News | 20th Sep, 2012

Sea Pest Management

Thursday, 20 September 2012
Chris McLennan, Weekly Times 

VICTORIA could be exposed to creeping invasions of pestilential ocean fauna and flora following savage job cuts.

Experts also fear world-leading research will be lost as a result of cuts that have halved the number of state-employed marine scientists at the Department of Primary Industries staff cutbacks.

State Parliament has been told 15 of 30 scientists at Victoria's leading marine research centre would lose their jobs.

The Queenscliff Fisheries Research Centre, touted as Victoria's greenest building, was built for $20 million in 1995 and has at times hosted more than 100 staff.

"This purpose-built building is now basically an empty shell," Community and Public Sector Union industrial organiser Mike Atkinson said.

"The Government is neglecting the policing role these people played … every new ship that comes in can hide an invading pest," he said.

DPI's fisheries science will now focus on assessing stocks, measuring commercial and recreational catches, and doing biological research on some species.

"With those numbers, they will only be able to do basic work," a former Queenscliff researcher told The Weekly Times.

"There are already 200 to 300 species in the bay that shouldn't be there, and now we are exposed to their spread."


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