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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

DARWIN TO BECOME WETLANDS RESEARCH CENTRE


26 May 1999

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill, today announced the appointment of a new Commonwealth Supervising Scientist and the relocation of the office to Darwin.

Senator Hill said Dr Arthur Johnston will succeed Dr Peter Bridgewater who retires as Supervising Scientist and Chief Science Adviser on June 4.

"The Government is taking this opportunity to strengthen and upgrade the office, as part of the new National Centre for Tropical Wetlands Research in Darwin.

"Some key wetlands staff will relocate to Darwin in the next month or so to ensure the successful establishment of the Centre's research and training program and we have already agreed on funding for the Northern Territory University to provide training of wetland managers from the region," Senator Hill said.

"This will make Darwin a key centre in wetlands research and training for south Asia and the Pacific".

"All of the Supervising Scientist's uranium-related activities will now be focussed in the Northern Territory with a minimum number of support staff in Canberra," Senator Hill said.

Senator Hill commended Dr Bridgewater for making an outstanding contribution to nature conservation and environmental protection throughout his career in Environment Australia.

"His eminence as a scientist and his distinguished leadership will be missed," Senator Hill said.

Dr Johnston has been the Director of the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (ERISS) since 1989. He has played a key role in the analysis of the impacts of the Jabiluka project, including the report provided by the Supervising Scientist to the World Heritage Committee on the mine. "We will be strengthening the Supervising Scientist's capacity by providing further high level scientific support in Darwin. The Supervising Scientist will retain the full range of capacities necessary to monitor and research uranium mining in the Alligator Rivers Region at Jabiru," Senator Hill said.

"These decisions reinforce the Government's commitment to effective management and protection of Kakadu, and the development of a world class wetlands research facility in Darwin" Senator Hill said.

Media contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640 or 04 1112 85 82

Commonwealth of Australia