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Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

17 June 2005

$9.7 million to establish maritime college at Point Nepean


Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage today presented a $9.7 million cheque from the Australian Government to the Australian Maritime College for the establishment of a National Centre for Marine and Coastal Conservation at Point Nepean on the Mornington Peninsula.

"This investment in the National Centre for Marine and Coastal Conservation demonstrates the Australian Government's long-term commitment to establishing a world-class marine research facility at Point Nepean," Mr Hunt said.

"The Centre will be housed within the existing Barracks precinct at Point Nepean and will provide opportunities for students from the Mornington Peninsula and throughout Australia to study Victoria's unique marine and coastal environment.

"I am delighted to make this presentation on behalf of the Australian Government as our investment over the next seven years in Point Nepean and the importance of marine education."

Mr Hunt said the Centre will be modest in size comprising approximately 110 tertiary students with an intake of 40 students per year.

"It is anticipated that students will be able to live in existing dormitories and it is hoped a small number of international researchers will visit the Centre to provide instruction to students," Mr Hunt said.

"Local Primary and Secondary students will be invited to visit the Centre either for a day or for a few days at a time and tertiary courses will also be available.

"Earlier this month I launched the schools@sea program as the first stage in the progression of the Centre at Point Nepean. This two-week program involved students from over 30 schools across Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.

"This is an innovative approach to marine education that has never before been available to primary and secondary students. It is pivotal to increasing our understanding of the rich diversity in our local marine and coastal communities."

The Australian Maritime College will work with the Trust to create a truly co-operative National Centre through research partnerships with educational and environmental groups such as the Dolphin Research Institute.

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office) 0423 577 045

Commonwealth of Australia