Australia’s national interests in Antarctica

A display of the aurora australis (Southern lights) near Mawson station.
Australia's national interests include protecting the Antarctic environment, having regard to its special qualities and effects on our region. (Photo: Chris Wilson)

Australia has strong and longstanding national interests in Antarctica. These interests determine the underlying policy settings that frame Australia’s engagement in Antarctica.

Australia’s national interests in Antarctica are to:

  • maintain Antarctica’s freedom from strategic and/or political confrontation
  • preserve our sovereignty over the Australian Antarctic Territory, including our sovereign rights over adjacent offshore areas
  • support a strong and effective Antarctic Treaty system
  • conduct world-class scientific research consistent with national priorities
  • protect the Antarctic environment, having regard to its special qualities and effects on our region
  • be informed about and able to influence developments in a region geographically proximate to Australia
  • foster economic opportunities arising from Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, consistent with our Antarctic Treaty system obligations, including the ban on mining and oil drilling.