Labor understands the importance of science to our role as custodian of some of nature’s greatest wonders just off our shores, the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef and Shark Bay in WA. These are not only natural wonders but are also vital to northern Australia’s – especially northern Queensland’s - tourism industry, and much of the service sector around Cairns and Townsville.
Protecting our marine estate and the benefits it provides requires management based on the best science, and development of new approaches and technologies which policy makers can deploy with certainty. Marine science is critical to realising these opportunities and responding to these rapidly emerging challenges.
Under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government, science, research and innovation funding has declined by $1.2 billion in real terms. The 2014 budget cut AIMS funding by $7.8 million. And just last year the Liberals chose to grant precious funds to help save the reef - a $444 million grant - to the small, private Great Barrier Reef Foundation, rather than allocate this funding to the government reef agencies like AIMS.
Labor’s plan will invest in the infrastructure and capability of Australian inshore marine science, including a refurbishment of Australia’s world class Great Barrier Reef education and research facility, Reef HQ Aquarium. It will provide an additional investment to bring about a step change in capability for the AIMS by providing resourcing to invest in technological change and employ additional scientists and technologists. It will also refit and extend the life of the RV Cape Ferguson, which is the inshore research vessel for the Great Barrier Reef.
These investments will enable AIMS to serve the nation by providing the tools to help protect the Great Barrier Reef, providing new insights into inshore marine systems across Northern Australia.
The package will also invest in a new Australian Research Council special research initiative to conduct vital research supporting the social and economic adaptation of communities to the challenges of reef restoration and adaptation.
Labor will also invest $30 million in Reef HQ. Labor will refurbish this tired and aging facility and transform it into a National Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef which all Australians can be proud of.
This election is a choice between Labor’s plan for better science, better hospitals and better schools versus bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals.
After six years of Liberal cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready