New funding for upgrades of Antarctic research stations

Renewal of Antarctic research stations

Video transcript

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Antarctic infrastructure is costly to build and maintain, and must withstand extreme conditions.

The last major upgrade to all Australia’s research stations was in the 1980s.

New funding of $450 million over ten years will improve our buildings and machinery.

It will modernise fuel storage, water supplies, energy provision, and communication technology.

This will revitalise our science program for the future.

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Monitoring fuel pump at Casey station
Monitoring fuel pump at Casey station (Photo: Todor Iolovski)
aerial of Mawson research station 2016Working on aerial mast at Casey antenna farmWilkins aerodrome control buildingSatellite dome at Davis research station under night sky with aurora

The Australian Government has announced it will invest more than $450 million over the next ten years to upgrade our network of Antarctic research stations and supporting infrastructure.

The upgrade will modernise our infrastructure, improve operations, and revitalise our science programs.

The funding is additional to recently announced investments in new shipping, aviation and inland transport capabilities, and a new sub-Antarctic research station at Macquarie Island.

The last time a major renewal program was undertaken at Mawson, Casey and Davis research stations was in the 1980s.

Priorities for the upgrade program include:

Modernising fuel storage, water supplies, energy provision, and communication technology;

Upgrading the heavy vehicles and mobile equipment that maintain our daily operations;

Providing Antarctic doctors with access to cutting-edge medical technology;

Enhancing the environmental sustainability of Australia’s research stations;

Improving operational assets such as boats, field huts, and aerodromes;

Providing new science equipment to support leading-edge research and development.

In recognition of the critical nature of many of the assets required to support a robust and safe Antarctic program, this infrastructure funding is ongoing and represents a significant increase over current funding levels for capital.

This unprecedented level of investment in the Australian Antarctic Program will strengthen Australia’s science, presence and leadership in Antarctica, underwriting the implementation of the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan