The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent, not-for-profit service for the news media, giving journalists direct access to evidence-based science and expertise.

We aim to better inform public debate on the major issues of the day by improving links between the media and the scientific community.

EXPERT REACTION: Federal Government‘s Mental Health Plan


The Federal Government has today announced its Mental Health Plan which includes integrated care packages for people with severe and complex mental illness. Below Australian experts comment. read more

BRIEFING: Power battle – Comparing electricity costs into 2030 Launch of the Australian Power Generation Technology Report


EMBARGO LIFTED 12.00noon AEDT Thu 26 November 2015Click here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

Will our power generation landscape look drastically different in 15 years’ time or will coal still be king? In the most in-depth study of its kind, The Australian Power Generation Technology Report released on Thursday provides the building blocks for policy makers and power professionals to make informed decisions about Australia’s future power generation mix. Produced by CO2CRC in collaboration with the CSIRO, Federal Government agencies, leading universities and a total of 45 industry and other parties, the report provides an unbiased view of the levelised cost of electricity now and in 2030, comparing 11 electricity generation sources – including coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewables –  against seven factors. Join us for this online news briefing where those involved in the report will take us through the findings and Australia’s electricity future. read more

NEWS BRIEFING and EXPERT REACTION: WMO release global temperature data – how is 2015 stacking up?


Click here to follow a recording of the entire briefingThe World Meteorological Organization (WMO) will release a provisional statement on the Status of Global Climate with early results suggesting 2015 is likely to be the hottest year on record. The statement is being released ahead of the COP21, the U.N. climate change conference in Paris, which begins on Monday. The briefing looks at the global report from an Australian context, including significant climate events from the past five years. Below Karl and additional experts give their views on the WMO statement.  read more

EXPERT REACTION: Genetically modified fruit fly to be trialled in WA


The Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) have announced they will conduct an indoor assessment of a Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) that has been genetically modified to contain a ‘self-limiting’ gene – that prevents the female offspring from reaching adulthood so they cannot ‘sting’ fruit crops or reproduce. This shrinks the pest population in the release area. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Genetically modified salmon approved by US FDA


The US Food and Drug Administration have today announced the approval of a genetically engineered salmon produced by AquaBounty Technologies Inc, making it the first time a genetically modified animal has been approved for human consumption worldwide. The salmon is engineered to grow faster than either conventionally farmed or wild salmon.  read more

BRIEFING: COP out or global triumph – can the climate talks in Paris succeed?


BRIEFING – 19 November at 11:30 AEDT ONLINEClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

The UN Framework on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP21) meeting in Paris, which begins on 30 November, has been hailed as the most likely meeting to actually achieve a legally binding global climate agreement in over 20 years of UN negotiations. Many of the countries attending the conference, including Australia, have already shown their climate hand – openly declaring their future emissions targets. But are these enough to limit warming to below 2°C? And if not, what is a realistic scenario? Why is 2°C the magic number anyway? read more



Fires currently burning out of control in Western Australia have claimed four lives and been described by authorities as some of the worst they have ever seen. Four fires are currently burning with the two biggest at Grass Patch and Salmon Gums, 100 kilometres north of Esperance, and at Stockyard Creek, 25 kilometres east of the town. Reports indicate the fires were started by lightning strikes and then fuelled by 40 degree temperatures and strong winds. Below experts comment on the situation.  read more

EXPERT REACTION: Australian Nuclear waste sites shortlist released


The Federal Government has shortlisted six sites for further evaluation and public consultation for a permanent National Radioactive Waste Management Facility. The six sites are spread across New South Wales, Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland. The site will contain Australia’s low level waste, with the capacity to store some intermediate level waste.  read more

EXPERT REACTION: Gene-edited cell therapy saves baby girl from leukaemia


A baby girl in the UK has been cleared of leukaemia following compassionate treatment with an experimental therapy which used gene-edited cells. It is the first time a therapy using the gene-editing technology TALENs (transcription activator-like effector nucleases) has been used in a human. Previously only tested in mice, the treatment was given on compassionate grounds when the baby girl did not respond to existing treatments. The unpublished results will be presented at the American Society of Hematology in December. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Australia can prosper while protecting the environment (Nature)*


While many people consider economic growth and environmental protection to be opposing and mutually exclusive forces, a detailed report from CSIRO featured as the lead story in the international journal Nature this week provides evidence that this does not have to be so.

The article (titled “Australia is ‘free to choose’ economic growth and falling environmental pressures”) makes it clear that it is well within Australia’s capacity to significantly grow the economy while protecting and even improving the environment. But new policies will be needed that create incentives to develop new technology, minimise environmental harm and make the most of changing climate policies in other countries, the authors say. Surprisingly, they found that a change in social values was not needed for this to happen. read more