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NW may become national epicentre for primary industry science.

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NW may become national epicentre for primary industry science Monday, 20 February 2006

The Federal Member for Braddon, Mark Baker MP, said a scoping study launched today may pave the way for the establishment in North-West Tasmania of a National Collaborative Centre to promote primary industry science careers.

Mr Baker said the University of Tasmania study will investigate initiatives across the country that match enthusiastic school and university science students with employers, and improve communications between industry, educators and students.

The study, launched by the new Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon. Julie Bishop, at Botanical Resources Australia at Ulverstone today, could ultimately lead to the North-West becoming home to a National Collaborative Centre for primary industry science.

“Such a centre would have great potential to generate jobs, to further engage local students with science and primary industry, and to highlight North-West Tasmania as an epicentre for primary industry initiatives,” Mr Baker said.

He said the Australian Government is providing $124,000 in funding for the study which will investigate ways of nationally extending the highly successful Partnerships in Tasmanian Primary Industry Science Education Project.

“This project, which commenced in 2000, effectively linked the university, primary industry and schools in Tasmania, and has recently expanded into Western Australia,” Mr Baker said.

“An important outcome is the heightened appreciation of the value of local primary industries, and the subsequent entry into the industry by science graduates.

“In doing so, the study will address the shortage of skilled young people entering decision-making, advisory, research and development, and agribusiness roles in primary industry.

“The study has already engaged the interest of industry, school and university sectors, as well as several research and development corporations.

“The project proponents hope to enlist these stakeholders as partners in a collaborative endeavour to provide practical solutions to a problem that

significantly impacts on many regional areas, including the North-West.

“This may pave the way for a major National Collaborative Centre to be established in this region.”

Mr Baker praised the project proponents, in particular Dr David Russell from the University of Tasmania and Dr Colin Hawke from the University of Western Australia, for their vision and drive.

“This exciting project promises to deliver for not only North-West Tasmania, but for the future of primary industry science in Australia,” he said.