Contributed from Townsville
The Morrison government has done it again. This time they have defunded the world’s premier coral reef research centres through the back door. The Townsville-based Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (ARC), which carries out important research into coral bleaching, was not short-listed for the next round of funding, according to an estimates report tabled in the Senate.
TIn the rush to silence damaging information, this is a new low.
Together with James Cook University, which sponsors the Centre, this is the largest concentration of scientists working on the Reef. It is world renown and has earned citations from 1644 institutions in 103 countries.
How can education minister Dan Tehan can say that there was no targeting of the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef studies, and that it lost out in funding, because it failed the tendering process? It doesn’t add up.
It is no mere coincidence that it happened at a time when community concern over the extent of coral bleaching, and a glaring failure to take appropriate action. The government might be motivated to hide it.
Nor is it a coincidence that the funding cut comes on the heels of April’s controversial $443.4 million grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, a newly created group without coral reef expertise and largely representing pro coal interests, which wants to put the reef at greater risk, by transporting the stuff through it. This attempt to pretend that action is being taken, while servicing major contributors to the government parties backfired
The Morrison government has no intention to protect the reef. Its destruction would mean that a globally important habitat would be lost.
Queensland would lose its most important tourism industry resource, costing jobs and sending businesses broke.
The Morrison government deserves to be condemned for this cynical act, and anyone who values the Great Dividing Reef, must insist that the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef studies is funded once again and the pandering to the coal industry come to an end.