Greens spokesperson for Antarctica, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has today released the most comprehensive Antarctic science funding package ever put forward by a political party.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The work of Australia’s Antarctic scientists is pivotal in understand the risk of climate change. Nothing shows this more than the recent discovery that the East Antarctic ice-sheet giant isn’t as stable as we thought and is now starting to collapse. This alone could potentially add several metres to catastrophic sea-level rise.
“Without understanding Antarctica we can’t hope to better predict the droughts, fires and floods that have plagued Tasmania over this unprecedented summer. The work of our Antarctic scientists is central to how we manage our economy over the coming years and decades and our investment in Antarctic science should reflect this.
“On top of cuts to CSIRO, the funding for the Antarctic Ecosystems and Climate Cooperative Research Centre and the Antarctic Gateway Partnership runs out in the coming years without any sign it will be renewed by the major parties.
“This suggests that in the future the brand new ice-breaker will be steaming back and forth to the icy south with barely any scientists on board. The Greens want to make sure that we spend more money on scientists than we do on filling the fuel tank of the ice-breaker.
“The Greens Antarctic and Southern Ocean Package will ensure that we have enough scientists to do the work that is so critical for us all. Hobart should be the world’s most vibrant Antarctic gateway city. To do this we need to have a science framework that is well funded and provides genuine career prospects.
“We are already losing our world-class scientists from Hobart to redundancies and the job prospects for those coming through the University of Tasmania looking to work on Antarctic science are looking bleak.
“The Greens Antarctic and Southern Ocean science package is worth $115.7 million over the forward estimates period.
The Greens will:
- invest $4.4 million per year to establish a designated ice-sheet unit within the Australian Antarctic Division
- re-fund the continuation of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC and the UTAS Antarctic Gateway at current funding levels
- require the Productivity Commission to provide a full economic valuation of the output of Australia’s Antarctic Science Program and knowledge base
- establish the role of Antarctic Envoy in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- ensure that a full response is provided to all 35 recommendations contained in the Press Review within the first three months of the term of the new Government