Research to help remote communities protect environment

Published Wednesday, 20 April, 2016 at 02:52 PM


Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Curtis Pitt

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

Advance Queensland-funded research will increase the resilience of communities in the Torres Strait by giving them better tools with which to manage a range of environmental and human impacts.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch today announced funding of $240,000 awarded to CSIRO researcher Dr Cass Hunter.  

She is among 54 grant recipients and one of two Indigenous recipients sharing in a total of $10 million from the Advance Queensland Research Fellowship and PhD Scholarship programs.

“Our Torres Strait communities are the immediate custodians of the most northern section of the Great Barrier Reef, a highly biodiverse and productive natural environment,” Ms Enoch said.

“The livelihoods of our communities in the Torres Strait are under increasing pressure from things like pollution, illegal fishing, sea-level rise, coral bleaching and other climate change impacts.

“Dr Hunter’s work will bring together a vast amount of data that exists on the region into an integrated and effective platform that will help these communities and our various management agencies in the north deal with these issues more effectively.”

Dr Hunter said the Torres Strait is one of our most unique regions and will benefit from an innovative approach to unlocking data and, using spatial technology, develop a way for it to be summarised visually and comparatively by members of the community.

“While the research and development I am proposing is collaborative and complex, my proposition to the people of Queensland is very simple: you must have good data in order to make good decisions,” Dr Hunter said.

“While scientific understanding of the marine environment of the Torres Strait has significantly improved over the last 20 years, much of the data collected remains largely buried and hidden in numerous databases and reports.

Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt said the program showed how Advance Queensland was helping regional communities while building new jobs for the future.

“I congratulate the Indigenous researchers who have been recognised for their valuable work as recipients of this Advance Queensland support,” Mr Pitt said.

“The program is designed to invest in the valuable work at our universities and research institutes that can help ensure the future of the Great Barrier Reef whose unique ecosystem contributes $6 billion a year to the Queensland economy and supports 60,000 direct and indirect jobs.”

He said the Advance Queensland initiatives would complement other efforts by the state government to foster new opportunities for Indigenous Queenslanders such as the recent forum in Cairns for potential investors looking for opportunities to help develop ATSI communities.

Another funding round for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PhD Scholars and Research Fellows will be announced later this year.

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 Pitt 0419 945 546