The AAD plans a major refurbishment program for the research station on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island ensuring it remains flexible, functional and meets the long term needs of the Australian Antarctic Program and its key stakeholders.
Renovating existing buildings and decommissioning older infrastructure on station will allow for a continued year-round presence on the island in support of high priority science and long-term monitoring, including the work of:
- Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)
- Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)
- Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)
- Geoscience Australia (GA)
- Tasmanian Government.
The existing research station was built in 1948, and has been operating continually ever since. The majority of the planned renovation work is likely to begin in 2022, including upgrades of three of the six field huts. It’s envisaged the station renovation may take up to 7 years to complete. Operation of the station will continue through the renewal and renovation works.
The project team will work with key stakeholders to minimise disruptions to priority science during construction. The AAD will undertake an increased maintenance program over the next two years to allow safe operation of the existing station. The Division will regularly conduct safety and risk assessments regarding the current station to maintain a safe living and working environment.
Existing buildings that are surplus to long-term requirements will be decommissioned, consolidating the station area and reducing the total number of buildings on the island from the existing 48 buildings.
At the same time three of the island’s network of field huts will be refurbished. Waste materials will be returned to Australia for disposal as well as asbestos removed from all buildings. There will be an assessment of ways to protect the station from ocean inundation.
The Macquarie Island Research Station Modernisation Project has a responsibility to meet regulatory, statutory and legislative requirements relating to the environmental and cultural heritage management of Macquarie Island, including the following Acts and instruments: