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The Australian Coastal Zone and Global Change: Research Needs

Australian Academy of Science, Becker House, Canberra. Friday 16 December 1994

Introduction

Professor Graham Farquhar

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Graham Farquhar. I am the Chair of the Australian National Committee for the IGBP. I would like to welcome you to Canberra and to the Academy. As you know, LOICZ is one of the core projects of the IGBP. We had a review here a few days ago by the International Scientific Steering Committee of the projects going on internationally and in Australia, and many of you were here for that. Indeed, some of the steering committee who were working with LOICZ are here today, and welcome to you as well.

This meeting is being held under the auspices of the Academy's National Committee. Several months ago Colin Woodroffe suggested to me that the meeting of the IGBP Scientific Committee of Australia provided a good opportunity to increase awareness of the LOICZ coastal zone. The project administrator proposed that he organise a workshop as part of the IGBP series that we have been holding on various topics.

Many of you will be aware that Colin had a terrible accident in early November and is now in the Spinal Unit of Prince Henry's Hospital in Sydney. We understand he is making good progress and is very keen to hear about the outcome of the meeting.

Colin mentioned that there were three very compelling reasons to hold such a meeting. First that LOICZ is the most recently established of the core IGBP projects and hence the least publicised here in Australia. Secondly, I understand that the LOICZ operational plan should be completed now, and there are several key LOICZ people in Australia for the meeting, as I mentioned before. Patrick Holligan and Stephan Kempe will talk about these developments later in the program.

Finally, it is timely to hear the latest developments in the Australian Department of the Environment, Sports and Territories national coastal strategy and I am very pleased that Gerry Morvell is here, and others. I can only hope that your quest for funds is more successful than the overall IGBP one a couple of years ago.

'Coastal zone' can carry some negative connotations with people outside that area of research because of the bad publicity that came with the bad estimates of the increase in sea-level rise. It is important we that we do not give people who do not want to know about these sorts of things ammunition. So I do urge this meeting to come up with really good, straight scientific data that we can confidently take to colleagues, to industry, to government and so on, with advice.

All Australians are interested, perhaps more than most other countries, about that land-ocean interaction. One of the difficulties with some of these IGBP projects, particularly this one, is how to meld in the strong national interest that people have in such a topic with the more international scientific interests. I ask that, especially on behalf of Colin, you do get the science really, really right and make a good case which can then be used in other fora. Best wishes for the meeting.

The opening address will be given by Professor Bruce Thom. The Vice-Chancellor at the University of New England. Professor Bruce Thom.