The Australian Government has given outline plans and details of its 20 year Antarctica Agenda and Strategic Plan. The plan allows for Australia’s future engagement in the region and options to expand Tasmania’s role as the Antarctic science and logistics hub.
The report contains recommendations on a range of key issues, including:
• Protecting Australia’s national interests in Antarctica.
• Supporting and leading national and international Antarctic science.
• Building economic benefits for Tasmania as an Antarctic Gateway city.
• Australia’s future Antarctic station operations, transport and deep field traverse capabilities and support for large field-based research campaigns.
• Effective administration of the Australian Antarctic Territory.
The Australia Government’s Senate Leader Senator Eric Abetz said Tasmania already has very strong links to Australia’s Antarctic program.
“There are opportunities to expand this even further and to encourage other nations to use Hobart as a hub for their Antarctic research and logistics,” Senator Abetz said.
“This report reveals exciting possibilities for further international collaboration in Antarctic science, centred in Hobart. The Federal Government is keen to work with the Tasmanian Government to explore these options.”
The report also recommends the acquisition of a new icebreaker to replace the ageing Aurora Australis.
The Australian Government has already made USD 75.6 million in commitments to Australia’s Antarctic interests, including
• funding for the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre
• creating an Antarctic Gateway Partnership involving the Australian Antarctic Division, the University of Tasmania and the CSIRO
• the Hobart Airport runway extension.