Media Statement- Slashed Research Budget Exposes Australia to Climate Risks

15 May, 2013

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility expressed alarm at the Government's decision to cease its funding for developing knowledge and capability in Australia to manage the future risks from climate change.

  "This Facility was created 5 years ago (at Griffith University) by joint agreement of the Commonwealth and State Governments, with a longer term mission to equip Australia with the skills and strategies that will be needed to cope with the impacts of inevitable climate change", said its Director Professor Jean Palutikof.

 "Remarkably good progress has been made so far in bringing together research institutions, businesses, and governments Australia-wide to agree on priority challenges and to marshal efforts to create the knowledge and products needed by decision-makers and communities to work out how best to begin dealing with this climate challenge".

 "The report last month of the Government's Climate Commission spells out the impacts and associated damages from more intense or frequent droughts, flooding, heatwaves and bushfires, which are a likely future outcome of climate change."

"The portfolio of reports and findings from over 140 collaborative projects conducted by the Research Facility will be launched at Parliament House later this month", said Professor Palutikof. " But much more needs to be done to capitalise on the work already done to equip governments, businesses and communities with the knowhow to best manage future climate risks."

 The Prime Minister said on 29 April 'we won't ... fail the future by not making the wise investments that will make us a stronger and smarter nation'. And in that light the Government has invested heavily in the future education of Australia's children.

 "But the future of those same children will be put at risk if we fail today to invest in understanding how to cope with the huge challenges that climate change carries for Australia", said the Facility's Board Chairman, Ian Carruthers.

 "Commendably, the Government is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in building the capability of developing countries to cope with extreme weather events from climate change", he said. “The same level of priority needs to be put on protecting Australia, given the magnitude of the potential climate damages to Australia's economy, communities and environment".

"It is vital for Australia that the Government finds a way to fund the $3 million needed annually over the next two years to build the next stage of work of the National Climate Change Research Facility", Mr Carruthers said.