$21.6 million more for work in Antarctica

After restoration work, overcladding of the main hut roof in progress
The Mawson's huts project will benefit (Photo: Angus McDonald)
Kelvin, Brian and Luke demonstrate the fine art of trawling in sea ice

8 May 2007

This year's Budget will provide $21.6 million in funding for Australia's Antarctic programme, building on the $100 million provided annually to support our Antarctic programme.

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull, said the funding would support the preservation of a unique part of Australia's Antarctic history as well as enhance our presence today in Antarctica.

"This is a solid indication of the Australian Government's commitment to ongoing research in Antarctica," Mr Turnbull said.

The historic site of Australia's foremost polar explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson, will receive $1.3 million in 2006–07 for its continued conservation.

The funding will be allocated to the Mawson's Huts Foundation established in 1995 to undertake significant preservation work on the buildings which have been at the mercy of the harsh Antarctic elements since Mawson and his men built them in 1912.

Conservation work will include some structural stabilisation and monitoring of the huts themselves, and an archaeological programme of identification, documentation and, where required, conservation of the cultural heritage objects and artefacts in and around the huts.

Mawson's Huts Historic Site is a national treasure. As the first base for Australia's scientific and geographic discovery in Antarctica, it is the birthplace of and forerunner to the work now carried out and supported by the Australian Government Antarctic Division.

The Australian Government Antarctic Division will also receive funding of $20.3 million over the next four years for increased fuel and logistic support. Including existing resourcing, this brings total support for logistics and shipping to $99.1 million over the next four years.

Recognising the importance of Australia's Antarctic programme, this funding will provide for enhanced support for our Antarctic Shipping and aircraft operations.

The Australian Government's $100 million per year Antarctic research programme will be supported by the $43.6 million Antarctic Airlink announced in the 2005–06 Budget which will increase science outputs and enhance Australia's Antarctic efforts by more rapid deployment to Antarctica. It is also supported by shipping operations which remain important for resupplying our stations with food, fuel, heavy equipment and other essential supplies, and for the conduct of marine science in the region.

The additional funding announced today will build on this support and provide an even stronger foundation for future Antarctic research.

Supporting information

Why is this important?

The additional funding will build on this support and provide an even stronger foundation for future Antarctic research.

The additional $20.3 million in funding will provide for enhanced support for our Antarctic Shipping and aircraft operations. Including existing resourcing, this brings total support for logistic and shipping to $99.1 million over the next four years.

An additional $1.3 million in 2006–07 will help preserve Australia's unique Antarctic heritage through restoration of Mawson's Huts.

Who will benefit?

The new funding will further strengthen the Australian Government's Antarctic programme, therefore providing benefits for Antarctic research and the broader research community.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

The Australian Government will provide $21.6 million over five years from 2006-07.

What have we done in the past?

The Australian Government provides around $100 million to support its Antarctic research programme annually.

When will the initiative conclude?

The additional funding will be delivered over five years.