Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, Whaling and Antarctica, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, welcomes the unveiling of a toy icebreaker model by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Environment Minister Greg Hunt in Hobart today.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “It is a positive move that the Government has provided a scale-model of the new icebreaker that they intend to purchase. Unfortunately the Government hasn’t provided any update on how the tender is advancing since 13 January 2015 and no contract has been issued for its construction.
“More concerningly the Government has been sitting on its response to the 20-year Antarctic Review for more than a year now. The Government was presented with the 20-year strategy from Dr Tony Press in October last year and promised a response within months, yet nothing has been forthcoming.
“With the Turnbull government’s focus on the commercialisation of science there is a real concern in the science community that funding public-good science like Antarctic and climate science will fall by the wayside.
“The recent advances in Antarctic science have rewritten our understanding of the risks of climate change with the collapse of the Antarctic ice-sheets now a real possibility. Expanding our scientific endeavours in Antarctica is crucial to our understanding of the future of our planet under a changing climate.
“While the unveiling of a scale-model of a potential ice-breaker is welcome, what would be more useful would be a response to the 20-year Antarctic Review and a long-term commitment to increasing funding for the Australian Antarctic Division,” he concluded.
-last official update on icebreaker procurement progress here
-last official update on 20-year review response here