Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Prince William and Kate’s sweet message to Fire Fight supporters

<div class="body_text "> <p>Prince William surprised fans at Sydney’s ANZ stadium for the Fire Fight Australia concert as he shared a message of support about the devastating bushfires that have ravaged the country.</p> <p>The message was beamed to the tens of thousands inside the stadium as well as countless others watching the live broadcast at home.</p> <p>“Hello, everyone. Catherine and I just wanted to say that we were very shocked and saddened to see the damage and devastation caused by the bushfires recently,” Prince William said.</p> <p>“We know it’s been a terrible time for all of those affected by the bushfires.</p> <p>“We want to commend the bravery and resilience of all Australians involved, particularly the volunteer firefighters who have put their lives on the line to protect lives, livelihoods and wildlife. We think that’s been a fantastic effort all ‘round by everyone down there looking after each other.</p> <p>“We know there’s been lots of incredible acts of generosity as well and communities coming together to support each other.</p> <p>“We wish you all the best for the rebuild and have a good evening.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Thank you Prince William. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FireFightAustralia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FireFightAustralia</a> <a href="https://t.co/uA66Ga4Xor">pic.twitter.com/uA66Ga4Xor</a></p> — Channel 7 (@Channel7) <a href="https://twitter.com/Channel7/status/1228961282251870208?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 16, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sent their message of support ahead of the pair’s expected tour to bushfire-ravaged parts of the country.</p> <p>Communities on the bushfire-destroyed NSW south coast hope that a potential royal visit will boost tourism to the region and showcase its reconstruction efforts.</p> <p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that a formal invitation to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be extended “soon” once discussions with Kensington Palace are concluded.</p> <p>Cabinet minister Simon Birmingham said that previous visits from members of the royal family have boosted tourism.</p> <p>“We hope that can all be locked down with an announcement from the royals pretty soon because it is going to be a great opportunity to remind the rest of the world that Australia is still a fantastic place to visit full of rich and amazing experiences,” the senator told the Nine Network last week.</p> <p>It would be the couple’s first visit since 2014.</p> </div>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

George Calombaris to sell lavish Toorak mansion amid collapse of food empire

<p>The embattled MasterChef judge has quietly listed his lavish Toorak home for a hefty $4.1 million as his restaurant empire sits on the brink of collapse.</p> <p>Calombaris’ MaDE Establishment risking going into administration with around 500 staff at 18 restaurants currently employed.</p> <p>The celebrity chef first made headlines in 2019 for underpaying staff of up to $7.83 million.</p> <p>"My thoughts and concerns would be for all of the employees of his company," Victorian Jobs Minister Martin Pakula said on Monday.</p> <p>"In that regard, I would hope that any conversations that are had with bankers and administrators are such that those people are able to keep their jobs."</p> <p>Calombaris has quietly listed his and his partner Natalie Tricarico’s impressive Toorak mansion weeks after selling his Safety Beach holiday house in January. </p> <p>The couple bought the home, held in Tricarico’s name, in 2013 for $4.75 million. </p> <p>The spacious home boasts a generous five bedrooms as well as has bathrooms and five car spots, a swimming pool and an indoor space that can be converted into a gym or theatre. </p> <p>It also features marble kitchen benches fit for a talented chef, according to the 2013 listing of the home.</p> <p>The family faced an intense lashing from locals while they lived at the house after adding a gym to the backyard.</p> <p>Neighbour Helen Elsworth <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/home-garden/masterchef-australias-george-calombaris-in-neighbourhood-row-over-outdoor-gym/news-story/7db6414cfce0f8ebe92826497cf79805" target="_blank">previously told the </a><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/home-garden/masterchef-australias-george-calombaris-in-neighbourhood-row-over-outdoor-gym/news-story/7db6414cfce0f8ebe92826497cf79805" target="_blank">Herald Sun</a></em><span> </span>the addition was a “hideous black box” and Calombaris was “the worst neighbour I’ve had in my life”.</p> <p>Kay &amp; Burton South Yarra managing director Ross Savas has confirmed Calombaris had listed the property and was in discussions with the family about the upcoming sale.</p> <p>Pursuit Property buyer’s advocate Brad Willmott said the family would likely make “capital gains” from the five-bedroom house.</p> <p>“It’s in a small court off Lansdowne Rd, so it’s going to appeal to business people and families downsizing from larger properties in the area,” Mr Willmott said.</p> <p>“It used to have a whole bunch of trees in the backyard, but those have been replaced with some new additions.”</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the Toorak mansion.</p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Shock as Pauline Hanson calls for Australian borders to be closed

<div class="body_text "> <p>Controversial One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has made her thoughts about the coronavirus known and has doubled down on her idea for Australia’s borders to be closed.</p> <p>“We cannot be too cautious when dealing with such a contagious disease that’s killed far too many people across the globe already,” she wrote on Facebook on Thursday.</p> <p>“If we reopen our borders to China ahead a vaccine being discovered, we will only cripple our own domestic tourism based on a sense of fear.”</p> <div id="fb-root"></div> <div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/PaulineHansonAu/photos/a.127409370796717/1209097549294555/?type=3&amp;theater" data-width="auto"> <blockquote class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <p>KEEP CORONAVIRUS OUT OF AUSTRALIA I will always put the safety of Australians ahead of tourists and strongly support an...</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PaulineHansonAu/">Pauline Hanson's Please Explain</a> on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PaulineHansonAu/photos/a.127409370796717/1209097549294555/?type=3">Wednesday, February 12, 2020</a></blockquote> </div> <p>Her post was quickly inundated with support.</p> <p>“Yep, close it down. Safety before money. Unfortunately too many countries, like Australia, have relied too heavily on the Chinese economy, instead of protecting their own economies,” one person commented.</p> <p>“Something fundamentally wrong with a nations management when its wellbeing is so heavily reliant on the trade of one other country,” another agreed.</p> <p>However, not all commenters were agreeing with the idea of closing Australia’s borders.</p> <p>“Closing borders temporarily could help but it isn't a permanent solution,” one person explained.</p> <p>Senator Hanson’s latest idea about the coronavirus comes after her inflammatory comments about Aboriginal people, where she said children who get raped should be taken away from their communities.</p> <div id="fb-root"></div> <div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/PaulineHansonAu/videos/189736492233309/?__xts__[0]=68.ARAPkXkVRWQ4NHdMDp1Lb4QqLBxbc91cWUwqHo_pbxv4ACjxvY4PGnY2f6O9Aldtb0d-hgk2iNbZog8FoI37guR9QG-_Tulf2cqmNV6iy39tJyP77biZwZAwcUyKZq8ECO0BquI2uHImG2hnnHs0y0xpcSW45ZUTcJdlWnQFlHcq6AJzZ7fg9j-SndDZB9jZoF8RFLKtBAHWBAX_TaJAaQfvCaDLLA30pFtMErBSo26BuIIvw9ZTMJ4yvvz1K7u8u1dBLNUNErQYc5xLog9ZiWYGlR2Sfs2mmYxdgSrZ32nS1YVRT4qtybE_culUL_I6tz9lpwnZC1e0aCWVo9kBc7PAOywE9TxUalUiqQ&amp;__tn__=-R"> <blockquote class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PaulineHansonAu/videos/189736492233309/">Pauline Hanson defends her Closing the Gap speech</a> <p>CLOSING THE GAP - IT'S A SPEECH SOME TOOK OFFENCE TO Last night on Paul Murray Live, Labor couldn't help themselves but to have a go at my closing the gap speech. #Auspol #OneNation #PaulineHanson #CloseTheGap #Australia</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PaulineHansonAu/">Pauline Hanson's Please Explain</a> on Wednesday, February 12, 2020</blockquote> </div> <p>“The biggest problem facing Australian and Aboriginal Australians today is their own lack of commitment and responsibility to helping themselves,” Ms Hanson told parliament on Wednesday.</p> <p>Labor frontbencher Jenny McAllister said that Hanson’s speech was not okay.</p> <p>Her racist comments – and they are racist – have no place in this chamber,” she told the upper house.</p> <p>Greens Senate leader Larissa Waters also apologised to anyone who was listening to the comments made by Hanson.</p> <p>“It’s the racism that we’ve come to expect from her and her party,” she said. “They don’t reflect the sentiment of this chamber or (the) vast majority of Australians.”</p> </div> <div class="post_download_all_wrapper"></div>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

The different styles of nomad travellers

<p>Nomads are just like everybody else, except that the nomadic lifestyle tends to bring out the more extreme version of who you already are with all the advantages and disadvantages that that implies. There are a few broad approaches to life, and they’re all represented in the nomad population.</p> <p><strong><em>Mr and Ms Spontaneity </em></strong></p> <p>No planning, no forethought, no thinking ahead, just impulse. This is the nomad who wants the ‘ultimate freedom’ without bounds and limitations.</p> <p><strong>Advantages: </strong>serendipity and surprise, because anything can happen anytime and there’s a certain feeling of romantic adventure to everything that happens because, when you live like this, everything is just so fresh, new and surprising. <br /><strong><br />Disadvantages: </strong>unpreparedness, which, in Australia, when combined with unfettered impulse, might result in clueless and fatal forays into genuine danger. Having said that though, unpreparedness more often than not just leads to unnecessary headaches and drama. <br /><strong><br />Best suited: </strong>for those who stay somewhat on the beaten track where more, shall we say, ‘conscientious’ people who think things through more thoroughly can rescue them if Mr and Ms Spontaneity get into too much trouble through lack of forethought</p> <p><strong><em>Mr and Ms Prepared-for-Anything </em></strong></p> <p>The possessors of lots of ‘things’. This nomad is extremely well- equipped for a broad range of eventualities and often has the latest state-of-the-art camping paraphernalia and creature comforts.</p> <p><strong>Advantages: </strong>if there’s a problem, they usually have the right tool, piece of equipment or supply to fill the need or solve the problem.</p> <p><strong>Disadvantages: </strong>since there are so many things that <em>might </em>happen, or things you <em>might </em>need, it usually means lugging around a lot of stuff and you need to have a vehicle that can handle this and the budget for the increased petrol costs.</p> <p><strong>Best suited: </strong>for those who seek security in things and who don’t feel that they have to compromise on comfort or security when they’re away from civilisation. It also helps to have deep pockets for all the extra expenses incurred in lugging around so much stuff.</p> <p><strong><em>Mr and Ms Organised </em></strong></p> <p>While ‘the spontaneous’ should be prepared to live on beans (because they’ve run out of anything else) and ‘the prepared’ won’t be able to do without their portable television sets and frozen, gluten-free bread, ‘the organised’ prefer to have the best of both worlds, but this means having to think ahead and doing some research.</p> <p>It’s likely if you're reading this that you’re an ‘organised’, or you have an organised friend who has given you this book in the hopes that your adventure won’t hurt you or kill you unnecessarily.</p> <p>The prepared will have this book, just in case, but have never read it and will only read it when they have to, and the spontaneous might have bought this book on impulse, but they have misplaced it and forgotten about it, because they got distracted by some shiny thing somewhere, which could be why you’re reading it now, having picked it up where they left it behind.</p> <p><strong>Advantages: </strong>they’ve done the homework so are less likely to get into trouble and are less likely to have to carry around so much.</p> <p><strong>Disadvantages: </strong>might fall into the trap of being <em>over</em>-organised, with a timetable that has no flexibility or give. You might then get upset if you don’t get to that music festival right on time. Or you might miss that spectacular sunset because you’re too busy looking at the map.</p> <p><strong>Best suited: </strong>for those who have confidence in their ability to do the necessary research and planning, but who also know that they can improvise if something doesn’t go exactly to plan. We hear this a lot about people who micro-plan their trip, then put so much pressure on themselves when they fail to see things, or don’t allow much time to enjoy simple things or to stop and smell the roses.</p> <p><strong>The Big Pluses of the Nomad Way of Life </strong></p> <p>There’s no doubt that nomadding is very attractive to a lot of people, otherwise there wouldn’t even be a term for this way of living. Some of the pluses include:</p> <ul> <li>You’re not tied down to any particular place because you have a lease or a mortgage that you’re obliged to maintain.</li> <li>You’re not tied down to any time because you’re retired or have a super- flexible job, either because you can take your job anywhere (it can all be done on a laptop) or there’s a need for you even in more remote or far- far flung places (you’re an agency nurse or a freelance electrician).</li> <li>You’re not answerable to anyone, because you’ve either freed yourself from relationship obligations (boss/employee) or your relationships have evolved (parent/grown-up children). There are so many amazing experiences that you could have, but they won’t come to you, you have to go to them and this lifestyle helps you do that.</li> <li>The opportunity for personal growth is there if you want it. You’ll often find yourself doing things you never thought<br />you would do or were even capable of doing. You’ll discover potential that you might not have known you had. You’ll become a different, and, if you do it right, a better version of yourself – more resourceful, more resilient, more capable and more confident.</li> <li>One of the best things you can do to boost confidence in this whole nomadding, camping thing is to do a bit of rehearsal, in fact, a lot of rehearsal. Practice makes perfect, especially if you’ve never done anything like this before.</li> </ul> <p><em><u>Credit:</u> The Grey Nomad's Ultimate guide to Australia, New Holland Publishers, RRP $32.99 available from all good book retailers or online at <a href="http://www.newhollandpublishers.com">www.newhollandpublishers.com</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Why couples fight while travelling

<p><strong><em>Redrawing the Boundaries with Your Partner </em></strong></p> <p>Whatever arrangements you’ve negotiated over the years with your partner during your settled years, nomadding will necessitate a whole host of new agreements. The most important agreements that you’ll have to come to are:</p> <p><strong>1. Personal space</strong></p> <p>People need to know that ‘this is my space, this is your space, and this is our space’.</p> <p><strong>2. Being realistic</strong></p> <p>Knowing that when space is limited and resources are limited, space will inevitably be violated, even with the best of intentions. Some couples find themselves tested in odd ways. They might discover that circumstances will force them to go to the toilet in front of each other, especially if the weather is bad, or if someone gets sick. And, to be blunt, it’s di cult to hide explosive diarrhoea in an RV.</p> <p><strong>3. Things that have to be joint responsibility out of sheer necessity</strong></p> <p><strong><em>The Top-Ten Reasons Couples Fight </em></strong></p> <p>In spite of people’s general impression that they are unique, the same rubbish tends to play out in the majority of relationships. Probably because unless you had extremely enlightened and communicative parents or teachers and you were an attentive student, the majority of people aren’t taught <em>how </em>to have relationships.</p> <p>They’ve usually done things by being exposed to (often bad) examples, or they’ve winged it and made a right mess of things. It helps if you know that your arguments with your partner are not special.</p> <p><strong>1. Accuracy of recollection</strong></p> <p>These are arguments that start when people have very different memories about what was said, by whom, to whom, about what, and what, if any, agreements were made. These are the arguments where someone is likely to say, ‘Oh, if <em>only </em>I’d recorded that conversation.’</p> <p>Given that smartphones today come with the capacity to record, there’s no excuse not to record conversations that might have major implications. It might seem weird at first, but it forces people to up their game and actually say what they really mean and stick to a promise if they make one.</p> <p><strong>2. Agendas</strong></p> <p>You might think that you’re doing the same thing for the same reason. You might not be. Agendas aren’t always deliberately hidden. Sometimes people aren’t clear or don’t communicate clearly about why they want something, even though they think they have.</p> <p><strong>3. Sometimes it’s just innocent bad communication and misunderstanding</strong></p> <p>This leads to a ‘Why are we in Goondiwindi?’ conversation.</p> <p>‘OK, So, remind me again. Why are we in Goondiwindi?’</p> <p>‘I don’t know. I thought you wanted to go to Goondiwindi.’</p> <p>‘I didn’t want to go to Goondiwindi. I only wanted to come to Goondiwindi because I thought that you wanted to go to Goondiwindi.’ ‘I didn’t want to go to Goondiwindi. I only wanted to go to Goondiwindi because I thought that you wanted to go to Goondiwindi.’</p> <p>At this point either laughter or a heated argument ensues, depending on the current state of the relationship.</p> <p><strong>4. Cooking</strong></p> <p>‘I can’t eat that.’ ‘I won’t eat that.’ ‘Why are you the only person in the world who can burn water?’ ‘Why do I always have to do all the cooking and the washing up?’</p> <p><strong>5. Family</strong></p> <p>‘You’ve always hated my sister.’ ‘You’ve always thought my brother was a loser.’ ‘I really don’t want to drive a thousand kilometres just to catch up with your stupid cousins.’</p> <p><strong>6. Interior design</strong></p> <p>‘I’m no expert but I really don’t think the burnt amber curtains go with the lime green walls.’ ‘Why do you keep buying these knick-knacky pieces of crap?’</p> <p><strong>7. Money</strong></p> <p>This is so self-explanatory we’re not even going to give an example.</p> <p><strong>8. Sex</strong></p> <p>Ditto. In serious cases both sex and money issues need the intervention of expert help.</p> <p><strong>9. The children</strong></p> <p>Don’t think that just because they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind. Your children will continue to be a part of your lives wherever you happen to be nomadding. If you’re still arguing about them after all these years then nomadding isn’t going to change that.</p> <p><strong>10. Tidiness and cleaning</strong></p> <p>This is a major issue for several reasons: People confuse ‘untidiness’ with ‘unclean’. The two are related, but not at all the same thing. You can have a perfectly clean things that are a mess, dirty stuff that looks ordered, or both. People’s standards of what constitutes tidy or clean vary tremendously and even if people have similar standards, they’ll only clean what they can see.</p> <p>Short people tend to ignore high places, tall people tend to ignore low places. Also, when dealing with a couple the ‘clean freak’ of the two ends up doing ‘all the work’ and can tend to be a bit of a martyr about it. And crucially, when you live in an RV every bit of dirt shows up, because while you can hide things in a larger space, a small space has no ‘give’. For more about cleaning see page 206</p> <p><strong><em>Who Gets the Blame? </em></strong></p> <p>The ‘It’s your fault’ arguments can get ugly. The only way out of these is that people need to:</p> <ol> <li>Negotiate who is responsible for what.<br />2. Honour those responsibilities.<br />3. Accept that when someone is responsible for something, the non-responsible party has very little right to criticise the responsible party. After all, if they could do a better job, maybe they should have taken a responsibility in the first place. It’s all about drawing the line and establishing healthy boundaries.</li> </ol> <p><strong><em>Growing Together </em></strong></p> <p>One thing we hear time and time again is that, while nomadding couples might face a challenge or two on the way, they deal with these challenges together, as a team. The result is that couples find that they not only grow as individuals, but together.</p> <p>It’s not that a pre- nomad life necessarily drives couples apart (although, to be frank, it often does), but when you factor in year after year of focusing on careers, mortgages, children and all sorts of other stuff attention is not necessarily on the couple.</p> <p><em><u>Credit:</u></em> <em>The Grey Nomad's Ultimate guide to Australia, New Holland Publishers, RRP $32.99 available from all good book retailers or online at <span><a href="http://www.newhollandpublishers.com">www.newhollandpublishers.com</a></span></em><em>. </em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Eating out as a "grey nomad"

<p>Eating is one of many people’s favourite subjects, here we’d like to go into a bit of detail about food and cooking in general as a nomad.</p> <p><strong>Food Storage and Preservation </strong></p> <p>Not all RVs have refrigeration or freezing, and those that do will require electricity to run them, which might not always be available. When you consider the space limitations that you’ll have to deal with then nomads have to rethink the way that they do food.</p> <p><strong>Consider the following options</strong></p> <ul> <li>Dried ingredients, such as nuts, dried fruit and grains are high-density, lightweight foods that you can graze on all the time.</li> <li>Leaf vegetables, like Chinese greens and spinach, as well as cauliflower and broccoli, don’t store well, so consume them as soon as possible.</li> <li>Root vegetables and squashes like pumpkin store for a long time especially in cold conditions, but ‘a long time’ doesn’t mean ‘forever’ so don’t wait until they start sprouting before you consume them.</li> <li>Cans are wonderful for wet foods, but they are heavy, so where possible see about buying foods in UHT or Tetra Parks.</li> <li>You might be amazed at what you can accomplish with limited utensils. Clever cooks just love sharing their cleverness with other people and if you just ask around, you’ll get some great tips. For those of you who like watching videos, we have links to several below to get you inspired.</li> <li>If you can, stick to meals that are simple to prepare. This is where a slow cooker might be of great help. The great advantage of slow cooking is that you can buy cheaper but tougher cuts of meats that are more flavoursome, but that lend themselves to long, slow cooking to bring their flavours out and to tenderise them until they melt in your mouth. Slow cooking is also easy, you can just bung in a whole bunch of ingredients in the morning, set and forget, and by evening your meals are ready. Of course, you need a steady supply of power to make this work, but that’s what trailer parks and/or solar electricity are for. Slow cooked meals also freeze really easily, so leftovers become the gift that just keeps on giving.</li> <li>Alternatively, if you have above-average re-making and maintaining skills you can cook anywhere that you can get your hands on firewood, as long as you’re not using an open fire at a time or place where there’s an extreme fire danger.</li> <li>If you’re in a town for a while and have made friends and contacts with access to a kitchen, it might pay to make up a whole bunch of meals like curries, soups, stews and the like that can be frozen and reheated in a microwave later.</li> </ul> <p>We’d strongly recommend getting your hands on a copy of an excellent book by Lisa Kathleen Daly, <em>Healthy Eating for the Time Poor </em>(New Holland, 2018). The book was written for stressed-out urban parents who want to spend far less time in the kitchen but still give their families nutritious meals, but the principles in the book can be easily applied to nomads who want to spend more time enjoying Australia and less time cooking but who don’t want to compromise too much on flavour and healthy eating. Lisa lived in Kakadu in the Northern Territory and in Monkey Mia in Western Australia for over a year, so she’s no stranger to camping and nomadding.</p> <p><em><u>Credit:</u> The Grey Nomad's Ultimate guide to Australia, New Holland Publishers, RRP $32.99 available from all good book retailers or online at www.newhollandpublishers.com</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

New “umbrella” species would massively improve conservation efforts

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to new research done by the University of Queensland, the introduction of “umbrella” species would massively improve conservation efforts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Umbrella species are species which when preserved indirectly protect many other animals and plant species.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">UQ PhD candidate Michelle Ward said different choices in Australia could provide more assistance for threatened species.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The Australian Federal Government’s umbrella prioritisation list identifies 73 species as conservation priorities,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“But this only ends up benefiting six per cent of all Australia’s threatened terrestrial species.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This figure could be increased to benefit nearly half of all threatened terrestrial species for the same budget.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“One of the main reasons is that many umbrella species are chosen based on their public appeal, rather than their efficiency for protecting other species – we want to change that.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Researchers investigated what umbrella species could maximise the flora and fauna benefitting from management while considering costs, actions and threats.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The koala, red goshawk, matted flax-lily and purple clover are more efficient umbrella species, yet none of these appear on the existing federal government priority species list,” she explained.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Australia has committed to prevent further extinction of known threatened species and improve their conservation status by 2020.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Yet, with limited funding committed to conservation, we need better methods to efficiently prioritise investment of resources.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Professor Hugh Possingham said that in a time of crisis, smart decision making was vital.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Now is precisely the time where governments need to get their investment in nature to be as efficient as possible,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Nations around the world can significantly improve the selection of umbrella species for conservation action by taking advantage of our transparent, quantitative and objective prioritisation approach.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“With a species extinction crisis, looming international deadlines and limited conservation funding globally, we need better methods to efficiently prioritise investment of resources in species recovery.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The study, published in Conservation Biology (<a href="https://www.vision6.com.au/ch/50178/3ct4h/2808599/Ds2b._AP0gyT630EB6_aQlNZXn05sHJG_MdYR0Ar.html">DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13430</a>), was conducted by UQ, <a href="https://www.vision6.com.au/ch/50178/3ct4h/2808600/Ds2b._AP0gyT630EB6_a6jGpUsKkQsMprfjcLi0h.html">The Nature Conservancy</a>, the <a href="https://www.vision6.com.au/ch/50178/3ct4h/2291364/Ds2b._AP0gyT630EB6_aeAh0IAz4MZ87vQ.Ij7du.html">Wildlife Conservation Society</a> and the <a href="https://www.vision6.com.au/ch/50178/3ct4h/2808601/Ds2b._AP0gyT630EB6_aXgEzA0c2ovhFWY3HjXCB.html">United Nations Development Program</a>.</span></em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Sharp increase in whale shark injuries might be due to boat encounters

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Almost one-fifth of the whale sharks in Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef Marine Park are showing signs of major scarring or fin amputations, with the number of injured animals increasing in recent years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New research has shown that due to the distinctive scar patterns, it’s being strongly suggested that many of the injuries are due to boat collisions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Whale shark scientist Emily Lester from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is horrified by the latest findings.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Some of the major scars were probably bite marks from predators, but most were the marks of blunt trauma, lacerations or amputations arising from encounters with ships, particularly propellers,” Ms Lester said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To make the finding, Lester and colleagues from AIMS and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) reviewed moving and still images of 913 whale sharks taken by Ningaloo tour boat operators between 2008 and 2013.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of these, 146 or 16 per cent of the whale sharks suffered from serious injuries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Due to the whale sharks migration patterns, it is difficult to tell where the injuries happened as whale sharks migrate thousands of kilometres beyond the boundaries of the marine park.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Mitigating the impact of scarring from vessel collisions is challenging, particularly outside of our jurisdiction of State waters,” said DBCA research scientist and co-author Dr Holly Raudino.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B63AFyvB-GV/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B63AFyvB-GV/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Whaleshark hanging out at Ningaloo Reef😁🐋🦈 . Like and tag an ocean lover in the comments❤👍💬 . Shot by @jesshaddenphoto . Follow @scubapilgrim for more! Follow @scubapilgrim for more!</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/scubapilgrim/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Diving Traveler</a> (@scubapilgrim) on Jan 3, 2020 at 5:36am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“One possible explanation is that there is an increase in shipping activity throughout the whale sharks’ range – inside Ningaloo and out – and collisions are becoming more frequent,” said Ms Lester.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The data is unable to reveal the amount of fatal ship collisions as the whale shark is “negatively buoyant”, which means that when they die, they sink to the ocean floor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A collision between a large ocean-going vessel and a whale shark wouldn’t be felt by the ship, as a result, it’s likely that we’re underestimating the number of mortalities from ship strike, since our study could only document sharks that survived their injuries,” Ms Lester said.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The </span><a href="https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13173"><span style="font-weight: 400;">research is published</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in the </span><a href="https://www.int-res.com/journals/meps/meps-home/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Marine Ecology Progress Series</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

The coronavirus will hit the tourism and travel sector hard

<p>The spread of infectious diseases is invariably linked to travel. Today, tourism is a huge global business that accounts for <a style="font-size: 14px;" href="https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic-impact-research/regions-2019/world2019.pdf">10.4 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 10 per cent of global employment.</a></p> <p>Nothing seems to slow its growth as year-over-year <a href="https://unwto.org/world-tourism-barometer-n18-january-2020">increases outpace the economy</a>. The United Nations World Tourism Organization is predicting further <a href="https://unwto.org/world-tourism-barometer-n18-january-2020">growth of three per cent to four per cent in international tourist arrivals for 2020</a>, with <a href="https://unwto.org/world-tourism-barometer-n18-january-2020">international departures worldwide particularly strong</a> in the first quarter of this year.</p> <p>But that was before a new coronavirus (formally known as 2019-nCoV) hit China and then very rapidly started spreading to the rest of the world with <a href="https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6">20 countries and counting</a> isolating cases.</p> <p>Officials in China and those in the rest of world have been much quicker to take more drastic action after learning bitter lessons from the SARS outbreak in 2003, which also started in China.</p> <p>The impact on travel to and from China of this new coronavirus, however, has been devastating. Airlines, including <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/coronavirus-air-travel-1.5444326">Air Canada</a>, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/29/business/british-airways-coronavirus/index.html">have cancelled all flights</a> or <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/29/business/american-airlines-suspends-china-flights-coronavirus/index.html">significantly reduced the number of flights</a> in and out of China. <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-30/russia-closing-border-with-china-to-affect-people-not-goods">Russia closed its land border to passenger travel</a> with China and <a href="https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/n7jebz/hong-kong-is-closing-its-borders-to-keep-coronavirus-out">Hong Kong shut down its borders, cross-border ferries and railways</a>.</p> <p>How does the impact of 2019-nCoV differ from that of SARS, which also affected tourism dramatically?</p> <p><strong>SARS has higher death toll so far</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/en/">World Health Organization</a> confirmed 8,096 cases and 774 deaths in 26 countries as a result of the SARS coronavirus. First detected in late February 2003, it had run its course five months later.</p> <p>The coronavirus first appeared in December 2019 but has already <a href="http://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2001316">surpassed the total number of SARS cases in just two months</a>, albeit with a much lower death rate. Infectious disease experts expect it <a href="https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/wuhan-virus-experts-say-outbreak-will-last-months-at-least">to last for several months</a> yet with tens of thousands afflicted before it runs its course.</p> <p>SARS accounted for a <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/ST.INT.ARVL">drop in international tourist arrivals of almost 9.4 million</a> and a loss of between US$30 billion and $50 billion. But in 2002, China’s role as both a travel destination and a source country was relatively minor, receiving fewer than 38 million tourists and sending about 17 million tourists abroad.</p> <p>Compare that to 2019 when it is estimated China received <a href="https://www.china-mike.com/china-travel-tips/china-tourism-statistics/">142 million inbound tourists and the Chinese made 134 million trips abroad and 5.5 billion trips domestically</a>.</p> <p>The severe travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese government on its citizens and the stern warnings from Foreign Affairs offices, <a href="https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/china">including Canada’s</a>, to avoid all non-essential travel to China and all travel to Hubei province (Wuhan is its capital and largest city) means that the economic impact of this coronvirus will be felt in every corner of the world and almost every sector of the economy.</p> <p>The market response has been swift, with <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/coronavirus-economic-impact-1.5437393">share prices of major airlines, cruise lines and tourism companies dropping several percentage points</a>.</p> <p>With the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus <a href="https://www.who.int/">a public health emergency of global concern</a>, Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (<a href="https://www.wttc.org/search-results/?query=coronavirus">WTTC</a>) fears that this escalation could have a damaging and lasting economic impact on the sector. She’s <a href="http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/356089/wttc-issues-coronavirus-economic-impact-warning">expressed serious concerns</a> that airport closures, flight cancellations and shuttered borders often have a greater economic impact than the outbreak itself.</p> <p><strong>Hundreds of thousands die from seasonal flus</strong></p> <p>These concerns are well justified when one considers that <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1213-flu-death-estimate.html">between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide die from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses each year</a>, which does not lead to any of these warnings or drastic measures.</p> <p>Canada saw <a href="https://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/en/">251 SARS cases and 43 deaths</a>, but it cost the Canadian economy an estimated <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/coronavirus-economic-impact-1.5437393">$5.25 billion and 28,000 jobs</a>. At the time, China was a Canadian tourism market of less than <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=2410000301">100,000 visitors annually; that dropped by 25 per cent due to SARS</a>.</p> <p>Today, China is Canada’s second-largest overseas market, accounting for close to <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=2410000301">800,000 arrivals</a>, and its highest spending market with more than<a href="https://www.destinationcanada.com/sites/default/files/archive/869-Market%20Highlights%20-%20China%20-%202019/MarketHighlights-CN_EN%5B1%5D.pdf">$2,800 per trip</a>.</p> <p>Depending on how long the restrictions and warnings are in place, losses could easily double of those in 2003. The pain will be felt in every industry as tourism’s supply chain involves everything from agriculture and fishing to banking and insurance. The hardest hit will be its core industries of accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation and travel services.</p> <p>While Air Canada will <a href="https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/book/travel-news-and-updates/2020/china-travel.html">refund fares for cancelled flights</a> to and from China, other airlines may only <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/28/business/delta-american-united-coronavirus-wuhan-china/index.html">extend change fee waivers</a> or provide credit towards future flights.</p> <p>But this may not be the case for connecting flights from Beijing or Shanghai, the cities most commonly served by North American airlines.</p> <p>A growing number of hotels are also waiving changes and cancellation fees for bookings in China scheduled for the next few weeks. But many travellers to or passing through China may not be able to recover all their money, even if they bought insurance. That’s because most basic travel insurance plans do not cover <a href="https://www.aarp.org/travel/travel-tips/safety/info-2020/insurance-coronavirus-coverage.html">epidemics as a reason for cancellation</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/130872/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marion-joppe-952990">Marion Joppe</a>, Professor, Law and Economics of Tourism, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-guelph-1071">University of Guelph</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-coronavirus-will-hit-the-tourism-and-travel-sector-hard-130872">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Who should give way? Road rules quiz leaves drivers baffled

<p>A road rules quiz asking whether a pedestrian should give way to a car turning into a driveway has left social media users confused.</p> <p>Posted on Facebook by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads on Monday, the question came complete with a diagram that showed a pedestrian on a footpath next to a driveway.</p> <p>A car waiting to turn right into the driveway would have to cross a single, unbroken line.</p> <p>“With an increase in children walking to and from school who gives way? The orange car, or the pedestrian walking on the path?” the transport body asked.</p> <p>While the department revealed cars must give way to pedestrians on the footpath or the road, answers by Facebook users varied significantly.</p> <p>Many believed that car would have right of way.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTMRQld%2Fposts%2F2787934611249404&amp;width=500" width="500" height="658" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>But others said the car should be permitted to cross the unbroken line.</p> <p>“I always thought you couldn’t turn into a driveway over a solid white line,” said one person.</p> <p>“You can’t cross on a solid line,” said another.</p> <p>To which the department replied: “You can cross a single continuous centre line to enter or leave a road, including entering or leaving a property and to safely pass a bike rider.</p> <p>“You can cross a single continuous centre line to overtake or to do a U-turn.”</p> <p>Another person said “laws of commonsense”, saying the pedestrian would have the right of way.</p> <p>“By laws of commonsense the pedestrian has the right of way here, he maybe blind, or have any other incapacities, but the driver should by law be ok, seems strange to needs ask the question,” they wrote.</p> <p>“You’d be surprised,” wrote the transport body.</p> <p>They also revealed that vehicles must give way because cars provide the driver with a lot more protection when compared to a pedestrian.</p> <p>“A minor collision could cause serious injury or death.”</p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Aussies want to help nature after bushfire season

<p>As the devastation of this season of bushfires unfolds, many people have asked themselves: what can I do to help? Perhaps they donated money, left food out for wildlife or thought about joining a bush regeneration group.</p> <p>Big, life-changing moments – whether society-wide or personal – provide unique opportunities to disrupt habits and foster new behaviours. Think of how a heart attack can prompt some people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.</p> <p>For many Australians, the bushfire disaster could represent such a turning point, marking the moment they adopt new, long-term actions to help nature. But governments and environmental organisations must quickly engage people before the moment is lost.</p> <p><strong>Creatures of habit</strong></p> <p>Human behaviour is <a href="http://orca.cf.ac.uk/43453/1/MomentsofChangeEV0506FinalReportNov2011(2).pdf">generally habitual</a>, resistant to change, and shaped by context such as time of day, location or social group. But when this context is disrupted, opportunities emerge to foster change.</p> <p>Take the case of taking action on climate change. <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2011.01695.x">Research</a> into public perceptions, <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00230/full">including in Australia</a>, suggests most people see climate change as not personally relevant. In other words, they are “psychologically distant” from the problem. This means they are less likely to adopt pro-environmental behaviors.</p> <p>But the bushfire crisis was personally relevant to millions of Australians. Some tragically lost loved ones or homes. Thousands were forced to evacuate or had holidays cut short. And the smoke haze which engulfed our cities badly interfered with daily life.</p> <p>Such ruptures are described in psychology and behavioural science as a <a href="http://orca.cf.ac.uk/43453/1/MomentsofChangeEV0506FinalReportNov2011(2).pdf">moment of change</a>, which means the time is ripe to encourage new behaviours.</p> <p><strong>Where there’s a will</strong></p> <p>Even before the fire crisis, many Australians were primed to act for nature.</p> <p>In 2018 we conducted a survey <a href="https://www.ari.vic.gov.au/research/people-and-nature/victorians-value-nature">which found</a> 86% of Victorians support pro-environmental and pro-social values, 95% are aware of the condition of Victoria’s environment and the importance of biodiversity, and more than 64% feel connected to nature.</p> <p>Experience of previous natural disasters provides further insights into why people might volunteer.</p> <p>After the 2011 Rena oil spill in New Zealand, communities came together to quickly remove oil from the coastline. <a href="https://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/handle/10289/11678">Subsequent research</a> found people volunteered for a range of reasons. This included a sense of collective responsibility for the environment for both current and future generations, and to connect with others and cope with their negative response to the spill.</p> <p><a href="http://www.behaviourchangewheel.com/about-wheel">One model of behaviour change theory</a> suggests if people have the motivation, capability and opportunity, they are more likely to act.</p> <p>Australians have shown motivation and capability to act in this bushfire crisis – now they need opportunities. Governments and environmental organisations should encourage easy behaviours people can perform now.</p> <p><strong>Putting it into practice</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/BIT-Publication-EAST_FA_WEB.pdf">Timeliness</a> is essential in promoting new behaviours. Organisations should limit the time that passes between a person’s first impulse to help – <a href="https://conservationvolunteers.com.au/bushfires/">such as signing up to a volunteer organisation</a> – and concrete opportunities to act.</p> <p>Volunteering groups should communicate early with volunteers, find out what skills and resources they can offer then provide easy, practical suggestions for acting quickly.</p> <p>In the short term, this might mean suggesting that concerned citizens keep their <a href="http://www.safecat.org.au/">cats</a> indoors and dogs under control, particularly near areas affected by the fires; take a bag on their beach walk to pick up litter and debris; or advocate for the environment by <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/say-what-starting-climate-conversation">talking</a> with family and friends about why nature needs protecting.</p> <p>In the longer term, these behaviours could be scaled up to activities such as encouraging people to fill their <a href="https://gardensforwildlifevictoria.com/">garden</a> with native plants to provide new habitat for wildlife; regularly <a href="https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/biodiversity/victorians-volunteering-for-nature">volunteering</a> for nature, and participating in <a href="https://www.swifft.net.au/cb_pages/citizen_science.php">citizen science</a> projects.</p> <p>Governments, councils and other organisations should provide information that guides the activities of volunteers, but still gives them control over how they act. This can lead to positive initiatives such as <a href="https://landcareaustralia.org.au/">Landcare</a>, which allows local people to design solutions to environmental problems.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/rebuilding-from-the-ashes-of-disaster-this-is-what-australia-can-learn-from-india-130385?utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20January%2028%202020%20-%201519614480&amp;utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20January%2028%202020%20-%201519614480+CID_95e759a130584ceb9e01dfae3bfc0836&amp;utm_source=campaign_monitor&amp;utm_term=Rebuilding%20from%20the%20ashes%20of%20disaster%20this%20is%20what%20Australia%20can%20learn%20from%20India">Analysis of natural disaster response overseas</a> has shown that decentralised approaches which incorporate local communities work well.</p> <p><strong>The long-term picture</strong></p> <p>There is a danger that once the immediate shock of the bushfire crisis passes, some people will return to their old behaviours. However research has shown when people undertake one pro-environmental behaviour, they are more likely to <a href="https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/You-did%2C-so-you-can-and-you-will%3A-Self-efficacy-as-Lauren-Fielding/63eec319447a3bb71234230fe1b7b6092df1825e">repeat it in future</a>.</p> <p>Encouraging people to help nature, and spend time in it, can also improve a person’s <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29982151">physical</a> and <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-019-00118-6">mental</a> well-being.</p> <p>After the New Zealand oil spill cleanup, for example, most volunteers reported a sense of satisfaction, better social ties and renewed optimism.</p> <p>This summer’s east coast bushfires are a tragedy. But if the moment is harnessed, Australians can create new habits that help the environment in its long process of recovery. And perhaps one day, acting for nature will become the new social norm.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/130874/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/denise-goodwin-376443">Denise Goodwin</a>, Research Fellow, BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/abby-wild-953135">Abby Wild</a>, Research fellow, BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/melissa-hatty-506801">Melissa Hatty</a>, PhD candidate, BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/lots-of-people-want-to-help-nature-after-the-bushfires-we-must-seize-the-moment-130874">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Climate change is beating Aussie winemakers

<p>There is <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03595-0">growing evidence</a> that Earth’s systems are heading towards climate “tipping points” beyond which change becomes abrupt and unstoppable. But another tipping point is already being crossed - humanity’s capacity to adapt to a warmer world.</p> <p>This season’s uncontrollable bushfires overwhelmed the nation. They left <a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/six-firefighters-injured-three-dead-within-10-hours-20200124-p53uc4">33 people</a> dead, killed an estimated <a href="https://sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2020/01/08/australian-bushfires-more-than-one-billion-animals-impacted.html">one billion animals</a> and razed more than 10 million hectares – a land area <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-50951043">almost the size of England</a>. The millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide the fires spewed into the atmosphere will accelerate climate change further.</p> <p>Humans are a <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/humans-may-be-most-adaptive-species/">highly adaptive species</a>. In the initial phases of global warming in the 20th century, we coped with the changes. But at some point, the pace and extent of global warming will outrun the human capacity to adapt. Already in Australia, there are signs we have reached that point.</p> <p><strong>Wine woes</strong></p> <p>For Australia, the first obvious tipping point may come in agriculture. Farmers have gradually adapted to a changing climate for the last two decades, but this can’t go on indefinitely.</p> <p>Take wine grapes. In the space of just 20 years, a warming climate means grape harvest dates have come back by <a href="https://www.theland.com.au/story/6559752/the-wine-industry-is-the-canary-in-the-coal-mine/">roughly 40 days</a>. That is, instead of harvesting red grapes at the end of March or early April many growers are now harvesting in mid-February. This is astounding.</p> <p>The implications for wine quality are profound. Rapid ripening can cause “unbalanced fruit” where high sugar levels are reached before optimum colour and flavour development has been achieved.</p> <p>To date, wine producers have <a href="https://www.theland.com.au/story/6559752/the-wine-industry-is-the-canary-in-the-coal-mine/">dealt with the problem</a> by switching to more heat-tolerant grape varieties, using sprinklers on hot days and even adding water <strong>to wine?</strong> to reduce excessive alcohol content. But these adaptations can only go so far.</p> <p>On top of this, the recent fires ravaged wine regions in south-eastern Australia. Smoke <a href="https://www.afr.com/life-and-luxury/food-and-wine/the-hidden-cost-of-bushfires-smoke-taint-in-vineyards-20200120-p53szt">reportedly ruined many grape crops</a> and one wine companies, Tyrrell’s Wines, expects to produce <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/agriculture/tyrrell-s-loses-80pc-of-grapes-due-to-fires-20200122-p53tr1">just 20% of its usual volume</a> this year.</p> <p>At some point, climate change may render grape production uneconomic in large areas of Australia.</p> <p><strong>The Murray Darling crisis</strong></p> <p>Farmers are used to handling drought. But the sequence of droughts since 2000 – <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-australias-current-drought-caused-by-climate-change-its-complicated-97867">exacerbated by climate change</a> – raises the prospect that investment in cropland and cropping machinery becomes uneconomic. This in turn will negatively impact suppliers and local communities.</p> <p>The problems are most severe in relation to irrigated agriculture, particularly in the Murray–Darling Basin.</p> <p>In the early 1990s, it became clear that historical over-extraction of water had damaged the ecosystem’s health. In subsequent decades, policies to address this – such as extraction caps – were introduced. They assumed rainfall patterns of the 20th century would continue unchanged.</p> <p>However the 21st century has been characterised by <a href="https://watersource.awa.asn.au/environment/natural-environment/murray-darling-basin-drought-most-severe-on-record/">long periods of severe drought</a>, and policies to revive the river environment have largely failed. Nowhere was this more evident than during last summer’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-wrote-the-report-for-the-minister-on-fish-deaths-in-the-lower-darling-heres-why-it-could-happen-again-115063">shocking fish kills</a>.</p> <p>The current drought has pushed the situation to political boiling point - and perhaps ecological tipping point.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/the-water-crisis-has-plunged-the-nats-into-a-world-of-pain-but-they-reap-what-they-sow-128238">Tensions</a> between the Commonwealth and the states have prompted New South Wales government, which largely <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/08/nsw-minister-altered-barwon-darling-water-sharing-plan-to-favour-irrigators">acts in irrigator interests</a>, to flag <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/13/states-threaten-to-quit-murray-darling-basin-plan-over-water-recovery-target">quitting</a> the Murray Darling Basin Plan. This may mean even more water is taken from the river system, precipitating an ecological catastrophe.</p> <p>The Murray Darling case shows adaptation tipping points are not, in general, triggered solely by climate change. The interaction between climate change and social, political and economic systems determines whether human systems adapt or break down.</p> <p><strong>Power struggles</strong></p> <p>The importance of this interplay is illustrated even more sharply by Australia’s failed electricity policy.</p> <p>Political and public resistance to climate mitigation is largely driven by professed concern about the price and reliability of electricity – that a transition to renewable energy will cause supply shortages and higher energy bills.</p> <p>However a failure to act on climate change has itself put huge stress on the electricity system.</p> <p>Hot summers have caused old coal-fired power stations to <a href="https://www.tai.org.au/content/september-gas-coal-power-plants-have-broken-down-100-times-so-far-2018">break down more frequently</a>. And the increased use of air-conditioning has increased electricity demand – particularly at peak times, which our system is ill-equipped to handle.</p> <p>Finally, the recent bushfire disaster <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/energy-grid-under-threat-as-bushfires-bear-down-on-power-lines-20200103-p53om1.html">destroyed</a> substantial parts of the electricity transmission and distribution system, implying yet further costs. Insurance costs for electricity networks are tipped to rise in response to the bushfire risk, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-23/power-prices-rise-blackouts-increase-bushfire-season-intensifies/11890646">pushing power prices even higher</a>.</p> <p>So far, the federal government’s response to the threat has been that of a failed state. A <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-16/cabinet-dumps-clean-energy-target-for-new-plan/9056174">series</a> of <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=3&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=2ahUKEwjmuvPLvZvnAhWmxjgGHe_ZB0cQFjACegQIPBAB&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fclimatechangeauthority.gov.au%2Fsites%2Fprod.climatechangeauthority.gov.au%2Ffiles%2Ffiles%2FSpecial%2520review%2520Report%25203%2FClimate%2520Change%2520Authority%2520Special%2520Review%2520Report%2520Three.pdf&amp;usg=AOvVaw3Po_SKPoPYvtjR0eKx9PA5">plans</a> to reform the system and adapt to climate change, most recently the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/08/scott-morrison-says-national-energy-guarantee-is-dead">National Energy Guarantee</a>, have floundered thanks to climate deniers in the federal government. Even as the recent fire disaster unfolded, our prime minister <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/fire-what-fire-it-s-business-as-usual-in-morrison-s-canberra-bubble-20191206-p53hom.html">remained paralysed</a>.</p> <p><strong>The big picture</strong></p> <p>Australia is not alone in facing these adaptation problems – or indeed in generating emissions that drive planetary warming. Only global action can address the problem.</p> <p>But when the carbon impact of Australia’s fires is seen in tandem with recent climate policy failures here and elsewhere, the future looks very grim.</p> <p>We need radical and immediate mitigation strategies, as well as adaptation measures based on science. Without this, 2019 may indeed be seen as a tipping point on the road to both climate catastrophe, and humanity’s capacity to cope.</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/john-quiggin-2084">John Quiggin</a>, Professor, School of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/humans-are-good-at-thinking-their-way-out-of-problems-but-climate-change-is-outfoxing-us-129987">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Indigenous languages matter - but all is not lost when they change or disappear

<p>UNESCO’s <a href="https://en.iyil2019.org/">International Year of Indigenous Languages</a> recently came to an end after a year of celebration of linguistic diversity. And with a “<a href="https://en.unesco.org/news/building-legacy-2019-international-year-indigenous-languages">decade of Indigenous languages</a>” now under consideration, it’s a good time to review what these celebrations mean.</p> <p>When <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/four-things-happen-when-language-dies-and-one-thing-you-can-do-help-180962188/">the media report</a> on the crisis of endangered languages, the view there’s an <a href="https://theconversation.com/when-languages-die-we-lose-a-part-of-who-we-are-51825">associated loss</a> of culture, identity and even memory, is widely expressed.</p> <p>While there are very good reasons to deplore the loss of small languages, assuming this loss condemns cultural identity may be unhelpful and reductive to those who have already shifted away from their heritage language.</p> <p>To test the claim “losing language means losing culture”, I carried out <a href="https://www.crcpress.com/Difference-and-Repetition-in-Language-Shift-to-a-Creole-The-Expression/Ponsonnet/p/book/9781138601352">linguistic research</a> on <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-the-largest-language-spoken-exclusively-in-australia-kriol-56286">Kriol</a>, a postcolonial language now spoken by thousands of Indigenous Australians in the north of the country.</p> <p>I found that regardless of the language they speak, people still find ways to express old ways of speaking in a new language, so language doesn’t fundamentally alter their cultural identity. In other words, their culture can shape their language, not just the other way around.</p> <p><strong>Reclaiming suppressed languages</strong></p> <p>UNESCO’s year-long campaign has highlighted the role of language in preserving cultural identities: <a href="https://en.iyil2019.org/about/#action-plan">its action plan</a> says languages</p> <blockquote> <p><em>foster and promote unique local cultures, customs and values.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Highlighting the role of language with respect to culture is important to help minorities access the support they need to maintain or reclaim heritage languages.<br />Many people experience strong emotional attachment to their mother tongue. In Australia and other colonised countries, many Indigenous languages have been actively suppressed.</p> <p>In such contexts, language maintenance and reclamation constitute responses to historical trauma, as well as acts of resistance.</p> <p>However, when praise of linguistic diversity does not go hand in hand with nuanced discussion about the complex relationship between language and culture, it can feed the already prevalent misconceptions that language “conditions” culture.</p> <p><strong>Post-colonial languages</strong></p> <p>In a country like Australia, where more than 80% of the Indigenous population has <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-state-of-australias-indigenous-languages-and-how-we-can-help-people-speak-them-more-often-109662">adopted new, post-colonial languages</a>, this thinking is oversimplified.</p> <p>Today, most Indigenous Australians speak <a href="http://www.tesol.org.au/esl/docs/whatis.pdf">Aboriginal English</a>, a form of English with dialectal differences. A few thousand others speak <a href="https://theconversation.com/while-old-indigenous-languages-disappear-new-ones-evolve-32559">creoles or mixed languages</a> – languages that combine English-like forms with some features of older Australian languages.</p> <p>This means for the vast majority of Indigenous Australians – and perhaps for descendants of migrants as well – singling out language as one of the main ways to maintain culture may be misplaced, and sometimes plainly hurtful.</p> <p>Under Australian Native Title laws, for instance, Indigenous groups must demonstrate cultural continuity to be granted legal rights over their traditional land. While language isn’t mentioned in the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2019C00054">Native Title Act 1993</a>, the ways language can be used as evidence, and how it can influence court proceedings, is <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0075424208321142">well-documented</a>.</p> <p>In this context, putting emphasis on traditional languages is a <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299873235_The_Cost_of_Language_Mobilization_Wangkatha_Language_Ideologies_and_Native_Title">disadvantage</a> for English-speaking Indigenous groups.</p> <p>This shows that broader colonial ideology is still in play, where Indigenous populations are expected to conform to a static concept of Indigeneity, defined by the coloniser.</p> <p><strong>Languages can reflect values</strong></p> <p>The linguistic and anthropological literature provides many examples of how <a href="https://www.dynamicsoflanguage.edu.au/news-and-media/latest-headlines/article/?id=video-nick-evans-on-the-language-of-poetry-in-indigenous-australian-song">languages can reflect cultural values and knowledge</a>. This often surfaces in the way languages <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-the-seasonal-calendars-of-indigenous-australia-88471">organise their vocabularies</a>.</p> <p>For instance, some Australian languages, including Kriol, have a word that means both “feel sorry” and “give”, which fits in well with the <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520074118/pintupi-country-pintupi-self">moral values</a> of many Indigenous Australian societies. Other examples of possible correlation between language and culture are metaphors, or the expression of kinship relations.</p> <hr /> <p><em> <strong> Read more: <a href="https://theconversation.com/countering-the-claims-about-australias-aboriginal-number-systems-65042">Countering the claims about Australia's Aboriginal number systems</a> </strong> </em></p> <hr /> <p>While researchers often note such correlations between language and culture, little scientific research has explored <a href="https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02105741">what happens to such linguistic properties</a> when people adopt a new language.</p> <p>My <a href="https://www.crcpress.com/Difference-and-Repetition-in-Language-Shift-to-a-Creole-The-Expression/Ponsonnet/p/book/9781138601352">recent linguistic study</a> has shown how <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-the-largest-language-spoken-exclusively-in-australia-kriol-56286">Kriol</a> can preserve many of the meanings and convey the same emotions in the older Australian languages it replaces, such as the critically endangered <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalabon_language">Dalabon language</a>.</p> <p><strong>Language is shaped by culture</strong></p> <p>The basic grammar of Kriol and the shape of its words resemble English, and differ sharply from Dalabon.</p> <p>But many of the meanings of Kriol words match the meanings of Dalabon words, so culturally specific concepts are preserved, even though the words sound different.</p> <p>For instance, in Dalabon the word <em>marrbun</em> means both “feel sorry” and “give”, as mentioned. In Kriol, we find the word <em>sori</em>, which sounds like “sorry” in English, but its meanings include “feel sorry” and “give”, just like <em>marrbun</em>. Similar adaptation mechanisms occur throughout the grammar.</p> <p>What this shows is that language and meaning are highly plastic: they adapt to what speakers have to say. In this way, language is shaped by culture, and even when language is replaced, culture can continue.</p> <p>This aligns well with the way Kriol speakers perceive their own language. Working with many Kriol speakers in communities near Katherine, Northern Territory, I have learned they regard Kriol as <a href="https://www.academia.edu/1918825/_Brainwash_from_English_Barunga_Kriol_Speakers_Views_on_Their_Own_Language">part of their identity</a>. Some wish to maintain Dalabon or other Australian languages, just like they wish to maintain artistic traditions or story telling.</p> <p>But this doesn’t mean the language they currently speak, although much closer to English, distances them from their own culture and identity.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/127519/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><em><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ma-a-ponsonnet-233319">Maïa Ponsonnet</a>, Senior lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-western-australia-1067">University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/indigenous-languages-matter-but-all-is-not-lost-when-they-change-or-even-disappear-127519">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Here's what each bushfire status actually means

<p>In this record-breaking bushfire season, notifications from emergency managers have become a familiar feature of Australian life. Terms like “out of control” and “contained” are regularly heard as descriptions of the status of fires, <a href="https://www.afac.com.au/docs/default-source/doctrine/bushfire-terminology.pdf">but what do they actually mean?</a></p> <p>These terms <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/10/10/884">vary slightly between Australian states and territory</a>, but as similar firefighting strategies are used Australia-wide, the meanings are comparable.</p> <p>The status of a fire is a description of the stage of the firefighting effort, not the nature of the fire or its likelihood of being a threat. This means that to understand what actions to take when an active fire is nearby, it’s important to follow the advice of your <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-monitor-the-bushfires-raging-across-australia-129298">local fire and emergency information sources</a>.</p> <p><strong>‘Going’ or ‘out of control’</strong></p> <p>A fire described as “going” or “out of control” is one where parts of its perimeter are burning and have the potential to spread into unburnt areas.</p> <p>The perimeter is the focus as it is where unburnt fine fuels (consisting of the litter on the forest floor, shrubs and bark) are being ignited and burning rapidly. The flames of these subside quickly, so the majority of a fire’s interior consists of blackened area where only heavy fuels such as logs and branches continue to burn.</p> <p>A fire will be given the status “going” when it is first detected or reported to emergency authorities. The status may also be used for fires that were controlled and subsequently breakaway (escape control).</p> <p>“Going” fires will typically be the subject of concentrated firefighting effort to prevent growth and minimise the impacts to things of value (i.e. lives, property, infrastructure and ecosystem services). However the term is inclusive of all fires that are able to spread, so encompasses everything from shrubs burning under a tree hit by lighting to intense <a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-change-will-make-fire-storms-more-likely-in-southeastern-australia-127225">firestorms</a>.</p> <p><strong>Contained or “being controlled’</strong></p> <p>A "contained” fire is one with a complete containment line around its perimeter. “Being controlled” will have a complete or near-complete containment line. Containment lines (also called control lines or firelines) are the main way to <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/wf/wf15018">stop bushfires spreading</a>.</p> <p>While our images of firefighters involve hoses spraying water against the flames, water is, in fact, inefficient because of the vast amounts needed to douse the large amounts of burning vegetation and the difficulty of maintaining supply in rugged terrain.</p> <p>Instead, <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/wf/wf15018">to stop fires spreading</a>, firefighters create containment lines where all fuels are removed in bands adjacent to the fire’s perimeter. This prevents the fire reaching unburnt vegetation, starving the flames of new material to burn.</p> <p>So how are containment lines created? Typically, with heavy machinery (often bulldozers), which scrape away all burnable material around the edge of the fire so nothing but mineral soil remains. In rugged terrain, this may be done by hand, by specialist crews using tools such as rakehoes and chainsaws.</p> <p>Where there are existing areas of low fuel in the landscape, such as roads, bodies of water or previously burnt areas, firefighters may also include these as part of their containment strategy.</p> <p>The containment line is built next to the burning fire edge, so the more intense or erratic a fire is, the more <a href="https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/21067/Report-56-Prediction-of-firefighting-resources-for-suppression-operations-in-Victorias-Parks-and-Forests.pdf">difficult and dangerous it is for crews to work</a>.</p> <p>It’s not safe to construct a line where fires are spreading rapidly, producing many embers, behaving erratically, have deep flames or are exhibiting firestorm-type behaviours (where the fire is so intense it can generate <a href="https://theconversation.com/firestorms-and-flaming-tornadoes-how-bushfires-create-their-own-ferocious-weather-systems-126832">extreme winds and even lightning</a>).</p> <p>At such times firefighters will either move to parts of the fire where behaviour is less intense (typically where the wind is pushing the flames away from unburnt fuel), apply indirect firefighting methods such as backburning (burning areas in front of the advancing fire) or retreat and focus on protecting life and property.</p> <p>The exceptionally <a href="https://theconversation.com/weather-bureau-says-hottest-driest-year-on-record-led-to-extreme-bushfire-season-129447">hot, dry and windy</a> conditions of the 2019/20 fire season have resulted in many rapidly expanding bushfires that have overwhelmed the capacity of firefighters to build containment lines.</p> <p>As a fire is being contained, crews will be assigned to patrol the already constructed parts of the line to prevent escapes. The burning-out of unburnt fuels within the containment lines may be done to reduce the chance this ignites and causes issues at a future date.</p> <p><strong>Under control, or ‘patrol’</strong></p> <p>A fire that’s “under control” has a full containment line around it, and there has been a degree of consolidation so fire escaping outside the lines is unlikely.</p> <p>This consolidation is called “mopping up” or “blacking out”, and consists of crews working along the edge of the fire to extinguish or stabilise any burning material in the fire area within a set distance of the line.</p> <p>Fire elevates the risk of trees falling, so at this stage there may also be work to <a href="https://files-em.em.vic.gov.au/public/Safety/TreeHazardPictorialGuide-2017.pdf">identify and treat dangerous trees</a>.</p> <p>After line consolidation is complete, routine patrols to prevent escapes will continue for days to weeks until the fire is deemed safe.</p> <p><strong>Safe</strong></p> <p>The final status applied to bushfires is “safe”. This is where deemed that no sources of ignition within containment lines have the potential to cause escapes.</p> <p>Once a fire is declared safe, it’s assumed no longer necessary to maintain patrols and the fire can be left alone.</p> <p>After the fire season it’s common for management agencies to <a href="https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/21283/Repair-of-fences-damaged-by-bushfire-and-fire-control-line-rehabilitation-policy-2015.pdf">rehabilitate the containment lines</a>, to restore the site to its prior condition to protect biodiversity values and water quality.</p> <p>The status of a fire can change - even fires thought to be safe occasionally break away when hot and windy weather returns. Regardless of whether there are known fires in your area, it is important to have a <a href="https://theconversation.com/bushfires-kill-but-knowing-exactly-how-might-make-them-less-deadly-35918">bushfire survival plan</a> and to pay attention to the advice of your <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-monitor-the-bushfires-raging-across-australia-129298">local fire and emergency information sources</a><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/129539/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/thomas-duff-18833">Thomas Duff</a>, Postdoctoral Fellow, Forest and Ecosystem Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/out-of-control-contained-safe-heres-what-each-bushfire-status-actually-means-129539">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

"I like the Nick Kyrgios doing this": Nadal's reaction to epic battle

<p>Rafael Nadal has spoken up and says he wants to see more of the positivity and cunning spirit from Nick Kyrgios displayed in their gripping centre court match.</p> <p>The world no. 1 won the game in four sets, with Kyrgios battling hard against his fierce opponent. After losing the third-set tiebreak and smashing a racquet, the Australian unfortunately had an going down 6-3 3-6 7-6 7-6.</p> <p>It’s a surprising turn of attitude from Kyrgios who gave a more considerate and mature post-match performance than he has made a habit of displaying in the past.</p> <p>The star said he may have been shattered by the loss at his home major, but said “overall, this summer has been fun. I feel like I’ve made progress as a human,” he said.</p> <p>Kyrgios admitted he’s sourced inspiration and strength from his idol Kobe Bryant.</p> <p>The NBA basketball legend passed away at the age of 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a horrific helicopter crash.</p> <p>“It’s horrible news. If anything, it motivated me. If you look at the things he stood for, what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like, if anything, it helped me tonight,” Kyrgios said.</p> <p>“When I was down a break in the fourth, I was definitely thinking about it. I fought back.”</p> <p>Both Nadal and Kyrgios have had their fair share of ups and downs, especially in 2019 when the loud and proudly outspoken Australian said Nadal was “super salty” and his “polar opposite”.</p> <p>Nadal had bit back and complained Kyrgios “lacked respect”.</p> <p>However, it seems the feud was left on the court on Sunday, after the world no. 1 praised his contender’s skill and spirit this summer.</p> <p>“It was a very tough match,” Nadal said in his post-match interview.</p> <p>“Against Nick you are never under control.</p> <p>“If you have a mistake, like I had in the second set with one serve of mine that I had a mistake, then he has a break it is so difficult to break him again …</p> <p>“What can I say about Nick? I think when he is playing like today with this positive factor he gives a lot of positive factor he gives a lot of positive things to our sport.  I encourage him to keep working like that, because he is one of the highest talents, honestly he is one of the highest talents that we have on our Tour.</p> <p>“And I like the Nick Kyrgios doing this.”</p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Trivago fined by Australian Federal Court for misleading customers on pricing

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Australia’s Federal Court has found travel comparison site Trivago guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct over prices advertised and commission rates.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought the charges against the travel comparison site for suggesting that its first-placed prices on properties were the best. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, hotels were instead to have been ranked based on how much commission each paid Trivago.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company, which is owned by US-based Expedia and Booking.com, was found to have not suggested the best prices, which were filtered out of its list.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In some cases, the company was found to have compared prices of standard and luxury rooms.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Australian Federal Court will schedule a hearing in coming months to determine the penalties, according to </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/trivago-fined-for-misleading-customers-on-pricing/news-story/30074634a8f3b90ddee445468a7216ce"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Australian</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> reports that Trivago has changed some of its tactics following the ACCC’s probe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ACCC has alleged that Trivago advertisements from December 2013 presented the site as an impartial and objective price comparison service that helped to identify the cheapest prices for hotel rooms, but prioritised advertisers who were willing to pay the highest cost per click to the company.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Based on Trivago’s highlighted price display on its website, we allege that consumers may have formed the incorrect impression that Trivago’s highlighted deals were the best price they could get at a particular hotel when that was not the case,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said in August.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We allege that because of the design of Trivago’s website and representations made, consumers were denied a genuine choice about choosing a hotel deal by making choices based on this misleading impression created by the Trivago website.”</span></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Bushfires are Australia's costliest natural disaster

<p>It’s hard to estimate the eventual economic cost of Australia’s 2019-20 megafires, partly because they are still underway, and partly because it is hard to know the cost to attribute to deaths and the decimation of species and habitats, but it is easy to get an idea of its significance – the cost will be unprecedented.</p> <p>The deadliest bushfires in the past 200 years took place in 1851, then 1939, then 1983, 2009, now 2019-20. The years between them are shrinking rapidly. Only a remote grassfire in central Australia in 1974-75 rivalled them in terms of size, although not in biomass burnt or loss of life.</p> <p>The term “<a href="http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/CFEOR/LogIn/log%20in%20docs/recent%20research/mega%20fires.pdf">megafire</a>” is a new one, defined in the early 2000s to help describe disturbing new wildfires emerging in the United States – massive blazes, usually above 400,000 hectares, often joining up, that create more than usual destruction to life and property.</p> <p>Australia’s current fires <a href="http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/CFEOR/LogIn/log%20in%20docs/recent%20research/mega%20fires.pdf">dwarf</a> the US fires that inspired the term.</p> <p>They are 25 times the size of Australia’s deadliest bushfires, the 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria that directly killed 173 people, and so large and intense that they create their own weather in which winds throw embers 30 kilometres or more ahead of the front and pyro-cumulus clouds produce dry lightning that ignites new fires.</p> <p>The Black Saturday fires burnt <a href="https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL2006-10No225Introductory.pdf">430,000 hectares</a>. The current fires have killed fewer people but have so far burnt <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/datablog/ng-interactive/2019/dec/07/how-big-are-the-fires-burning-on-the-east-coast-of-australia-interactive-map">10.7 million hectares</a> – an area the size of <a href="https://graphics.reuters.com/AUSTRALIA-BUSHFIRES-SCALE/0100B4VK2PN/index.html">South Korea</a>, or Scotland and Wales combined.</p> <p><strong>There are easy to measure costs…</strong></p> <p>The federal government has promised to put at least <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/bushfire-recovery-fund-to-get-2-billion-over-two-years-20200106-p53p8j.html">A$2 billion</a> into a National Bushfire Recovery Fund, which is roughly the size of the first estimate of the cost of the fires calculated by Terry Rawnsley of SGS Economics and Planning.</p> <p>He put the cost at somewhere between <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/the-economic-cost-of-bushfires-on-sydney-revealed-up-to-50-million-a-day-and-rising-20191212-p53jbq.html">A$1.5 and $2.5 billion</a>, using his firm’s modelling of the cost of the NSW Tathra fires in March 2018 as a base.</p> <p>It’s the total of the lost income from farm production, tourism and the like.</p> <p>It is possible to get an idea of wider costs using the findings of the <a href="http://royalcommission.vic.gov.au/Commission-Reports/Final-Report.html">2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission</a>.</p> <p>It came up with an estimate for tangible costs of <a href="http://royalcommission.vic.gov.au/Finaldocuments/volume-1/HR/VBRC_Vol1_AppendixA_HR.pdf">A$4.369 billion</a>, which after inflation would be about $5 billion in today’s dollars.</p> <p><strong>…and harder-to-measure costs</strong></p> <p>Tangible costs are hose easily measured including the cost of replacing things such as destroyed homes, contents and vehicles.</p> <p>They also include the human lives lost, which were valued at A$3.7 million per life (2009 dollars) in accordance with a <a href="https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/3310859/best-practice-regulation-guidance-note-value-of-statistical-life">Commonwealth standard</a>.</p> <p>The measure didn’t include the effect of injuries and shortened lives due to smoke-related stroke and cardiovascular and lung diseases, or damage to species and habitats, the loss of livestock, grain and feed, crops, orchards and national and local parks.</p> <p>Also excluded were “inangibles”, among them the social costs of mental health problems and unemployment and increases in suicide, substance abuse, relationship breakdowns and domestic violence.</p> <p>The cost of inangibles can peak years after a disaster and continue to take tolls for decades, if not generations.</p> <p>One attempt to estimate the cost of intangibles was made by Deloitte Access Economics, in work for the <a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/economics/articles/building-australias-natural-disaster-resilience.html">Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience &amp; Safer Communities</a>.</p> <p>Deloitte put the tangible costs of the Black Saturday fires at A$3.1 billion in 2015 dollars and the intangible costs at more than that again: A$3.9 billion, producing a total of A$7 billion, which would be A$7.6 billion in today’s dollars.</p> <p><strong>Black Saturday is a starting point</strong><span class="attribution"><span class="source"></span></span></p> <p>This season’s megafires are, so far, less costly than the 2009 Victorian fires in terms of human life, roughly on par in terms of lost homes, and less costly for other structures.</p> <p>But given that considerably more land has been burnt we can expect other costs to eclipse those of Black Saturday.</p> <p>As of today, 25 times as much land has been burnt.</p> <p>Scaling up the royal commission’s Black Saturday figures for the size of the fire and scaling them down for the fewer deaths and other things that shouldn’t be scaled up produces an estimate of tangible costs of A$103 billion in today’s dollars.</p> <p>The Deloitte Access Economics ratio of intangible to tangible costs suggests a total for both types of costs of A$230 billion.</p> <p>As it happens the tangible costs estimate is close to an estimate of A$100 billion prepared using methods by University of Queensland economist <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/10/perspectives/australia-fires-cost/index.html">John Quiggin</a>.</p> <p>The reality won’t be clear for some time.</p> <p>There are several weeks of fire season remaining, and we are yet to reach the usual peak season for Victoria, which is in the first week of February.</p> <p>What we can safely say, with weeks left to go, is that these fires are by far Australia’s costliest natural disaster.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/129433/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-read-18089">Paul Read</a>, Climate Criminologist &amp; Senior Instructor/Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/richard-denniss-4045">Richard Denniss</a>, Adjunct Professor, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/with-costs-approaching-100-billion-the-fires-are-australias-costliest-natural-disaster-129433">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Russell Crowe shows incredible impact of recent rain on his property

<p>Hollywood star Russell Crowe has shown the incredible difference rain has made on his rural NSW property, only a few months after it was destroyed by a bushfire.</p> <p>Located 25km northwest of Coffs Harbour, Crowe resides in Nana Glen which was affected by the recent bushfires in November last year as it destroyed homes and land along the way.</p> <p>The actor owns 400 hectares of land around the area and said at the time that he was “overall very lucky” that his home was saved.</p> <p>At the time, the fire had left his property completely blackened, as everything from the trees to the grass was burnt to a crisp.</p> <p>But due to the heavy rain the state has seen in the last few days, his home has gone through an incredible transformation.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">My place 10 weeks ago after the fire had gone through, and this morning after a big weekend of rain. <a href="https://t.co/oOWz0gG5hp">pic.twitter.com/oOWz0gG5hp</a></p> — Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) <a href="https://twitter.com/russellcrowe/status/1219031928071843840?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">19 January 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Taking to Twitter, Crowe posted photos of the before and after.</p> <p>“My place 10 weeks ago after the fire had gone through, and this morning after a big weekend of rain,” he wrote.</p> <p>The first photo which was taken 10 weeks ago shows the entire area completely burnt, a complete juxtaposition to the most recent photo which was snapped this morning where the grass has turned a vibrant green colour.</p> <p>The Hollywood heavyweight wasn’t in Australia at the time of the fire but returned home to inspect the damage and rally a crew for the clean up.</p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Devastating scenes for wildlife rescuers at Kangaroo Island

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wildlife rescuers have been left heartbroken as they comprehend the sheer scale and task of helping injured wildlife that have been impacted by the bushfires.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wildlife rescuers were surrounded by burnt-out trees and ground covered with ash and dead animals who passed in the bushfires.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dozens of injured koalas have been arriving at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park’s makeshift animal hospital in cat carriers, washing baskets or clinging to their carers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, it’s not all positive as many that have been rescued are found to be so badly injured that they must be euthanised. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Steve Selwood, South Australia Veterinary Emergency Management team leader at the hospital said that 46,000 koalas were thought to be on the island before the bushfires. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The fires here were particularly ferocious and fast moving, so we’re seeing a lot less injured wildlife than in other fires,” he tells </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/wildlife-rescuers-find-signs-of-life-among-kangaroo-island-devastation/news-story/869a45d590338135af1254b4f6ec1176"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A lot of the wildlife was incinerated.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With almost half of Kangaroo Island being ruined by fire, an estimated 80 per cent of koala habitat has been wiped out, which means that once the koalas are healed, they have nowhere to go.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This issue is on the backburner as teams of vets work to save as many native wildlife as they can.</span></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Puma-sized cat sightings in NSW prompt investigation

<p>The New South Wales state government has launched an investigation into sightings of a puma-sized cat in the Hunter Valley.</p> <p>Maitland woman Bev Fraser told the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-20/hunter-valley-big-cat-sighting-nsw-dpi-investigates/11877970">ABC</a> </em>she could not believe her eyes when she spotted a panther-sized big cat in a paddock next to her home.</p> <p>“It was too large to be an overgrown domestic cat – just a 50-kilo sort of animal sitting on my fence post,” Fraser said.</p> <p>She estimated the cat’s size based on the fence post on which it was sitting. “This cat had climbed up on a fence post and was sitting on a substantial fence post staring down into the undergrowth,” she said.</p> <p>“It was obviously hunting something, looking and concentrating obviously as cats do. I am now hesitant to go down there.”</p> <p>Fraser said she could not get closer than about 120 metres before the animal sensed her presence.</p> <p>“You know, it was 100 or so metres away, and that is a huge animal, and so I am still very convinced that is was a very large cat, but what variety I have no idea.”</p> <p>Hunter Valley man Chris O’Neill has also reported a sighting of a puma-sized cat about 30 kilometres from Fraser’s place.</p> <p>O’Neill said he was driving home for dinner last Thursday when he saw “a very big creature”.</p> <p>“A black feline cat-like creature, was kind of running under or near a truck and it was the same size as the wheel,” he told the <em>ABC</em>.</p> <p>“So it was a very big creature and its movement was cat-like but it certainly wasn’t a domestic cat.”</p> <p>The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) told the <em>ABC </em>it had launched an investigation into the feline sightings and would refer the report to either the NSW Police, the land manager, or the Livestock Health and Pest Authority.</p>

Domestic Travel