Edi­tor’s com­ment:

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FEEDBACK -

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.

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