Australia is pushing ahead with major upgrades of Antarctic research stations to strengthen its science and presence on the icy continent.

Expressions of Interest have opened on AusTender for a delivery partner in the Antarctic Infrastructure Renewal Program.

The Australian Antarctic Division is seeking to establish an alliance-type contract with a construction partner to deliver the program in partnership with industry.

In 2019 the Australian Government announced an investment of more than $450 million over the next ten years to modernise the network of research stations and supporting infrastructure.

Initial works will focus on renewing assets reaching their end of life, including new facilities at Wilkins aerodrome and ski landing areas at Casey and Davis to improve services and safety for summer operating aircraft crews and expeditioners.

Infrastructure at Davis research station will be upgraded to increase the station population and improve operations.

Longer term priorities over the next decade include:

  • Renewal of end-of-life infrastructure
  • Modernisation of fuel, water, energy, and communications infrastructure
  • Upgrading heavy vehicles and mobile equipment
  • Provision of cutting-edge medical technology
  • Reduction of Australia’s carbon footprint in Antarctica
  • Improvement of assets such as boats, wharfs and aerodromes.

All works will be subject to rigorous environmental approvals while old or disused buildings will undergo decommissioning and site remediation.

Expressions of Interest are open to 5 September. A contract is expected to be awarded by the middle of 2023, with some works beginning over the 2023-24 Antarctic season.