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University of Tasmania Becomes Forestry, Aquaculture Hub

Economics Politics Education & academia +3 more

TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA - Two significant research facilities will be developed at the University of Tasmania thanks to a A$5 million grant announced by the Gillard Government.

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The Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Federal Member for Braddon, Mr Sid Sidebottom, visited the University of Tasmania in Hobart to announce the successful projects the Experimental Aquaculture Facility (EAF) and a National Institute for Future Forest Industries (NIFFI).

The A$5 million funding grant will help drive research and innovation in both aquaculture and forestry industries for the benefit of the greater Australian community.

Mr Sidebottom said both fisheries and forestry were critical industries for Tasmania, employing thousands of Tasmanians and assisting the local economy.

Tasmania is recognised as a national and international leader in marine research and, as Australias largest producer of seafood, it is critical we invest to make sure this industry remains strong and viable into the future, Mr Sidebottom said.

Similarly, forestry is critical to the ongoing prosperity of the State, as well as having an important role in the countrys environmental and economic future, especially in our regional areas.

Senator Evans and Mr Sidebottom thanked their Tasmanian Federal Labor colleagues as well as the Member for Denison, Mr Andrew Wilkie, for their advocacy and support for both projects.

The two projects being funded today at UTAS will ensure we remain world leaders in both the aquaculture and forestry industries, Mr Sidebottom said.

The EAF will be a controlled environment to provide essential research into local and national fisheries industries. The facility will become a regional and national seafood research and innovation hub and will allow a host of organisations to work together, with a special focus on graduate student research opportunities.

The facility will allow a greater understanding of issues such as environmental management, food safety, climate change impacts, cleaner technologies and production.

The NIFFI will drive research, development, innovation, extension and training for future forest products and industries. Its research activities will range from plantation management systems and productivity through to sustainable forestry, cleaner technologies and new forest economies including carbon and environmental services.

Importantly, it will retain important people, knowledge and skills already associated with forestry research in Tasmania.

Member for Lyons, Dick Adams, recently initiated a parliamentary inquiry into the role of science for fisheries and aquaculture and recently completed a report on forestry in Australia.

Todays announcement is a major win for the Tasmania and Australian aquaculture industry and will assist in the development of a more sustainable and productive industry in Tasmania, Mr Adams said.

Both projects will have strong links and widespread consultation with the research sector, industry and government.

To remain internationally competitive, Australia needs to ensure we are producing efficiently and responding to competing pressures, including environmental issues, Mr Sidebottom said.

A coordinated effort in both forestry and aquaculture will ensure we remain at the forefront of scientific research and that the industries are major players in the economic success of the nation.