Australia’s leadership in Antarctic science and research has been reinforced with the commitment today of an extra $25.2 million over two years for the Australian Antarctic Division and funding of $11.7 million in 2009–10 to continue the Airlink program, Environment Minister Peter Garrett said today.

“We have been a world leader in Antarctica for nearly 100 years since Australia’s Douglas Mawson led expeditions south.

“Ever since then we have been at the forefront of global efforts to ensure Antarctica’s protection and instrumental in driving international research efforts, helping the world understand both the region as well as the potential impacts of climate change globally.

"This funding will underpin those efforts, confirming our commitment to scientific research, ensuring the maintenance of infrastructure at our 3 Antarctic stations, our aerodrome and our station at Macquarie Island, and continuing the Government's commitment to the Airlink program with $11.7 million in 2009-10," Mr Garrett said.

“The Antarctic support industry is one of the largest industries in Tasmania, contributing around $150 million annually to its economy.

“This total commitment of $36.9 million over the next two years therefore not only underlines our commitment to the principles of the Antarctic Treaty and our international responsibilities, but will also provide a welcome boost to the Tasmanian economy.”