THE work being done at the Daintree Discovery Centre and the Cape Tribulation observatory are perfect examples of how the local economy can be diversified.
Both centres have positioned themselves at the forefront of scientific rainforest research through innovation and plenty of hard yakka.
Owners of the Daintree Discovery Centre Pam and Ron Birkett deserve credit for having the vision and then investing in scientific research to better understand the role of rainforests in the climate change debate.
The Birketts have donated $60,000 and their staff are actively involved in research with scientists from James Cook University to carry out studies which have a global impact.
The Cape Tribulation observatory is on the brink of securing a $10 million investment from the Federal Government to expand its facilities.
This will enable the observatory to establish a training and functions centre capable of hosting large groups of scientists from around the world to come and study the planet’s most ancient living rainforest.
The Daintree rainforest is the perfect educational tool to play a significant role in the ever-increasing thirst for knowledge about climate change.
Building this research capacity is vital to not only ensuring the rainforest is protected from climate change as much as possible, but in stimulating the local economy.
If governments want to truly assist communities such as ours in diversifying our economy, then they need to invest in them.
What is on display in the Daintree should be the first of many such projects in the education sector.
There should be nothing stopping the state and federal governments from investing in educational facilities and learning centres which attract people to the region.
We have the reef and we have the rainforest, something no other place on Earth can lay claim to, and they have an incredible value to researchers. There is also the capacity for a vocational indigenous training centre or a training school for health workers in the region.
In the meantime though, innovators such as the Birketts should be congratulated.