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Tuesday, 23 April 1985
Page: 1411

(Question No. 71)

Senator Puplick asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science, upon notice, on 20 March 1985:

(1) Has the Minister for Science noted the outstanding success of Project Blizzard which has just returned from Antarctica.

(2) Has the Minister noted the call by the expedition leader for the Commonwealth Government to support work on the restoration of Sir Douglas Mawson's hut in the Antarctic.

(3) Does the Minister agree that Sir Douglas Mawson's hut is in fact a most significant historical and scientific memorial commemorating Australia's long and distinguished role in the Antarctic; if so, is the Minister prepared to give consideration to the call for support for this project which has otherwise been financed almost entirely by private enterprise and the individual initiative of the expedition's members.

Senator Button —The Acting Minister for Science has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Minister for Science met with the Project Blizzard organisers soon after their return from Antarctica. The main purpose of the Project Blizzard 1984-85 expedition was to assess the condition of the buildings and the artefacts at the site of the base for Mawson's 1911-14 expedition. The preliminary report which Project Blizzard gave to the Minister indicated that the expedition had achieved its objectives.

(2) and (3) The importance of Mawson's Hut has been recognised by its listing on the register of the National Estate and by its declaration as an Historical Monument under the Antarctic Treaty system. The Minister for Science expects to receive Project Blizzard's detailed report on its assessment of the building's condition in mid 1985. Any ensuing request for Commonwealth Government support for the project will be given careful consideration in the context of Australia's overall Antarctic program, and in the light of Project Blizzard's detailed proposals for conservation work.