Two of China’s icebreakers Xue Long and Xue Long 2 are visiting Hobart this week cementing Tasmania’s status as the world’s leading Antarctic gateway – by both sea and air.
Our state has a unique competitive advantage due to our proximity to Antarctica and the Hodgman majority Liberal Government is capitalising on this to grow the value of this important sector.
Our Antarctic sector currently employs more than 850 Tasmanians and value adds an enormous $186 million into the Tasmanian economy each year.
International icebreaker port calls can each inject up to $1 million into our economy, and importantly reinforces our place as a global Antarctic gateway.
This supports an array of international scientific partnerships and attracts hundreds of expeditioners from France, Italy, China, the United States, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan.
Most importantly, Tasmanian small businesses are providing a wide range of goods and services to visiting Antarctic vessels, including local shipping agents, providores, welders and engineering firms.
The Government has long known Tasmania is perfectly positioned as the international Antarctic gateway, and we are working to ensure the sector continues to grow, creates more jobs and benefits our economy.
This work is already underway, with the investigation of a Science and Antarctic Precinct at Macquarie Point underway as part of the Hobart City Deal and the Australian Government looking to invest $62.5 million in upgrading Australia’s research station network.
We are also currently providing $300,000 a year to support a range of Antarctic collaborations, including the Tasmanian Polar Network, the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS), the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), International Secretariat, and Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) International Secretariat.