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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Reef health prioritised for science research funding

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Reef health prioritised for science research funding

    The Queensland Government will invest almost $1 million over the next three years to help scientists develop innovative solutions to problems threatening the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch announced the funding as part of $10 million awarded today to 54 researchers under the Advance Queensland Research Fellowship and PhD Scholarship programs.

    Ms Enoch described the Great Barrier Reef as one of the world’s most precious natural wonders and an iconic asset to Queensland of immeasurable value.

    “Not only is the reef something to be valued for the way it enriches our lives through its beauty and wonder, it underpins to a large extent Queensland’s thriving tourism industry and is the source of revenue and income for thousands of businesses and workers,” Ms Enoch said.

    “Our research investment will help our best and brightest minds focus on pressing problems, such as coral bleaching and increasing nitrogen, and sediment levels in the water entering the reef.

    “Funding recipients are required to work with an industry partner on innovative projects with the potential to deliver economic, social and cultural benefits to Queensland.”

    Great Barrier Reef Minister Steven Miles said Advance Queensland grants would support a number of research initiatives focussed on the Great Barrier Reef in this first round of funding.

    “Dr David Blondeau-Patissier, from the CSIRO’s Aquatic Remote Sensing Group, for example, has been awarded a Research Fellowship worth $180,000 over three years to develop an automated process for detecting oil pollution in the Great Barrier Reef,” Dr Miles said.

    “Using the latest generation of satellite technology, his research will help responding agencies determine an appropriate environmental response to oil pollution threats.

    “It might, for instance, allow for earlier detection of such events and improve their ability to undertake faster risk assessments.”

    “Dr Fernanda Adame from Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute has also been awarded a Research Fellowship worth $180,000 over three years.

    “She will use a novel approach for evaluating the suitability and priority for restoration of wetlands adjacent to the marine park.”

    Wetlands act as a buffer between farm land and the ocean, trapping run-off nutrients and pollutants that might otherwise prove harmful to the reef’s health.

    Ms Enoch said efforts to manage the reef ecosystem will be also benefit from funding directed towards other priority science and innovation areas, such as agriculture.

    “Dr Paul Luckman from The University of Queensland’s School of Chemical Engineering, for example, has been awarded a Research Fellowship worth $180,000 over three years to develop modified starch materials for next-generation sugarcane fertilisers,” Ms Enoch said.

    “These new materials will enable fertilisers to be engineered to absorb excess nitrogen which, through run-off, currently finds its way into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.”

    Other research projects to received Advance Queensland funding include:

    Research Fellowships

    • Dr Zoe Bainbridge from James Cook University has been awarded a research fellowship, $180,000 over three years, to characterise and trace the origin of sediment entering the reef lagoon, and essential to inform efforts to protect the Reef.
    • Dr Juan Ortiz from The University of Queensland has been awarded aresearch fellowship, $180,000 over three years, to develop an integrated suite of tools and programs to assist the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority better manage the reef ecosystem.

    PhD Scholarships

    • Miss Samantha Aird from James Cook University has been awarded a PhD Scholarship, $45,000 over three years, to study the effects of pre-European human predation on fish and shellfish stocks.
    • Miss Bettina Glasl from James Cook University has been awarded a PhD Scholarship, $45,000 over three years, to develop an early warning system for reef ecosystem health using microbes.

    Read more about the Advance Queensland Research Fellowships and PhD Scholarships recipients on the Advance Queensland website.

    Media contact: Daniel Lato (Minister Enoch) 0438 830 201

                           Minister Miles 0412 393 909