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Without scientists, Antarctic infrastructure is meaningless

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 27 Apr 2020

Today's Federal announcement of the Antarctic Science Strategic Plan continues the Government's blind approach to Antarctic science funding through infrastructure, but neglects the very programs and livelihoods that this infrastructure is supposed to support.

Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said, "Aerodromes and runways and boats are nothing if there aren't the scientists, researchers, skippers and pilots to occupy them.

"They are meaningless if there isn't long-term research funding certainty to underwrite our future presence in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean.

"Infrastructure is just a means to an end, not the end goal itself - that's putting the cart before the horse.

"This announcement is just more proof that the Government is neglecting investment in people, communities and long-term climate science policy. 

"Without scientists and programs there is no real substance to today's announcement.

"The Government needs to fix significant science funding gaps before it boasts building shiny new things.

"We already heard that last week's ARC funding for Antarctic research leaves Tasmania behind, as evidenced by comments from UTAS itself. 

"This announcement suggests we are on even shakier ground unless there is future funding certainty for the hundreds of Tasmanian research jobs that rely on it.

"There have been two expensive reviews conducted which advised exactly this, but the Government has clearly chosen to ignore the expertise.

"I call on the Government to implement the Clarke Review and fix critical funding gaps. 

"In the midst of so much uncertainty, we need increased long-term investment in the science programs and research capability that make Tasmanian jobs tick."

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