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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

17 April 2002

$670,000 in Antarctic Science Grants Awarded

Global and regional climate change, the health and well being of the wildlife and managing the Southern Ocean ecosystem are the main study themes among the Antarctic research projects granted Australian Government funding this year.

Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Antarctic, announced today that the Government has allocated $670 000 for 54 projects under the Australian Antarctic Science Grants (AAS) program for 2002 - 2003.

"The scientists undertaking these projects are following the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty, which has set aside Antarctica for peaceful purposes, in particular the pursuit of science for better understanding of the region and for the benefit of all the world", Dr Stone said.

"Our Antarctic grants scheme is a good illustration of the Government's commitment to supporting long-term research that assists our understanding of this frozen continent to our south while helping us to preserve its natural qualities".

"Australia leads the world in research into managing Southern Ocean fisheries. This is essential to ensure that the potential impact of illegal fishers is understood, the takes that are possible with development of a sustainable fishery and the conservation of animals - especially seabirds - endangered by that activity.

"It is important that we sustain this level of research if we are to continue to have an influence in the international forums that help us to regulate the fishing industries," Dr Stone said.

The Australian Antarctic Division's Chief Scientist, Prof. Michael Stoddart, said that with the Australian research program's five-year science plan now three years old, a more complete picture of fundamental processes and changes in the region was beginning to emerge.

Among the projects supported this season are:

The 54 projects awarded an AAS grant this year are among 130 research projects to be conducted next summer.

The announcement coincided with a meeting of the Antarctic Science Advisory Council (ASAC) at Environment Australia's headquarters in Canberra. ASAC is the premier advisory body to the Federal Government on the direction of Australia's Antarctic program, priority areas for scientific research and the effectiveness of Australia's participation in international scientific programs.

Further information:
Science program information:
Professor Michael Stoddart, Chief ANARE Scientist, AAD, 03 6232 3205 or mobile 0409 854 847
General Information:
Cathy Bruce, Public Relations Officer, AAD, 03 6232 3513 or mobile 0438 323 514;
Peter Boyer, Information Services Manager, AAD, 03 6232 3515 or mobile 0417 562 196
Dr Stone's office:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468

Commonwealth of Australia