As Minister for the Environment and Heritage, I have the privilege of having the Australian Antarctic Program within my portfolio responsibilities.
Two visits to Antarctica have instilled in me lasting impressions of the magnitude and grandeur of the Antarctic wilderness. And admiration of the people who choose to work there. I have seen at first hand the difficulties of living and working in Antarctica, and appreciate the great opportunities provided by Antarctic research to answer fundamental questions about global environmental processes.
Protection of the Antarctic environment is a priority for the Howard Government, and in this regard I follow with great interest Australia’s efforts on the ice and in the Southern Ocean. For example, an instrumental piece of work, in which Australia’s Antarctic scientists can take great pride, is the contribution to understanding and managing the resources of the Southern Ocean.
The international impact of our recent efforts in the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources have directly met the Government’s goals of influence within the Antarctic Treaty system and protection of the Antarctic environment. Similar results are coming from our atmospheric and oceanographic programs, and our environmental management activities are among the best.
The quality of our effort in Antarctica is by any measure outstanding. We still have a lot to do, and I am excited by the range of scientific opportunities. It is important that our effort be maintained, and that we make sure that the rest of the world’s Antarctic community sees the results of our work.
The Australian Antarctic Magazine will be an ideal forum for reporting our accomplishments in Antarctica, on the subantarctic islands and in the Southern Ocean. I am delighted that it has been launched.
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill