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$5.5 million to identify Australia's biodiversity.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

T71/07 22 May, 2007


To mark the International Day for Biological Diversity the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull, today announced $5.5 million funding to develop a national approach to identifying Australia’s rich biological tapestry.

Mr Turnbull said leading Australian scientists in the field of taxonomy - the science that identifies and names biodiversity - will form a network to help us better access and understand information about Australia’s biodiversity.

“This network of scientists, universities, museums and government agencies will be coordinated by the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research in Canberra and led by Dr Judy West,” Mr Turnbull said.

“It will link taxonomists with the aim of accelerating research and discovery of Australia’s biodiversity.

“Research will focus on small terrestrial mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and weeds, and will deliver web-based tools to provide information and assist with identification.

“This will encourage the development of new skills and approaches to sharing and managing data, and advanced taxonomic methods.

“It will also provide vital information and resources to help manage our environment. It will assist many emerging industries as well as promote the discovery of previously unknown creatures.

“I see this research hub as becoming a global leader in delivering web-based information on taxonomy, and moving towards the creation of a ‘one stop shop’ for assessing key information on Australia’s biodiversity.

“One of the added benefits of this funding is that it will help to address the critical decline in Australia’s taxonomic research capacity by providing opportunities for student training and engaging early career scientists.”

Mr Turnbull said the funding was being made available through the Australian Government’s $100 million Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) Programme.

With this announcement today, $43.6 million of the $60 million CERF national component has now been committed, with the $40 million for the Marine and Tropical Research Facility being committed annually over 4 years.

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Media Contact: Minister’s office (02) 6277 7640