Menu Close

EcoUpdate: May 2023

Dear members, friends and supporters,

Here’s the latest news, views and events from Port Stephens and beyond. Whether you’re organising an event or looking to attend one, have you thought of checking out our community calendar? (for non-profit groups only).

Port Stephens residents are invited to apply to participate in one of two new advisory groups focused on environmental matters and our local heritage. East Ward Councillor Leah Anderson said “The advisory groups will work with both Council and staff to share knowledge, build a common understanding, identify opportunities for community-based projects and promote the importance of the environment and heritage.” To find out more and submit an expression of interest, go to Council’s webpage.

I hope you enjoy this issue of EcoUpdate.

Ewa Meyer

See previous editions of EcoUpdate or forward this edition to anyone you like (or don’t like) and they can sign up to receive it directly.

The Voice – EcoNetwork says YES, of course.

The Referendum for the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament will ask Australians if they agree with the principle that First Nations Peoples should have a seat at the table when decisions are being made on matters affecting them.

EcoNetwork’s position on the referendum is that voting ‘yes’ to the question and supporting a successful referendum will be both a valuable change in its own right and also a first step towards treaty and truth-telling.

We suggest you have informed and meaningful conversations in your neighbourhoods and we show you where to get your facts about the proposed Voice to Parliament.

Read More

EcoNetwork teams up with 3 affiliates for 3 events

Continuing with our 30th anniversary celebrations throughout 2023, we have teamed up with 3 of our affiliates this winter.

On 2 July, join Renew Hunter Branch for a Behind the Scenes tour of eco-business affiliate, Resourceful Living’s plastic re-manufacturing factory and see how new items are made from discarded plastic. $10 includes refreshments and gift. More details and bookings.

East meets West bus tour of discovery on 19 July and 5 August. Join members from the Voice of Wallalong and Woodville (VoWW) to explore Port Stephens’ west such as the historic village of Woodville, the iconic bridges, its rural vistas and natural landscapes. Full day bus tour, $36. More details and bookings.

Birds of woodlands, gardens and reserves. Ever wondered what that LBT (‘little brown thing’) is in the tree? What about local conservation projects monitoring the decline of woodland birds? How do you attract birds to your garden? Our bird experts from Tomaree Birdwatchers and BirdLife will point you in the right direction. More details and bookings.

Places are limited on all these events, so please book early. Community Events Calendar.

Our Network in Action – Pindimar/Bundabah Community Association

Earlier this year we asked affiliates to nominate projects which an environmental science student from the University of Newcastle could assist with – the Pindimar/Bundabah Community Association was the first to respond!

This large and well-established group is very active and runs a variety of local projects and campaigns. Alison Rogers tells us all about this wonderful group in a beautiful part of Port Stephens. Read More

What are you doing in July?

Plastic Free July (PFJ) has developed into a worldwide event, giving us all an opportunity to challenge ourselves to get out of those old habits and comfort zone zone we have become so accustomed to.

There are some exciting projects this year organised by the PFJ team. You can do as much or as little as you like – every little bit counts.

How about a plastic-free morning tea or a bigger Plastic Free July video challenge?

Find out more

Fatally flawed wetland venture

NIgel Dique outlines the importance of an upcoming decision by Federal Environment Minister on Toondah Harbour, a Ramsar-listed site in Queensland, and how it will test the government’s commitment to treaty obligations. If approved, this could have major ramifications for the future of existing and proposed Ramsar sites, including in the Hunter region.

Nigel also explores what the Nature Positive Plan might do to improve the inadequacies of the EPBC Act.

Read More

Travelling Electric – Locally!

On 7 May, Port Stephens hosted its first Electric Vehicle information event with over 70 people attending, getting a close look at 14 models of electric vehicles.

EV owner Les Pinney and Renew Hunter Branch have provided a new resource on EcoNetwork’s website. This includes where to find reliable information, where to test drive an EV and what models are currently available in Australia.

Read More

What was Australia’s top selling new passenger car in January 2023? Climate crisis campaigner, Paul McGuire, gives his own special take on the electric momentum and why it’s only a small part of the big picture.

Offshore wind farm proposal – one of them

As you are well aware, an area off our coast is being considered for offshore wind and other renewable energy projects. Public submissions were requested by the Federal Government on the proposed area with nearly 2000 submissions received.

Three of EcoNetwork’s committee attended a meeting with one of the companies to find out what their plans are and how floating wind turbine technology might work off our coast.

Find out more

Hunter birdwatchers welcomed in Japan

A birdwatcher visit to Japan signals the first international exchange organised by Port Stephens Sister Cities Committee since the Covid 19 pandemic halted exchanges.

A delegation comprising 8 Hunter Bird Observers Club members headed by Dr Alan Stuart left 11 May on a 2-week tour, taking in birdwatching activities in Kushiro, Hokkaido and Yugawara, a Port Stephens sister city.

Read more

Work Integrated Learning Update

Earlier this year, Alison Rogers presented a range of projects to students enrolled in the School of Environmental Science and Development Studies at the University of Newcastle. EcoNetwork was hopeful for some support as all students enrolled in these subjects are required to gain real on-the-job experience.

Things turned out a little differently than expected – but equally as inspiring!

Find out more

Rejuvenating Kingsley Headland

Twelve months, two fantastic community events, hard work in between, more than 400 plants, and the Kingsley area of Boat Harbour is certainly getting a major face lift visually and its conservation value is being rejuvenated.

Read about the project and the wonderful progress made by the Friends of Tomaree National Park and the local community.

Read More

Progress reports on previous articles

An update on issues recently featured in EcoUpdate:

  • Anna Bay Heliport proposal – last month we were informed that the applicant for the proposed Anna Bay Heliport applicant has discontinued his appeal against the refusal of his DA. Congratulations to the local community and to TRRA for keeping the pressure on to stop this aircraft facility next to the cemetery. This is what had been proposed.
  • Regent Honeyeater captive release project – latest and LAST update available now. The post-release monitoring has finished as all trackable birds have moved on and out of range for the receivers. The wild birds they were associating with also appear to have moved on, though there could be a few birds lurking not too far from Tomalpin, said Mick Roderick from BirdLife.
  • The Barrington to Hawkesbury Climate Corridor Alliance‘s second report recommends urgent conservation measures to limit the significant loss of biodiversity projected for the region due to climate change. Climate refugia and identified Climate Corridors must be legally protected and spared from further fragmentation and degradation now. Read Report 2.


  • Our very own Kassia Klinger, pioneering member of EcoNetwork and writer extraordinaire, has recently been published in Renew magazine. You can read Kassia’s online article for free here – or subscribe to get the quarterly magazine dedicated to a sustainable future. Aussie women: the solar power pioneers

What’s on

  • 7-8 June workshops. Coastal Management Plan – Port Stephens Council.
  • 26 June 6pm – zoom meeting with the federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek. RSVP here.
  • Sunday 2 July – Behind the Scenes Tour at Resourceful Living’s factory in Kurri Kurri. See first-hand the machinery used in processing recyclable plastics into sustainable household goods and furniture. Watch how their 3D printer produces large items. Places limited – book now.
  • Wednesday 19 July and Saturday 5 August. East meets West bus tour of discovery. Explore the history of the Paterson, Hunter and Williams rivers, the rural vistas and villages with lunch in the historic pub in Hinton. $36 plus lunch. More information and bookings here.
  • Sunday 22 August 2023. Birds of Woodlands, parks and gardens of Port Stephens. Our expert presenters will help you identify local bird species and where to spot them, local conservation projects you can get involved in, as well as tips on how to encourage birds to your garden. More information and bookings here.
  • 30 October – 3 November 2023 Joint National Coast to Coast & NSW Coastal Conference 2023. Newcastle Exhibition & Convention Centre. More information.

EcoNetwork Port Stephens

Our Vision: Ecologically sustainable communities existing in harmony with the natural environment.

Our Purpose: To support our members and to educate and advocate on environmental issues that impact Port Stephens communities. : : facebook