Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Australia continues to lead the way in Antarctica

Media release
10 May 2011

Australia's position as a world leader in Antarctic research will be backed by $28.3 million in the 2011-12 Budget, Environment Minister, Tony Burke announced today.

Mr Burke said the Gillard Government would continue to equip scientists and expeditioners with the tools they need to pursue cutting-edge research in Antarctica.

The Budget invests $28.3 million for research in the Antarctic which addresses critical issues such as climate change, the human footprint on Antarctica and increasing demands for food, energy and security caused by human population growth.

It includes scientific research programs at four research stations: Mawson, Davis, Casey and Macquarie, shipping support and the Australia-Antarctica Airlink which provides direct air links for scientists and other expeditioners from Hobart to Antarctica.

"We know investing in Antarctic research is critical to addressing climate change," Mr Burke said.

"Today, Australia is responsible for 42 per cent of Antarctica. As its national and global importance to climate change science grows, the Gillard Government is committed to building our knowledge and promoting our nation's environmental and economic interests in the region.

"Our commitment to Antarctic research is also good news for Tasmania, which as Australia's recognised Antarctic gateway, benefits from the flow-on effects of jobs and investments related to our significant Antarctic research program."

"Finding room for this funding in a responsible Budget shows the strength of the Government's support for Australia's world-class Antarctic research."

The Australian Government has led a scientific research program for more than 60 years.

Australia is engaged in collaborations with other Antarctic nations such as China, India, Japan, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom involving science, transportation and infrastructure projects in the Antarctic region.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the departure in 1911 of the first Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Douglas Mawson, who established Australia's first base for scientific and geographical discovery at Cape Denison in Antarctica.