Queensland’s Reef and Rainforest Research Centre will take a lead role in delivering on the nation’s largest ever investment in environmental science after it was announced alongside the University of Tasmania as a co-host of one of four new national research hubs.
The Marine and Coastal Hub is part of the second phase of the National Environmental Science Program – a program that has for the past six years delivered practical environment outcomes through almost 400 successful science projects and helped to shape the nation’s environmental science agenda.
Research will be prioritised across four mega science hubs to meet the most pressing environmental management and policy needs, with an emphasis on climate adaptation, threatened species, protected places, and waste impacts.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the government was investing a further $149 million in a flexible approach across the new hubs that informs policy and drives shared learning.
“It is an investment that will build on the $145 million funding to date that has seen almost 400 successful science projects that are shaping policy and delivering practical environmental outcomes,” Ms Ley said.
Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said that the announcement was an important recognition of the work undertaken by Queensland’s Reef and Rainforest Research Centre.
“The RRRC are world class in the scientific work they conduct in conservation and sustainable development for communities locally and overseas in PNG” Mr Entsch said
“This funding will ensure they can continue the projects, the research and achieving real, on the ground outcomes across the regions.”
Reef and Rainforest Research Centre CEO Sheriden Morris said it was exiting to have another opportunity to take our tropical expertise out across Northern Australia.
“We are looking to deliver meaningful research that supports our magnificent northern environment,” Ms Morris said.
“This research will also ensure we are on the right path with regards to sustainable development that is needed across the North.
“This is not about swanning and cruising around on the Reef, this is about ensuring we get mix absolutely right.”
The Marine and Coastal Hub will deliver research to underpin management of Australia’s marine and coastal environments by harnessing a broad range of research expertise on estuaries, coast, reefs, shelf and deep-water environments.
The hub will be jointly led by Professor Damien Burrows from James Cook University and Associate Professor Alan Jordan from the University of Tasmania.
Professor Burrows is an internationally recognised wetland and coastal marine ecologist who is currently leading the NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub and is founding director of TropWATER, one of the largest coastal and marine research centres in the country.
Associate Professor Jordan is based at the University of Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies and has 30 years’ experience in the management of marine research and monitoring programs.
The three other NESP Hubs are the Resilient Landscapes (University of Western Australia), Sustainable Communities (CSIRO), and Waste Hub, and the Climate Systems Hub (UNSW).
Over the next seven years hubs will collaboratively, while researching practical, environmental science strategies within their own field.
Researchers from Queensland have played an integral role during the first phase of the NESP, providing the science to support the on-ground environmental actions of Traditional Owners, landholders and other stakeholders across a range of environmental programs.
The new hubs will come into effect in early 2021, with the existing hubs running until mid-2021.
This will ensure NESP continues to deliver valuable research throughout the transition.
Further information is available at www.environment.gov.au/science/nesp/.