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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for Reconstruction
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Ecosciences Precinct opens at Boggo Road

    Premier and Minister for Reconstruction
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Ecosciences Precinct opens at Boggo Road

    The $270 million Ecosciences Precinct, Australia’s first centre dedicated to solving some of the country’s biggest environmental issues, was officially opened today by

    Premier Anna Bligh and Queensland Senator Mark Furner.

    “Located beside the infamous old Boggo Rd gaol, the precinct is now home to over 1000 Queensland Government and CSIRO scientists, researchers and support staff,” Ms Bligh said.

    “This is the largest group of scientists and researchers working in Ecoscience ever assembled in Australia.

    “Bringing so many together at this one location creates a critical mass of scientists to respond to the challenges of our times.

    “It has already paid off with CSIRO and Queensland Government scientists at the precinct working together to quickly monitor flood plumes in Moreton Bay and, once safe, to give the all clear for fishing to resume.

    "This new facility is part of our Government’s $3.6 billion investment to make Queensland the Smart State of Australia.

    “The Ecoscience precinct is one of 39 new research institutes created under this plan, with more than 8,000 new scientists and researchers building a smarter, hi-tech economy for our State"

    “The Ecosciences Precinct has world class facilities, world class science and world class people.

    “Together they will tackle the big issues such as climate change, biosecurity, air and water quality, and sustainable industries.

    “At a place once associated with human misery and punishment, we will now make discoveries to improve our quality of life and protect our environment,” Ms Bligh said.

    The Precinct includes one of Australia’s only QC3 standard quarantine facilities designed for weed research, high-tech labs, controlled environment rooms, insectaries, glasshouses, shade houses, workshops, offices and a science education centre.

    Research will focus on areas including:

    ·Climate Change – our atmosphere and oceans will be monitored to increase our understanding and ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change

    ·Healthy environment – pesticides, toxins, algal blooms, pollution, erosion and pests will be monitored and researched to help protect the health of our waterways, air, land and native species

    ·Balanced Growth – the connections between cities, suburbs, farms, mines, rivers and forests will be researched to manage demand for power, water, transport, housing and infrastructure

    ·Sustainable industries – research will improve the profitability of plant and animal industries while reducing their impact on the environment

    The Premier was shown one of the latest weapons in biological control: the tiny leaf feeding beetle (Plectonycha correntina) which will be used against Madeira vine.

    There is no effective control method for Madeira vine – ranked one of the worst invasive weeds in Queensland.

    “This beetle, now approved for release, is one of the only remaining options. It will be bred at the Precinct and distributed in areas where Madeira vine has taken hold,” Ms Bligh said.

    “Pests and weeds cost Queensland over $710 million a year in agricultural losses and expenditure on control measures.

    “For every dollar we invest in biological control of weeds we get $23 benefit.

    “This is just one example of the work happening at the Ecosciences Precinct,” she said.

    Ms Bligh said the Queensland Government and the CSIRO are investing a total of $377.9 million in the Ecosciences Precinct, off-site ancillary facilities and the Health and Food Sciences Precinct at Coopers Plains – another Queensland research centre of excellence which opened in 2010.

    The two precincts, created about 2,900 local construction jobs, and will enable Queensland and Australian Government scientists to collaborate like never before.

    “Our investment will increase opportunities to build closer ties with industry and universities and help Queensland attract leading scientists,” she said.

    The Premier was joined at the opening by Dr Patricia Mather and Professor Joe Baker, whom along with Professor Peter Doherty, have streets named in their honour in the Boggo Road Urban Village.

    Now an Honorary Associate at the Queensland Museum, Dr Mather is well known for her research into marine organisms, greatly contributing to our understanding of marine ecology and the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Professor Baker, an inaugural Queensland Great, has also had a distinguished career in marine sciences - recognised as a pioneer of marine pharmacology and a champion for sustainable resource management. He is now the Patron of the Australian Marine Sciences Association.

    Professor Doherty received worldwide acclaim when he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996 with his Swiss colleague Professor Rolf Zinkernagel for the discovery of how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells.

    Media: 3224 4500