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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

Minister for Education, science and training
The Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson MP

27 August 2004

CSIRO opens the last frontier

The Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, and the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today launched Australia's biggest collaborative research enterprise to understand and to create sustainable wealth from Australia's oceans.

The "Wealth from Oceans Flagship" is a major new CSIRO initiative in ocean science.

"By investing $19.2 million in 2004-05, the CSIRO is seeking to make major advancements for the good of all Australians, said Dr Nelson.

"Seventy percent of Australia's sovereign territory is ocean, yet we have mapped only about five percent of this. Australia has a fundamental interest in ensuring that the value of our oceans is identified and developed sustainably."

"Developing new technologies for the off-shore oil and gas industry, for Australia's growing aquaculture industry, and for our marine biotechnology industry will be critical for Australia's future. Fortunately new breakthroughs in high-performance computing, robotics, and remote sensing are helping CSIRO to open the last frontier — and to do it responsibly."

Senator Campbell said the Wealth from Oceans Flagship will make significant advances in ocean observation and prediction.

"New technologies are also improving our ability to predict the activities of Australia's oceans and the impact of our oceans on Australia's climate.

This has ramifications for our marine industries, for our farmers, and for our whole country as we respond to climate change.

"With our vast ocean territories spanning from Antarctica to the tropics, Australia has some unique opportunities. But we also face unique challenges. Expanding the knowledge available for decision-makers will be important for the management of Australia's ocean environments, where there has always been potential for conflicting users to argue over limited resources."

Initial partners in the "Wealth from Oceans" Flagship include the Royal Australian Navy, the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian Greenhouse Office, the National Oceans Office, the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, the Australian Oceanographic Data Centre, the University of Tasmania, and the NSW and Western Australian State Governments.

In the May budget, the Government allocated $305 million to CSIRO over seven years to support the National Research Flagship programme. The National Research Flagships are pulling Australia's best researchers together, across six priority areas, to work on the opportunities and challenges that will bring the greatest benefits to Australia.

Commonwealth of Australia