The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water
Senator Nita Green, Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Senator for Queensland
The Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek has today confirmed that the Albanese Labor Government is stepping in to secure the future of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).
After years of neglect by the Liberal and National parties, Australia’s world-leading marine scientists were working in unsafe, mouldy, and outdated facilities. And because of Liberal and National party funding decisions, 100 jobs in regional northern Australia were on the verge of being cut.
That's why the Albanese Labor Government is stepping in and investing an extra $163.4 million in the May budget to guarantee the future of the AIMS. This will ensure that our scientists can continue to lead the world with their research, while protecting the Great Barrier Reef and our beautiful oceans.
For over 50 years, the Institute has conducted world leading marine science, providing guidance and expertise that no other agency or department is capable of. This includes the longest continuous data set in existence on the changing nature of the Great Barrier Reef.
The investment in the May budget will save 100 existing jobs and create over 100 jobs, mostly in regional Queensland, while making an additional 66 jobs permanent. It will help refurbish the Townsville headquarters of AIMS, which requires significant investment to ensure it meets modern, safe workplace standards.
This funding will also support the replacement of the RV Apollo, a research vessel that is now 18 years old and at the end of its useful life. The vessel no longer meets the size or capability needs, with maintenance costs growing year on year.
This new investment will also fund:
- Repairing parts of the building which are currently uninhabitable due to the growth of mould in carpets, ceilings, and wall cavities
- Updating 1970’s science laboratories to be able to carry out modern scientific methods and processes
- Replacing degraded and non-functional air conditioning systems
- Upgrading the critical electrical power supply capacity for the AIMS site. AIMS science experiments require a consistent and reliable supply of electrical power, particularly over the long term – even a brief power outage can result in the loss of years of scientific research. Recent increases in the frequency and duration of severe weather events resulting in the site being isolated have underscored the critical importance of these upgrades
- Establishing an infrastructure program management office to oversee and deliver on these works, creating six new jobs in the Townsville region
Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek:
“Australia’s marine scientists are the best in the world. Without their research, we wouldn't be able to protect the Great Barrier Reef or support our beautiful oceans.
“But after a decade of Liberal and National Party neglect, these scientists are now working in mouldy offices, and struggle to support modern science.
“And because of Liberal and National Party funding decisions, up to 100 jobs in regional Queensland were on the verge of being cut if no one stepped in to save them.
“That’s why the Albanese Labor Government is stepping in to secure the future of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. We are investing $163.4 million to fund their world-leading science and to support jobs in regional Queensland.
“AIMS is too important to abandon to Liberal and National Party neglect. This investment will protect jobs in North Queensland, support vital ocean research, and protect the Great Barrier Reef.”
Quotes attributable to Senator Nita Green, Special Envoy to the Great Barrier Reef:
“Australia boasts some of the best scientists in the world and I am proud that North Queensland is the home of science and innovation.
“Labor’s investment in AIMS will ensure we remain at the forefront of marine science and continue developing innovative solutions to protect the Reef now and into the future.
“This is an excellent investment that will support jobs in the North and help protect the Great Barrier Reef.”
Quotes attributable to CEO of Australian Institute of Marine Science, Dr Paul Hardisty:
“For over 50 years the Australian Institute of Marine Science has delivered world leading marine science research but demand for our services has never been stronger and we had reached the limits of what we could do. This increase in our operating funding, the first in ten years, will enable us to continue our science and research activities, maintaining Australia’s position as a world leader in marine science.
“The refurbishment and modernisation of AIMS’ facilities at our Townsville head office will ensure we can continue to conduct cutting-edge research to protect our world heritage listed coral reefs, including Ningaloo Reef and the Great Barrier Reef, from the effects of climate change.”