$250,000 for research centre to save endangered turtles

The Albanese Labor Government is boosting marine research to protect the Fraser Coast’s endangered sea turtle, with $250,000 to be delivered under the Hinkler Regional Deal to the planned Fraser Coast Turtle Rehabilitation and Research Centre.

An initiative led by the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC), the funding will support scientists to examine a potential link between the turtle’s habitat health and a mystery disease.

The Queensland Government has also allocated $1 million towards the centre, on top of an earlier commitment of $230,000 to purchase specialist turtle life support equipment for the region.

The Hinkler Regional Deal for the Hervey Bay-Bundaberg region is an Australian Government initiative, in partnership with the Fraser Coast Regional Council and the Bundaberg Regional Council that seeks to build on the area’s strengths to provide economic growth and long-term employment.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, Kristy McBain MP:

“We know that our regional areas are home to some of Australia’s most diverse and breathtaking natural environments, which is why it’s important that all levels of government and the community work together to preserve this.

“That’s exactly what we’re doing through the Hinkler Regional Deal, with our $250,000 investment to strengthen the innovative work of the Fraser Coast Turtle Rehabilitation and Research Centre and to improve the health of local turtle populations.

“By investing in local-led projects like this, we’re supporting long-term employment opportunities and economic growth in the Fraser Coast region.”

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Regional Development, Senator the Hon Anthony Chisholm:

“The Fraser Coast Turtle Rehabilitation and Research Centre will put the region at the forefront when it comes to developing long-term solutions to the health issues facing our precious sea turtle population.

“This facility will also boost the local economy with an estimated 15 jobs set to be supported by the centre, drawing in students, researchers and tourists.

“Through projects like this one, our government is committed to honouring the commitments made under the Hinkler Regional Deal, which will benefit the wider Fraser Coast region for many years to come.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Minister for the Environment, the Hon Leanne Linard MP:

“The Fraser Coast is one of four major sea turtle stranding ‘hotspots’ in Queensland and has, in recent years, experienced an increase in sick and injured marine turtles requiring assistance.

“That’s why the Miles Government has committed $1.2 million towards the development of the Fraser Coast Marine Turtle Rehabilitation and Research Centre, to be led by UniSC.

“This centre will provide much-needed local turtle care and rehabilitation, as well as important turtle health research, improving the chances of survival for sick and injured turtles.

“The Miles Government welcome’s the Australian Government’s contribution to this important project which will contribution to the preservation of our majestic marine turtles.”

Quotes attributable to Fraser Coast Mayor, Cr George Seymour:

“This facility will benefit the region’s wildlife, university students and the broader community, including Butchulla traditional owners.

“This is an excellent partnership between all three levels of government, community groups and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

“The turtles are an endangered species, so it is important that we research what has been happening to the local population that has caused the large number of fatalities and casualties.”

Quotes attributable to University of the Sunshine Coast Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Helen Bartlett:

“This funding will support the creation of a dedicated centre in Hervey Bay focused on vital research for sick, starving and dying sea turtles in the waters of the Great Sandy Strait.
“We know marine turtles in the region are in an extremely dire fight for survival, with an unprecedented number of strandings and deaths since the start of last year.

“As well as investigating the general health and threats facing the animals, UniSC marine scientists are also continuing urgent research to find the cause of a new syndrome that is making the shells of turtles soft and sponge-like, and in some instances, exposing bare bone.

“This very welcome commitment from the Australian Government highlights how all levels of government recognise and support the need for timely action to improve the plight of our marine turtles.”