Sunrise industries create new opportunities

Digital technology and infrastructure underpins the top seven emerging or ‘Sunrise’ industries that will fuel future regional growth, international collaboration and job creation, according to a CSIRO Data61 report.

‘Sunrise industries’ are defined as new industries arising out of technological, regulatory, economic or social change.

CSIRO’s Data61 released the Sunrise Industries report at the recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Australia.

“While some existing industries will decline, there are a set of emerging industries underpinned by advances in science and technology that will contribute to ASEAN’s growth,” said Data61 Senior Principal Scientist and report co-author, Dr Stefan Hajkowicz.

The seven emerging industries identified are highly relevant to our smart cities of the future and could play a role in the future Ginninderra development. The seven industries are:

  1. Artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. Made up of large and small companies which design, construct, implement and operate automated systems, this industry emerges as a result of the increasing capabilities of automation and artificial intelligence to deliver benefits at lower costs.
  2. Financial and regulatory services technology. Enabled by technology and growing demand for innovative financial services, the FinTech and RegTech sector is made up of companies that provide digitally enabled financial and regulatory products and services.
  3. High value nutrition. Growing incomes, rates of chronic diseases and concerns about food safety and provenance are driving demand for healthy, traceable and trustworthy food products that are sustainably and ethically produced, giving rise to an industry focused on high value nutrition.
  4. Next generation energy storage and distribution. Improvements in the affordability and capability of batteries, other technological innovations, and consumer demand for clean energy solutions are fuelling demand in the energy storage and distribution market.
  5. Cyber-physical systems security. Cyber-physical systems (having intertwined software and physical components) are becoming increasingly widespread, but can be vulnerable to hacking. This creates new opportunities for the cyber-physical systems security industry.
  6. Personal health and ageing. Ageing populations are creating demand for products and services related to personal health and ageing (e.g. apps, wearable devices and mobile/telehealth services) along with personalised health and aged care.
  7. Digital infrastructure and connectivity. While the wider Asia Pacific region has some of the world’s most digitally advanced nations, digital infrastructure is still lacking for many ASEAN members. This creates opportunities for improved digital infrastructure and connectivity.

CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall said the ASEAN region could become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2030. “Each of these opportunities is strongly supported by breakthrough Australian science, giving the potential for enormous economic benefit as we help ASEAN countries make this transition.”

“As part of CSIRO’s Strategy 2020, we are increasing our focus on global partnerships to drive Australian innovation across the entire region.” Dr Marshall said.

Above: Potential sunrise industries identified in CSIRO’s Data 61 report.

Little Eagle soars on new findings

Good news this week on the Little Eagle front, with the finding that the ACT had more breeding pairs active in 2017-18 than recorded in recent years. The ACT Conservator for Flora and Fauna announced the findings coming out of collaborative research.

The research effort to monitor the threatened Little Eagle found at least nine nesting pairs in the ACT during the 2017–18 breeding season, with a record four chicks being reared according to Conservator for Flora and Fauna, Ian Walker.

“Six of the pairs laid eggs and four chicks were reared – one each from two nests and two from another. This is the highest annual number of egg-laying pairs recorded in recent years in the ACT,” Mr Walker said.

“Although this does reflect a greater search effort, it is nevertheless exciting and indicates that the eagle is doing better than we feared.”

Above: Juvenile responds to a mobbing by Common Myna birds near Strathnairn on 27 January 2017. Photo source: Stuart Rae.

“The researchers also observed another two pairs of Little Eagles, but breeding activity was not confirmed. Two nesting pairs in nearby NSW also hatched chicks.”

“All these nesting areas will be monitored in future to build a thorough knowledge of the breeding ecology of Little Eagles in the ACT and surrounding NSW so we can help maintain a long-term viable population of the eagles in our district,” Mr Walker said.

The research group includes researchers from the Australian National University, ACT Government, CSIRO and the Ginninderry development project. It was recently joined by a Little Eagle researcher from the University of New England.

Above: This adult male pictured near Strathnairn on 27 January 2017 flew to the Nothern Territory about five weeks later. Photo source: Stuart Rae.

“Live webcams were installed above one of the nests prior to the breeding season to record the eagles’ nesting habits and breeding behavior,” Mr Walker said.

“A pair of eagles took possession of the nest and added fresh material. The male fed the female on the nest and they mated. As many eagles of various species do, the pair then switched nests to lay their eggs about two kilometres away.”

“Of the four chicks that were raised, one female was fitted with a tracking tag in December. The team has been eagerly following her by satellite. She moved increasing distances from her nest as she grew older and stronger, flying over urban areas and visiting several urban nature reserves, sometimes flying up to 7 kilometres from her nest area and more than 800 metres above street level.”

“Then, on 11 March, at less than 6 months old, she literally flew the nest and is now 1000 kilometres away in south-east Queensland. It will be interesting to see where she goes next and whether she’ll return to Canberra,” Mr Walker said.

REGISTER NOW for our 2018 Community Planting Days

The local community is invited to join CSIRO and the Ginninderra Catchment Group for the return of our popular shrub planting days, as we work together to restore woodlands and bring back native birds. Register your interest* to attend our 20 and/or 27 May planting days by visiting

Have you ever noticed there are more native woodland birds in some areas than in others? One reason for this is the quality of local habitat and presence (or absence) of native shrubs such as Silver Wattles, Austral Indigofera, Spiny Blackthorn, and the aromatic Long-Leaved Cassinia. Such plant life provides an excellent resource for native woodland birds such as pardalotes, thornbills, fantails and treecreepers to either forage in or build a nest, or hide from aggressive birds such as Noisy Miners.

Above: Volunteers from the 2017 Community Planting Days.

Over time, prevalence of these shrub species and associated native birds in our local Box Gum Grassy Woodland has become less and less. In 2017, the CSIRO, Ginninderra Catchment Group and a team of local residents, Aboriginal Green Army, scouts and local students, kicked-off a series of community planting days to help address the decline. Together, more than 130 volunteers planted over 3500 native shrubs among the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands at CSIRO Ginninderra.

Above: Indigofera.

In just 10 months these shrubs have grown significantly and are well on their way to providing a valuable bird habitat. Each shrub species was chosen with a specific purpose in mind – to attract nectar and insectivorous birds such as the Spotted Pardalote, and the Weebill, which at five grams is Australia’s smallest bird!

Re-establishing ‘layers’ of vegetation in the woodlands – ground, shrub and overstorey – is not only important for woodland birds, but also provides valuable opportunities for insects, possums, gliders and reptiles to live, forage, reside and take refuge from predators.

Above: Spotted Pardalote

This is just one approach CSIRO has adopted as part of its commitment to conservation and restoration at CSIRO Ginninderra. Other strategies include restoring native grasses, maintaining fallen logs, mature trees, hollows and nesting sites, that together with the community shrub plantings, will help support our native wildlife.

In 2018 we are doing it again. By joining us for our upcoming community planting days on 20 and 27 May, you’ll be helping CSIRO and the Ginninderra Catchment Group to continue to restore more than 200 hectares of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands. You will also be part of a growing army of citizens involved in the conservation and restoration science that is being undertaken at CSIRO Ginninderra.

Above: Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Read the original story in Gungahlin Community Council’s Gunsmoke Magazine.

Grassland trials help answer burning question

What is the best way to restore our native Grasslands? To help answer that burning question we caught up with Ken Hodgkinson and Karissa Preuss.

The second round of Autumn burns, overseen by Ginninderra Catchment Group and the ACT Rural Fire Service, took place at CSIRO Ginninderra and across the catchment in March. Casting a watchful eye on the Ginninderra grassland restoration trials, CSIRO Honorary Fellow and Landcare stalwart Ken Hodgkinson was quick to point out some of the benefits of fire in the landscape.

Above: CSIRO Honorary Fellow and Landcare stalwart Ken Hodgkinson with members from the ACT Rural Fire Service.

“Australian plants are unique in the sense that they’ve adapted over millions of years to fire,” Ken said. “Some plants need just smoke to stimulate them to germinate. Others need the heat of the fire to crack the outside of the seed. Some species need both those stimuli. We know from what Aboriginal people are telling us, that late summer through autumn into early winter is the time when they would traditionally burn.”

Through this Ginninderra Catchment Group (GCG) led project, 13 sites including five at CSIRO Ginninderra were first burned in autumn 2016, and this was the second burn applied to specific plots. At each site, the research team is testing the relative contribution to grassland restoration of four treatments:  burnt every two years, burnt every four years, mown six times per year and ‘a do nothing’ or control approach.

In mid 2016, Ken and a team of volunteers led by the GCG, planted five different native plant species in a grid pattern across each of the trial sites and treatments, with a total of 2600 plants going in including 1000 at CSIRO Ginninderra. The five species included: Yam Daisy, Nodding Chocolate Lily, Bulbine Lily, Billy Buttons and Common Everlasting Yellow Buttons.

Above: The second round of Autumn burns, overseen by Ginninderra Catchment Group and ACT Rural Fire Service

According to Ken, the early results indicate a lot of variation in survival success across the trial sites and treatments.

“At some sites, there’s been very good survival, others very poor survival. It’s probably going to take some time to work out why,” said Ken. “Of the five species, the Bulbine Lily has fared best with better than 60% survival across half of the sites. And Billy Buttons have similarly done very well.”

“The best survival of native plant species was achieved at one of the CSIRO sites which was already the richest in presence of native species. We are doing further studies to better understand this. Based on these very early results, if you were investing in planting native species into a grassland, the best bang for your buck would appear to be in areas that are already rich in native plant species.”

According to Ginninderra Catchment Group Executive Officer, Karissa Preuss, the grasslands project will remain in ‘test and learn’ mode for at least 10 years.

“It will take some time to get there, but the results of this study will provide evidence-based data for determining the best way to restore the native grasslands in the Ginninderra Catchment, which is the end goal,” Karissa said.

“We are very grateful for the participation and support of ACT Government, the ACT Rural Fire Service, as well as the support and interest of the Friends of Grasslands and all the Landcare groups including the Aboriginal Landcare group, Mullanggang, who have contributed cultural expertise.”

Project update – April

Get in early for community shrub planting days in May

Local residents and community members will have the opportunity to be part of the woodland regeneration work at CSIRO Ginninderra through our community shrub planting days on Sunday 20 and 27 May.

This year we’ll focus on planting some of the ‘dry forest’ shrub species that will help restore the woodland habitats for a wide range native birds and animals. The plantings will complement the 3,500 plus shrubs planted by our enthusiastic community volunteers in 2017. Once again we’re partnering with the Ginninderra Catchment Group and a range of local community groups to bring this event to life.

We encourage you to REGISTER EARLY, as the planting days are popular and places may fill up quickly.

Engaging with and involving the community

The planting days are just one of the ways that we seek to be involved in the local community and to have you involved in what we are doing at Ginninderra.

Over the past few years, we’ve been making opportunities to share information at community meetings and drop-in sessions as well as to hear from you about your ideas, questions, concerns and interests. We aim to continue these engagements and conversations as we move forward and as we start to look more closely at the planning, science and design elements for the future Ginninderra development.

One community group we met with recently is the ACT Equestrian Association. The community of horse-riders in the north of the ACT are already regular users of the land and riding tracks around the Ginninderra site and have been keen to share ideas and information on the planning for Ginninderra. CSIRO greatly appreciates the ACT Equestrian Association’s ongoing advice and interest in the project. We look forward to future engagement and further sharing of ideas when we have a development partner on board and are ready to commence detailed planning and design.

This week we also caught up with the Ginninderra Catchment Group (GCG) and provided an update on the project. We are excited about working closely with the GCG on the second round of our popular shrub planting days, as reported above.

Contact us or find out more

If you would like to know more about the Ginninderra project, visit or email us at  If at any time you have questions or ideas you want to share with us, please get in touch.  If you are part of a community group or organisation that would like to hear more from CSIRO about the Ginninderra Project or to be given an update, then please get in contact with us.

Hope rises out of Tathra ashes

After four days surveying the impacts of the Tathra bushfires, CSIRO’s Bushfire Urban Design team returned with some positive news emerging from the ashes.

On Sunday 18 March, 2018, a bushfire and ember storm fanned by raging winds across the coastal escarpment brought devastation to a normally idyllic NSW south coast town. The Tathra fire destroyed 65 houses and 35 caravans or cabins and damaged many others.

“At the request of the NSW Rural Fire Service, CSIRO commenced a detailed study of the Tathra site and the factors that contributed to house loss and survival”, said CSIRO Bushfire Urban Design team leader, Justin Leonard. “Our data and observation combined with the data collected by the RFS survey teams will help piece together what happened at Tathra and why,” said Justin.

“The particularly ferocious ember attack, described by residents and firefighters, contributed to an unusual pattern of house losses, which we are seeking to understand better. In particular we’re trying to understand how the prevailing conditions, unique terrain and various elements in the landscape contributed to this ember attack.”

Above: CSIRO post-bushfire survey team at Tathra (L-R) Alessio Arena, Justin Leonard and Raphaele Blanchi.

As with many Australian bushfires, the destruction seems indiscriminate, with some houses reduced to a pile of ash and twisted rubble, while next door a house appears totally unscathed.

“There are many signs in the landscape, vegetation, building design and gardens that help us understand what happened, why, and, most importantly, how it can be prevented in the future,” said Justin.

“Often the difference between house loss and survival comes down to a few features that repelled or let the fire take hold. For example, shrubs or mulch right up to the house, leaf build-up in gutters or ember-lodging points around timber eaves, timber window frames, decks or fences are common entry points.”

Above: Building design, vegetation, garden materials and fence types can play a key role in resisting bushfires.

CSIRO’s leadership in bushfire research spans more than 60 years. This research includes large-scale laboratory testing of building design and performance under a range of fire exposure conditions. It’s not unusual for CSIRO to carry out these post bushfire surveys.

In fact, CSIRO has provided support for every bushfire involving significant house loss since the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires in South Australia and Victoria. The findings of these surveys have been very useful in supporting the ongoing improvements to bushfire planning and building policy including building codes introduced.

Above: There are signs in the landscape, vegetation, building design and gardens that help us understand what happened and why.

“Amid devastation, the good news from Tathra was the survival of more than 800 houses, including those built since the bushfire building and planning regulations were amended in 2010” said Justin.

“The new house survival is very encouraging because our work is absolutely aimed at improving future outcomes for property, and people across the wide range of rural and urban settings we find in Australia.”

Read more about this in CSIRO ECOS.