Additional comments by the Australian Greens

Additional comments by the Australian Greens

1.1        The Greens support the recommendations of the inquiry into Australia’s future activities and responsibilities in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters. However we would like it noted that the Greens are proposing two further recommendations that we believe will ensure the ongoing viability of Southern Ocean and Antarctic science and research.

1.2        There are thousands of scientists working in Hobart. Hobart has the highest number of scientists per capita of any city in Australia. Any cuts to scientific research funding across Australia therefore have a greater impact on Hobart. The research sector is crucial to Hobart and Tasmania. As the Tasmanian Government stated in its evidence at the hearing in Hobart, for Tasmania the Antarctic sector represents in the 'order of $600 million to $700 million per annum, based on ... figures for 2011 and 2012'.

Recommendation 1

1.3        A minimum of 20 per cent of the Australian Antarctic Division budget should be ring fenced for science, including the associated logistical support. This should be looked at more closely in line with Recommendation 13 in the report.

1.4          During the federal election the government promised funding to extend Hobart Airport’s runway to attract larger aeroplanes and international carriers to fly to Hobart. It has become increasingly clear that at least in the short term international carriers will not be utilising Hobart Airport.

1.5        The new CSIRO research ship the RV Investigator was designed to spend 300 days per year at sea to support scientific research. Following cuts by the Government the ship is only funded for 180 days of science. At $140,000 per day running costs, reallocating the Hobart airport funding could keep the RV Investigator at sea for an extra 85 days per year over the next three years.

Recommendation 2

1.6        As a temporary measure the funding provided for the Hobart Airport runway extension should be diverted into providing more days for the ship RV Investigator to conduct work.


Senator Peter Whish-Wilson

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