Update 2: University of Adelaide and a net zero emissions target

The Hon Catherine Branson AC QC
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005

Dear Chancellor,

RE: The University of Adelaide and a net-zero emissions target

I write to you to follow-up on my correspondence of 25 June 2021, and the response provided by Acting COO, Ms Virginia Deegan, on your behalf.

The key message in my initial correspondence was that the University of Adelaide has an opportunity to position itself on climate change as ‘running with its peers’. In that correspondence, I asked whether the University Council or university administration was actively considering a net zero emission target, and the likely timeline on such a decision. Please find a copy of my original correspondence and your university’s response enclosed.

In that response, I was informed that the University was developing of an ambitious emissions reduction strategy, and that:

The strategy development will include consultation with staff, students, alumni and industry experts in the coming months, with a final document to be presented to the University Council in early 2022.

May I please seek an update on the development of that strategy, including:

  • How, as an alumni and formal staff member I can contribute to the consultation?
  • The current estimated timeline on the launch of that strategy?
  • Whether the strategy will include a net zero CO2-equivalent emissions commitment, and if so, by what date?

Thank you again for your time and consideration of my correspondence.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cornish

1 / 3 / 2022

Update 8: Aldinga Washpool

SA Government media release: https://www.premier.sa.gov.au/news/media-releases/news/aldinga-washpool-officially-saved-for-future-generations

Reproduced below:

21/01/2022 | Steven Marshall MP | David Speirs MP
A new 340-hectare park in Adelaide’s south is set to become a coastal environmental, recreational and cultural haven for generations to come, with the official proclamation of the Aldinga Conservation Park.

The Aldinga Washpool, one of Adelaide’s last remaining coastal freshwater and estuarine lagoon systems, has now been combined with the adjacent Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park to create the state’s newest conservation park.

Premier Steven Marshall said the proclamation was a significant milestone for the local community and supporters.

“By combining the Aldinga Washpool land with the nearby Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park it’s created a fantastic new ecological and cultural haven just south of Adelaide,” Premier Marshall said.

“This adds to my government’s commitment to protect our state’s natural environment by doubling the area covered by national parks, investing record levels of funding to improve conservation, increase visitor numbers and boost our regional economies.

“Importantly the Aldinga Washpool site is of considerable spiritual and cultural significance to the Kaurna people who today maintain their connection with Country.”

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the local community had long advocated for better protection of the site.

“In 2018, an Aldinga Washpool Working Group was established, and we have been working closely with this group to ensure the land’s environmental and cultural values are protected and restored,” Minister Speirs said.

“For years the future of the Aldinga Washpool was under threat so it’s incredibly pleasing for the local community to be able to see this important site saved for future generations.

“This further adds to our record expansion of area protected in South Australia, which has seen us increase the number of national parks across the state from 21 to 29 and double the area protected from approximately 3.90 million hectares to just over 7.9 million hectares.

“This record expansion is backed up by the biggest ever government investment in parks to boost conservation as well as improve our standing as a world-class eco-tourism destination

“Adelaide has been recognised as the third most liveable city in the world and it was recently named as the second-ever National Park City and our record expansion of parks and green space will only enhance this reputation.”

The Aldinga Washpool includes valuable habitat for at least 79 native species, including three bird species of national conservation significance. It is also home to swamp plants of conservation significance including threatened coastal saltmarsh.

Prior to European settlement, the Aldinga Washpool was an important place for curing and drying possum skins by the Kaurna people. It is also a significant site as part of the Tjilbruke Dreaming Trail and contains registered sites under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA).

The land being added to the state reserves system in this proclamation includes a combination of land previously transferred from SA Water, the Coast Protection Board and the City of Onkaparinga.

The Department for Environment and Water, SA Water, Green Adelaide, City of Onkaparinga and other working group members have been working on flood mitigation, stormwater management, weed control, revegetation plans, water quality and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

The proclamation of the Aldinga Conservation Park adds to the eight national parks created since 2018 including Glenthorne National Park, Hindmarsh Valley National Park, Munga-Thirri–Simpson Desert National Park, Nilpena Ediacara National Park, Wapma Thura – Southern Flinders Ranges National Park, Lake Frome National Park, Cleland National Park and Deep Creek National Park.

New map from the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA (also at: https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/park-management/aldinga-conservation-park)

Final Update: Australian ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Australia ratified the Convention on 7 December 2021, see: https://www.awe.gov.au/environment/protection/chemicals-management/mercury

Note: the enclosure referred to in the correspondence can be found in my earlier update: http://michaelcornish.org/2021/11/22/update-9-australian-ratification-of-the-minamata-convention-on-mercury/


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: https://www.epa.sa.gov.au/environmental_info/air_quality/new-air-quality-monitoring

[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: https://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/2016%20QuickStats

[3] 1,295,714 people as of the 2016 Census in the Greater Adelaide, Greater Capital City Statistical Area; see: https://quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/4GADE?opendocument

[4] As per: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-respiratory-conditions/asthma/contents/asthma