A specially-designed Australian Antarctic Division facility on Hobart’s waterfront is a step closer with work on the redevelopment of Macquarie Wharf Number 2 to start next month.

The General Manager of the Division’s Support Centre, Dr Rob Wooding, said the new facility cements Hobart’s place as the gateway to Antarctica and is a huge boost for Australia’s Antarctic program.

“The redevelopment will provide a modern cargo and quarantine area allowing us to continue to provide first-class operational support for our Antarctic and sub Antarctic stations now and into the future,” Dr Wooding said.

“The cruise ship facilities included in the project will also provide our Antarctic expeditioners with a spacious and comfortable area to farewell their families before boarding the ship to head south.”

The eastern end of the shed will be devoted to the Antarctic Division’s operations. It will include a cargo facility, cold and cool store, briefing rooms and quarantine facilities.

“The building has an environmentally friendly design, with solar panels on the roof and rainwater tanks,” he said

“There is also a strong focus on bio-security measures with vermin traps, impenetrable walls and automatic shutter doors to reduce the risk of introduced species travelling south on our ships.”

Currently the Division’s cargo operations are run from Macquarie Wharf 4. The new facility will be ready for use in the 2013–14 Antarctic season.