Outcome 3: Antarctica
Advancement of Australia's strategic, scientific, environmental and economic interests in the Antarctic by protecting, administering and researching the region
At a glance
- The Australian Antarctic science program undertook a total of 107 science projects from 30 institutions involving collaboration with a further 244 institutions from 27 countries.
- 1 000 tonnes of contaminated waste was removed from a disused tip near Casey Station, completing a 15 year remediation program.
- In a world first, the sex life of Antarctic Krill in the wild was caught on camera by Australian Antarctic Division scientists, 507 metres off East Antarctica.
- When a 78 kilometre piece of the Mertz Glacier tongue broke off exposing a section of the Southern Ocean previously covered in hundreds of metres of ice, over 1 800 still images of the sea floor were taken at depths from 170–2 300 metres.
- 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the departure of Australia’s first Antarctic Expedition, led by Sir Douglas Mawson in 1911–1914.
- In 2011 the inaugural R J L Hawke Post Doctoral Fellowship in Antarctic Environmental Science was awarded to geneticist, Dr Bruce Deagle. The three year fellowship honours former Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s contribution to protecting the Antarctic environment. Dr Deagle commenced the fellowship in March 2011. Fellows are employed at the Australian Antarctic Division, based at Kingston in Tasmania.
The objectives of Australia’s Antarctic program are based on the region’s strategic, scientific, environmental and potential economic importance for Australia. They include:
- conducting scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean that supports national policy and environmental management priorities, in particular taking advantage of the special opportunities the Antarctic offers for globally significant and coordinated research
- preserving our sovereignty over the Australian Antarctic Territory, including our sovereign rights over adjacent offshore areas
- protecting the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean environment, having regard to its special qualities and effects on our region
- maintaining Antarctica’s freedom from strategic and/or political confrontation
- being informed about developments in a region geographically close to Australia and being able to influence them
- deriving any reasonable economic benefits from living and non-living resources of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean (excluding deriving benefits from mining and oil drilling in the Antarctic Treaty area)
- developing arrangements with other Antarctic programs to improve cooperation in science and logistics.