forest and at Mallee Cliffs National Park in the state's south-west. It is the first public-private collaboration of its kind. The centrepiece of this exciting partnership will be the reintroduction of at least 10 mammal species that are currently listed as extinct in NSW. Read more.
Environmental groups demand end to logging of Australia’s native forests

More than 30 environmental groups have signed a statement to end the logging of native forests after a National Parks Association report finds extending regional forestry agreements ‘would constitute an irrational decision on environmental, economic and social grounds’. Read more
37% of Australia earmarked for coal and gas

The Lock the Gate Alliance has released a shocking new map of Australian areas at risk from coal and gas mining - and it's a real eye-opener. This interactive map is your chance to check the status of your home and property, or the water resource you rely on, or your favourite holiday location! Are they at risk from unsafe mining? Find out here. Meanwhile in NSW in May, seven large scale wind farms delivered record levels of electricity generation - more than two of the biggest coal generators in the state. Read more
Upcoming Events

Go Green Science/Renewable Energy for Kids
Free hands-on demonstrations for budding scientists to explore recycling, renewable energy and conservation
Thursday 14 July
10:00am - 11am, 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Chatswood Mall Markets
Victoria Avenue, Chatswood

Spotlight Bushwalk under the Stars
Have you always wanted to see a sugar glider or an owl?
Friday 15 July
7:00pm to 8:30pm

Mowbray Park
(meet at Rotary Athletic Field)

STEP Bird Walk Newington Armory
1 hour guided bird walk with volunteer from BirdLife Australia commencing at the Visitor Centre and finishing at the Discovery Centre. Cost: gold coin donation. 9:30am Sunday 17 July 2016. Click here to register

Canines for Conservation

Come along to the WEPA meeting in Castlecrag to hear a truly fascinating talk about dogs and conservation from Steve Austin.

Tuesday 19 July, 8.00pm
Glenaeon School Hall

Coastal Bushwalk
Experience spectacular harbour views and discover the wilds of Castle Cove
Sunday 24 July
10am to 2:00pm


Australian Plant Society
Walk and Talk

Monday 18 July / 25 July
All sessions 10:00am to 12:30pm
Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens,
420 Mona Vale Road, St Ives
Upcoming Events

National Tree Day
Willoughby City Council is hosting a National Tree Day on Sunday 31 July at Bicentennial Reserve, Small Street Willoughby. The activity is an opportunity to meet with your local community and take part in a conservation project. The day will include plant giveaways (10am – 2pm) and planting activities.
Native plant ID for beginners
Sunday 31 July
10:00am to 1:00pm

Caley’s Pavilion
Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens
420 Mona Vale Road, St Ives

Greater Sydney Commission speaker
Rod Simpson, Environment Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission speaking at Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society
9 August 2016. Venue to be announced on Society Facebook site.

Gardens of Stone: In focus – Photographic Exhibition
Organised by Colong Foundation for Wilderness to share the breathtaking beauty of the Gardens of Stone and Newnes Plateau, which are under continued threat by mining activities. Exhibition opens 10am Saturday 17 September 2016 and closes 2pm Sunday 18 September 2016 at the New Law Building at the University of Sydney. Register for this free event.

NCC Conference
Save the date for the
Nature Conservation Council Annual Conference
Saturday, 22 October and
Sunday 23 October 2016

Contact WEPA

WEPA acknowledges the traditional owners of this land, the Gameraygal people, their spirits and ancestors and we pay our respects to Elders past and present.
The views expressed in the articles above are not necessarily those of the publisher or editor. 
Contributions from WEPA members are welcome.
The WEPA logo above was created by Adrienne Kabos.
Copyright © 2016 Willoughby Environmental Protection Association, All rights reserved.

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