New proposed legislation threat to Biodiversity

The NSW Government has drafted legislation that will weaken protection for biodiversity in our state. The titles of the legislation – Biodiversity Conservation Bill and Local Land Services Amendment Bill are misleading and obscure their true purpose.

The bills will actually allow increased damage to the natural environment through less-regulated land-clearing. The bills will remove a legal requirement that  land clearing should “maintain or improve” biodiversity and will facilitate widespread destruction of native vegetation in both country and urban areas. Nature will pay the bill for this ill-conceived legislation.

In 2014 the 10/50 Clearing Code of Practice was introduced to allow residents to remove vegetation to protect their homes from bushfires. It was so widely abused by landholders clearing vegetation for other purposes that the code had to be modified only two months later. Government data shows the state’s farmers have lopped paddock trees at an accelerating rate in the past 18 months even before a new land-clearing law eases controls further.

One of the key changes in the draft bills is the expansion of the use of self-assesable codes – these will allow land-holders to clear trees more freely, with less supervision. Often these paddock trees will include old trees with hollows that provide shelter and nest sites essential to birds such as owls and parrots, and many other animals. They are nature’s boarding houses. “The Offset” plantings proposed in the bills won’t provide hollows for many, many years.

Our Society does not want to see another vegetation-clearing fiasco in our leafy neighbourhood, or in the rest of the state. We have taken a symbolic slice of wood (salvaged from a tree removed under the 10/50 Code) to Oatley MP Mark Coure’s office to express our concern. Written on the wood (pictured) was the message. “We ask that you urgently withdraw the draft  NSW Biodiversity legislation & act to ensure strong laws to protect our wildlife, amenity, soils & climate. Gymea Biodiversity Review Community”

Concerned residents throughout Sydney have been have been contacting their local Members of Parliament. OFF members also attended attended a protest on 24 June outside Premier Mike Baird’s office in Manly.

For more information, sign petition or help to make submission see Stand Up For Nature Website Submissions are due 28 June 2016.

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Longwall Coal Mining is Jeopardising Water Supply

cordeaux 239 people participated on our Picnic at Cordeaux dam on 1/5/16 to protest about environmentally damaging longwall coal mining projects in the Metropolitan Drinking Water catchments.  Most of those were members of Oatley Flora and Fauna who sponsored the day, but there were also  some present from The Georges River Environmental Alliance and National Parks Assn, Macarthur.


Our particular focus was to oppose the proposal to extend the Dendrobium mining operations in the Cordeaux and Avon Dam catchments, as that was our location for the day. This project has done the most harm yet seen in terms of both draining  precious water yielding swamps and tributary streams, and yet the state government is on the verge of a further approval.

Attached is a report that some participants urged me to compile. It summarizes the current dam threatening proposals; The Metropolitan Mine in the Woronora, The Russell Vale Project in the Cataract as well as the aforementioned Dendrobium project. Included is some scathing evidence against the continuation of damaging longwall coal mining beneath our precious drinking water assets, from the governments’ own agencies and instrumentalities including the NSW Dam Safety Committee, the PAC Commission of Inquiry and Water NSW. It is therefore not surprising, that some of the comments included from participants on the fieldtrip, reveal a level of incredulity, appalling surprise,  that our state government not only permits, but even encourages coal mining that threatens drinking water supplies, and that it applies a third world standard of environmental regulation, in what is  supposedly our first world country. Apart from objecting to the appalling damage that is occurring, a discussion of the financial fragility of some of the proponents, and their poor record in terms of ethical governance added extra concerns.

Report by Picnic organiser Sharyn Cullis (1May 2016)

Please take the time to read paper by Sharyn Cullis which details why coal projects in drinking water catchments is wrong. 

Coal projects in the drinking water catchments 


Committee member Matt Allison wins Banks Volunteer Award

Congratulations to Matt Allison  who was presented with a Banks Volunteer of Award on 6 April . The event was organised by member for Banks David Coleman with presentations made by special guest Julie Bishop MP at Club Rivers .

Matt Allison is passionate about caring for the natural environment and has contributed much to our organisation. He has been a member of the committee of OFF for 15 years and for the past six years, our Program and Publicity Officer. That role includes finding 10 speakers for our monthly meetings, up to a year in advance, and liaising with them to produce publicity and ensure the program is delivered smoothly. Matt’s selection of top-class speakers has ensured high attendances at our meetings and generated interest in, and understanding of, a wide range of natural history and conservation topics.

Matt has also provided expert advice to OFF on bush regeneration and, despite the demands of running a full-time business, contributes many hours of voluntary work to our projects, cheerfully and willingly. With another committee member, he has been instrumental in re-activating the Bushcare program in Oatley Park.

Planning Workshop

OFF Planning Meeting Sm
All members are encouraged to attend this important meeting to discuss future directions of the society in 5 key areas:
- Marketing, promotion & communication
- Activities, field days & meetings
- Projects, grants & Lobbying
- Membership & recruitment
- Finances
**** The meeting will be followed by Afternoon Tea *****

Clean-up Australia Day 2016

On Sunday 6th March, 40 people registered at Jinna Reserve South Peakhurst for the OFF Clean-up activity. Numbers from the Society were boosted by a contingent from Mortdale Girl Guides and their parents, plus some individuals who had seen our notices around the suburb.IMG_3194

Some OFF members took their canoes out onto Lime Kiln Bay to get access to what was lurking in
the mangroves, the rest picked their way around the muddy foreshores of the bay on both the
Peakhurst and Oatley Park side of the inlet.


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IMG_3173Total rubbish collected was 36 bags, nearly half of it plastic bottles; also 9 car tyres, PVC piping and metal objects. This was an outstanding result,although real success should be measures by the absence of any rubbish in our bushland and waterways. We thank all those who gave up their morning to contribute to this community event.

Report by  Clean up Site Coordinator – Alan Fairley



OFF Annual Dinner – 19 May 2016

 COST $33 per person
  Purchase drinks at the bar at club prices
Dinner   consists of –   entree & main  served at your table ,bread rolls,  Celebration cake ,Tea /coffee .
** From choices below  the 2 most popular entrees & mains decided by those attending  will be  alternately  served.**

Meals for vegetarians, vegans,  gluten free & special dietary needs can be organised.

Maryland crab cakes with cucumber salad & remoulade sauce
Baked sweet potato, leek & fetta tart with a rocket & cherry tomato salad
Chicken & mushroom  risotto with basil & shaved parmesan (GF)
Salt & pepper prawns with chilli plum sauce & lime
Grilled Haloumi cheese with tomato, basil & oregano dressing  (GF)

                                                     MAINS MEALS

Chicken breast with Brie & semidried tomato filling, potato gallette, steamed greens & light jus
Seared Salmon fillet on creamy mash potato with bok choy & lemon butter sauce(GF)
Slow roasted beef on creamy mash with baby  carrots, green beans & a red wine jus (GF)
Baked Barramundi fillet,cauliflower puree, buttered broccolini & cherry tomato compote(GF)
Char grilled Pork sirloin on sweet corn puree,  garlic herbed chat potatoes, green beans & gravy.
 BSB 062 206 Acc No 901997

**Contact Sue Howard about menu choices if you are unable to attend any OFF meetings  prior to the Dinner & payment  2nd May .**


2016 Annual General Meeting

Right version white eye Green card

Our AGM was held at the RSL Oatley on February 2016. Secretary Liz Cameron presented the minutes and report for 2015. President Graham Lalchere’s speech reflected on OFF activities through a lense of  “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally”. CLICK HERE FOR FULL Presidents AGM Address

Election of  2016 committee was overseen by David Crawford acting as returning officer.

President  Graham Lalchere

Vice Presidents- Alan Fairley & Graham Fry

Secretary Liz Cameron

Treasurer – Rodger Robertson

A full list of committee members will be posted on line as soon as our program for the year is published.

The official part of the meeting was followed by a dazzling array of members’ slides.  Alan Fairly – Elora & Ajanta Caves in India; Shaun Keays-Byrne Oatley Park & OFF activities; Graham Fry – Smiggins  trips; Sharyn Cullis – Small African Fauna ; Phil Andersen -  Large African Fauna Melina Amerasinghe – Sri-Lanka; Graham Lalchere – Central & Western Australia.

The meeting was followed by supper. With a generous spread of  goodies available members mingled till closing time.  The new venue worked well with equipment and catering facilities.



2016 February Events

February Meetings 2016

**** NOTE NEW MEETING VENUE – Oatley RSL and Community Club, 23 Letitia Street, Oatley. ****

Monday 1 February  7.30pm – AGM – Meeting at: Oatley RSL and Community Club, 23 Letitia Street, Oatley. AGM will be followed by members photos and supper.

Monday night 22nd  7.30pm -Is climate change supported by science?
Our speaker is Dr Dennys Angove, a former CSIRO Atmospheric Scientist. Dennys is now a volunteer on the Climate Citizens Lobby.  Meeting at: Oatley RSL and Community Club, 23 Letitia Street, Oatley


Walk – Saturday 27th February – Coastal walk from Scarborough to Thirroul
Sample the stunning scenery of the south coast, following beaches, cliff lines, rock platforms and some roads. There will be ample opportunity for swimming at one or more of the beaches we will pass by. You can travel there by train or car. More detail in the Newsletter and Facebook.


Drains are for Rain

The Leader 20 Jan 2016 Its clear drains are for rain so butt out
Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society  is painting messages on drains in the Penshurst, Mortdale and Oatley area to remind people of what drains are for and what their misuse can do to wetlands and river systems. Their current target is the drain system that flows into the Lime Kiln Bay wetland.
Leader published the photos and LKB/ drain stencilling story in Wed 20 January 2016 edition..
It is on-line on The Leader website.  There is room on the website version for the public to make comments.

Lime Kiln Bay Guided Walks

IMG_1683OFF conducted free guided walks on 8 and 12 December around Lime Kiln Bay Wetland to show interested people how the wetlands improve the quality of storm water runoff and the abundant native plants and wildlife that the wetland supports.

The walks are part of  a  project undertaken by the society to raise awareness in the local community of potential environmental impacts on the wetland from urban activities. What goes down the drain ends up in the wetland and then into the Georges River. The project is being funded from the NSW Minister for the Environment’s Conservation Fund. It will benefit the local community and Council by improving the long-term health of local waterways and reducing maintenance costs of Council’s drainage infrastructure.