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Federal Budget 1998
12 May 1998

[Media Releases and Speeches]

BUDGET SUPPORT FOR UNDERSTANDING AND PROTECTING ANTARCTICA


The Federal Government has underlined its commitment to understanding and protecting the Antarctic environment with the provision of $63.1 million in the 1998-99 Federal Budget, Parliamentary Secretary for the Antarctic, Senator Ian Macdonald said today.

"Australia is responsible for 42 per cent of the Antarctic region. With this Budget, the Federal Government has clearly demonstrated to the Australian community that it is serious about protecting this special region, preserving its unique biodiversity, and increasing our understanding of its influence on global environmental systems."

"This latest funding will enable the continuation of a wide range of high quality scientific research and environmental protection activities at Australia's four Antarctic stations and on board the Aurora Australis."

Highlights of the 1998/99 research program will include:

"In addition to supporting Antarctic research, the Government is committed to fulfilling its obligations under the Antarctic Treaty, and to this end $90 000 will be allocated for the completion of a survey of the old Wilkes station in the coming summer, as the basis for a future clean-up of the abandoned site. Plans are also being prepared for a clean-up on sub-Antarctic Heard Island," Senator Macdonald said.

"To assist in protection of Australia's rich Antarctic heritage, the Federal Government has also allocated a further $250 000 to ensure the continued conservation of the historic and unique huts constructed during Sir Douglas Mawson's 1911-14 Antarctic expedition."

"Recognising the environmental importance of ensuring the sustainable management of fisheries in the Southern Ocean, the Government will also continue its diplomatic and other efforts to combat illegal fishing in the region," Senator Macdonald said.

Commonwealth of Australia