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10 May 2000 - 00/148
Geoscience Australia Budget 2000/01
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, The Hon Warren Entsch MP, has rejected reports published in The Canberra Times on Wednesday 10 May that Geoscience Australia is losing $3.2 million in research money over the next four years.
Mr Entsch, whose portfolio responsibilities include Geoscience Australia, said the organisation was not losing research dollars as a result of last night's Federal Budget.
"Geoscience Australia is contributing $3.2 million over four years, along with other Government departments, toward a vital project to map the limits of the continental shelf off the Australian Antarctic Territory," Mr Entsch said.
"However, as indicated in this year's Industry, Science and Resources Portfolio Budget Statements (p. 229) Geoscience Australia anticipates receiving $15.54 million in the 2000/01 financial year for its share of work in mapping the Australian Antarctic Territory extended continental shelf.
"Geoscience Australia therefore stands to gain significantly from the operational management of this project."
Mr Entsch said the project was vital in terms of Australia's sovereign rights over marine environments in Antarctica.
In order to gain sovereign rights over the seabed and subsoil of any areas beyond the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) a country must lodge a submission with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Self (CLCS). This submission must be made within 10 years of ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Warren Entsch said that for Australia, the cut-off date is November 2004.
"Had The Canberra Times bothered to check the facts with either myself or Geoscience Australia, they would have discovered a positive story here for both the organisation concerned and for Australia as a nation," Mr Entsch said.
The misleading report published in The Canberra Times about funding for Geoscience Australia has also been repeated today by the Federal Labor Member for Canberra, Annette Ellis MP.
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