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Media Release
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministers
for the Environment, Sport, Territories
and Local Government

Australia's Antarctic Futures Process 'Beyond the Last Great Frontier'


17 September 1996

Senator Ian Campbell, Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Antarctic today announced a major review of Australia's Antarctic Program.

Speaking at 'Tasmania, the Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic: The Tasmanian Governor's Forum', Senator Campbell said that it is now imperative that Australia's post-2000 role be developed.

In his speech to the conference, Senator Campbell said that the Antarctic has often been described as the last frontier.

"I believe that we now need to explore the territory that lies beyond the last great frontier," Senator Campbell said.

"The Antarctic Science Advisory Committee (ASAC) with the assistance of a reference group, will be asked to develop strategic options for Australia's Antarctic Program."

"The Australian Antarctic Division's scientific research strategy, logistics and transport needs, and policy priorities must be reviewed and adapted to face the challenges beyond 2000," Senator Campbell.

"There is also a need to ensure that the growth of Antarctic tourism is managed appropriately."

"ASAC will be asked to take a fresh look at our program and to extend the boundaries of previous reviews and present thought."

Senator Campbell said that this is an important juncture in Australian Antarctic History for a number of reasons:

"The new millennium will present new scientific challenges, many of which can be identified now," Senator Campbell said. "It is essential that we identify these challenges and develop a strategy to develop these opportunities."

Senator Campbell said that because of lead-times associated with Antarctic activities, it is important to initiate the review process and adopt a forward looking approach immediately.

In his address, Senator Campbell reiterated the Howard Government's commitment to its present objectives in the Antarctic:

"The Howard Government is also committed to maintaining Hobart as the centre for Australia's Antarctic activities and will actively encourage other nations to use Hobart as the base for their Antarctic operations."

Senator Campbell said that an indication of his Government's commitment can be seen with the allocation $1 million in this budget to establish an International Antarctic Museum in Hobart, with a further allocation of $1.6 million to follow.

"There will be opportunities for Tasmania to develop its role and become the International Antarctic Centre," Senator Campbell concluded.

For further information, please contact:

Mark Elliot, Office of Senator Ian Campbell, 06 277 3955 ; 0419 238 747
Rex Moncur, Director, Australian Antarctic Division, 002 323 200

Commonwealth of Australia