In the news

Station Leaders appointed for 2003

Jeremy Smith — Davis

Jeremy was for many years an Associate Professor in biogeography at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW, where in addition to teaching he undertook investigations of mountain floras, seed dispersal, and invasive weeds. He is the author of nearly 100 publications in these and other fields. His research interests have taken him to mountains in New Guinea, Borneo and Venezuela, and he has participated in several expeditions including to Heard Island in 1983. He was the Station Leader at Macquarie Island in 1996, and at Davis in 2001. When not with ANARE, he lives on a small rural property near Armidale where he enjoys growing trees, raising poultry and bird-watching.

Ivor Harris — Casey

Ivor comes from Brisbane and is married with three adult sons. He has worked for most of his career as a veterinarian, including large and small animal practice and TAFE teaching. For many years he specialised as a laboratory animal scientist and also developed a research interest in microbiology. In this role he has managed biomedical research support facilities in the Commonwealth Department of Health and the University of Queensland. He had also been in the Army reserve for 17 years, and for the last three years has been in the regular Army as Major, administrative/scientific officer at the Army Malaria Institute in Brisbane. This included deployment to East Timor in 2000–01 as coordinator of a major antimalarial drug trial. He is currently on leave without pay from the Army and anticipates returning to his position in 2004.

Sarah Bolt — Mawson

Sarah is a solicitor who has worked with the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission for the past five years. Her current position with the Commission covers legal, conciliation and training and education as it relates to the Commission’s complaint handling process. Prior to joining the Equal Opportunity Commission Sarah held a variety of legal positions specialising in Industrial, Civil and Employment law.

Louise Crossley — Macquarie Island

Louise has had a varied career as an academic, museum director, science broadcaster and environmental consultant. She lives in Hobart when she isn’t travelling to far flung destinations like Siberia and Mongolia. Since spending 16 months in Antarctica in 1991–92 as Station Leader at Mawson and Field Leader in the Prince Charles Mountains, she has developed an addiction to the deep south, and has made about 20 voyages to the ice as a guide/lecturer on Russian icebreakers carrying tourists to many different parts of Antarctica. She was Station Leader at Macquarie Island in 2000, and is looking forward to returning to the Green Sponge.

Being prepared

Expeditioners working in the Australian Antarctic Program need a wide range of skills from navigating their way in the field using a map and compass, to fighting fires in an emergency, to being an effective member of an isolated community. It is an important requirement that all members of Australian Antarctic Division expeditions undergo pre-departure training.

The Bronte Park Highland Village was the venue again this year for station and field training for over 100 expeditioners prior to the departure of the first voyage of the season. Tasmanian spring weather produced a light cover of snow and heavy rain during the four-day program, ensuring the one night in tents was challenging, especially for those departing for Macquarie Island.

Training in the use of four wheel drive Honda quads was conducted on a disused runway and expeditioners had the opportunity to use fire extinguishers as part of a program of practical skills training.

The program also included classroom sessions on environmental management, coping with separation from family and friends, occupational health and safety, and issues in community living.

Several more training camps are scheduled for the 2002–03 season.

Evaluation of Australia’s Antarctic science program

An Evaluation of Australia’s Antarctic Science Program is currently in progress. The evaluation is being carried out for the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee (ASAC) by a Steering Committee (Chaired by Professor John White, FAA, FRS) with input from four discipline-based subcommittees.

The Terms of Reference for the evaluation are:

  • to evaluate the quality of the science output against the current Strategic Plan;
  • to evaluate the relevance of the scientific output to the goals of Australia’s Antarctic program as measured against the Strategic Plan;
  • to evaluate the quality and relevance of the scientific output resulting from research projects supported by Australian Antarctic Science Grants (AASG);
  • to evaluate the quality and relevance of the scientific output resulting from research projects ineligible for AASG funding; and
  • to provide advice on areas of science that require either a greater or lesser emphasis and/or on new research endeavours to be undertaken.

The Steering Committee will meet in December 2002. It is due to finalise a report to ASAC by February 2003.

AAD e-Procurement Initiatives

In April 2000 the Commonwealth Electronic Procurement Strategy document set two goals for Commonwealth agencies:

1. to pay all suppliers electronically by the end of 2000; and

2. to be able to trade electronically with all simple procurement suppliers that wished to do so, using open standards, by the end of 2001.

The AAD has come as close as is practical to achieving the first goal of paying all suppliers electronically, given the large number of diverse suppliers servicing the AAD.

The Accounting Services group started payments by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) in July 1999. A simple strategy of producing and delivering a remittance advice with each payment, via post, fax or email was implemented and has been well received by both staff and suppliers.

Over 12,000 EFT payments have been made since the system went into production. In the 2001–2002 financial year over 83.5% of all payments to suppliers (92% by value) were paid by EFT. This is a very good result considering that the AAD deals with up to 1000 suppliers per year. A rigorous routine of following up all cheque payments with requests for EFT bank details by the AAD’s Accounting Services group has ensured that EFT payment levels have remained high.

The AAD has also made significant progress towards achieving the second goal of trading electronically with all simple procurement suppliers that wish to do so. The AAD is one of only two Commonwealth agencies that had made significant progress with e-Procurement.

The Finance & Supply group has been working on implementing e-Procurement since 1999. Trial projects have been run with two e-commerce service providers over two and a half years. In 2001 the AAD signed an agreement with Tasmania Business Online (TBO) as our e-commerce service provider. TBO is based in Tasmania and is aimed at developing trading communities within the state, especially amongst small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

Since July 2001 the AAD has been making steady progress with the first live orders going to a supplier via TBO in September 2001. About 130 purchase orders representing over 1400 order lines have been transmitted through TBO so far. There are now a dozen AAD suppliers enabled for e-Procurement through the TBO electronic market place. Two of those suppliers (for food and medical supplies) represent nearly thirty percent of all annual purchase order lines generated by the AAD. Both of those suppliers will be actively in use through TBO for the first time this Antarctic shipping season (September 2002 to March 2003).

The National Office for the Information Economy has recognised the AAD’s lead in implementing e-Procurement and is working together with us on two proposals. One proposal is to address the barriers for SME suppliers to engage in e-Procurement. The other proposal is to scope and design a general e-commerce gateway to simplify suppliers communicating electronically with government that could have application amongst a wide range of Commonwealth agencies.

Improvements in the implementation of e-Procurement will be incremental and continuous. Internal processes have had to gradually change as the implementation has progressed over the last year. There is still a way to go with extending the e-Procurement system to the rest of the supply chain.

John Chrisoulakis,
A/Finance & Supply Manager, AAD

New Kingston facilities nearing completion

Substantial progress has been made on a major building construction and refurbishment project which commenced in February at the AAD’s Kingston headquarters. When completed, the $6.2 million project — with its upgraded laboratories, aquarium and new building to house office planning and research facilities — will greatly enhance Australia’s Antarctic research capability.

On 23 August inspections were completed for the partial handover of the first floor of the refurbished building for occupancy by the Biology and Human Impacts Programs. The area was fully stripped and refurbished with new ceilings, energy efficient lighting, sunshades, relocatable partitioning, carpets, workstations, desks, storage cabinets and mechanical services. The inclusion of a skylight through the length of the building has achieved good natural light levels. Accommodation for around forty staff has been achieved.

Handover of the ground floor laboratories took place on 18 September. All facilities within the laboratories meet current standards and provide specialised work environments for the Australian Antarctic Division’s research programs.  

The newly constructed building, which links existing structures, has also proceeded ahead of schedule and the first floor has now been occupied by scientists of the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program following inspections completed on 27 September. Accommodation for around forty-four personnel has been achieved. The same fitout criteria were used in this building, including a skylight. A much needed conference room is provided within the building along with tea making and recycling facilities.

The ground floor provides accommodation for the Space and Atmospheric Sciences Program, and houses a herbarium and state of the art aquarium.

Changes to AAD publications procedures

The Australian Antarctic Division publishes Reports, Research Notes and other selected publications both in print and electronically on our web site.

The AAD also maintains a searchable database of titles of Australian Antarctic publications or published articles — which covers over 10,600 recorded scientific papers. This database has recently been streamlined. While still maintaining the 14 programs within which each published article resides and the five categories under which each scientific publication is classified for measuring output, the database is now a one-point entry system.

A downloadable PDF is now to be used when submitting newly published articles for inclusion on the Australian Antarctic Division’s publications database. Publications staff are happy to enter or edit your publication. Contact them for assistance.

The AAD is no longer keeping excess reprints. Authors who would like surplus copies returned to them should contact Publications staff before 17 January 2003.