$10 million pledge for Daintree
“I’ve been talking to JCU for years about this project.
“I’ll be building the interpretive centre and managing it for them.”
Mr Birkett said he didn’t think the new centre would detract from his Discovery Centre.
“I hope not. I do have to be careful I don’t kill my other business,” he said.
“But there are so many opportunities, opportunities to create partnerships with museums for instance.”
While the world-class facility is expected to bring in thousands of overseas researchers and scientists, locally-based boffins may miss out.
It was reported last month that the Cairnsbased Reef and Rainforest Research Centre had lost the federal grant to administer rainforest research to the Darwin-based organisation Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge.
While he did not reject supporting the centre, LNP candidate for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said he wanted to see where the money was coming from and where it was going.
“I’d be the last one to deny a project like this, but I would prefer to focus on the JCU medical centre, or the Daintree Gateway,” Mr Entsch said.
“I only received the proposal on Monday, so I haven’t had a chance to study it properly.
“The concept looks fine, but if you’re going to do something, do it properly.
“You need more than $10 million for a facility like this. You can’t be halfpregnant.”
Division 10 councillor Julia Leu said the announcement was “a fantastic initiative”.
Cr Leu said the community had been exploring a proposal for a research facility in the Daintree for several years.
“This is exactly what we’ve been talking about for so long, in terms of our economic future.
“It’s a way of utilising the environment for economic development.
“Just this week, during community consultations, the idea of diversifying our economy came up yet again.”
It is hoped the facility will be operational in mid-2012.