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Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment

Federal Budget 1997

Howard Government Support for Antarctic Research

13 May 1997

The Howard Government continues to place a major emphasis on the protection of the Antarctic environment through the 1997-98 budget.

‘Our ongoing commitment to the Australian Antarctic program is highlighted in the 1997/98 budget funding of $61m for the program,’ said Senator Ian Macdonald, Parliamentary Secretary for the Antarctic.

‘The Australian Antarctic program undertakes a wide range of scientific research, specifically projects that assist environmental management of the region, which significantly contribute to Australia’s continuing international influence in Antarctic affairs,’ Senator Macdonald said.

‘One of the major research projects is focussed on seeking information on changes to the vast Antarctic ice sheet. The ice sheet research will seek answers on how the ice sheet behaved in earlier times, how it affected neighbouring climate systems and how it may be affected by potential changes in global climate’.

The research program this year will also see the continuing studies into the impacts of human activity, exotic toxins and pathogens in Antarctic penguins and sea birds and surveys of the distribution and abundance of pack-ice seals.

The program provides scientific knowledge to assist environmental management of the region, and to increase Australia’s international influence in Antarctic affairs.

The Government this year is also providing $250,000 to assist the AAP Mawson’s Huts Foundation to undertake conservation works on the original huts, constructed during Sir Douglas Mawson’s 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition and which remain a significant part of Australia’s Antarctic heritage.

For further comment contact Mark Elliott (06) 277 3665

Commonwealth of Australia