Joint media release: Bright outlook for Australian marine science

23 November 2021

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon Melissa Price MP, Minister for Defence Industry, Minister for Science and Technology

Morrison Government investments in marine science are helping deliver better outcomes for the blue economy, marine ecosystems, coastal communities, and climate resilience according to a report released today. 

The National Marine Science Plan Midway Point report shows Australia is on track to achieve several key objectives that protect the future for our oceans, with an unprecedented opportunity to capitalise on a growing blue economy in the years ahead. 

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the midway point report notes several key achievements and pinpoints areas for future progress. 

“Highlights include the arrival of our new national icebreaker RSV Nuyina and the increased operation of marine research vessel RV Investigator from 180 to 300 days at sea, which are boosting our marine science capability,” Minister Ley said. 

“Since 2015, Australia has been building its marine science capability through initiatives like the Reef Trust Partnership, investments in marine and coastal science under the National Environmental Science Program, and most recently our Ocean Leadership Package.

“The report promisingly suggests marine litter awareness has also increased, particularly around plastics, with our National Waste Policy Action Plan phasing out certain waste exports and driving investment.

“The blue economy in Australia is worth over $80 billion to the nation annually and our blue carbon ecosystems, like mangrove rainforests and seagrass meadows, capture carbon at a rate 30-50 times faster than forests. 

“There are immense opportunities in this space which is why Australian Government has joined 14 other nations in the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy committing to sustainably manage 100% of their marine estates by 2025.”

Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said the report reinforces Australia as a leader in marine science and highlights the work of our scientific research institutions in supporting the blue economy. 

“Science is driving the blue economy’s development by providing the data, knowledge and tools to support the sustainable growth of blue industries and the local communities that surround them,” Minister Price said. 

“The report demonstrates that by embracing and applying science, we can not only tackle threats to our oceans and realise their potential, but we can secure better outcomes for the entire blue economy.

“The important work of Australia’s science agencies, including the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is ensuring Australia remains at the forefront of global marine research. 

“This work also supports coastal industries and communities to better understand Australia’s blue economy and to continue to grow and thrive in partnership with the research community.” 

The National Marine Science Committee is an advisory body linking high quality marine science and the sustainable growth and development of Australia’s blue economy. 

Read the National Marine Science Plan 2015-2025: The Midway Point report: