China encouraged to base Antarctic operations in Tasmania Fri 14 September 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Download hi-res version China has been encouraged to base its Antarctic shipping operations in Hobart during a meeting between the Premier, Lara Giddings, and senior Chinese officials. Ms Giddings and today held high-level meetings with the Vice Minister for Land and Resources, Dr Wang Min, and the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAAA). The Ministry for Land and Resources is responsible for all land, mineral and marine resources in China, including Antarctic policy. "This is an incredibly valuable opportunity to talk to senior government officials about increasing collaboration between Australia and China on Antarctic research and logistics," Ms Giddings said. "Dr Min was very receptive to these discussions and was also keen to discuss the Tasmanian mining industry." The visit builds on the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between CAAA and Australian Antarctic Division in Hobart to strengthen collaboration between the two organisations. "There are encouraging signs that China is open to exploring the possibility of moving its shipping operations from Fremantle in Western Australia to Hobart, which would provide a significant boost to the Tasmanian economy. "Tasmania has the advantage of hosting the Australian Antarctic Airlink and I have spoken to Chinese officials about the potential of establishing an aviation presence alongside Australia." Ms Giddings said Tasmania had a lot to offer as a base for Antarctic research, education and logistics. "China has an ambitious Antarctic research program with two stations inside Australian Antarctic Territory including Kunlun Station, which is currently under construction on the highest point of the Antarctic plateau," Ms Giddings said. "As China's Antarctic presence grows, so too do the logistical and research challenges. Tasmania can offer solutions to those challenges. "Hobart Port is currently being upgraded and the Macquarie 2 shed will provide a new state-of-the-art Antarctic logistics and cargo hub. "Tasmania is also a leader when it comes to Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean science, research, and education with construction of the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies currently underway on the Hobart waterfront. "The University of Tasmania has been involved in discussions today about potential collaborations through IMAS. "Chinese Antarctic authorities recognise the valuable expertise of the Tasmanian Polar Network - a 55 member organisation of research and education institutions and businesses which specialise the manufacture and modification of world class transport, safety equipment and apparel. "Indeed, they have already made substantial purchases through Tasmanian companies, including William Adams which has sold four Challenger tractors to service Kunlun Station." Ms Giddings said the itinerary for the China Trade Mission included further meetings with Chinese Antarctic authorities, including the Polar Research Institute of China. "Tasmania's proximity to Antarctica and depth of expertise in science and research are key competitive advantages that we can use to create high-skilled jobs and significant investment in our economy."