Funding announced for rainforest research

Mon 24 May

Funding announced for rainforest research

Cairns and the Port Douglas region was host to Federal Government Ministers Deputy PM Julia Gillard, Minister for the Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett and Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, Martin Ferguson.


They met with the Mayor and local business people to discuss a variety of topics, including the economic status and environmental issues of the region.


While in Cairns, Mr Garrett announced an extra $750,000 to assist in rainforest research. “We announced extra funding for people who are doing great scientific research here in North Queensland, and to make sure that the transition to the new National Environment Research Program is done in a really positive way.


We know that this region faces significant challenges in terms of managing the Reef’s environment. The Reef is a great driver of the local and regional economy, it’s one of the most extraordinary and important natural treasures that Australia has” he said.


There will be great interest in just how our beautiful environment will be protected after Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, Martin Ferguson announced a series of exploration permits, including some that coincide with potential marine reserves.


While admitting that there is potential for energy reserves to be identified, Mr Garrett said these reserves would be assessed in the same way as any marine planning.  "I don’t expect this is going to provide any additional issues for us. Ultimately any area for exploration or potential development is subject to the normal regulations, and as we go through the marine planning process we’ll take that into account."


Asked if he, in his capacity as Environment Minister, would have final say on any such 'development', Mr Garrett replied, “This Government is committed to putting in place the most highly developed and best set of marine protected areas that we can in Commonwealth waters in Australia, at the same time as making sure that we balance the competing needs of industry, of fishers, of recreational users, and the conservation needs that these areas have.


Editors Comments: As always with Government statements, time will tell.