Australia more exposed than most test cricket nations to sea level rise from climate change

Climate change is raising sea levels – not only through melting ice, but through the basic school physics that water expands as it warms.

Of the more than 100 grounds used internationally for test cricket, Australia has two of the five closest to current average sea level.

These grounds are, in their own way, canaries in the climate change coal mine.

  • West Indies ground Providence Stadium, Guyana, is only just over 1 metre above current average sea level.
  • The WACA is next lowest, just 2 metres above current average sea level. OzCoasts maps for 1.1 metres sea level rise (highly likely unless we make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions right now) show high tides lapping at the gates.
  • The Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi is used for some of  Pakistan’s test games due to more direct and immediate political threats to cricket in that country. But the pitch is just 3 metres above current average sea level. Some of the ground is closer to 2 metres above current average sea level. Some of the stadium area at its base is even lower.
  • Kingsmead, Durban South Africa, is just over 3 metres above current average sea level
  • Cairns has not hosted many tests, and wants more. The ground – although not yet mapped by OzCoasts – is under serious threat from rising sea levels, at just over 3 metres above current average sea level.

These figures don’t include other grounds which are higher but which are close to tidal rivers and so are also under immediate threat from sea level rise. They do indicate just one dimension of what is at stake if we allow vested interests and apathy to thwart strong and prompt action on climate change.

Climate change: The time for games is over

Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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WACA, Perth sport threatened by climate change

Global warming is making the oceans rise. As well as melting ice, water expands when it warms.

OzCoasts has produced maps showing impacts for some of Australia’s coasts from average sea level rises including 1.1 metres. The actual rises could be even worse if emissions aren’t cut soon enough. The areas mapped include Perth.

The maps include impacts from high tides, although they exclude storm surges (which are also predicted to become more frequent and severe with climate change). So you should expect a park that’s between 2 and 3 metres above current average sea level to experience inundation with sea level rises of 1 metre or less.

Low lying areas are often where sports fields are located, because these areas already face 1 in 100 year flood risks that make them less suitable for building. So impacts for Australia’s sports fields provide early warnings of impacts of sea level rise that will make flooding more frequent and widespread.

What have our politicians been doing about climate change?

  • Labor has committed to taking science-based targets on emissions reduction to the next election, as well as a target of 50% clean energy by 2030
  • Labor Senators have been staunch in defending climate action against Tony Abbott’s attacks, including keeping the Climate Change Authority Open so it could issue its report on the need for greater emissions reductions.
  • West Australian Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash opposed even Malcolm Turnbull’s efforts on climate change.
  • Liberal Senator David Johnston is Minister for Defence, and Linda Reynolds has a distinguished military record. Perhaps they might explain why the US military takes climate change far more seriously than Tony Abbott does?

Across Perth and suburbs:

Perth

  • The WACA is one of the Test grounds most threatened by sea level rise in the world. It is only just above the inundation level indicated by OzCoasts map for 1.1 metres sea level rise . The pitch shows as  3 metres above current average sea level and some areas of the ground are under that height.

waca

  • The Maylands Peninsular Golf Course shows on OzCoasts map as partly experiencing inundation.

maylands

Labor MP for Perth Alannah McTiernan is a strong advocate for climate action, and has described Tony Abbott as “the Neville Chamberlain of the climate crisis”.

The only problem with that analysis is that most people, from Churchill to George Orwell, accept that Neville Chamberlain acted honestly and honourably, although disastrously, within his limited abilities. Can we really say the same for Tony Abbott – and Greg Hunt – given the record of untruths and distortions on climate change? (Hint: No.)

Swan

Liberal Federal member for Swan, Steve Irons, claims to accept “that climate change exists and that greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to the accelerated rate of climate change”. But he lined up with Tony Abbott just the same to vote for reversal of climate action by Australia, including voting for abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and of the independent Climate Change Authority. He’s even gone out of his way to oppose restrictions on synthetic refrigerant gases – 1000 times more powerful as greenhouse gases than CO2.

  • The Ascot Racecourse is at the edge of the river, and in places is just over 2 metres above current average sea level. OzCoasts maps confirm that Ascot can’t afford much sea level rise. Here’s the map for the predicted impact of 1.1 metres sea level rise:

ascot_perth

  • Much of the area along the north bank of the Canning River marked for inundation on OzCoasts map of impacts of 1.1 metres sea level rise constitutes reserves like Bodkin Reserve.  This bit, though, shows some of the grounds of Challenger College:

challenger

Climate change is lapping at your door, Steve.

Fremantle

In Fremantle, Labor MP Melissa Parke has been a strong and consistent voice for climate action and for the future of sport in her area.

  •  In North Fremantle, both grounds at Gilbert Fraser reserve show on OzCoasts maps as inundated with 1.1 metres sea level rise.

gilbert_fraser

  • In East Fremantle, the two grounds at John Tonkin Park show as inundated with 1.1 metres sea level rise.

tonkin2

Curtin

In Curtin, local member Julie Bishop has done her bit to deny science and frustrate climate action. Who is she representing? (Hint: it’s not the kids in her district and their future.)

  • In Nedlands, the turf and synthetic wickets at Charles Court Reserve both show as in danger of total inundation on OzCoast maps. These grounds clearly have no room at all to spare above water.

nedlands

Tangney

Tangney MP Dennis Jensen  may feel proud of his record of overt climate denial, but his constituents won’t thank him in future.

  • In Applecross, the tennis courts at Jeff Joseph reserve show on OzCoasts maps as inundated.

applecross

  • At Attadale reserve, the ground shows as partly inundated.

attadale

Hasluck

Before the last election, the Liberals announced Ken Wyatt, now the MP for Hasluck, as a

“Community Environment Ambassador for Western Australia to work with local groups and support grassroots projects to address climate change and deliver long-term environmental benefits in Hasluck and across the State”

But Ken Wyatt’s been voting against climate action like all the other Liberals and Nationals lining up behind Tony Abbott and despite the interests of their electorates:

  • In Guildford, the Kings Meadow Oval and Kings Meadow polo ground show on OzCoasts map as inundated with 110cm sea level rise.

kings_meadow

  • The fields behind Guildford Grammar show extensive inundation on OzCoasts map for impacts of 110 cm sea level rise

guildford

This is not the sort of “long term environmental benefit” that people in Hasluck will thank Ken Wyatt for.

Canning

Former Canning Liberal MP Don Randall made national headlines when he was found out spending $5000 of taxpayers’ money to go all the way to Cairns on what he claimed was “electorate business”.

You don’t need to go to Cairns to see areas threatened by sea level rise. And unlike Cairns, the Canning area is actually covered by OzCoasts maps. Little Hall Park might do for a start, along with all the other impacts of rising seas on communities in Canning:

hall_park

Climate change  – the time for games is over

Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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North Queensland sport: grounds for concern from climate change

Climate change is warming the oceans as well as the atmosphere. Water expands as it warms, so the seas are rising.

Average sea levels rose around 200mm last century and accelerating. OzCoasts has published maps showing impacts for our coastal areas from rises in average sea level for scenarios of 50cm, 80cm and 1.1 metres.

These maps include the effects of high tides but exclude possible storm surges. We may see even worse increases if global warming continues without effective climate action.

Unfortunately, so far OzCoasts’ maps stop down in Redcliffe so far as Queensland is concerned. And the Queensland Government is backing away from supporting local communities with information on coastal flooding.

Sports grounds can provide early warnings for sea level rise impacts because so many of them are located in low lying areas. Expert information is needed in particular on risks to grounds which at first sight may seem relatively safe because they are a few metres above current average sea levels, but which are adjacent to  rivers and near the coast, and so may be exposed to increased flood risks from tides and from floodwaters being less able to escape to sea with higher high tides.

Until OzCoasts gets the funding and direction it needs to extend its work, here are some grounds in North Queensland which seem to indicate grounds for concern

  • Bundaberg Rum Stadium (3 metres above sea level)
  • Cairns North grounds
  • Cairns Watson Park
  • Cairns Endeavour Park with its 6 pitches as well as football fields
  • The pitch at Trinity Bay High School
  • Both grounds at Cairns Griffiths Park
  • The ground at Cairns North adjacent to the Tobruk Memorial Pool

All these grounds appear to be at, or just over, 3 metres above current average sea level.

Councils in other parts of Australia have adopted 3 metres freeboard as the test for whether a location will remain reasonably free of flooding by tides and storm surges. So these grounds have little room to spare for sea level rise.

There are also grounds which are a little higher (around 5 metres) above current average sea level but are adjacent to tidal rivers which would be affected by sea level rise. This category includes the ground at Port Douglas and Innisfail’s main oval.

Comments and any updates or corrections from people with more local knowledge please!

 Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

 

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Adelaide sport under threat from climate change

After the heatwave in January (when Adelaide held the unwelcome position as hottest city in the world) more people in Adelaide are now familiar with one part of the future we face unless there is urgent action on greenhouse emissions.  

Along with heatwaves, global warming is making the oceans rise. As well as melting ice, water expands when it warms, all the way up from 4OC.

OzCoasts has produced maps showing impacts for some of Australia’s coasts from average sea level rises including 1.1 metres. The actual rises could be even worse if emissions aren’t cut soon enough. The areas mapped include Adelaide.

The maps include impacts from high tides, although they exclude storm surges (which are also predicted to become more frequent and severe with climate change). So for example you should expect a park that’s between 2 and 3 metres above current average sea level to experience inundation with sea level rises of 1 metre or less.

Low lying areas are often where sports fields are located, because these areas already face 1 in 100 year flood risks that make them less suitable for building. So impacts for Australia’s sports fields provide early warnings of impacts of sea level rise that will make flooding more frequent and widespread.

Across Adelaide and suburbs, here is some of what can be seen from OzCoasts map for impacts of sea level rise of 110 cm:

  • The grounds at Grange Recreation Oval Reserve show as inundated

grange

  • Inundation starts to encroach on the Grange Golf Club with 1.1 metres sea level rise

grange_golf

  • Inundation shows up onto the edges of the sports fields at Max Basheer Reserve and to the gates of the adjoining AAMI Football Park stadium

aami

  • In Semaphore, Port Adelaide War Memorial Reserve shows as fully inundated, together with the football and other fields at the John Hart Reserve, the Glanville Hall golf course, and much of the surrounding area

semaphore

  • Henley Grange Memorial Reserve shows as partly inundated

henley_grange

  • Riverside Oval and the adjoining sports fields in Port Adelaide show as inundated together with much of the surrounding area

riverside

  • In Rosewater, Eric Sutton oval shows as inundated together with much of the surrounding area

rosewater

  • Largs North oval only just stays above the inundation level indicated with 1.1 metres sea level rise. Largs Reserve shows inundation up to the boundary together with much of the surrounding area.

Several other grounds are just above inundation levels shown for 1.1 metres sea level rise.

OzCoasts maps published so far only go as far south as Marino for the Adelaide suburbs. It is likely that some areas not covered by maps are also threatened by sea level rises in the range modelled.

For example, in Port Noarlunga South the oval and the adjacent tennis courts show on Google Earth as just 2 metres above current average sea level. With high tides these areas would be highly likely to be in the inundation area for 1.1 metres sea level rise.

How are politicians in these areas performing on climate action?

  • In Port Adelaide, Mark Butler is standing up for his electorate, and the rest of the nation, leading Labor’s climate policy work as Shadow Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water.
  • In Kingston, Labor member Amanda Rishworth has been a strong voice on climate change. For example, ahead of Adelaide’s last heatwave she wrote about the mounting health risks of climate change.
  • Matt Williams, Liberal member for Hindmarsh, is meant to represent an area which would be one of the earliest heavily affected by climate change, as can be seen from a look at the list above – or by comparing OzCoasts maps with the map of his electorate. But we can’t even find any mention of climate change by Matt Williams. All that we can find on the record is that, almost as soon as he got to Canberra, he voted to put climate action in reverse, including voting to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Climate Change Authority.
  • Andrew Southcott, Member for Boothby, used to speak in Parliament in favour of climate action from a conservative point of view. But in 2013 he voted with Tony Abbott to put climate action in reverse, and in 2012 on his Facebook page he joined in the ridiculous scare campaign that carbon pricing was a threat to community sport. The grounds at Brighton are a few metres higher than the home grounds of their neighbours just to the north, but it’s climate change, not carbon pricing, that is really a serious threat to community sport.

Climate action: The time for games is over.

 Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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Gold Coast sport under threat from climate change

Climate change is warming the oceans as well as the atmosphere. Water expands as it warms.  Average sea levels rose around 200mm last century and accelerating.

OzCoasts has published maps showing impacts for areas including South-East Queensland for scenarios including 1.1 metres of further sea level rise. We will see this sort of rise or worse this century, unless urgent action is taken to cut greenhouse gases emissions hard and fast .

Some of the areas marked on these maps, of course, already experience flooding in storms. But higher sea levels will make flooding more severe and frequent.

Sports fields are often in lower lying areas because of flood risks that already exist and which will be made much worse if climate change keeps forcing sea level rise. The Gold Coast is no exception. On the ground and on the maps, here are some of the threatened sports fields:

  • In Coomera, Hope Island golf course is affected with about a third of its area showing as inundated

hope_island

  • In Labrador, the oval on Ashton St is only just above inundation level. Dux Oval is marked as fully inundated with 1.1 metres sea level rise.

dux

  • In Southport, James Overell Park (home of the Gold Coast Eagles rugby union club) and the golf course at Jock Rutherford Park are affected

southport_golf

  • At Carrara, the cricket grounds on Nielsens Road are only just above inundation level on OzCoasts map. The golf course, and the sports grounds at Gold Coast Croatia Sports Centre would be affected.

carrara

  • In Robina, the Glades Golf Club and the Dolphins turf wicket ground on Cheltenham Drive would be affected.

robina

  • The ground at Christina Avenue, Burleigh Waters is only just above inundation level on OzCoasts map
  • The Merv Craig Sporting Complex fields at Currumbin Waters show as inundated

merv_craig

along with the ground at St Augustine’s primary school.

st_augustins

  • Salk Oval at Palm Beach shows on OzCoasts map for 1.1 metre sea level rise as inundated, as well as the nearby tennis courts and some of the adjacent sports field

salk

  • The cricket and other sports fields at Albert Park at Broadbeach Waters are only just above inundation level on Ozcoasts’ map for 1.1 metres sea level rise

Clearly this area has a strong need for urgent action. Gold Coast City Council has had climate change on its agenda since 1977! Responsible local representatives have recognised how much of a threat climate change presents to places like the Gold Coast.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said for local Liberal/National Federal members.

  • Fadden MP Stuart Robert noted publicly in 2009 that “we went to the last election with an emissions trading scheme”. But he lined up just the same in 2013 to vote with Tony Abbott and against the interests of his area, to put Australia’s climate action in reverse including abolishing the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
  • Macpherson MP Karen Andrews surely must remember something about science – she started out as an engineer. But we can’t find her ever having referred to climate change in Parliament – at all. She’s talked about how the Gold Coast has a great climate (how perceptive!) – but not about threats to that climate. She lined up behind Tony Abbott and against climate action to protect her area and its people in 2013.
  • Moncrieff MP Steve Ciobo said on TV in 2009: “We want to work constructively because we recognise that in the future around the world in most developed economies if not all there will be an ETS of some sort”. But he, too, lined up with Tony Abbott in 2013 to vote against an Emissions Trading Scheme, and for abolishing the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Is pleasing Tony Abbott more important to these people than serving their area?

Climate change: the time for games is over

 Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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Sport in Brisbane under threat from climate change

Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott don’t want to talk about it, but climate change is warming the oceans and making the seas rise.

OzCoasts has modelled rises including 1.1 metres. We could see this or worse if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t cut hard and fast.

Flooding in Brisbane isn’t new, of course. But higher seas, as well as causing flooding themselves (including in king tides and storm surges on the coasts and on tidal rivers) make it harder for river waters to flow out to sea. Higher sea levels mean worse and more frequent floods (just as global warming means more and worse heatwaves and bushfires).

Even before flooding reaches homes and businesses, sporting fields are often in low lying areas where building is discouraged or prevented. Sports fields around Australia’s coasts would be early casualties of unchecked global warming. Some representatives in Parliament are taking this seriously and supporting climate action. Some, unfortunately, aren’t.

Petrie

OzCoasts maps show extensive inundation of this area if there is 1.1 metres sea level rise.

The soccer fields at Dalton Park, Clontarf show substantial inundation for example on OzCoasts map for impacts of 110 cm sea level rise.

dalton_clontarf

Also at Clontarf, the westernmost ground at the Ray Frawley fields shows as inundated and the middle field starts to experience inundation:

frawley

Redcliffe Golf Course also shows impacts with 110 cm of sea level rise:

redcliffe_golf

Off the topic of sports grounds, here’s what Redcliffe Airport looks like on OzCoasts map for impacts of 110 cm sea level rise:

redcliffe_airport

Local member Luke Howarth talked in his maiden speech about his love for the Australian environment, and praised renewable energy. But then he lined up with Tony Abbott just the same to vote to put climate change action into reverse, including abolishing the Climate Change Authority and Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Griffith

  • In Bulimba, OzCoasts’ maps show partial inundation at Vic Lucas Park
  • In Norman Park, OzCoasts’ maps show extensive inundation for cricket and other sporting fields
  • In Balmoral, OzCoasts’ maps show cricket and other sporting fields just above inundation level
  • In Woolongabba, OzCoasts’ maps show the sports grounds at AJ Thomas and Thompson Estate under threat

New member Terri Butler has already spoken publicly in support of maintenance of the Renewable Energy Target, and pointed out that no credible experts, at all, support Tony Abbott’s misleadingly named “Direct Action”policy.

Lilley

In Lilley, local member Wayne Swan has been a consistent advocate for climate action. OzCoasts mapping for the area show some of the impacts if we don’t act effectively and soon enough on climate change

  • At Brisbane Grammar School all the cricket grounds have substantial areas on OzCoasts maps affected by inundation with 1.1 metres sea level rise
  • The Nudgee golf course shows on Ozcoasts maps as completely inundated
  • The Virginia golf course starts to show areas of inundation on the same map
  • Royal Brisbane Golf Club also shows extensive inundation.

Much more expensively, OzCoasts maps show extensive inundation for Brisbane Airport if the seas are allowed to rise 1.1 metres or more.

The expense of major disruption to Brisbane Airport is not something that Greg Hunt and Tony Abbott talk about, but would be part of the costs of not acting effectively on climate change. (Hint: It would be a far greater cost to the economy of Queensland and Australia than the costs of a carbon price that a few fossil fuel power stations want to avoid.) There is still some flooding with 50 mm sea level rise, but less extensive and likely to be less frequent.

Brisbane

In Milton, Gregory Park is shown as inundated on OzCoasts maps for 1.1 metres sea level rise. Federal member Tess Gambaro spoke back in 2007 in favour of an emissions trading system to “drive investment in low emission technologies”. However, when it came to a vote in November 2013, she voted with Tony Abbott to put Australia’s climate change action into reverse, and abolish the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

gregory_park_milton

Bonner

Federal member for Bonner Ross Vasta voted for reversal of Australia’s climate action, including abolition of the Climate Change Authority and Clean Energy Finance Corporation. On the ground in his electorate, climate action is urgently needed, including to give local sport a future.

  • In Wynnum West, GJ Fuller Oval shows as inundated on OzCoasts map for 1.1 metres sea level rise

gjfuller

  • In Murarrie, the Brisbane Polo Grounds show as inundated.

murarrie_polo

  • At Carindale, the baseball fields at Preston Road Park show on OzCoasts map as inundated. At Tingalpah’s Kianawah Park, the  2 most southwest fields show as inundated with 1.1 metres sea level rise.

kianawah

  • The cricket and other sporting fields at Moreton Bay Sports Club also show as inundated

moreton_bay_sc

Bowman

Federal member for Bowman Andrew Laming spoke in Parliament in 2010 in favour of an emissions trading scheme. But in 2013 he lined up behind Tony Abbott just the same, to vote for reversal of Australia’s climate action, including abolition of the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

On the ground, OzCoasts maps for the impacts of 1.1 metres of sea level rise in Bowman show the need for urgent action, with part or all of these fields experiencing inundation:

  • Howeston Golf Course

howeston

  • Henry Ziefengusz Park in Cleveland, with 3 grounds wholly or partly inundated

cleveland

  • The Sam Sciacca sportsfields in Capalaba – with further sports facilities clearly at risk if there were further rises beyond the 1.1 metre mark.

sciacca

Dickson

Liberal member Peter Dutton hasn’t talked much as Health Minister about the impacts of climate change on the health of Australians or the health system. He hasn’t explained either why he’s lining up behind Tony Abbott to put climate action into reverse. In his own electorate, the Robert Akers Sporting Reserve at Strathpine shows on OzCoasts map for the impacts of 110 cm sea level rise as just above inundation level.

strathpine

The fields at Canterbury Park, Strathpine are also only just above inundation level on the OzCoasts map for 110 cm sea level rise.

Climate change: the time for games is over

 Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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Illawarra and south coast sport: Grounds for concern on climate change and sea level rise?

Icecaps and glaciers might seem a long way from south coast NSW. But global warming because of excess greenhouse gases we have been putting into the air is going into warming the oceans, even more than it is going into warming the atmosphere. This makes the water expand and rise, even before we start accounting for icecaps and glaciers.

Sea levels rose by around 200mm last century and accelerating.

OzCoasts has been publishing maps of impacts for major parts of the Australian coast.

Unfortunately, though, we don’t yet have  maps for some areas, including the Illawarra and NSW south coast,  to verify whether some coastal grounds would be within or beyond the reach of a sea level rise such as 1.1 metres, which has been modelled by OzCoasts for other areas.

Among grounds used by Cricket Illawarra:

  • Darcy Wentworth in Warrawong has two grounds which Google Earth shows as only 2 metres above current average sea level
  • Fred Finch in Berkeley has four grounds, which show as only 1 metre above current average sea level on Google Earth
  • Thomas Dalton Park at Fairy Meadow has four grounds on the coast, shown as 3-4 metres above current average sea level on Google Earth. Some grounds at similar altitudes in areas where risks have been modelled by OzCoasts show up as at risk of inundation from 1.1 metres sea level rise – due to tides and king tides, even before storm surges are considered
  • For JJ Kelly Park, Wollongong, although the pitch is shown as 4 metres above current average sea level on Google Earth,  some of the ground is shown as only 2 metres

Obviously it’s not good enough to have to rely on Google Earth for such important issues. We need professional assessments, such as have been done for other areas by OzCoasts.

Local governments around Australia have been updating flood assessment and mapping to take account of climate change. But of course they are giving priority to effects on housing and infrastructure. Sports fields by definition are often in lower lying areas where there was already too much flood risk to approve housing or commercial and industrial development.

Expert information is needed on risks to grounds which at first sight may seem relatively safe  because they are a few metres above current average sea levels, but which are adjacent to  rivers and near the coast, and so may be exposed to increased flood risks from tides and from floodwaters being less able to escape to sea with higher high tides.

For example, further south, Bomaderry Oval shows on Google Earth as 4 metres above current average sea level, but is also immediately adjacent to the Shoalhaven River.

Further south, and, like Bomaderry, among the grounds used for NSW Country Cricket competitions):

  • Eden oval shows on Google Earth as 4 metres above the average level of the nearby ocean
  • The Hanging Rock and Mackay grounds in Batemans Bay both show on Google Earth as 4 to 5 metres above current average sea level

 Climate change – the time for games is over

 Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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