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9 Feb 2024

Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Research Centre officially opened │The Fleurieu Sun

By Jack Church 

Almost five years after the announcement was made, the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) Research Centre has had its official opening in the second storey of the Goolwa Aquatic Building.

Following a successful lease application to Alexandrina Council from the Goyder Institute for Water Research, the space will be used as and office and community engagement area.

Conducting key research with a focus on climate change and animal adaptation, the CLLMM Research Centre will have $8 million of government funding provided over the next four years.

While the Goyder Institute for Water Research will be the main operator of the facility, a collaboration between SA’s Department for Environment and Water, the CSIRO, Flinders University, the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia will see researchers from all different areas use the space.

As the CLLMM Research Centre’s First Nations Engagement Officer, Nathan Hartman, a First Nations Ngarrindjeri/Boandik man, will help foster the connection of First Nations and the community with research and knowledge.

“The region is culturally significant and First Nations knowledge will be critical to help understand the implications of future change in the region. Ensuring the culturally appropriate sharing of knowledge will be a key activity of the Research Centre,” Nathan said.

The CLLMM Research Centre opening coincided with World Wetlands Day, purposefully done to showcase the region’s international wetland importance.

Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie was at the opening as she showed her support for the long awaited research centre.

“Research undertaken at the most vulnerable part of the Murray-Darling Basin is immensely important, and will for the first time provide scientists and policy makers with in-situ evidence based data analysis and research findings for decision making,” Ms Sharkie said.

“My vision was for the establishment of the Centre based in Goolwa, dedicated to research on how to make our part of the river more resilient to the ebbs and flows of upstream conditions, to find new solutions for the management of salinity, water, wetlands, ecosystems and nutrient levels. I’m very pleased that this project has now been realised and located in Goolwa, its rightful home.

“The Centre will be in a great position to source and share the scientific knowledge of our local communities, including our indigenous communities.”

With an ever changing ecosystem, Goyder Institute Director Alex Rolston says this is an exciting step for the future of environmental development in the region.

“The Goyder Institute for Water Research is very excited to be establishing this new CLLMM Research Centre to be working with First Nations, community, governments and scientists to examine the impacts of climate change on this critical ecosystem at the end of the Murray-Darling Basin,” Dr Rolston said.

“We intend that the CLLMM Research Centre will help to establish the CLLMM region at the forefront of community-driven knowledge creation, to address critical cultural, social, economic and environmental issues.”

Dr Tiffany Nay, the Communications and Engagement Coordinator at the CLLMM Research Centre, agreed, highlighting the cultural importance of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth.

“This is such an exciting time for us and the community as we can work together to tackle future issues that will challenge the region,” she said.

“We want to make sure First Nations and community values are captured, and reflected in our research priorities and engagement activities.”

Liberal Senator for South Australia Andrew McLachlan CSC was in attendance on Saturday, welcoming the much needed facility.

“The former Coalition Government committed $8 million to this project in 2020 and I am pleased that the current government maintained the funding for the establishment of this research centre. I also note the Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie’s longstanding work in advocating for this project,” Senator McLachlan said.

“The River Murray is the lifeblood of South Australia and it is essential that its environment and flows are protected.

“As a Senator for South Australia, I have always fought for the Murray and will continue to do so. In the Senate late last year, I backed changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan that provide guarantees on the delivery of 450GL of environmental water to South Australia by 2027.”

The CLLMM researchers will now undertake key research, learning more about the CLLMM ecosystems and how climate change is affecting them.

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