Australia has launched a new Antarctic strategy

Adelie penguins on ice. Image: David Barringhaus/Australian Antarctic Division

Australia has launched a new Antarctic strategy and 20 year plan including a new icebreaker ship for research and resupply.

The federal government announced $255 million in funding over the next ten years to enhance Antarctic logistics and science capabilities.

This includes $55 million for infrastructure and $200 million for the Australian Antarctic program.

Under the Antarctic Treaty system, Antarctica is designated as a natural reserve, free of mining and devoted to peace, environmental protection and cooperative international science.

“One of the principles of the Antarctic treaty is that sovereignty is maintained and recognised through use and in particular scientific research and a presence in the Antarctic,” says federal environment minister Greg Hunt.

Australia asserts sovereignty over 42% of the Antarctic continent, the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Australia’s first Antarctic expedition, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914, was led by Sir Douglas Mawson.