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A new era for Antarctic Science

21 June 2018

Joint release with the Minister for the Environment and Energy, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP and the Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Simon Birmingham MP.

The Coalition Government is establishing a new Australian Antarctic Science Council to revitalise science research on a new platform, as well as boost Hobart’s position as an Antarctic science hub, and as the premier gateway to Antarctica.

The new Antarctic Science Council will provide further strategic direction for the Australian Antarctic Program, oversee science funding priorities and ensure funds directly support Antarctic research, reducing administrative costs and making it easier to plan multi-year projects.

Australia has developed world-class Antarctic science capabilities over many decades, much of which is based in Hobart. Comprising an independent Chair and representatives from key Antarctic science agencies, the Council will enhance Australia’s international reputation for Antarctic science.

The Coalition Government has committed more than $100 million over the next 10 years for Antarctic science, delivered through two new initiatives:

  • The Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative with $5 million per year for 10 years from 2019-20, delivered by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
  • The Special Research Initiative in Excellence in Antarctic Science with $8 million per year for seven years from January 2020, delivered by the Australian Research Council.

The establishment of the Council is the first step in implementing the recommendations of a review into the governance of Australia’s Antarctic Science Program, undertaken by Mr Drew Clarke, a highly-respected former senior public servant.

The review was undertaken to ensure Antarctic investments are effective, joined-up and fit-for-purpose. The Government has supported, either in full or in principle, all nine recommendations in the Clarke Review.

This revamp of science funding delivers on the Coalition Government’s Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan to increase Antarctic research.

The Clarke Review and the Government’s response can be found at www.environment.gov.au/antarctic-review

Media contacts:

Minister Cash's office 02 6277 7320

Minister Frydenberg's office 02 6277 7920

Minister Birmingham's office 02 6277 7350