Outstanding Antarctic Partnership Proposal Thu 14 March 2013 David O'Byrne Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology The Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, David O'Byrne, has lobbied the Federal Government to support a new partnership putting Tasmania at the forefront of global Antarctic science. The Australian Antarctic Division, the CSIRO, and the University of Tasmania are looking to join forces on Antarctic, Southern Ocean and climate change research. "Tasmania's already a global Antarctic science leader. This outstanding partnership would truly make us the world powerhouse," Mr O'Byrne said. "We're looking at three exceptional research centres combining their resources, expertise and training to reach the next level. "That's a massive opportunity for Tasmanian students, jobs, and our reputation on the world stage. "I led a delegation to Canberra yesterday, to make the Federal Government fully aware of this outstanding opportunity. "There's tri-partite support from all three parties in the Tasmanian Parliament, which is very welcome," he said. The proposed partnership would boost Tasmania's Antarctic science and research sector by: • Making it a recognised global leader in climate change science. • Increasing Tasmania's scope of research by combining work across several disciplines - eg. climate scientists from the Antarctic Division working directly with marine biologists from CSIRO. • Further boosting Hobart's reputation as a global hub for the sector. • Helping deliver the 'big science' needed to understand environmental changes (particularly in climate and ecosystems) that can only be achieved by leveraging substantial co-investment. • Helping to attract new Antarctic partnership opportunities from Asia - and therefore supporting the goals if the Commonwealth's Australia in the Asian Century White Paper. • Enhancing Australian leadership and influence in the Antarctic Treaty System. The plan would rely on support of $6.5 million a year from the Australian Government. The partners (AAD, CSIRO and UTAS) would co-invest more than $62 million a year (including 30 full-time equivalent staff, $8-12 million in logistics, and $8 million non-staff-in-kind). There would also be anticipated investment by overseas partners. "The threat of climate change means the need for strong, ground-breaking Antarctic research has never been greater," Mr O'Byrne said. "This partnership would make us a global leader in confronting those crucial challenges. "Antarctic science and research is a massive natural strength for Tasmania, and we're playing to it aggressively. "That's what our Economic Development Plan and diversification strategy is all about," he said. Tasmania's Antarctic science and research sector: • Is one of 10 key growth industries highlighted in Tasmania's Economic Development Plan; • Employs about 850 people, and generates almost $200 million each year (the wider public research sector employs about 3,200 Tasmanians and contributes $500 million to Gross State Product). • Is home to more than two-thirds (65 per cent) of Australia's Antarctic and Southern Ocean research scientists. • Performs crucial research into global warming and environmental threats (as well as its economic contribution). The Tasmanian Government is also supporting the growing sector by: • Developing (through Tasports) a $7-million Antarctic and cruise ship terminal at Macquarie Wharf Number 2. • Providing land and support for the University of Tasmania's new $45 million Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. • Remediating the nearby Macquarie Point railyards site for new development - which may include science and research opportunities. • Identifying it as a key priority sector in the recent Economic Development Plan and regional plans, which provide a strategy for growth over the next decade. • Launching a comprehensive plan to help grow the sector - "Reaching our Potential: Developing Tasmania's Science Research Capability". • Hosting the recent Antarctic Centennial Year, and supporting a range of associated events. The Australian and Tasmanian Governments, along with the private sector, invest about $500 million each year into Tasmania's science research sector.