News that CSIRO has formally taken possession of the research vessel RV Investigator has been welcomed by Shadow Minister for Research, Innovation and Industry Senator Kim Carr and Labor Senator for Tasmania Senator Carol Brown.
The vessel, which will be based in Hobart, was funded under Labor’s Super Science initiative in 2009, and handed over to CSIRO in Singapore yesterday.
“This is something I am very proud of from my time as Innovation Minister and I am looking forward to visiting CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research’s headquarters in Hobart today for an update,” Senator Carr said.
Senator Brown said Hobart had long been home to the blue water research vessel RV Southern Surveyor, which was now reaching the end of its useful life.
“The RV Investigator will be a wonderful replacement and Tasmanians will be delighted to learn that it will soon be on its way to Hobart.”
Senator Carr said the RV Investigator was intended not just to replace the RV Southern Surveyor, but to increase the number of days researchers could spend at sea from 180 to 300, and to increase accommodation for researchers from 15 to 40.
“The objective was to have a new, high-tech research vessel that could spend a full 300 days a year at sea, undertaking work vital to Australia’s ecological and economic future” Senator Carr said.
“However, this will not be possible as the Abbott Government has allocated substantially less than the $26 million funding CSIRO needed, meaning the vessel will only be able to operate 180 days a year.
“This is hugely disappointing and a serious let-down for Australia’s world-class marine scientists and for research students who need time at sea to complete their projects and graduate as the next generation of researchers.
“As I said when the contract for the vessel was signed, Australia has the world’s third-largest ocean territory, with unique biodiversity and valuable resources.
“But only 12 per cent of the area is mapped. There is a lot more work for marine scientists to do in investigating our ocean territory.
“The funding shortfall is yet another false economy from a government which has cut $115 million from CSIRO overall, resulting in the largest number of job losses in the organisation’s history and shutting down valuable programs, such as the Double Helix Club for children
“This is typical of a government that has no science minister, no science policy and no understanding of the importance of science and research to Australia’s future.”
TUESDAY, 5 AUGUST 2014