Antarctic links deliver benefits to Tasmania Tue 21 August 2012 David O'Byrne Minister for Economic Development Tasmania's links to the Antarctic are continuing to deliver strong economic benefits to the state's economy, the Minister for Economic Development, David O'Byrne, said today. Mr O'Byrne said conferences, events and voyages that formed part of the Antarctic Centennial Year had injected more than $5 million into the Tasmanian economy. "We're very proud of our links to Antarctica, and the continuing recognition of Tasmania's status as the nation's Antarctic gateway," he said. "Through our work with with Tasports, the Australian Antarctic Division, the University of Tasmania and the CSIRO, we are determined to preserve and enhance that reputation. "Tasports is currently part-way through a major re-development of Macquarie Shed Number 2 which, when completed, will see the facility provide an unparalleled logistic base to service the growing Antarctic fleet. "And, immediately across the harbour, the University of Tasmania is building the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, which will provide a base and learning environment for the growing Antarctic scientific community." Mr O'Byrne said Tasmania's reputation as the Gateway to the Antarctic has been reinforced through a range of events held in the state as part of the Antarctic Centennial Year. "These include the 2011 International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators; the Third International Forum on the Sub-Antarctic; the 30th Annual Meeting of the Commission of Antarctic Marine and Living Resources and the 2012 Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting," he said. "These significant gatherings, combined with the major infrastructure projects underway, have placed Tasmania at the centre of Antarctic strategy for all participating countries. "As a result, we've seen Korea begin to develop business ties with a number of Tasmanian Polar Network members, in relation to resupply for their Jang Bogo station. "As part of the Antarctic Memorandum of Understanding between China and Australia, which was signed at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, it's been proposed annual meetings would be held alternately in Hobart and Beijing to progress this MOU. "Tasmanian state representatives will be involved, as appropriate, in those meetings, demonstrating recognition of the Tasmanian Government's role in supporting the MOU, and in Hobart's role as the Australian Antarctic hub." Mr O'Byrne praised the work of the AAD, the Tasmanian Government's Antarctic Division and the Tasmanian Polar Network for their hard work on the events during the Antarctic Centennial Year that are delivering significant benefits. "Our Antarctic sector is growing rapidly, and presents tremendous opportunities for Tasmania to generate economic growth, employment and capacity through attracting investment from member nations such as Korea and China," he said. "During her trade mission to Asia, the Premier will also meet with representatives from China's Antarctic Sector to see how we can further grow investment in the sector. "Through our support and investment in this area, we are continuing to pursue every opportunity to develop and build our economy in innovative and strategic ways."