WAMSI delivers better science for better decisions. The Joint Venture fills the increasingly important nexus between government, industry and the research community. This is nowhere more evident than in our Dredging Science Node.
The uncertainty associated with predicting and managing dredging has flow-on effects through subsequent approvals and regulatory processes that are required to be met for the project to proceed. This uncertainty can delay the granting of approvals and subsequent final investment decisions for projects to proceed. When one considers that Chevron's investment in the Gorgon Project in 2009 was greater than the federal government's economic stimulus package in the face of the global financial crisis, it's clear that these delays can have significant effects on the national economy.
Furthermore, this uncertainty can lead to the imposition of monitoring and management regimes that proponents find onerous and costly. It is estimated that monitoring and management costs of recent major projects has varied from millions to more than $100 million. With worldwide instability in financial markets and Australia's dependence on an export-oriented economy, the need to address these issues has never been more pressing. Better knowledge - gained through the Dredging Science Node - will help reduce those costs.
WAMSI’s role in delivering outcomes for government and industry
Specifically, this will be achieved by developing the best contemporary baseline knowledge that can be used by all, and by developing a 'compendium of best-practice' containing information, protocols and guidelines. These can then be used by industry in the preparation of environmental impact statements consistent with the EPA's Environmental Assessment Guideline No. 7 - Marine Dredging Proposals.
The partners are committed to this program delivering the right outcomes:
- commitment of funds from industry
- presence of senior end-users from both the regulator and industry on a WAMSI advisory commitee
- the regulator has part-seconded their chief marine advisor to the role of Node Leader - Policy
- commitment of key research organisations to the program
Given WAMSI's independent status, as well as the inclusion of regulators, industry and researchers, this Dredging Science Node is able to extend beyond research into defining the questions for research, and the development of guidelines and protocols that will give effect to the new findings.
Broader benefits to Australia
While the focus is on the north west of Western Australia, WAMSI's Dredging Science Node will provide a significant step-change in the understanding of dredging impacts that will improve regulators' ability to manage activities across Australia and also internationally.
This Dredging Science Node will fill many of the knowledge gaps for managers relating to dredging and sedimentation issues in places such as Queensland, where the lack of this knowledge is currently causing conflict. This Node will also improve the capability of scientists in WAMSI research organisations such as the Australian Institute of Marine Science and CSIRO, who will be able to immediately apply it to their work in the eastern states.
WAMSI has assured the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Commonwealth Government that all findings from the Dredging Science Node will be made available to them - and everyone else - as soon as possible.