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Launch of Index of Marine Industry

Townsville Queensland

27 February 2019

(Check against delivery)

Thank you very much for that introduction, Paul, and can I start by paying my respects to the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today, to their elders past, present, and emerging. And can I also acknowledge the two young boys who very tragically lost their lives and as a mother of three daughters, I too cannot just imagine what their family is going through at the moment, so our thoughts are definitely with them.

It’s a pleasure for me to be back here at AIMS. I think this is at least my third or fourth visit. I was previously the Assistant Minister for Science about three or four years ago and took the opportunity to visit AIMs because you are clearly one of Australia’s leading science agencies and the work that you do is well and truly recognised by the Australian Government but by Australians and globally, particularly for the work that you are doing on the Great Barrier Reef which is going to be one of my topics of discussion here today.

Clearly, many of the people who are employed here at AIMS were affected by the recent bad weather events in Townsville. I’m certainly aware of what that must have been like for many of you. I actually grew up here in Townsville. I did all of my school education in Townsville. To my children’s delight, the school that I started out was Hermit Park Infant School, which they think is quite an interesting name for a school, so I started at Hermit Park Infant School and continue my school education totally at Townsville. So, for me, it seems very much like home coming back. We lived through tropical weather events for the 13 or 14 years that we lived in Townsville so we understand the devastation that you would have experienced. But for many of the people, I understand, that the roads were cut coming into AIMS so that you were isolated here for many, many days. There’s been some issues raised about power and how that affected the operations and how it could have had a significant negative impact on the work that you are doing here. So, I really want to let you know that we were thinking of you and our thoughts and prayers were with you during the experiences that you had here and it’s going to be a long road to recovery. So, please be aware that we’re with you and we’ll do all that we can to support you now and into the future.

I’m also here today to officially launch a report that’s been completed by AIMS which is the Index of Marine Industry. Now, it’s a biannual update of Australia’s marine sector, and there are some very interesting statistics in that report. Firstly, the contribution that the Australian marine industry is making to the Australian economy, and the figures are that it currently contributes almost $70 billion to the Australian economy. The marine industry has doubled over the last 10 years and it is expected to also grow significantly to about $100 billion of value to our Australian economy by 2025. Now, the marine industry has a lot of contributing factors to it and things that we need to be aware of. There’s certainly oil and gas components of the marine industry; there’s the tourism part of it, and of course, the Great Barrier Reef is central to that as well. So, over the coming months and years, it is certainly very strong commitment of the Commonwealth Government, the Liberal-National Government, to make sure that we are doing what we can to support the work that is being done particularly by AIMS in marine sciences to make sure that Australia continues to lead the world in the study of marine sciences and certainly addressing the issues that are impacting us through the changes to the environment, through climate change as well. I thank you very much for all of the work that you have done and that you will do into the future, and I just want to let you know that I really admire and respect you for everything that you’ve done. So, keep up the great work and I look forward to the rest of my time here today and to visiting you again in the not too distant future. Thank you.

I’m not sure if I officially launched the report, but maybe I should officially launch the report before I sit down. So, here is the report that has been prepared by AIMs, which is the Index of Marine Industry. Congratulations and well done.

Media contact: Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070