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The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts

Mr Jim Turnour MP
Member for Leichhardt

$750,000 for critical rainforest research

Media release
18 May 2010

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Rainforest research will continue to be an important part of Australia's biodiversity research under the Government's reconfigured environmental research grants program, Minister for Environment Protection, Peter Garrett said today at the Opening Ceremony of the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility Conference in Cairns.

"The Australian Government recognises the vital role research plays in effectively delivering environmental management, policies and programs," Mr Garrett said.

"Earlier this year I announced that $5 million transitional funding was available as the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) program winds down, to be replaced by the new National Environmental Research Program (NERP).

"I pleased to announce today that a further $750,000 will be provided over six months in 2010-11 as additional transitional funding for rainforest research within the existing Marine and Tropical Science Research Facilities (MTSRF). My department is working with the administrators of MTSRF in northern Queensland - the Reef and Rainforest Centre (RRRC) to develop details of this additional transitional research plan.

"Like the CERF, the new program aims to fund research with a strong 'public good' focus, and build stronger bridges between researchers and environmental decision makers.

"NERP will provide $20 million a year for applied research. The department is now calling for expressions of interest from research institutions to apply for competitive funding under the new program.

"It will focus on emerging biodiversity issues, including research in terrestrial and marine ecosystems, northern Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.

"Rainforest research will continue to play an important role under NERP. I anticipate that rainforest research will be incorporated into the future northern Australia or terrestrial ecosystem hub or both. My department has prepared policy questions which reflect some of the research areas where rainforest research is needed."

Member for Leichhardt, Jim Turnour, welcomed the announcement saying: "The natural environment of Far North Queensland is one of our greatest assets. Our rainforests and magnificent World Heritage Area are important tourist drawcards that help to generate jobs in the region."

"We need to understand how these rainforests work and how to manage them so that they are sustainable in the long-term. We have a highly skilled research community in the region who are making an important contribution in this regard."

"Today's funding announcement helps to keep this good work going in the transition to the new program."

For more information about NERP, go to: www.environment.gov.au/nerp

Commonwealth of Australia