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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Science and Innovation
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Government signs 10-year tropical herbarium agreement

    Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Science and Innovation
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    Government signs 10-year tropical herbarium agreement

    Queensland’s role as a leader in tropical research has received a boost with the Paluszczuk Government signing a 10-year agreement to continue support for the Australian Tropical Herbarium (ATH), the nation’s largest tropical plant library at James Cook University in Cairns.

    Science and Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch committed $5.524 million in state funding over 10 years as part of the agreement with James Cook University (JCU), the CSIRO and the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment. 

    “The ATH is a leading centre of tropical botanical knowledge. It underpins research with local, regional and global impact, and this agreement ensures that the vital collaborative research specific to tropical Australia continues,” Ms Enoch said.

    “The work being done at the ATH ranges from keeping Indigenous plant knowledge alive, through to helping scientists predict the effect of climate change on the biodiversity of the far north.

    “It provides leading research training and outreach programs with a core focus on tropical biodiversity, science management and education.” 

    The State Government funding supports the employment of five scientific staff and operating costs of the ATH.

    Minister Enoch said current and future generations of Queenslanders would benefit from the government’s continued support for the herbarium partnership agreement.

    “The ATH is an authoritative storehouse of information about tropical biodiversity,” she said.

    “Through its contribution to taxonomic, genetic, agricultural and ecological research, the ATH is playing a significant role in the development of sustainable land and marine management systems and happy, healthy human communities.”

    The ATH, which first opened in 2008, boasts extensive research collections at its state-of-the-art facilities. More than 180,000 specimens of pressed, dried plants are preserved and stored at the herbarium, including specimens collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander in 1770.

    It also houses a ‘wet’ collection – soft tissue preserved in fluid – of more than 14,000 plant samples and a comprehensive collection of timber samples which support research into the structural and functional properties of wood.

    Its DNA collection of around 9000 samples provides a foundation for the study of plant genetics and evolutionary biology.

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    Media Contacts:

    Linden Woodward, JCU Media and Communications – 0419 791 564

    Tim Shipstone, Minister Enoch’s office – 3719 7281, 0419 246 157