Greg Hunt

Federal Member for Flinders | Minister for Industry, Innovation & Science

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Australian and China strengthen Antarctic ties

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH HON TONY ABBOTT MP, PRIME MINISTER

Australia and China have reaffirmed a long tradition of collaboration in Antarctic diplomacy, science, logistics and operations during a visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Prime Minister Abbott and President Xi witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Hobart today, which recognises the close Antarctic relationship between the two nations.

Australia helped facilitate China’s first visit to east Antarctica thirty years ago and has provided support to the Chinese Antarctic program over the years through our intercontinental air capability, logistics and medical services.

International collaboration is critical in Antarctica and this MoU further reinforces the importance of working together in the hostile, remote and fragile Antarctic environment.

The MoU:

• Affirms a commitment to the Antarctic Treaty system, including non-militarisation, environmental protection and science in the region;
• Establishes a joint committee for discussions on cooperative actions and exchanges, which will meet every two years;
• Establishes a mechanism for environmental, policy, scientific and operational collaboration;
• Establishes a platform for Antarctic official and academic fellowships.

The MoU is another example of the Federal Government’s commitment to Antarctica, and aligns with recommendations outlined in the recently released report on a 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan.

Australia is also currently seeking tenders for a new icebreaker that will provide the basis for greater science and logistics collaboration.

China is an important Antarctic nation, with four stations on the frozen continent.  Australia has three Antarctic stations, Casey, Davis and Mawson.

The Antarctic sector makes a significant contribution to Tasmania’s economy, generating over $200 million annually and employing approximately 1,000 people.

The Government is committed to strengthening Hobart’s position as the gateway for Antarctic research and services to the region, which will create jobs and boost growth in Tasmania.

18 November 2014

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