Greens spokesperson for Antarctica and Southern Ocean issues, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, welcomes the announcement of funding for an additional 120 days at sea for the CSIRO research vessel, RV Investigator.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “We are pleased this funding has finally come through; it’s better late than never.

“Understanding the ocean, especially our Southern Ocean, is the key to understanding how the climate is changing and why we need to urgently mitigate emissions and plan for a future under climate change.

“Over the last decade, work done by Australian scientists as part of global partnerships in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean has rewritten how we expect the climate to change.

“Without this critical science we face the future with a blindfold on. Decisions on infrastructure spending to tackle sea level rises, adaptation plans for increased extreme weather events, tackling biodiversity loss and national security planning all feed back into this critical science.

“The Greens have been lobbying for the full 300 days funding to be provided to the research vessel RV Investigator since 2013. Labor didn’t include the funding in the 2013/14 budget and the Liberals only budgeted for a mere 180 days in the following year’s budget.

“It shouldn’t have taken years of pressure, including Green’s-led Senate Inquiries into the importance of the Southern Ocean and CSIRO funding cuts, to get this money allocated. This science should have been seen as essential in the fight against dangerous global warming, not as an optional extra.

“Instead what we have had is the Liberals contracting out the RV Investigator to the fossil fuel sector to prospect for oil and gas which would only serve to worsen climate change. I hope this new funding has put an end to oil and gas companies using this vessel.

“Both Labor and Liberal need to include long-term funding for this vessel in any costings they take to the upcoming election. The science community needs more than nice sounding words, it needs a firm long-term commitment for at least the next decade about how this boat will be funded,” he concluded.