The Greens have long recognised the economic and scientific opportunities that Tasmania’s proximity to Antarctica offer but the sector needs to be funded properly if that vision is to be realised, Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne said today.
“I welcome Dr Press's report outlining how the vision for Tasmania and Antarctica can be progressed,” Senator Milne said.
“I have campaigned for China to make Hobart its Antarctic base as this could be a huge boost for collaborative research for our university, for tourism and for business.
“But the Abbott government cannot have it both ways.
“Mr Abbott cannot claim to support Hobart as an Antarctic hub while cutting funding to the research institutions which give it global significance.
“Efficiency dividends and other cuts are killing the Antarctic and Southern Ocean programs.
“The CSIRO is set to lose at least 50 Tasmanian positions as a result of Abbott government cuts.
“And while the government is investing in infrastructure, it has slashed ongoing funding for the Australian Antarctic program by 15 per cent and only funded the CSIRO’s new Investigator vessel to operate for 180 of the 300 days of research it is capable of.
“The federal government must reverse its funding cuts to research institutions like the CSIRO and Antarctic Division and recognise that every time the Prime Minister opens his mouth on climate he undermines Australia being taken seriously as a research dollar destination.
“Climate denialism and a vision for engagement with Southern Ocean and Antarctic research are completely incompatible,” Senator Milne said.