Shock reason why Lismore flood research centre shut down
SOUTHERN Cross University's National Centre for Flood Research in Lismore is closing down.
Confirmation of the closure came on the same day Lismore experienced a flooding event.
Professor Caroline Sullivan, director of the centre and professor of Environmental Economics and Policy at SCU confirmed the news.
"Unfortunately, with the shutdown of all activities as a result of Covid 19, little progress was made to take this work further, and the departure of Vice Chancellor Adam Shoemaker resulted in a cessation of funding from SCU core funds," she said.
"With the severe financial situation faced not only by SCU but by all universities in Australia, it has become impossible to continue internal funding for the flood research centre, but when the financial situation of the university becomes clearer, flood research will hopefully be revived once again. Judging by the extreme rainfall events we are now experiencing, it is clearly an issue which cannot be ignored."
Professor Sullivan said the National Centre for Flood Research was established following the 2017 flood event in Lismore, as an initiative of the then Vice Chancellor of Southern Cross University, Adam Shoemaker.
"Some funds were earmarked for the centre by the office of the vice chancellor, and it was established to support local concern about repeated flood events and the apparent lack of co-ordination between different agencies responsible for dealing with flooding in NSW," she said.
"While efforts were made to bring in external funding, and promises of support were made by the labour opposition prior to the 2019 election, this unfortunately did not come to fruition. "Since then the centre conducted extensive consultation around what is needed in flood research, and this highlighted the need for an interdisciplinary approach in addressing the problem of flooding."
In September, it was confirmed Southern Cross University was facing a cut of $22.7 million over the next four years as part of the Federal Government's plan to slash $617.8 million from universities across NSW.
In October, the University confirmed it was facing a shortfall of $33 million, and that on top of 70 staff taken voluntary redundancies, a further 63 full-time equivalent positions were to be lost.