Today that Prime Minister flew into Cairns with nothing to offer the people of Tropical North Queensland but a two-year-old election promise that has still not been fulfilled.
He said that he was in Cairns:
“to announce that the $10 million that we're putting into this innovation centre, that cheque is on the way. I come and I have commitments to make. I haven't come to make other promises today.”
Scott Morrison MP, 4 September 2018
But the scientists and researchers at James Cook University in Cairns have been waiting for that cheque for over two years.
This is a commitment that was at the centre of the Coalition’s Jobs Package for Cairns. In 2016, Leichardt MP Warren Entsch said:
“And the JCU Innovation Centre will be a regionally-significant resource identifying new career pathways, new business possibilities and providing a helping hand so that innovations that have commercial potential can stay in the region.”
Warren Entsch MP, 22 June 2016
But neither prime ministers nor Mr Entsch have been able to deliver for the people of Cairns: all they have done is promise that the cheque’s in the mail.
Clearly, the Abbott–Turnbull – Morrison Liberals have been preoccupied with cutting funding for our science and research agencies, privatising public-good research funding and setting up the $444 million reef foundation rort.
Only a Shorten Labor Government will ensure that public-good research will be led by Australia’s world leading research agencies, not private foundations run by merchant bankers .
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation grant effectively sidelines our expert research agencies such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).
AIMS and the CSIRO have long partnered with universities such as James Cook University, the University of Queensland, research centres like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies as well as non-government bodies such as the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, traditional owner groups and community groups in conducting research on the Great Barrier Reef.
This sham now sees our public research agencies being forced to go cap in hand to a private charity to gain access to taxpayer funds.
And today we have another empty promise.