Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, attended the Welcome to Port celebrations for the RV Investigator in Hobart today.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “This vessel is going to give Australia unprecedented capacity to undertake marine and climate research throughout the Southern Ocean.
“The recent Greens-initiated Senate Inquiry was told that the Southern Ocean is the latest frontier for global climate change research. How the planet responds to global warming will depend on how the Southern Ocean responds.
“Due to this fact the tri-partisan Inquiry report recommended that, ‘researching the impact of changes in the Southern Ocean on the Australian and global climate remain a strategic priority in Australia's future planning and resourcing of scientific research.’
“There is incredible demand within the Australian and global scientific community to make use of the RV Investigator and its facilities.
“Unfortunately, the new RV Investigator only has funding for 180 days per year, instead of the 300 days it was commissioned for. Science is the currency of our sovereignty in the Southern Ocean, it is not in our national interest to drop the ball on science funding.
“The Southern Ocean Senate Inquiry recommended, ‘all options be examined including that budgetary allocation be provided to restore the ability of the RV Investigator to spend its optimum 300 days per year at sea, in support of Australian and international scientific research.’
“We have to find the funding to keep that boat out at sea, doing the work it was bought to do,” Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.