Can you help

I have a member of Veteranweb who is trying to locate the widow of the late Peter Gerard Rigby, her name is Christine. Peter was a Corporal in Vietnam with 9 RAR, between 5 Nov 1968 – 5 Dec 1969.

It is reasonably sure that she lives in Adelaide. If you have knowledge of Christine’s address or contact details please get in touch with me at [email protected]





Past mistakes bubbling to the surface

THE golden rivet metal for Australia’s first nuclear submarine keel probably hasn’t been mined, its first crew still to be born or finish primary school.

Allowing for predictable or unexpected vagaries in its defence materiel acquisition processes, it now seems Australia will have a fleet of three to five nuclear powered (but not armed) submarines in service by 2050.

After decades of irrational opposition, Australia will be in a position to consider nuclear power generation in multiple applications.

Geriatric last century sloganistas in their nursing homes will be soiling their kaftans in impotent rage, realising their errant nonsense of “nuclear free communities” is dead, as many of them would have been without the benefits of nuclear medicine.

CLICK LINK to continue reading …

Past mistakes bubbling to the surface | Australian Defence History, Policy and Veterans Issues (

Pentagon chooses Australian firm to build hypersonic test aircraft.

By Courtney Albon

The U.S. Department of Defence selected Hypersonix Launch Systems, an Australian aerospace company, to develop a high-speed aircraft that can test hypersonic technologies.

The aircraft will support a Defence Innovation Unit program called Hypersonic and High-Cadence Airborne Testing Capabilities, or HyCAT. The organization, which works to push technology from non-traditional companies to military users, is partnering with the Defence Department Test Resource Management Centre and the director of hypersonics to help alleviate strain on government test infrastructure.

“The HyCAT project represents a paradigm shift in viewing the hypersonic realm as a place for aircraft, not just missiles and weapons.”

DIU gave no value for the contract. Hypersonix did not immediately respond to a request for details.

The aircraft developed by Hypersonix, dubbed DART AE, will test high-speed platforms, components, sensors and communications and control systems. According to the company, DART AE is powered by a hydrogen-fuelled scramjet engine and can fly at speeds up to Mach 7. The aircraft is scheduled to fly for the first time in early 2024, and HyCAT testing is expected to begin in the next 12-18 months.

“The data and analyses resulting from these prototype tests will accelerate the evaluation of potential weapon system concepts, technologies and mission sets,” DIU said.

Along with the initial HyCAT awards, the agency said it expects to issue more contracts in the coming months for advanced materials to support prototype tests.


Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton officially unveiled.

By Brian Hartigan

Northrop Grumman formally unveiled Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton autonomous aircraft in Palmdale, California on 16 March 2023 (local time) – early morning Australian time.

The event was attended by Australian and US government and defence officials and marked a “watershed moment in the advancement of air power for Australia” according to Head of Air Force Capability Air Vice Marshall Robert Denney, who represented the RAAF at the rollout.

“The significance and importance of Triton to Australia’s intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities cannot be overstated,” Air Vice Marshall Denney said.

“While Triton is primarily designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, it will support a broad range of joint effects and fully integrate into our combat architecture.

“It will revolutionise the way The Australian Defence Force conducts operations with our partners and allies.”

Air Vice Marshall Denney said Australia was a proud partner in the Triton program and our embedded personnel were already acquiring the knowledge and experience required to bring the aircraft back to Australia.

“In working together with our US Navy and industry partners in developing the capability of this aircraft, we are pushing the boundaries of air power and pursuing a truly advanced platform that will provide both a foundation of capability and a growth path for decades.”

MQ-4C Triton is a high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) remotely-piloted aircraft that will complement the P- 8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft acquired under Project AIR 7000 as a ‘family of systems’.

Triton aircraft will be home-based at RAAF Base Tindal, with operations headquartered at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

9 Squadron, which was recently re-raised, will operate Triton.

Triton will be capable of supporting missions of longer than 24 hours while covering an area of more than one million square nautical miles – an area larger than Western Australia.

 In a cooperative program with the United States Navy, Australia was intimately involved in the development, production, and sustainment of the Triton capability.

 The first Australian MQ-4C, rolled out overnight, will be flown Downunder mid-next year and is scheduled to reach initial operating capability in 2025-26.

 The Australian government has approved the acquisition of three Triton aircraft and supporting systems, with the acquisition of further aircraft subject to future government consideration – however, the RAAF has long had plans to acquire seven of the aircraft, a point reiterated by Air Vice Marshall Denney during today’s ceremony.


NEW MILITARY GENRE BOOK: Destined to be a world best seller.

Hello All.

Dr Ross Babbage, AM, PhD, has just sent me his new flyer for his forthcoming book later this month. Ross is a close friend.
I do hope you are interested. The book promises to be a world bestseller.
The book is available from Cambria Press, Amherst, New York. Depending upon logistics, the book should be available among booksellers later this month.
Warmest Regards,

CAPT David L O Hayward (Rtd)
Defense Analyst, Management Consultant and Author
Founder: China Research Team Australia (2009)

CLICK LINK to read details

Book Flyer – Next Major War US Babbage (003) 4-3-23


Drop Schedule 9 of the Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 No 4) Bill

Veteran Superannuation Invalidity Benefits are not paid for life, and Government can review or cancel them at any time up to the age of 55. They should not be taxed as if they are a permanent benefit.

Because of a Federal Court case – known as Douglas – some veteran superannuation invalidity benefits are taxed properly as reviewable benefits.

Other veteran superannuation invalidity benefits continue to be taxed as if they are permanent benefits. This includes the newest and youngest veterans and Defence Force members who are covered by the ADF Cover scheme.

The Government has introduced legislation – Schedule 9 of the Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 No 4) Bill – that ensures those younger veterans who are injured and receive invalidity benefits, will forever be taxed as if they are permanent benefits.

Older veterans who started receiving veteran superannuation (DFRDB and MSBS) invalidity benefits before 20 September 2007 will continue to be taxed as if they are receiving permanent benefits.

All veteran superannuation invalidity benefits should receive the same tax treatment provided by the Douglas Case, regardless of which scheme or when payments commenced.

If passed, this legislation will entrench unequal and unfair taxation between injured veterans who receive the same invalidity benefits.

How Can You Help?

You can write to your local Member of Parliament and state Senators. Politicians don’t pay much attention to form letters, so here are some tips on how to write to your MP or Senator.

Tell them that:

Schedule 9 of the Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 No 4) Bill should not be passed.

And that the Government must develop and pass legislation that ensures all veteran superannuation invalidity benefits receive the same tax treatment provided by the Douglas Case, regardless of which scheme or when payments commenced.

You can include a link to this page for the details.

You can read more about Veteran Superannuation Invalidity Benefits Taxation and the Douglas Case here. 


Our vision

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are heard, recognised and empowered.

Our purpose

The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) works in genuine partnership to enable the self-determination and aspirations of First Nations communities. We lead and influence change across government to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a say in the decisions that affect them.

Our responsibilities

The National Indigenous Australians Agency was established by an Executive Order signed by the Governor-General on 29 May 2019.

The Executive Order gives the NIAA a number of functions, including:

  • to lead and coordinate Commonwealth policy development, program design and implementation and service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • to provide advice to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Indigenous Australians on whole-of-government priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • to lead and coordinate the development and implementation of Australia’s Closing the Gap targets in partnership with Indigenous Australians; and
  • to lead Commonwealth activities to promote reconciliation.

You can read the full list of responsibilities in the Executive Order.

Our structure

The NIAA structure is designed to better meet the Government’s priorities to effectively deliver on our Executive Order, strengthen our ability to deliver as one team and enhance our partnership with Indigenous Australians.

Key design underpinnings include creating a greater balance of strategic, social and economic policy including a dedicated focus on economic development in the north; enhancing relationships across jurisdictions as well as in place; and improving Agency wide performance.

The NIAA is led by the CEO, Jody Broun, and two Deputy CEOs each with distinct responsibilities. Julie-Ann Guivarra is the Deputy CEO for Policy and Programs, and James Christian, PSM is the Deputy CEO for Operations and Delivery.

Organisational Chart

Our values

  • We respect multiple perspectives
  • We are authentic
  • We are professional and act with integrity
  • We invest in each other’s success
  • We deliver with purpose

Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)



ED: The NIAA employs 1300 staff including and executive team of more than 40 people who earn in excess of $200,00 a year.

Last financial year, it handed out money of more than $1.5 billion .. according to the NIAA’s website.




Lieutenant Colonel J P Dwyer AM OAM CF (Rtd)
Leadership – the action of leading a group of people or an organisation.

If ever there was a subject that has been written about, practised, pulled apart
and built on, it is leadership. Going back thousands of years from the days of the
Egyptians to the present day it has been an integral part of the advancement of
the civilised world. The theories, models and application of leadership have also
been a core of my own working life. Wonderful examples of good and
successful leadership abound over the millenniums, matched side by side with
some appalling failures. Now when I look at the current dearth of quality
political leadership across the western world, in parallel with the rise of national
dictators over the rest of the globe, I have some reflections that spur me to add a
little more to the topic.

Leadership decision-making processes that decide on the successes and failures
within our civilisation as we currently know it, embrace a topic that is not only
engrossing but unfortunately, probably the least understood by many of those
who are in positions to apply it, understand it and practice it. My own small
library has many books on leadership and leaders and the world is awash with
theories and models from Churchill and Adair to Drucker and Covey, just to
name a few authors that come to mind. This of course begs the question, as to
why should I even attempt to make further comments on the subject?
Nevertheless, as leadership was integral to my effectiveness as a career officer
in the Australian Army and subsequently in my work with business ventures,
community activities and Australian history projects a personal overview can do
no harm, not to mention a recent request from a grandson in The Army Cadets
seeking ‘some good drum’ from Pop!

Before I proceed, however, it is important to outline my own view on the
subject. Leadership has been described as a key enabler spanning many other
processes. The ‘art of influencing others towards achieving a clear common 
goal in such a way as to engender loyalty, respect, and a willing cooperation’ is
a statement I can only agree with wholeheartedly. Interestingly the term ‘lead’
comes from the Saxon ‘laed’ – ‘To set out on a quest’ to ‘Navigate into the
distant horizon’! Perhaps apt terms when I reflect on my life from teaching and
leading soldiers into battle, to influencing staff to perform in corporate and
community matters. Despite the plethora of written and digital leadership
information available to those interested in its study or application, I will in this
short overview, simplify my comments to just one model as a guide that may
interest the reader. It is termed the ‘Action-centred Leadership’ theory.

This theory focuses on what people ‘do’ and the core actions that a leader must
‘do’ to lead effectively. It encompasses a three-tiered model developed in the
1960’s by a British academic, John Adair, partly to dispel the myth surrounding
the concept of ‘born leaders’. Action-centred leadership relies on the belief that
leaders are developed, not born and it has resonated well with me because of its
simplicity of application since being taught its fundamentals at my Officer
Cadet School, also in the mid 60’s. As a practical and simple theory to
understand, it works, and has been my personal model to follow with successful
and recognised results for the past 6 decades.

In essence, while the definition of leadership is straight forward, it cannot work
unless three integral elements in its application are in place – the leader, the
organisation and the individuals involved. Inherent in these are vision, trust,
mutual respect, passion and sound values. Values, particularly, must encompass
all those elements with those participants involved. To me, it is also axiomatic
that when we use terms such as trust, values and respect, the ‘leader’,
irrespective of his/her position in any hierarchy, must also display the same
inherent qualities and characteristics to achieve successful and measurable

As a ‘doer’ during my working life, this theory has met my own needs. The
model consists of three functional circles of action: Task, Group and Individual.
Within these are clear inter-actions required to develop successful and 
measurable outcomes: 

TASK needs – Actions you take to achieve a goal:
·Setting Objectives
·Allocating responsibilities
·Setting standards

GROUP needs – Actions at the group level to develop teamwork and cohesion:
·Team building

INDIVIDUAL needs – Actions to develop each team member’s unique needs:

A leader’s attention to the inter-action of these three elements, with a focus to
meet the needs, will be critical. For example:

·Too much attention or obsession to the TASK may well lead to a
reduction in TEAM effectiveness and INDIVIDUAL effort. Resulting in
failure, poor or unsuccessful results. Juggling the application of 
leadership to meet these three elements is the real challenge! 

Let me give a practical example through personal experience in a key leadership
role. In my three years as the Commanding Officer of the Australian Army’s
(Field Force) Battle School in the 1980’s, attention to the critical aspects of the
three elements were proven and outcomes were successful by:

·The achievement of the task(s) to the highest standards in teaching
tropical warfare. Proven and confirmed officially.

·Effectively utilising the collective experience and teaching ability of the
instructor teams. A noticeable feature, and

·The sound training of the individuals, both Australian and Foreign
soldiers, particularly in Jungle Warfare techniques and skills.

Action-centred leadership works, as of course many other theories and
applications, however at the end of the day it is the appointed ‘leader’ who has
the final responsibility, good or bad for the outcomes. May I sum up this short
discourse on an overview to leadership with a couple of quotes, relevant to
those individuals currently in leadership roles:

‘You manage things, you lead people’.

‘Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality’.

Personal Footnote.

Visits to equivalent schools in Singapore and Brunei during the Battle School posting, including the 
successful training of elements of the Australia SASR, PNG Defence Force and the US Special Forces 
Delta Team also confirmed results. Post Army service, the adoption of this leadership model 
continued successfully in my business and community affairs work. Reflected in my three national 
awards for leadership by a grateful nation. 

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RAAF and evacuations from Vietnam in 1975.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) played a significant role in humanitarian efforts during the final days of the Vietnam War in 1975.

As the situation in South Vietnam deteriorated rapidly, with the North Vietnamese Army advancing towards Saigon, the RAAF helped evacuate Australian citizens and other foreign nationals from the country.

In particular, the RAAF deployed a fleet of C-130 Hercules transport planes to Saigon, which was used to fly out refugees and evacuees to safety. These planes also transported essential medical supplies, food, and water to those in need.

One notable mission carried out by the RAAF was Operation Babylift, which began on 4 April 1975. This was a massive effort to evacuate orphaned Vietnamese children and bring them to safety in Australia and other countries. The RAAF contributed several of its C-130 transport planes to the mission, flying in and out of Saigon under extremely challenging conditions.

Despite facing significant risks, the RAAF personnel involved in these humanitarian efforts worked tirelessly to ensure that as many people as possible were evacuated safely. The RAAF’s efforts in Vietnam in 1975 have been recognised as an important chapter in the organisation’s history, demonstrating the vital role that military forces can play in providing humanitarian assistance during times of crisis.

Planning and first evacuations

Photo: Wearing civilian clothes, Wing Commander John Mitchell briefs Detachment S’s Hercules crews in the Embassy Hotel’s ground-floor restaurant on 6 April 1975. AWM P01973.001

In his book Vietnam, Paul Ham related the story of Flying Officer Geoff Rose’s return to ‘routine operations’ after a period of heavy work during the post-Cyclone Tracy relief effort.

Back at home and expecting visitors for the 1975 Easter long weekend, Rose answered a knock on his door to find instead his squadron’s navigator, Peter Gerstle, standing there with urgent news. According to Ham, Gerstle said:

Can’t tell you where, Geoff … but pack your bags … and come to the squadron – ASAP!

Later that day, Rose was airborne, flying in a Hercules from Richmond at the foot of the Blue Mountains to Butterworth on Malaysia’s west coast.

The story of how Rose and his fellow airmen found themselves en route to Malaya began on 29 March 1975.

Facing a humanitarian crisis and imminent defeat in a war that, in one form or another, had lasted decades, the South Vietnamese Government urgently asked Australia for help. Having taken its combat troops out of Vietnam several years before, Australia responded by despatching 8 Hercules from Richmond and 2 Dakotas from Butterworth.

On the ground at Butterworth, Wing Commander John Mitchell briefed his aircrews, now part of what the Air Force called ‘Headquarters Richmond, Detachment S’. The news was grim. A North Vietnamese offensive was making rapid headway. South Vietnam was on the brink.

Over a couple of days, first Da Nang, then Nha Trang and Can Ranh Bay, fell to the communists. With the ground deteriorating quickly, 2 RAAF Hercules flew into the chaos at Phan Rang to ferry refugees to Can Tho.

On the tarmac, one of the aircraft was mobbed. When a salvo of rockets landed a few hundred metres away, a panicked guard, firing into the air, put his bullets through the Hercules’ tail. Nevertheless, the Australians evacuated some 1,500 refugees to Can Tho that day.

Photo: South Vietnamese refugees crowd the cargo compartment of an RAAF Detachment S Hercules in April 1975. AWM P05608.005

Operation Babylift

South Vietnam’s population was moving all at once. As their forebears had done in times of war, they fled an approaching enemy, seeking safety to the south and hoping for a way out.

Thousands of orphans were caught in the mad rush of people vying for a means of escape. The children were far too young to appreciate the gravity of the situation. Some had been chosen for adoption in Australia, while others had homes waiting for them in the United States.

In early April 1975, the United States and Australia began evacuating the Vietnamese children in a series of flights known as Operation Babylift.

On 4 April, 2 days after the United States announced Babylift, 2 Australian Hercules crews stood on the tarmac of Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut Airport chatting with a giant American Galaxy crew.

After all their passengers were on board, the Americans took off, followed by the first Hercules.

On the Australian plane, loaded with babies – the older ones 5 to a litter and the smallest infants in cardboard boxes on the floor, all with water bottles between their lips to ease the pain of changing air pressure – all went well, and they headed west to Bangkok.

But on Galaxy, disaster struck. With 243 children, their escorts, medical staff and aircrew on board, the plane’s cargo door blew off soon after take-off. The pilots tried to return to the runway, but 2 km from the airport, the stricken aircraft hit the ground, bounced over the Saigon River and exploded. There were few survivors. The dead included 143 babies and 2 Adelaide women, Lee Makk and Margaret Moses, who had volunteered to help with the children.

A few hours later, the 2 Hercules landed at Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport and disembarked 194 children and the 3 doctors and 20 nurses who had tended the infants. Other RAAF Hercules brought some 80 Australian civilians, mostly embassy officials and their families, out of Saigon.

Photo: RAAF aircrew comfort some of the babies with bottles before take-off during the second airlift of orphans from Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut airport. AWM P01973.002

Life in a dangerous city

In the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon, 100 or so Australian RAAF personnel of Detachment S lived in the relative haven of the Embassy Hotel, just 150 m from the Presidential Palace. Around them, social order was collapsing.

On 8 April, an Australian crew waiting to land at Tan Son Nhut noticed a South Vietnamese F-5 flying low over Saigon and wondered what the pilot was doing.

At the same time, on the ground, the RAAF contingent’s senior officer, Group Captain Lyall Klaffer, was walking between the Embassy Hotel and the Caravelle Hotel, which was home to the Australian Embassy, when he heard machine guns and the roar of a low flying jet. He looked up in time to see 2 high explosive bombs dropping from the aircraft onto the Presidential Palace.

At the Embassy Hotel, broken glass showered Australian aircrew as they were eating breakfast. The jet’s pilot is believed to have landed his plane on a North Vietnamese airfield.

At around the same time, some of the RAAF personnel were threatened at gunpoint by a South Vietnamese officer who made it clear that if he couldn’t get out of Vietnam, neither could anyone else.

The risk of sabotage seemed all too real, and in any case, the enemy was drawing nearer. On 14 April, shells ignited the Bien Hoa airbase’s bomb storage area in a massive explosion just 30 km from Saigon.

No longer safe in South Vietnam’s capital, the Australians decamped for Bangkok where they took up residence in the Sheraton and Montien hotels, flying into Tan Son Nhut each day to carry out operations and returning to Bangkok in the evening.

Photo: The Embassy Hotel in Saigon where Detachment S was quartered before the encroaching enemy forced their departure for safer quarters in Bangkok. South Vietnam’s Presidential Palace was located further along the same street. AWM P01973.005

The end in Vietnam

More orphans were flown out on 17 April, ending that part of the operation. But the Australian airmen remained to carry out airlifts coordinated by the United States Aid Organisation.

The Australians were joined by a detachment of Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel flying Bristol Freighters and later C-130s. Together, as they flew emergency food, medical and other relief supplies to some 40,000 refugees now crowded into a former POW camp at An Thoi on Phu Quoc island, they witnessed the Vietnam War’s dying days in all its bloody confusion.

Rockets hit the airfield, and some RAAF personnel saw 30 mutinous South Vietnamese marines executed.

Don Muang Airport, a combined civilian-military airport to the north of Bangkok, was a hive of activity as humanitarian agencies stockpiled relief supplies for transport to Saigon.

Working on the civilian side of the airport in the stifling Bangkok heat, in the sweltering cargo bays of their aircraft, the Australian crews started exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion. Soon they were moved to the military side of the airport, where better facilities eased their task a little.

On Anzac Day 1975, the last 3 RAAF flights landed in Saigon. The war was entering its final days. Just before 7 o’clock that evening, the Australian Ambassador Geoffrey Price and the last 10 of his Australian staff members were brought out of South Vietnam, along with 15 Vietnamese refugees and 9 Australian journalists. Earlier flights carried out a small group of orphans and 34 Vietnamese nuns.

Left behind were some 130 Vietnamese who had the approval to be flown out, along with another 30 former employees of the Australian Embassy. Loyal staff who had served Australia for years were left to their fate.

Last to leave

The last Australian military personnel to leave Vietnam, 13 years after the first had arrived, were 4 Air Defence Guards:

Left behind when the last evacuation aircraft took off from Tan Son Nhut, they had neither support, supplies nor means of communication. Carrying a pistol and 4 rounds of ammunition each, they had no idea how long it might be before rescue came.

Meanwhile, the din of gunfire and rocket explosions around the airport grew louder, and the North Vietnamese drew nearer. Of more immediate concern, perhaps, was the threat from South Vietnamese personnel facing imminent defeat and a deeply uncertain future.

None of the 4 RAAF personnel could be sure that these soldiers, feeling deserted by their allies, nearly all of whom had now fled the communist onslaught, would not turn on them in these final desperate hours.

Fortunately, a Hercules had been detailed to circle off South Vietnam’s coast to collect anyone who had been left behind. The relief felt by the 4 Australians when the RAAF transport came into view can only be imagined.

More than 200 people – air and ground crew, equipment and administration personnel, nurses and other medical staff – flew on operations during the RAAF’s final involvement in the Vietnam War. Some flew into the Laotian capital, Vientiane. Like Cambodia, Laos had been dragged into the war only to share in a crushing defeat.

By the end of April 1975, the 3 countries which had compromised the territory of the former French Indochina – Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – were under communist control.


ANZAC Portal

Study uncovers the downsides of bottled water fad.

‘One of the biggest scams’

 The growth of the bottled water industry in Australia has led to increased scrutiny of its impact on access to safe drinking sources, the public’s perception of tap water and the environment.

The Asia-Pacific region is the biggest consumer of bottled water in the world at 49 per cent of total consumption, followed by North America and Europe, according to a report from the United Nations University Institute for Water.

While there are tap water concerns in parts of the Asia-Pacific, Australia has few problems on this front.

However, the UN report, released on Friday, revealed Australians are among the biggest consumers of bottled water per capita, spending $386 per person in 2021.

Experts said that while bottled water was a valuable resource during emergencies, such as the Lismore floods, its widespread use raised concerns. They argue that high-quality tap water is accessible at a significantly lower cost.

“For most people, on most occasions, there is no need to purchase bottled water when water of very high quality can be obtained from a tap at a much lower costs, both financial cost and impacts to the environment cost,” Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Stuart Khan told TND.

“Many Australians increasingly get by perfectly well by carrying a reusable bottle with them as they go about their daily activities, often refilling it at no cost at publicly available supplies.”

‘Very clever marketing’

Environmental public health scientist Dr Paul Harvey said the sale of bottled water was “clever marketing” and that ultimately people were wasting their money.

“One of the biggest scams of the bottle industry is … that you’ll find that a whole lot of the lower cost waters on the market have been produced in nothing much other than an industrial lot with industrial-sized filtration system and a bottling plant.

“It’s certainly very clever marketing that encourages the consumer to buy bottled water.”

Cathy Cook, head of corporate affairs at The Australian Beverages Council, told TND that the bottled water industry did not recommend bottled water over tap in its marketing and advertising strategies.

She said public health initiatives over decades had encouraged consumers and the non-alcoholic beverages industry to increase the consumption of plain water.

“Obviously a brand is going to advertise its bottled water [but] I don’t think we denigrate tap water.”

She said brands promoted bottles as a sustainable and convenient option when tap water was unavailable, including one brand that uses 100 per cent recycled PET for its bottles.

Recycled PET is repurposed plastic from items such as bottles, transformed into new products to reduce waste and environmental impact.

Environmental advocates point to the significant pollution caused by plastic bottles, which can persist for decades or centuries in rivers and oceans, harming marine life.

Micro-plastic warning

There is also some concern about the presence of micro-plastics in bottled water.

A 2022 study examined the exposure of Australians to micro-plastics, which are tiny plastic particles, through the consumption of bottled water.

The study discovered that Australians, on average, consume 30.8 litres of bottled water a year and, as a result, consume about 400 micro-plastics annually by drinking bottled water.

Researchers said further study was needed to learn more about the risks of consuming bottled water.

Dr Harvey said that there is a need for community education and awareness to promote the use of tap water and more sustainable alternatives.

“We do have really good quality [water] for the most part in Australia, we’re exceptionally lucky when you compare Australia to the US, for example,” he said.

“We don’t see contaminants entering into the water, which means that the tap water is exceptionally safe.”