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New institute to lead the way on climate change research

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SENATOR THE HON CHRIS EVANS Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research Leader of the Government in the Senate


4 April 2012

New institute to lead the way on climate change research

A new research institute at the University of Western Sydney will use world-class facilities to deliver research that will help Australia tackle the impacts of climate change.

Opening the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at the university’s Hawkesbury campus in Richmond today, Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, said the Gillard Government had invested $40 million to establish the institute, which will transform climate change research in Australia.

“These world-class facilities will provide us with the capacity to undertake cutting-edge research on a scale that will help place Australia at the forefront of the response to climate change,” Senator Evans said.

“The data produced at the Hawkesbury Institute will help determine the impact of climate change on our land and water resources and in turn, help us shape our response to these challenges.

“The facilities at the institute act as a climatic ‘time machine’ that will give scientists unique access to study the effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, changed rainfall patterns and rising temperatures on the environment.”

Senator Evans said since 2007, the Education Investment Fund, through which the Hawkesbury Institute has been funded, has provided more than $875 million in research infrastructure funding to higher education institutions, the VET sector and research providers.

“The Gillard Government recognises that Australian scientists and researchers—given the necessary support—have what it takes to lead the way to a strong economy into the future,” Senator Evans said.

“The Hawkesbury Institute will act as an international research hub for academics, research students and technical and professional staff collaborating to find solutions to climate change impact. This research will be transformative in our response to climate change.

“Australia’s record in science and research is significant and our future potential—in projects like the Synchrotron and the SKA radio telescope right through to climate change research at the Hawkesbury Institute—means our strong record will continue.”

In 2012, the Gillard Government will invest more than $480 million in the University of Western Sydney for research, science, teaching and learning—an increase of almost $200 million since 2007. This includes $40 million to establish the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment through the Education Investment Fund.

The University of Western Sydney also contributed $15 million for the project.

Senator Evans’ Media Contact: Amy McKenna 0408 570 603