Yellow Box Dispatch August

Judith Leland - Gang-gangs

Yellow Box Dispatch August 2017

Welcome to our warm winter report on some of our recent activities and other events coming up in the region.

Our annual Spring Mingle and the 2017 Environment Award presentations are coming up on 27 October. Our previous location in the rooftop garden at Lena Karmel Lodge is no longer available so we will have to change venue and will let you know.

We had some exciting events this month including the Bushfire Symposium which was well attended and very successful. Congratulations to the NPA and Clare Henderson for their hard work in bringing it together.

We are working with the planning of Walk the Border in October and will keep you posted with information. If all goes well this will be a great event which might become an annual activity.

Our Environment Exchange series of lunchtime dialogues has been very popular this year and we have two more sessions to go. See our Environment Exchange schedule for semester 2 below.

Other items in this Yellow Box Dispatch:

And there’s more events below including the ACTSmart Sustainability Expo on 7 September!

Please forward this Yellow Box Dispatch to people who might be interested in reading it or looking at the pictures.


Larry O’Loughlin
Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT Region


Save the Date: Spring Mingle and Environment Awards

Join us to celebrate our environment achievements at the 2017 Spring Mingle, Friday 27 October 2017 from 6pm, venue to be advised.

Connect with other Canberrans who are passionate about the environment, and celebrate the announcement of the 2017 ACT environment awards. There will be a bar, music, entertainment, a silent auction and we will provide lovely food as usual. We will also welcome our Board for 2018.

The Conservation Council ACT is proud to announce the 2017 ACT Environment Awards. If you have made a significant contribution to looking after our environment we strongly encourage you to consider applying. In addition, if you know some-one or a group who has been an exceptional voice for the environment we strongly encourage you to invite them to apply or nominate them yourself. While the awards are open they are designed to recognise contributions to protecting the environment from within our Conservation Council community.

Applications open next week, start thinking about nominating yourself or someone you know.

For further information contact [email protected]. (Pictured is 2015 ACT Environmentalist of the Year Tom Swan with Minister Shane Rattenbury).


AnchorCommuniqué: Bushfire Management – balancing the risks

Bushfire Management: Balancing the Risks was a successful community symposium held 21-22 July 2017. The event was an opportunity to discuss research, strategies and expectations for fire management in the ACT in a changing environment and was a huge success. The aim was for an informed ACT community able to contribute positively to ACT government policy, goal setting and strategic directions for fire management.

See the Symposium Communiqué here. The Communiqué was developed during the latter part of the symposium and refined following the many contributions at that time. While it addresses many of the issues and topics of the Symposium, the event publication available online covers the detail of many of the contributions at the event.

As Christine Goonrey, Vice President of the National Parks Association of the ACT, says: Acronyms and fire management: if only they could put out the flames.

See more photos of the event on our Facebook Page. 


AnchorMinister announces reset for climate change consultation

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury has written to people who attended community and stakeholder roundtables earlier in 2017 to say that ideas and feedback on getting to zero net emissions by 2050 at the latest have informed development of an Issues Paper expected to be released for public consultation within the next month.

At the same time the government is changing the approach to developing the ACT’s climate action plan. It will now be referred to as The Climate Challenge for Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (The Climate Challenge) rather than the Blueprint for a Zero Emissions Territory. Also, the ACT Government’s plans for reaching zero net emissions will be integrated with long-term strategies in the transport and planning sectors.

While these changes are welcome, some concerns remain. Will merging climate change with transport and planning mean that the key target of zero net emissions will be lost to pressures from the other areas? Furthermore, even if climate change targets are recognised as targets for transport and planning, will a broadened consultation provide for the required level of community engagement on climate change to support and ‘lock-in’ long-term changes?

The Conservation Council undertook work and consultation to develop a model for community engagement on getting to zero net emissions. We saw the need for a coordinated approach using existing organisations to reach far and wide. This would result in more effective utilisation of community and government resources. We provided this advice to the Government and have not been contacted on how this might be taken into account.

Although there was not a consultation framework in place the Government conducted a round of the ACT Community Zero Emissions Grants Program to allocate $150,000 in grants. The advertised announcement date for these grants is 28 August.


AnchorACT Government Community Garden Grants

The ACT Community Gardens Grants are designed to support community gardens across Canberra that enhance community places and spaces. Grant funding is available for projects that support community gardens and meet one or more of the following priorities:

  • benefit to the wider community, for example, supply of food to disadvantaged people or promoting social cohesion and community health;
  • encourage broad participation including from a diverse cross section of the community; and
  • have a high level of community support, including volunteers and sponsorship.

The latest round of the Community Gardens Grants is now open.

Applications can be submitted through the SmartyGrants online platform from Thursday 10 August 2017 to Friday 8 September 2017.

Interested not-for-profit community organisations and owners corporations of multi-unit developments are encouraged to apply.

To read the application guidelines and to apply see the website.


AnchorRedevelopment of the Federal Golf Club

The Conservation Council has been invited, along with 8-10 community organisations plus ACT Government representatives and National Capital Authority for consultation on latest proposal initiated by Federal Golf Club for housing development. This proposal was reported in Canberra Times 3 August and is being driven by the club’s need particularly to generate funds to pay for water and water infrastructure.

There have been several proposals before this one that would have had far more impact however the Conservation Council is very wary of impact on the Red Hill reserve occasioned by any development.

The consultation process is continuing and we will keep a close watch on this proposal.


AnchorFyshwick waste to energy proposal

The Conservation Council is keeping a watch on the proposed Fyshwick Materials Recovery and Waste to Energy Facility.

The President and Executive Director met with Minister Gentleman and discussed the scoping document prepared for the Environment Impact Proposal. The Conservation Council expressed the view that the Government has not asked right questions to find out how proponent is going to address staying within zero net emissions. It seems unlikely that a facility producing emissions will be of much assistance in reaching the ACT’s goal of zero net emissions by 2050 at the latest.

We also have concerns that the facility will divert attention away from the community need to reduce waste and reduce the types of materials which enter the waste stream, eg single-use plastics.

The proponents have informed us that the plant will have a capacity of 240,000 tonnes and will be used for residential waste and commerce and industry (C&I) waste which currently amounts to about 300,000 tonnes per year. They do expect that they will be able to achieve recycling of about 20 per cent of that amount. They say that there will be some additional capacity so that they can continue to operate as Canberra grows and continues to provide a regional facility for nearby towns and villages. The proponents website is at

There is a strong letter from the Tuggeranong Commmunity Council to Chief Minister Andrew Barr which raises several issues about the proposal that need to be addressed.

If you would like to know more about the proposal attend the Inner South Canberra Community Council public forum Wednesday 23 August 2017 at 7pm Harmonie German Club, 49 Jerrabomberra Avenue, Narrabundah (see below).


AnchorRecent Activities of Friends of Aranda Bushland 

Jenny Andrews, Convener of Friends of Aranda Bushland, reports:

Our group takes responsibility for the forested slope to the south of the suburb, the grassy woodland below that, and the frost hollow at the bottom, with its remnant snow gums.

Over the past year or so, we have spent many hours removing weeds, mainly St John’s Wort, from the lower grassland (even working every Sunday during January). We also do a lot of weeding in the adjoining area that was formerly part of a farm.

Our other main focus is on erosion. To repair the eroded gully that cuts through the Snow Gums Reserve, brushwood supplied by the rangers has been placed around the edges, and barriers have been erected in the base, with the aim of eventually forming a chain of ponds. We have also worked on sheet erosion in the grassland by laying thin parallel branches across the slope.

We regularly maintain the tracks in the steep wooded bushland by clearing out and reconstructing the rollovers. Other activities include removing netting and wire from a long border fence, and getting the Green Army to completely remove another fence, thus greatly improving the amenity of the snow gums grassland.

In July, as part of the Bushfire Symposium, we held a walk in the Aranda Bushland, which has areas that have been burned at different times, to illustrate the process of post-fire regeneration (or damage).

We are one of the principal forces behind the annual Parkcare display, which takes place at Jamison 8, 9 and 10 September.

Our next work party is a joint one with Friends of Mount Painter on Sunday 20 August. Once a year we combine our two groups, and this year we are going to work on Mt Painter.

More information is available on the website


AnchorNominate for Landcare Awards

Get nominations in now! ACT nominations for the 2017 Landcare awards close 31 August. The Landcare Awards are open to groups, individuals, organisations and activities that care for the land including: Landcare, Bushcare, Dunecare, Rivercare, ‘Friends of’ groups, farmers, professional farming systems groups, natural resource management, Junior Landcare (including day care centres, primary and secondary schools, youth groups, scout groups, etc.), Urban Landcare, and Indigenous Landcare.

The ACT is not eligible for the coastcare awards (yeah, biased against us but how long before sea levels rise 500 metres?) however there are several categories of award which go on to the national level. So please look around at all the great Landcare work and consider whether there is a group doing great work that should get recognition.


AnchorAugust is Platypus Month!

Did you know that August is a great time to see platypus in the ACT region? Waterwatch is running activities throughout August to help everyone understand more about these marvelous monotremes.

Platypus are found the Molonglo, Queanbeyan, Numeralla and Murrumbidgee Rivers and even in Lake Burley Griffin!

REPORT PLATYPUS SIGHTINGS: Waterwatch encourages everyone to head down to their local waterway – at any time of the year – and report platypus sightings. Information such as date, time, location and  number of platypus need to be noted. Send details to [email protected]


AnchorEnvironment Exchanges 2017 — part two!

Environment Exchange events are held monthly to provide for informed, in-depth discussions on environmental issues in the region. Member groups are encouraged to attend and to publicise the events to their members and supporters.

The Conservation Council ‘Environment Exchange’ series is held at the Renewable Energy Hub, 19-23 Moore Street, Turner (just off Barry Drive).

All events are scheduled from 12-2pm starting with a light lunch (donations welcome). The first series for 2017 resulted in intresting, lively and productive discussions with all events being well attended with good food and fun conversation. To see the summaries check out our blog posts. 

Events are (click to book):

Please forward this to people who might be interested in attending and encourage them to book online to reduce food wastage and stress.



Volunteers needed for Platypus Surveys in the ACT Region 

WHO: Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch

WHAT: Platypus are found the Molonglo, Queanbeyan, Numeralla and Murrumbidgee Rivers and even in Lake Burley Griffin! Waterwatch is running some surveys throughout August to help learn more about platypus populations on selected rivers in the ACT and surrounding region. We have spots available on the following days and need your help! No experience necessary

WHEN and WHERE: Multiple dates and locations full details here 

BRING: Warm clothes, binoculars and a watch or phone.

ACTSMART Understanding Solar Workshop


WHAT: Come along to this workshop to find out how solar and batteries can add value to your home, providing savings on your bills and energy independence. This workshop is useful if you don’t know where to start in this fast changing energy space. Topics covered are solar, batteries, energy efficient appliances and solar hot water.

WHEN: 14 September 6.00pm – 8.00pm

WHERE: Renewables Innovation Hub, 19/23 Moore Street, Canberra ACT 2601

REGISTER: Free but registration required as spaces limited register here

Sustainability Expo


WHAT: Expo showcasing the latest technology in water, waste, energy. Also a range of seminars, workshops and main stage events. It really is a great expo and open to the public. This is the first time it has been located in Woden.

WHEN: 7 September 10am – 5pm

WHERE: Canberra Southern Cross Club, Woden

REGISTER: Free register here

The Sustainable Wardrobe 

WHAT: The Sustainable Wardrobe is a night to celebrate responsible fashion and individual style. Join host Lish Fejer (ABC 666) and our bunch of lively panelists for a frank and upbeat discussion about the environmental costs of the garment industry and slowing down in the era of fast fashion.

Clothing consumption has increased dramatically in recent decades. The speed and volume in which clothing is consumed has left the average Australian with a wardrobe that grows by 27kg every year. Fashion has become cheaper, more accessible and highly disposable. The industry is designed to satisfy our fashion cravings, fast.

In a bid to meet increasing demand, fast fashion relies on unsustainable practices; from the thousands of litres of water it takes to produce a single shirt, to the harmful chemicals used to dye fabrics and the tonnes of clothing waste that end up in landfill every year. While it might not cost us much at the checkout, fast fashion is putting a serious strain on our environment.

Our guests are Canberra locals who have each taken a unique approach to changing the way they consume clothing. There will be plenty of opportunities for questions and light refreshments will be provided.

WHEN: August 30 6pm-7.30pm

WHERE: Drill Hall Gallery, Kingsley Street, Acton, 2601

BOOKINGS: On the Canberra Environment Centre Facebook Page 

AnchorHave your say on the proposed Fyshwick Waste Incinerator

The Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC) is hosting a public forum Wednesday 23 August 2017 at 7pm Harmonie German Club, 49 Jerrabomberra Avenue, Narrabundah.


7:00pm Introduction: Marea Fatseas, Chair ISCCC

7:05pm Presentation by proponents of Fyshwick Materials Recovery and Waste to Energy Facility: Mr Ewen McKenzie and Mr Adam Perry, Capital Recycling Solutions

7:30pm ACT Government processes for assessing waste to energy proposals: Mr Jonathan Teasdale, Senior Manager, Impact Assessments (Planning Delivery Division, Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate)

7:40pm Pros and cons of proposed facility in Fyshwick: Dr Diana Wright, former head of Environment Quality Division, federal Department of Environment

7:50pm Potential impacts on the community – issues for consideration: Dr Leo Dobes, President, Griffith Narrabundah Community Association

8:00pm Q & A with the panel of speakers

8:50pm Chair ISCCC – Motions from the floor and wrap up

For more information contact Inner South Canberra Community Council [email protected]

ANU Energy Update 2017

WHAT: The ANU Energy Update is the Energy Change Institute’s annual flagship event – a one-day summit that brings together energy researchers, policymakers, industry and the public to provide an overview of the latest world energy trends. The day will feature national and international presenters from government, research and the private sector discussing a range of energy issues including global and regional outlooks, new technologies, energy security, energy access and energy productivity.

WHEN: Wednesday 29 November 2017, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

WHERE: Copland Lecture Theatre, Kingsley Street, Australian National University

REGISTRATION: Free event, spaces fill up fast. Register Here.

Exclusive screening of ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’

WHAT: The ACT Greens and Jonathan Davis for Tuggeranong proudly present an exclusive screen of ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ by Al Gore.

While the Australian release date is 24 August, we have been able to secure an early screening for our friends and supporters.

IMDB says ‘A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change into the heart of popular culture comes the follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution’.

WHEN: 5:30pm for a 6pm screening, Sunday 20 August

WHERE: Limelight Cinemas, Tuggeranong Hyperdome

BOOKINGS: $20 ticket price includes movie ticket, drinks and popcorn.

Purchase tickets:


Forum: The Future of Land Use Outside Urban Canberra 

WHAT:  Are you interested in the land use surrounding our towns and cities? Come along and share and contribute ideas about land use, production for a sustainable future, and implications for planning decisions in the ACT Region.

WHEN: Saturday 26 August 8.45am – 1.00pm

WHERE: Renewables Innovation Hub, 23/19 Moore St, Canberra

REGISTER: Free event, register online here. 


Wildlife and Botanical Artists Exhibition opening 25 August Belconnen Arts Centre


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