Chinese Antarctic vessel to visit Tasmania Wed 24 October 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Download hi-res version Efforts to strengthen economic ties between China and Tasmania are already starting to reap benefits, with the announcement today that a Chinese Antarctic icebreaker will resupply in Hobart in January. The news follows meetings between the Premier, Lara Giddings, and Chinese Antarctic officials during the Asian Trade Mission last month. Ms Giddings said the visit further strengthened Tasmania's reputation as an international base for Antarctic logistics and research. "I am pleased to announce that the Chinese icebreaker Xuelong will resupply in Hobart from the 19th to the 22nd of January," Ms Giddings said. "As part of this visit there will be also be an exchange of around 30 Chinese scientists. "Plans are now already underway for a science forum between Chinese and Australian scientists working in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean to coincide with the Xuelong's Hobart visit. "The State Government is also working with the Hobart City Council and the Tasmanian Polar Network to provide a civic welcome for the vessel and to ensure that quality products and services are provided as part of Xuelong's resupply. "The visit of the Xuelong is a tangible outcome of my recent trade mission to China and I hope it is just the start of things to come." Ms Giddings said Tasmania was perfectly placed to create jobs and opportunities from the rapid expansion of China's Antarctic and Southern Ocean research program. "The Polar Research Institute of China estimates more than 1000 Chinese researchers will be deployed in Antarctica within the next few years. "The Chinese are also working on a new icebreaker which is due for completion by the 2013/14 season. "All this signals further opportunity for Tasmania to tap into China as the biggest jobs engine in the world. "We are also undertaking a $7 million transformation of the Macquarie Wharf Shed Number 2 into an Antarctic resupply depot and cruise ship terminal to maximise Hobart's deep port advantage." Ms Giddings said Tasmania had a wealth of expertise in Antarctic resupply and logistics as a result of many decades working with both the Australian and French research programs. "Hobart's concentration of Antarctic, Southern Ocean and climate science expertise is a major draw card for scientists and policy makers all across the world. "The Antarctic sector is worth in excess of $180 million to the Tasmanian economy and already employs more than 850 highly skilled Tasmanians - including around 650 scientists and more than 180 jobs in logistics. "The Tasmanian Government is committed to grow this contribution to the economy and community."