THE possibility of the Daintree becoming a major hub for environmental research is a welcome announcement.
There is no better place on Earth to study the natural environment than one of the world’s most ancient rainforests.
Julia Gillard’s promise on a visit to Cairns yesterday that Labor would invest $10 million in the Daintree Rainforest Observatory if she wins the federal election on August 21 would be a real boost for the region.
James Cook University is obviously delighted by such a proposal which would enable the research centre to become a hub for visiting scientists from around the world.
One has to wonder why it has taken a politician so long to throw some cash at the initiative.
While it is relatively remote, scientists are used to working in far-flung environments and would gladly take up the opportunity to study the rainforest at such close quarters.
But just as a Gillard Labor Government would support more scientific research in the Daintree, the same politicians recently decided to cut the federal grant to the Cairnsbased Reef and Rainforest Research Centre and give it to the Darwin-based Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge organisation.
This is a stupid idea. Darwin is a long way from any rainforest and there is little there in the way of reefs when compared to Cairns or the Douglas region.
If Ms Gillard was truly serious about making the Daintree the world’s epicentre for rainforest research, she would reverse this decision immediately and encourage more scientists to the area.