Future proofing Australia from natural disaster

Joint Media Release
  • Minister for Education
  • Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management

The Morrison Government is investing in research to improve Australia’s response to natural disasters.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan today announced $81.8 million would be provided for 200 research projects as part of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), including research projects tackling drought, cyclones and bushfires.

The Coalition Government is providing:

  • University of Tasmania $427,067 to research how plants survive in drought by restricting water loss. This research will identify the genes in plants that control responses to low air humidity and will lead to new targets for the breeding of drought-adapted plant varieties.
  • University of New South Wales $357,203 to improve forecasting of high impact droughts which will benefit decision-making in agriculture and other industries.
  • University of Sydney $426,343 to research how bushfires amplify the impacts of invasive predators, like feral cats and foxes, on native fauna. This project will generate new knowledge in wildlife conservation, fire ecology and invasive species management.
  • University of New South Wales $364,932 to research scientific support to improve knowledge of extreme rainfall following Australia’s tropical cyclone landfall and further to enhance weather forecasting and reduce the impact of cyclones.
  • Australian National University $408,490 to research how science and decision-making on water resource planning can be best aligned for sustainable and equitable water management.

"Our Government is investing in basic and applied research by our brightest early career researchers in key priority areas to grow our research and innovation capacity," Mr Tehan said.

"This research will generate new knowledge, develop new technologies, and lead to new products and jobs. The research targeting natural disasters will make Australians safer and improve how we prepare for future challenges."

Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the commitment showed the Commonwealth’s proactive approach to natural hazards.

"We’re investing in the smarts of the 21st century to make sure our communities are on the front-foot," Mr Littleproud said.

"Whether it helps our communities prepare or recover faster, this will reduce the impact of disasters.

"Australia has some of the best scientists in the world and it makes sense to get behind them to help manage drought and disaster."

A full list of the new 2020 DECRA recipients, including a snapshot of funding by state and territory and project summaries, is available from the ARC website.

Each DECRA recipient will receive salary and on-cost support for three years, and up to $40,000 in additional funding per year for other essential costs directly related to their project.

For more information about the ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award scheme, please visit the ARC website.

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