Fundraising Appeal July/August 2016
Dear Friends and Supporters,
The Waubra Foundation is currently conducting a Fundraising Appeal to help us with a couple of specific projects, in addition to our ongoing work supporting low frequency noise sensitized people, their health practitioners and independent acoustic researchers working in this area.
Achievements in the last 6 - 8 months
The Acoustic Soundscape Recorder Project has fulfilled a long held goal - to empower noise impacted people by ensuring access to affordable, calibrated, broad spectrum acoustic recording units.
This has now reached an exciting time – with final product testing of the first units occurring now. We are very grateful to some specific project donors who have accelerated the timeline for this project. These units will also vastly increase the capacity for independent researchers to collect Soundscape WAVE files as part of a Citizen Science initiative – which will help identify the specific triggers for the “noise annoyance” symptoms being reported.
Field Research at Lithgow and Taralga, NSW funded by the Waubra Foundation (industrial noise sources included a coal fired power station, extractor fan from an underground coal mine, and wind turbines), has greatly increased our understanding of the importance of amplitude modulation of low frequency noise, and cross sensitization to different sources of low frequency noise.
Physiological data collected from Lithgow and Taralga gave us the important and fundamental insight that what low frequency noise engineers call “noise annoyance” and what I have been calling “acute neurophysiological stress” episodes is in fact the startle reflex – well known to science, physiology, audiology, and even psychiatric research into PTSD.
We now require funds to progress the Soundscape Recorder Project:
- Purchase of components for the next generation of Acoustic Soundscape Recording Units, to accelerate the speed at which these units can be produced, given the anticipated demand in Australia and internationally.
- Subsidising the manufacture of Acoustic Soundscape Units to be made available for hire at affordable rates for those who are financially distressed, and unable to purchase their own.
- Funding of further multidisciplinary field research in a variety of soundscapes in both rural and urban environments where pulsing industrial low frequency noise is reported to be triggering low frequency noise sensitization, which we regard as a rapidly growing public health threat.
Other immediate challenges – the AAT case against the Charities Commission
Many of you will be aware that some time ago, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) revoked our status as Health Promotion Charity (HPC) and also ruled that Human Rights was not relevant to our work. We have vigorously challenged the initial and subsequent decision upholding the revocation, and requested a review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
This Review is now being heard in the AAT, commencing on 5th September, 2016 in Adelaide, running for at least three weeks.
The Foundation is extremely grateful to the many witnesses (almost thirty – including severely noise impacted people, and experts) who have provided statements and for their willingness to come and give evidence in person. The ACNC have advised they wish to cross examine every single witness, and if they cannot appear in person in Adelaide their evidence will almost certainly be ignored.
Whilst we would prefer that all our funds went to research, we must ensure that all our witnesses are able to get to Adelaide to give evidence, and are a little rested when they do so, so we will need funds for travel and accommodation (where we cannot host them ourselves).
We are therefore asking for urgent donations to be made to the Foundation to help cover these unavoidable travel expenses if we are to successfully appeal this decision.
Experts who have provided witness statements pro bono include Steven Cooper & Les Huson (Australia), Dr Bob Thorne, Dr Bruce Rapley & Associate Professor David McBride (New Zealand), Professor Mariana Alves Pereira (Portugal), and Dr Michael Nissenbaum (USA). The ACNC have used Professor Gary Wittert, and Chris Turnbull as their paid experts.
Witnesses from Lismore, Lithgow, Hunter Valley, Wellington, Burwood (NSW), Waubra, Macarthur & Cape Bridgewater (Victoria) and Waterloo and Adelaide (SA) have kindly provided statements, and committed to coming to give evidence in person, for which we are also extremely grateful. Most of these people are severely noise impacted from a range of different industrial noise sources – so we hope that their time in Adelaide means that they get a break from the noise at their homes, and hopefully a decent night’s sleep as well.
Many thanks for your ongoing interest, and your support of the work of the Foundation. Every donation, no matter how small, helps us continue our work.
To donate, please go to our website at waubrafoundation.org.au/about/donate for instructions and direct access to Paypal, and details for Direct Bank Transfer.
If you wish to donate by Cheque, please make it out the “The Waubra Foundation” and post it to PO Box 7112, Banyule VIC 3084 together with your details so our Volunteer Administrator Susan Richmond can issue you with a receipt.
Sarah Laurie, CEO Waubra Foundation
Bachelor Medicine, Bachelor Surgery