Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has recognised Australia’s growing presence in Antarctica for a boost to the state’s economy.
Australia lays claim to about one-quarter of the Antarctic continent, and Tasmania’s proximity to the ice makes it an ideal jump-off point for oceangoing and airborne expeditions. As a consequence, Mr Rockliff – who is also the Minister for State Development, Trade and the Antarctic – says the Antarctic brings in more than $183 million each year to the state’s economy.
“Tasmania’s strong scientific, logistics, advanced manufacturing and technological capabilities, together with Hobart’s port and airport infrastructure, makes us a natural hub of Antarctic activity,” he said.
“The sector also continues to support and create jobs, with the workforce growing by 32 per cent in the past decade.
“These findings demonstrate the strength of the state’s contribution to Australia’s national Antarctic capability and cements Tasmania’s position as a world-leading gateway to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.”
The expedition season to the ice usually runs from October to March, with workforce positioning flights departing Hobart Airport for the ice runway at Wilkins Station, and resupply vessels also staging from Hobart.
The report The Contribution of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Sector to the Tasmanian Economy 2021-22 found that resupplying the Antarctic bases with fuel, food, medical supplies, communications, and scientific and heavy equipment each year is probably the single-most complex and expensive function the Antarctic program takes. And with much of those supplies being purchased in Tasmania, the state economy benefits.
The report also says the research, training, and support services to the Australian Antarctic program and other Antarctic projects from around the world employ nearly 1000 people in Tasmania, an increase of 322 jobs over the past decade.
The Premier also recognised the establishment of the Antarctic Women’s Network and its inaugural talk series, which he launched.
“This network has a clear goal of supporting and promoting the role of women in the Antarctic sector, which is a key delivery of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s Tasmanian Antarctic Gateway Strategy,” he said.
“Women have played an important and growing role in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean sector, and this role has been ever expanding.
“We welcome the network and the role it can play in attracting more women into the workplace, as well as providing support and guidance for female leaders in the industry.”