Friday, February 28, 2020

Open Government Workshop 2 - Sydney

Pleasantly surprised about results from today's OGP overflow workshop in Sydney. Though only a small group we came up with two nice ideas.

Good to also catch up with Rosie Williams who runs

1. An Integrity Framework #IntegrityFramework

2. A Deliberation Day #DeliberationDay 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Want to help save wildlife after the fires? You can do it in your own backyard

Want to help save wildlife after the fires? You can do it in your own backyard

Holly Kirk, RMIT University; Brendan Wintle, University of Melbourne; Casey Visintin, University of Melbourne; Freya Thomas, RMIT University; Georgia Garrard, RMIT University; Kirsten Parris, University of Melbourne; Kylie Soanes, University of Melbourne; Pia Lentini, University of Melbourne, and Sarah Bekessy, RMIT University

People living in cities far from the unprecedented bushfires this summer may feel they can do little more to help beyond donating to organisations that support affected wildlife. But this is not necessarily the case: ten of the 113 top-priority threatened animal species most affected by the fires have populations in and around Australian cities and towns. Conserving these populations is now even more critical for the survival of these species.

Here we provide various practical tips on things people can do in their own backyards and neighbourhoods to help some of the species hit hard by the fires.

Read more: The 39 endangered species in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and other Australian cities

Wildlife may arrive in your neighbourhood in search of resources lost to fire or drought in their ranges. Cities can become ecological traps, as they draw animals towards sub-optimal habitats or even death from threats such as cats and cars. But by providing the right resources, removing threats and connecting your backyard to surrounding habitat, you can turn your property into a refuge, not a trap.

Images from Flickr by: Jarod Lyon (Macquarie perch), Doug Beckers (Giant burrowing frog), eyeweed (Giant barred frog), Catching The Eye (Southern water skink), Alan Couch (Broad-headed snake), Brian McCauley (Regent honeyeater), Ron Knight (Koala), Duncan PJ (Grey-headed flying fox), Tony Morris (Platypus) and Pierre Pouliquin (Tiger quoll). Author provided

The fires killed an estimated 1 billion animals and Australia’s threatened species list is likely to expand dramatically. As is often the case, the impacts on invertebrates have been largely ignored so far.

Read more: Conservation scientists are grieving after the bushfires -- but we must not give up

Thinking outside the animal box

Despite the focus on animals, it is plants, making up 1,336 of the 1,790 species listed as threatened, that have been hit hardest. Early estimates are that the fires had severe impacts on 272 threatened plant species. Of these, 100 are thought to have had more than half of their remaining range burnt.

The impacts on individual plant species is profoundly saddening, but the impacts on whole ecosystems can be even more catastrophic. Repeated fires in quick succession in fire-sensitive ecosystems, such as alpine-ash forests, can lead to loss of the keystone tree species. These trees are unable to mature and set seed in less than 20 years.

Losing the dominant trees leads to radical changes that drive many other species to extinction in an extinction cascade. Other badly impacted ecosystems include relics of ancient rainforests, which might not survive the deadly combination of drought and fire.

Read more: A season in hell: bushfires push at least 20 threatened species closer to extinction

It is difficult to know how best to “rescue” threatened plants, particularly when we know little about them. Seed banks and propagation of plants in home gardens can be a last resort for some species.

You can help by growing plants that are indigenous to your local area. Look for an indigenous nursery near you that can provide advice on their care. Advocate for mainstream nurseries, your council and schools to make indigenous plants available to buy and be grown in public areas.

Example of alpine ash (Eucalyptus delegatensis) forest in Victoria. Holly Kirk

Providing for urban wildlife

Planting native species in your backyard is also the best way to provide food for visiting wildlife. Many species feed on flower nectar, or on the insects the vegetation attracts. Putting out dishes of fruit or bird feeders can be useful for some species, but the best way to provide extra food for all is by gardening.

Plants also provide shelter and nest sites, so think twice about removing vegetation, leaf litter and dead wood. Fire risk can be managed by selecting species that are fire-suppressing.

Urban gardens also provide water for many thirsty creatures. If you put out a container of water, place rocks and branches inside so small critters can escape if they fall in.

Read more: You can leave water out for wildlife without attracting mosquitoes, if you take a few precautions

Backyard ponds can provide useful habitat for some frog species, particularly if you live near a stream or wetland. Please don’t add goldfish!

The best frog ponds have plants at the edges and emerging from the water, providing calling sites for males and shelter for all. Insecticides and herbicides harm frogs as well as insects and plants, so it’s best not to use these in your garden.

Piles of rocks in the garden form important shelters for lizards and small mammals.

Reducing threats

It’s important to consider threats too. Cats kill native wildlife in huge numbers. Keep your pet inside or in a purpose-built “catio”.

Read more: For whom the bell tolls: cats kill more than a million Australian birds every day

Read more: A hidden toll: Australia’s cats kill almost 650 million reptiles a year

When driving, think about killing your speed rather than wildlife – especially while populations are moving out of fire-affected areas in search of food. Slowing down can greatly reduce animal strikes.

With the loss of huge areas of forest, species like grey-headed flying foxes will need to supplement their diet with fruit from our backyards. Unfortunately, they risk being entangled in tree netting. If you have fruit trees, consider sharing with wildlife by removing nets, or using fine mesh bags to cover only select bunches or branches.

Read more: Not in my backyard? How to live alongside flying-foxes in urban Australia

Living with the new visitors

People have different levels of knowledge about our native wildlife, and some will be more affected by new wildlife visitors than others. Some of these critters are small and quiet. Others are more conspicuous and may even be considered a nuisance.

Try to discuss what you are seeing and experiencing with your neighbours. When you can, provide information that might ease their concerns, but also be sympathetic if noisy or smelly residents move in. It is important to tolerate and co-exist with wildlife, by acknowledging they might not conform to neighbourly conventions.

Given the unprecedented extent and intensity of these fires, it is difficult for scientists to predict how wildlife will respond and what might show up where. This is especially the case for species, like the regent honeyeater, that migrate in response to changing resources. New data will be invaluable in helping us understand and plan for future events like these.

If you do see an animal that seems unusual, you can report it through citizen-science schemes such as iNaturalist. If an animal is injured or in distress it’s best to contact a wildlife rescue organisation such as Wildlife Victoria or WIRES (NSW).

Read more: How you can help – not harm – wild animals recovering from bushfires

Our wildlife is under pressure now, but we can help many populations by ensuring safer cities for the species that share them with us.


How to help birds after the fires

Other threatened species in cities

Wildlife-friendly fencing

Find your local native nursery

Learn about platypus-safe yabby nets

Record your bird sightings

Record your frog sightings

Record other urban wildlifeThe Conversation

Holly Kirk, Postdoctoral Fellow, Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group (ICON Science), RMIT University; Brendan Wintle, Professor in Conservation Ecology, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne; Casey Visintin, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne; Freya Thomas, Research Fellow, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University; Georgia Garrard, Senior Research Fellow, Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group, RMIT University; Kirsten Parris, Professor of Urban Ecology, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne; Kylie Soanes, Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne; Pia Lentini, Research Fellow, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, and Sarah Bekessy, Professor in Sustainability and Urban Planning, Leader, Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group (ICON Science), RMIT University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Local Strategic Planning Statement

Item No:         C0220(2) Item 7 Inner West Council Agenda 25 Feb 2020
Subject:         Draft Local Strategic Planning Statement - Post Exhibition Report            
Prepared By:      Louise Higginson - Strategic Planner  
Authorised By:  Harjeet Atwal - Senior Manager Planning


THAT Council:

1.       Endorse the Draft Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) (Attachment 1) for submission to the Greater Sydney Commission; and

2.       Delegate authority to the CEO to ‘make’ the LSPS following receipt of written support from the Greater Sydney Commission, addressing any requirements or conditions which may be included and publish it on the NSW Planning Portal.


The draft Local Strategic Planning Statement (draft LSPS) provides a broad land use planning vision for Inner West to 2036. The statement outlines the special characteristics which contribute to the local identity of the area, how growth and change will be managed into the future and where further strategic planning investigation is required. The statement is supported by a strong strategic evidence base, including, but not limited to, the Local Housing Strategy (LHS) and the Integrated Transport Strategy (ITS). 

The LSPS will act as a link between the NSW Government's regional and district plans, and the priorities within Council’s community strategic plan. The LSPS will also be used to guide Council’s comprehensive Local Environmental Plan, Development Control Plan and Development Contributions Plan.

The Draft LSPS is required to be endorsed by Council and be sent to the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) for the final assurance check on 3 March 2020. The LSPS can only be ‘made’ following receipt of written advice from the GSC stating that the Commission supports the statement as being consistent with the applicable regional and district plan (in this case the Eastern City District Plan). The LSPS must be made by 31 March 2020.


The Draft LSPS was publicly exhibited for five weeks from 23 September 2019 to 27 October 2019 and 182 submissions from individuals and interest groups were received. Overall, more than 89% of respondents agreed with the 20 year vision, the majority agreed with Council’s approach to improving the area’s liveability and to increasing the resilience of our environment and community to hazards. Significantly, over 91% of respondents agreed with and support Council’s proposal to develop a Blue/Green Grid. The Engagement Outcomes Report summarises the survey and submission results for the draft LSPS and can be found on the Your Say Inner West project page.


Key amendments recommended to the Draft LSPS as a result of the public exhibition, referral to state agencies and the GSC ‘health check’ include:

a.  Collaboration with Department of Planning Industry and Environment on a high-level principle-based planning strategy for the Marrickville and Dulwich Hill Urban Renewal Areas;
b.  Maps and actions that better reflect Inner West’s relationship to the Harbour (Sydney) CBD and the Innovation Corridor in the District Plan;
c.  Reframing and rephrasing of the ‘outcomes’ under Sections 6.1, 10.1 and 11.1 into actions and sub-actions to make it clear that we are not pre-empting the outcomes of investigations or advocacy;
d.  Add an additional link to the Blue/Green Grid link connecting Lewisham Station to Petersham Park and then further north to Leichhardt Market Place;
e.  Updating Planning Priority 3 to demonstrate a stronger commitment to protecting, maintaining and increasing the urban forest, native vegetation and habitat;
f.   Updating Planning Priority 4 to demonstrate a stronger commitment to enhancing water quality and waterway health;
g.  Strengthening of action in relation to open spaces and community facilities.

The draft LSPS, with all changes recommended can be found at Attachment 1.

Several of the recommended actions have funding implications, however many of the actions are dependent on the commitment and delivery of infrastructure from State Government. In these circumstances the Draft LSPS includes actions that will be undertaken only where there is funding/ delivery commitment by the relevant authority. Where the action is not dependent on the commitment of infrastructure or service delivery from an external government authority or agency, the implementation of the action will need to be considered in the development of a new Contributions Plan, Voluntary Planning Agreements and through Council’s Delivery Programs and budgeting process. A timeframe is identified for each action (short, medium, long term and ongoing) to assist in the prioritisation of infrastructure or services.

Attachment 1 has been published separately in the Attachments Document on Council’s Website

Draft Local Strategic Planning Statement - (published separately on Council’s website)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

sorter of co-mingled yellow bins going out of business

The sorter of co-mingled yellow bins going out of business.
Noting that the former Leichhardt Council area has yellow and blue bins (separating containers from paper) while the Marrickville/Ashfield areas have co-mingled yellow bins and differing associated charges.

At opening of St Peters Community Recycling Centre
"Inner West Council said it was investigating its "future recycling requirements" and looking to consolidate processing contracts for three areas within its boundaries." -Sydney recycling plant to shut as market prices collapse, costs soar,SMH,

The above article also notes the funding provide by the NSW Government to  keep the plant open "The closure comes three years after the plant received a $5 million grant from the NSW government to help pay for installing equipment that processes mixed plastics. Polytrade also received another $5 million in 2017 for a glass facility in Sydney."

"The Waste Levy is imposed on councils and it pulls in more than $700 million each year." - Councils claim government pockets millions as garbage crisis worsens By David Sparkes on AM Broadcast: Thu 17 Oct 2019, 8:02am

Also worth noting is the success of return and earn which also helps with the processing - separation of materials to produce high quality recyclable resource. 
The lack of markets for this resource are another issue along with the responsibility of the producer (rather than consumer) of the material - extended producer responsiblity.
Coke for example, is using recycled plastic bottles which it imports from Taiwan....

Burning waste to generate energy

"Cleanaway Waste Management has revealed plans to develop a massive waste-to-energy plant in Western Sydney, a move the company insists will help put Sydney’s rubbish to good use, but is likely to reignite the debate over the merits of burning rubbish to produce electricity."

The three areas of the Inner West Council have quite different Domestic Waste Charges.

Inner West Domestic Waste Charges (13 Feb 2020)

Using Annandale(leichhardt), Ashbury(ashfield), Enmore(marrickville) as examples for each area fees extracted from

Inner West Council – North (former Leichhardt service area)

The following fees and charges are current from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. 

Single residential dwellings