In February 2022 the whole-of-government Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan Update was released setting out Australia’s national Antarctic interests and a vision for Australia’s future engagement in Antarctica. It recognises Australia’s strong strategic and scientific interests in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and sets out actions to support these over 20 years.
The funding measures include:
- $136.6 million to support Australia’s inland traverse capability, critical charting activities, mobile stations, environmental protection and other core activities
- $109 million to increase aerial and inland capability:
- $60.6 million for drone fleets and other autonomous vehicles able to map inaccessible and fragile areas of East Antarctic, establishing an ‘Antarctic eye’ with integrated sensors and cameras feeding real-time information
- $35 million for four new medium lift helicopters with a range of 550 kilometres that when launched from the Nuyina can access parts of the continent we could never reach previously
- $13.6 million for capability development to further enhance Australia’s reach inland including investigations into modern intracontinental aeroplanes
- $44.2 million in additional shipping support to enable the RSV Nuyina to focus on extended science voyages
- $17.4 million for marine science in the Southern Ocean and a new state-of-the-art krill aquarium in Hobart
- $14.3 million for environmental management including a ‘Cleaner Antarctica Strategy’ to remove legacy waste and to establish new ‘geographic information system’ technology to support environmental management
- $7.4 million for research focused on Antarctic ice sheet science to build global understanding of climate change impacts – improving our ability to support Pacific partners to monitor information about climate and oceans, including sea level rise
- $3.4 million to enhance Australia’s international engagement to support the rules and norms of the Antarctic Treaty system and promote Australia’s leadership in Antarctic affairs
The new funding package also includes $92.2 million a year from 2026-27 to further support Antarctic activities.