Monthly Archives: November 2021

Update 3: Australian sandalwood conservation

Michael Cornish
to: [email protected]
date: 22 Nov 2021
subject: Recommendation that Sandalwood be added to the priority flora list


Just in case the process has not been initiated, may I please recommend that Sandalwood be added to the priority flora list?

The basis for this recommendation comes from the attached correspondence between myself and the Chair of the WA TSSC.

Kind regards,

-Michael Cornish

Air Quality Monitoring

The same letter was also sent to the Shadow Minister for the Environment and Water, the Hon Susan Close MP.

The Hon David Speirs MP
Minister for Environment and Water
GPO BOX 1047


Dear Minister,

Re: State election commitments on Air Quality Monitoring

I write to you as a former Senior Policy Adviser to the Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie MP, with a keen interest in the environment and public health.

I note that there are currently no Air Quality Monitoring[1] sites in the Adelaide metropolitan area north or north-east of the Air Quality Monitoring site at Northfield, leaving large communities in the northern and north-eastern suburbs – including the marginal electorates of Wright and King, and to a lesser extent, Newland – without access to air quality data. Based on 2016 Census data, this area accounts for at approximately 348,000 people[2], which is over 26% of the 2016 population of metropolitan Adelaide[3]. Unfortunately, climate change is set to increase the prevalence and impact of bushfires and smoke, leading to an increase in community air quality concerns.

Air quality data is particularly valuable to vulnerable groups, such as the young, the elderly, and people with respiratory problems who can face life-threatening consequences from poor quality air. For example, an estimated 11% of the population have asthma[4], meaning there are an estimated more than 38,000 asthmatics within the north/north-eastern metropolitan Adelaide area, let alone other vulnerable groups.

Will your party commit to establishing an Air Quality Monitoring site in an appropriate location in the northern/north-eastern suburbs of Adelaide?

Further, will your party commit to this site measuring NO2, PM10 (1 hour), PM10 (24 hours), and O3 (1 hour) and O3 (4 hours), noting that this would simply mirror the monitoring undertaken at the southernmost metropolitan Adelaide monitoring site at Christies Beach?

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cornish

12 / 11 / 2021

[1] See:

[2] 137,979 people in the City of Salisbury; 23,034 in the Town of Gawler; 97,734 in City of Tea Tree Gully; 89,372 in the City of Playford; see:

[3] 1,295,714 people as of the 2016 Census in the Greater Adelaide, Greater Capital City Statistical Area; see:

[4] As per:

Update 2: Australian sandalwood conservation

Michael Cornish
by email


Dear Michael

Thank you for your letter of 15 October, address to me as Chair of the Western Australian Threatened Species Scientific Committee at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The Department forwarded your letter to me.

I did read the paper by Richard McLellan et al. when it was published. I can understand your concern.

The Western Australian TSSC reviews nominations that have been submitted to them for the listing of flora as threatened flora under the WA Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, in accordance with the provisions of the Act and Ministerial Guidelines. Members of the community may submit nominations at any time, following the Ministerial Guidelines, and using the nomination form available on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservations and Attractions (DBCA) web page,

As well as the list of threatened species, the WA priority flora list is a non-statutory list maintained by DBCA. Recommendations for addition to the priority flora list may be submitted to DBCA at any time, to [email protected]. Additions to the priority flora list do not require a nomination form. Priority list recommendations are not required to be submitted to or to be reviewed by the TSSC, although TSSC may make recommendations to DBCA on priority listings and DBCA may request TSSC advice on priority listings. Having a plant on the priority flora list does ensure that it is considered when environmental impact and other decisions are made, although that level of protection is not as high as threatened listing.

I am advised that a nomination for the listing of Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) as a threatened flora species has not been received, nor has a recommendation been received for addition to the priority flora list.

As the species occurs in WA and South Australia, the assessment of a nomination must also follow the requirements for cross-jurisdictional assessments under the Intergovernmental memorandum of understanding – Agreement on a common assessment method for listing of threatened species and threatened ecological communities, While WA TSSC may review a nomination for a species that occurs both in WA and in anther jurisdiction, and can recommend listing to the state Minister, it is sometimes simpler to nominate such a species to the Commonwealth TSSC; however, you should note that they have priorities set by their Minister, and a nomination may not be considered for some time if it does not fit the current priorities.

If a nomination of species that occurs both in WA and outside WA is received by DBCA, it will be considered by the WA TSSC and after the state Minister makes a decision whether or not to list, it is then referred to the Commonwealth. Except for emergency nominations, WATSSC typically meets once a year and its recommendations go to the state Minister within a reasonably short time.

I suggest that your best course of action would be to, in the immediate future, recommend sandalwood to the WA Flora Priority List and then fill in a threatened species nomination form so that the TSSC may consider recommending listing.

Yours sincerely

Dr Andrew A Burbidge AO

9 November 2021