I’m delighted that we have been able to bring together a three-way agreement between Melbourne University, the Commonwealth and the Victorian Government, unlocking $2.1 million in Federal funding to establish a marine research centre in the heritage Quarantine Station buildings at Point Nepean.
The agreement is to establish a National Centre for Coasts and Climate (NCCC) using the existing Quarantine Station buildings, which would undertake research on coastal ecology and management as well as delivering teaching in those areas.
It involves two parts, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Victorian Government and $2.1 million in federal funding for the NCCC to pursue research focusing on carbon accumulation rates in coastal vegetated habitats (known as blue carbon), coastal erosion and coastal revegetation.
This initiative is intended to position the NCCC as a world-class facility, which will conduct research into the threats and opportunities presented by climate change in the coastal zone.
The MOU clearly identifies that any proposal is still subject to community consultation, which will inform the Point Nepean Master Plan.
I am pleased that the agreement acknowledges Melbourne University as the preferred occupier of a section of the old Quarantine Station.
For more than a decade now I have fought passionately, alongside many members of the local community, to see marine research as a cornerstone use of the old quarantine buildings.
It is therefore deeply important that we now have a way forward involving the Commonwealth, the State Government and Melbourne University.
It brings a sustainable environmental use to the buildings, a degree-giving institution to the Mornington Peninsula and a world-class marine and coastal research facility to Victoria and Australia.
I have worked hard with both the State Government and Melbourne University to make this idea a reality.
It is my vision and my deeply held belief that in decades to come the NCCC will become one of the world’s great marine and oceanographic research centres.