A new, $37 million experimental sea simulator will enable Australian scientists to recreate ocean conditions and study how both human activities and natural events will affect our marine environment in the future.
Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Senator Kim Carr and Senator for Queensland Jan McLucas opened the National Sea Simulator (SeaSim), at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville today.
Senator Kim Carr said the Rudd Labor Government had funded the SeaSim because it was essential for Australia to better understand the impact of events such as ocean warming and acidification, outbreaks of natural predators such as the Crown-of-Thorns Starfish, and pollution.
“Marine industries contribute over $40 billion to our economy, and are the backbone of many coastal communities and economies. They create jobs, income and a way of life for Australian families,” Senator Kim Carr said.
“Australia has the most extensive territorial waters of any nation in the world. It is unquestionably in our economic and environmental interests to get the balance right when it comes to using our natural resources sustainably while also ensuring a positive legacy for future generations.
“Our standards of living depend on having viable industries, including fishing, exports of our gas and mineral resources, as well as sectors like tourism but it is equally important we look after our marine resources carefully and responsibly.
“Public science and research agencies, such as AIMS, are the most invaluable assets we have in terms of getting this balance right based on the best available evidence.”
Senator for Queensland Jan McLucas said the insights from SeaSim would help with the great responsibility of protecting and preserving the Great Barrier Reef.
“This facility will place AIMS, and therefore Australia, at the forefront of this field,” Senator McLucas said.
“It confirms Townsville’s status as a major hub for marine science and represents a valuable addition to the work of AIMS – providing scientists with world a class marine facility that builds a ‘bridge’ between the sea and the lab. It will be a drawcard for researchers from universities and industry, both locally and internationally.”
SeaSim research will focus on topics including climate change, coral bleaching, pest management, sediment and pollution, and seawater technologies.
The Rudd Labor Government provided more than $27 million for SeaSim through the Education Investment Fund, with AIMS also investing close to $10 million in Commonwealth funding to the project.
Senator Carr and Senator McLucas congratulated the AIMS Board and staff for seeing this important project through to such a successful conclusion.