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$800 million to strengthen our leadership in Antarctica

JMR with Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley

The Morrison Government will send a clear international signal of Australia’s world-leading Antarctic leadership with an $804.4 million investment over the next ten years to strengthen our strategic and scientific capabilities in the region.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley launched the package in Tasmania today saying that it would strengthen both Australia’s national interests in Antarctica and be a jobs boost for Australians through local procurement.

“This is an investment in scientific leadership, strategic capability and local jobs and businesses,” Minister Ley said today.

“The money we are investing in drone fleets, helicopters and other vehicles will enable us to explore areas of East Antarctica’s inland that no country has ever been able to reach before.

“We need to ensure that Antarctica remains a place of science and conservation, one that is free from conflict and which is protected from exploitation.”

The new measures include:

  • $136.6 million to support Australia’s inland traverse capability, critical charting activities, mobile stations, environmental protection and other core activities
  • $109 million to increase aerial and inland capability:
  • $60.6 million for drone fleets and other autonomous vehicles able to map inaccessible and fragile areas of East Antarctic, establishing an ‘Antarctic eye’ with integrated censors and cameras feeding real-time information.
  • $35 million for four new medium lift helicopters with a range of 550 kilometres that when launched from the Nuyina can access parts of the continent we could never reach previously.
  • $13.6 million for capability development to further enhance Australia’s reach inland including investigations into modern intracontinental aeroplanes
  • $44.2 million in additional shipping support to enable the RSV Nuyina to focus on extended science voyages
  • $17.4 million for marine science in the Southern Ocean and a new state-of-the-art krill aquarium in Hobart
  • $14.3 million for environmental management including a ‘Cleaner Antarctica Strategy’ to remove legacy waste and to establish new ‘geographic information system’ technology to support environmental management
  • $7.4 million for research focused on Antarctic ice sheet science to build global understanding of climate change impacts – improving our ability to support Pacific partners to monitor information about climate and oceans, including sea level rise
  • $3.4 million to enhance Australia’s international engagement to support the rules and norms of the Antarctic Treaty system and promote Australia’s leadership in Antarctic affairs

    The new funding package also includes $92.2 million a year from 2026-27 to further support Antarctic activities.

    Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said the package would reinforce Australia’s commitment to the Antarctic Treaty system, and to promoting Tasmania as the gateway to East Antarctica.

    “The investment will also strengthen Tasmania’s status as an international science hub and pave the way for more opportunities in the years ahead,” Senator Henderson said said.

    “This is the Morrison Government investing in jobs and business along with science.

    “Our ongoing investment in Antarctica will directly support jobs at home, with Australian businesses, contractors, medical suppliers and providores reaping the benefits of local procurement.”

    22 February 2022


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