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Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee—Senate Standing—Australia’s future activities and responsibilities in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters—Report, dated October 2014


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The Senate

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

References Committee

Australia's future activities and responsibilities in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters

October 2014

 Commonwealth of Australia 2014

ISBN 978-1-76010-104-6

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.

The details of this licence are available on the Creative Commons website:

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/au/.

Printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra

Members of the committee

Core members Senator Alex Gallacher, ALP, SA (Chair) (from 1 July 2014) Senator Chris Back, LP, WA (Deputy Chair) (from 1 July 2014) Senator Sam Dastyari, ALP, NSW Senator Alan Eggleston, LP, WA (until 1 July 2014) Senator David Fawcett, LP, NSW Senator Scott Ludlam, AG, WA Senator Anne McEwen, ALP, SA Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens, ALP, NSW (until 1 July 2014) Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, AG, TAS (until 1 July 2014)

Substitute members

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, AG, TAS, replaced Senator Ludlam for the inquiry

Participating members who contributed to this inquiry Senator Jacqui Lambie, PUP, TAS Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald, LNP, QLD

Secretariat Mr David Sullivan, Committee Secretary Mr Owen Griffiths, Principal Research Officer Ms Shennia Spillane, Senior Research Officer Ms Kimberley Balaga, Research Officer Ms Megan Jones, Administrative Officer Mr Joshua Wrest, Administrative Officer

Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee Department of the Senate PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Australia

Phone: + 61 2 6277 3535 Fax: + 61 2 6277 5818 Email: fadt.sen@aph.gov.au Internet: www.aph.gov.au/senate_fadt

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Table of Contents

Members of the committee ............................................................................... iii

Abbreviations ....................................................................................................vii

Recommendations .............................................................................................. ix

Chapter 1.............................................................................................................. 1

Introduction .............................................................................................................. 1

Referral of inquiry and terms of reference ............................................................. 1

Conduct of the inquiry ............................................................................................ 1

Structure of the report ............................................................................................. 2

Background ............................................................................................................. 2

Acknowledgements ................................................................................................ 8

Note on references .................................................................................................. 9

Chapter 2............................................................................................................ 11

Looking south: Australia's interests and obligations .......................................... 11

The strategic environment: peace, science and growing international interest .... 11

Australia's policy framework ................................................................................ 14

Search and Rescue ................................................................................................ 17

Chapter 3............................................................................................................ 21

Combating crime in the Southern Ocean ............................................................. 21

Illegal fishing ........................................................................................................ 21

Whaling ................................................................................................................ 33

Chapter 4............................................................................................................ 39

Scientific research and the marine environment ................................................. 39

Harbinger of change: the significance of the Southern Ocean ............................. 39

Scientific research: the currency of the ATS ........................................................ 43

Mapping the southern waters................................................................................ 53

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Chapter 5............................................................................................................ 57

Resourcing Australia's engagement: investment and reward ........................... 57

Jobs and funding ................................................................................................... 57

Australia's maritime presence in the Southern Ocean .......................................... 61

Tasmania: the Antarctic gateway ......................................................................... 69

Whole-of-government coordination ..................................................................... 73

Chapter 6............................................................................................................ 77

Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 77

Additional comments by the Australian Greens ............................................ 79

Appendix 1 ......................................................................................................... 81

Public submissions .................................................................................................. 81

Appendix 2 ......................................................................................................... 83

Public hearings and witnesses ............................................................................... 83

Appendix 3 ......................................................................................................... 87

Tabled documents, answers to questions on notice and additional information

Appendix 4 ......................................................................................................... 89

Recommendations of the 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan ............ 89

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Abbreviations

20 Year Strategic Plan 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan AAD Australian Antarctic Division, Department of Environment

AAP Australian Antarctic Programme

AAT Australian Antarctic Territory

ACBPS Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

ACE CRC Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre ADF Australian Defence Force

AFMA Australian Fisheries Management Authority

AIMS Australian Institute of Marine Science

AMSA Australian Maritime Safety Authority

ATCM Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting

ATCP Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties

ATS Antarctic Treaty System

(consists of the Antarctic Treaty, CCAS, CAMLR Convention,

Madrid Protocol, and related measures)

BPC Border Protection Command

CAMLR Convention Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources CCAMLR Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources CCAS Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals

CCSBT Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna CEP Committee for Environmental Protection

(under the Madrid Protocol)

COLTO Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators

COMNAP Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs DFAT Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

ECS extended continental shelf

EEZ exclusive economic zone

HIMI the territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands

ICJ International Court of Justice

ICRW International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling

IMAS Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies,

University of Tasmania

IMO International Maritime Organisation

IMOS Integrated Marine Observing System

IUU Illegal, unreported and unregulated (fishing)

IWC International Whaling Commission

Madrid Protocol Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty MPA marine protected area/s

RFMO regional fisheries management organisations

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RPOA-IUU Regional Plan of Action to Promote Responsible Fishing Practices including Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in the Region

SAR search and rescue

SCAR Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

SORP Southern Ocean Research Partnership

UAV unmanned aerial vehicles

UNCLOS United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

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Recommendations

Recommendation 1

2.29 The committee recommends that the government reaffirms the primacy of the Antarctic Treaty System to Australia's sovereignty and national interests, and continues to support and resource Australia's robust engagement in Antarctic Treaty processes and fora in the pursuit and promotion of those interests.

Recommendation 2

2.32 The committee recommends that Antarctic and Southern Ocean issues be a standing theme for Australian ministers and officials in relevant multilateral and bilateral diplomatic discussions, particularly those with our Asian neighbours, and that Australia continues to seek all possible opportunities for constructive, practical cooperation with other nations engaging in that region.

Recommendation 3

3.50 The committee recommends that Australia commits to re-commencing maritime patrolling in the Southern Ocean, including a minimum of two 40-day patrols by the Ocean Shield in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 financial years.

Recommendation 4

3.53 The committee recommends that Australia explores the possibility of concluding new agreements with neighbouring and like-minded countries to cooperate in patrol and deterrence in the Southern Ocean, based upon the example of the arrangements presently in place with France.

Recommendation 5

3.57 The committee recommends that the government actively investigates the potential for further use of non-vessel technologies, including consideration of the potential application of new Defence assets, to support law enforcement and border patrolling in the Southern Ocean.

Recommendation 6

3.78 The committee recommends that the government commits to continued funding of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership for at least a further five years beyond the completion of the current funding in 2015.

Recommendation 7

3.79 The committee recommends that Australia prioritises the active pursuit of further diplomatic discussions with Japan about its future whale research plans, including extending a formal invitation to Japan to join the Southern Ocean Research Partnership.

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Recommendation 8

4.19 The committee recommends that researching the impact of changes in the Southern Ocean on the Australian and global climate remain a strategic priority in Australia's future planning and resourcing of scientific research.

Recommendation 9

4.20 The committee recommends that Australia continues its advocacy for the establishment by CCAMLR of new Marine Protected Areas in the waters of East Antarctica.

Recommendation 10

4.60 The committee recommends that an immediate commitment be made by the government to continue funding for Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific research beyond the sunset dates of existing collaborative initiatives in 2017 and 2019.

4.61 The committee further recommends that appropriate funding for Antarctic and Southern Ocean science be assured through a commitment in the Budget process to a funding cycle reflecting, and integrated with, the ten-year cycle of the Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan, and in line with Recommendation 13.

Recommendation 11

4.63 The committee recommends that future allocation of research funding for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean include specific funds to support young and early-career scientists, in recognition of Australia's comparative advantage in maintaining world-class scientific expertise in these fields into the future.

4.64 The committee further recommends that government agencies and scientific research organisations, particularly the science community based in Tasmania, work to develop a program of mentoring to facilitate information-sharing and professional support between experienced and retired scientists and those commencing in the field.

Recommendation 12

4.74 The committee recommends that resources be dedicated to the development and implementation of a Southern Ocean mapping program, as a whole-of-government initiative under the guidance and coordination of Geoscience Australia, and that such a strategy be included in future decisions about the allocation of funding and vessel time.

Recommendation 13

5.20 The committee endorses Recommendation 28 of the 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, proposing a comprehensive review of the budget and resourcing needs of the Australian Antarctic Division, and recommends that this be adopted and undertaken by the government as soon as practicable.

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Recommendation 14

5.52 The committee recommends that all options be examined including that budgetary allocation be provided to restore the ability of the RV Investigator to spend its optimum 300 days per year at sea, in support of Australian and international scientific research.

Recommendation 15

5.56 The committee recommends that an interagency working group be established to review Australia's current and proposed marine assets and their utilisation, and to explore the potential costs and benefits of a national fleet approach to the acquisition and management of Australian vessels.

5.57 Taking into account Recommendation 17, the committee further recommends that the working group should commission and draw on an independent expert study of Australia's requirements for effective patrol, surveillance and research including in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, the ability of existing national maritime assets to meet those requirements, significant gaps in capacity, and possible best-practice models for the management and coordination of national maritime assets to meet Australia's needs.

Recommendation 16

5.60 The committee recommends that CSIRO and the Australian Antarctic Division work on a streamlined and integrated approach to the management of scientific research proposals requiring vessel time in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, to ensure the efficient and appropriate use of vessels.

Recommendation 17

5.79 The committee recommends that the Commonwealth government and the Government of Tasmania work together on the development and implementation of a dedicated strategy for maximising Tasmania's potential as an Antarctic

Gateway, including joint investment toward the upgrading of Hobart's port and other key infrastructure, and drawing upon the recommendations made in the 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan.

Recommendation 18

5.95 The committee recommends that the government considers options for further strengthening whole-of-government coordination in the pursuit and promotion of Australia's national interests in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, including the appointment of an Australian Antarctic and Southern Ocean Ambassador to coordinate whole-of-government policy and to provide senior leadership for the promotion of Australia's interests and role domestically and internationally.

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Chapter 1 Introduction

Referral of inquiry and terms of reference 1.1 On 24 March 2014, the Senate referred Australia's future activities and responsibilities in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 28 August 2014.1 The reporting date was subsequently extended to 29 October 2014.2

1.2 The inquiry's terms of reference were as follows:

Australia’s future activities and responsibilities in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, including:

(a) Australia’s management and monitoring of the Southern Ocean in relation to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing;

(b) cooperation with international partners on management and research under international treaties and agreements;

(c) appropriate resourcing in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic territory for research and governance; and

(d) any other related matters.

Conduct of the inquiry 1.3 The committee advertised the inquiry on its website and in the media, inviting submissions to be lodged by 1 July 2014. The committee also wrote directly to a range of people and organisations likely to have an interest in matters covered by the terms of reference, inviting them to make written submissions.

1.4 The committee received 23 submissions to the inquiry. The submissions are listed at Appendix 1, and are available on the committee's website

at www.aph.gov.au/senate_fadt. Additional information, tabled documents and answers to questions on notice received during the inquiry are listed at Appendix 2, and are also available on the website.

1.5 The committee visited Tasmania on 15-16 September 2014. On 15 September the committee visited the Australian Antarctic Division's headquarters in Kingston, and toured the ships Aurora Australis and RV Investigator at Princes Wharf in Hobart. On 16 September the committee held a public hearing at the Hobart Function and Conference Centre. On 26 September, a second public hearing was held at Parliament House in Canberra. A list of the witnesses who appeared at the hearings is at Appendix 3. The Hansard transcripts of both hearings are available on the committee's website.

1 Journals of the Senate No.23 - 24 March 2014, p. 691.

2 Journals of the Senate No.43 - 15 July 2014, p. 1174.

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Structure of the report 1.6 The committee's report is in six chapters. Chapter 2 discusses the international context for Australia's interests and obligations in the Southern Ocean, and the key principles of Australian policy in the region. Chapter 3 examines threats posed by transnational crime and other illicit activities, particularly illegal fishing, and Australia's response. Chapter 4 considers the environmental importance of the Southern Ocean, scientific research issues, and maritime mapping. Chapter 5 assesses present and proposed future resourcing for Australia's activities in the southern waters, potential economic benefits, and strengthening management and coordination to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of our engagement. Chapter 6 provides the committee's conclusion.

Background

Australia's maritime jurisdiction in the Southern Ocean

1.7 Australia's Antarctic and sub-Antarctic marine jurisdictions cover a substantial geographic area, totalling more than five million square kilometres and comprising some 30 per cent of Australia's entire marine jurisdiction.3 In addition to the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and continental shelves directly off Australia's southern mainland and Tasmania's coast, there are several areas of Australian maritime jurisdiction further south.

1.8 Australia asserts sovereignty over approximately 42 per cent of the Antarctic continent, known as the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT), and this extends to its adjacent offshore waters. Australia's sovereignty over the AAT is not universally recognised, but under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty4 all sovereign claims in Antarctica are effectively suspended in time: no new or expanded claims may be made while the Treaty is in force, and no act undertaken by its parties can constitute a basis for confirming or disputing an existing claim.5 In line with an established understanding among Treaty parties in this regard, Australia exercises sovereign rights and takes responsibility for management of this area, but enforces its domestic law in the AAT only against Australian nationals.6

1.9 Australia exercises universally-recognised sovereignty over the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) in the southern Indian Ocean, and over Macquarie Island in the sub-Antarctic Southern Ocean. HIMI is an external territory of Australia, while Macquarie Island is part of Tasmania.

3 Geoscience Australia, Submission 12, p. 4.

4 Agreement between the Governments of Australia, Argentina, Chile, the French Republic, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Union of South Africa, the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America concerning the Peaceful Uses of Antarctica, done at Washington 1 December 1959, entered into force for Australia 23 June 1961, [1961] ATS 12.

5 Antarctic Treaty, Article IV.

6 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 3.

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1.10 The HIMI territorial sea and EEZ lies mostly outside the jurisdiction of the Antarctic Treaty, but falls within the larger area covered by the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CAMLR Convention),7 and is treated as part of Australia's Antarctic jurisdiction for most purposes. As a result of its sovereignty over HIMI and Macquarie Island, Australia also enjoys exclusive rights to seabed resources in a vast area of extended continental shelf in the Southern Ocean.8

© Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia) 2012. This product is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/legalcode

7 Done at Canberra 20 May 1980, entered into force for Australia 7 April 1982, [1982] ATS 9.

8 See Dr Tony Press, 'Explainer: Australia's extended continental shelf and Antarctica', The Conversation, 30 May 2012, at http://theconversation.com/explainer-australias-extended-continental-shelf-and-antarctica-7298

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The Antarctic Treaty System and other international agreements

1.11 The Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) provides the overarching international framework for the governance of the land and waters south of 60° South latitude, an area which includes a large portion of the Southern Ocean as well as the Antarctic continent itself, and incorporates part of Australia's Antarctic marine jurisdiction.9 The Antarctic Treaty is the principal treaty of the ATS, and was negotiated between its original 12 parties with the intention 'to ensure that Antarctica would remain a place where science predominated and disagreements were resolved peacefully'.10 Several other treaties have been added over the ensuing years to form the ATS, key among them the CAMLR Convention, and the (Madrid) Protocol on Environmental Protection and its annexes.11 The network of agreements comprising the ATS now governs many of the issues that arise in the region and its waters, including prevention of conflict, environmental protection, resource exploitation, fisheries management and scientific research.

1.12 Australia was one of the original signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, which now has 50 parties: 29 'Consultative Parties' who are actively engaged in Antarctic research and are entitled to participate in decision-making under the Treaty, and 21 'Non-Consultative Parties' who do not maintain stations in Antarctica, but whose citizens may participate in scientific research.12

1.13 Beyond the ATS, various other international treaties also apply to Australia's activities within the Antarctic marine area and in the greater Southern Ocean. Much of the Southern Ocean is high seas, under which the various instruments and doctrines of the international law of the sea apply. Notably, Australia is responsible for coordinating search and rescue in a large portion of the Southern Ocean, under the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue13 and other treaties.14 The same sea area constitutes the Australian Security Forces Authority Area for the purpose of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) security arrangements, within which Australia is responsible for dealing with acts of violence against ships.15

1.14 Bilaterally, Australia has concluded more than 15 memoranda of understanding for policy, science and operational cooperation with other nations in Antarctica and its waters, most of which are negotiated and managed between the

9 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 1.

10 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 2.

11 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, done at Madrid 4 October 1991, entered into force for Australia 14 April 1998, [1998] ATS 6.

12 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 2

13 Done at Hamburg 27 April 1979, entered into force for Australia 22 June 1985, [1986] ATS 29.

14 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Submission 9, p. 3.

15 Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Submission 18, p. 2; Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 'Policing our ocean domain: Establishing an Australian coast guard', Strategic Insights 41, June 2008, p. 5.

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Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) of the Department of the Environment and counterparts' Antarctic programs.16

Recent developments

20-year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan

1.15 The 20-year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan (20 Year Strategic Plan) was commissioned by the government in late 2013, and prepared by Dr Tony Press, former Director of AAD and Chief Executive Officer of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC). Dr Press appeared as a witness at the committee's public hearing in Hobart on 16 September.

1.16 The completed Plan was presented to the Minister for the Environment in July 2014, and publicly released on 10 October 2014. The Plan offered 35 recommendations covering a broad range of aspects of Australia's role in Antarctica, including Australia's strategic priorities, engagement in the ATS, scientific research, logistics, government resourcing, coordination of activities, and maximising the benefits of Antarctic work in Tasmania.17 The Plan's recommendations are listed at Appendix 4.

1.17 The Plan emphasised the importance for Australia of ensuring that the ATS remained strong and stable and of investing in science, operations and infrastructure to maintain Australia's place as a leading Antarctic nation. It also made several

recommendations for further work to establish Hobart as the world's leading Antarctic gateway.

1.18 Upon the Plan's release, the government described it as 'a blueprint for Australia's future engagement in the region'. The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, said the government would consider the report in detail and consult widely on its recommendations before providing a formal response in the coming months.18

1.19 The key findings and recommendations of the Plan on matters covered by this committee's inquiry are discussed further in the relevant sections of this report.

Whaling in the Southern Ocean

1.20 This inquiry also follows a landmark decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in relation to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. In 2010, the Australian Government initiated legal action in the ICJ challenging Japan's lethal whaling program. The case was heard by the court in 2013.

1.21 In its judgment, handed down on 31 March 2014, the ICJ determined that the killing of whales under Japan's program could not be justified as being for the

16 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 8.

17 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014.

18 The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment & Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, Minister for Employment, 'Strategic Plan sets Tasmania as gateway for Antarctica', Joint Media Release, 10 October 2014.

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purposes of scientific research as permitted under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW),19 and that Japan had not acted in conformity with various obligations under the ICRW.20 The court did not outlaw altogether the use of "reasonable" lethal methods for whale research, but stated its expectation that Japan would take account of its reasoning and conclusions when considering whether to grant future whaling permits.21

1.22 Following the decision, Japan indicated its intention to abide by the judgment, and announced that it would conduct non-lethal research in the Southern Ocean in the 2014-15 season, while redesigning its lethal whaling program to resume in 2015-16.22

1.23 At the most recent International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting held in September 2014 in Slovenia, the Commission passed a non-binding resolution, proposed by New Zealand and supported by Australia and others, requiring members to take into consideration the ICJ decision in the development of its future scientific whaling programs, and to put such programs before the full Commission for guidance prior to their implementation. In response, Japan indicated that it did not accept the terms of the resolution, and re-affirmed that it would re-commence 'scientific' whaling in 2015.23

Australian vessels

1.24 A number of key decisions in 2014 impact on the fleet of national research, supply and patrol vessels available to Australia for use in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters.

1.25 Australia's dedicated Antarctic research and supply 'icebreaker' ship, the Aurora Australis, is managed by the AAD. The Aurora Australis is an aging vessel due to retire, and discussions have been under way for some years regarding its replacement. The government announced in the 2014 Budget that the commissioning of a replacement vessel would proceed, and the Minister for the Environment subsequently announced that two companies had been shortlisted to tender for the construction of the new vessel. A contract with the successful tenderer is to be signed in late 2015, with the new vessel expected to be ready for operation in October 2019.24

1.26 The CSIRO Marine National Facility operates a vessel equipped and dedicated to the conduct of scientific research in Australian and surrounding waters. Following the retirement of the previous vessel, the Southern Surveyor in 2013, the

19 Done at Washington 2 December 1946, entered into force for Australia 10 November 1948, [1948] ATS 18.

20 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 17.

21 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 6.

22 Hanna, Emily, 'Now what for Southern Ocean whaling?' Flag Post (Parliamentary Library blog), 10 June 2014.

23 'Japan defies IWC ruling on 'scientific' whaling', The Guardian, 18 September 2014.

24 The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, 'Shortlisted companies announced to build new Antarctic icebreaker', Media Release, 30 May 2014.

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new RV Investigator arrived in Hobart in September 2014. Assessment of research proposals and technical preparations are now taking place for the ship to commence active deployment from 2015.

1.27 The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) maintains only one vessel with the capacity to patrol the ice-prone areas of the Southern Ocean. The most recent vessel, ACV Ocean Protector, was decommissioned in mid-2014. In its place, ACBPS has commissioned the ice-strengthened Australian Defence Force (ADF) vessel, the ADV Ocean Shield, which will ultimately be transferred to the management of ACBPS. The Ocean Shield is a sister ship to the Ocean Protector, so essentially identical in its capabilities, and is the only vessel in the border protection fleet with the range, endurance and sea and ice capability to operate in the Southern Ocean.25 Like the Ocean Protector before it, the Ocean Shield will be allocated to meet all of Australia's border protection and humanitarian response needs as required, on a priority basis. In fact, due to competing priorities in Australia's northern waters, the Ocean Protector had conducted no patrols in the Southern Ocean since February 2012.

1.28 The ACBPS is also in the process of acquiring eight new Cape class patrol vessels, however, these are not suited for operations in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters.26

1.29 For its part, the ADF has little capacity to operate in the Southern Ocean. The navy possesses one ice-strengthened vessel with limited capability to operate in light ice (HMAS Choules), but the remainder of the fleet is not well suited to operate in sub-Antarctic waters. The Air Force has aircraft with the range to operate in the region, including the AP-3C Orion patrol plane and the C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft, but competing demand for these assets is high. The Department of Defence advised the committee that while the ADF was acquiring new capabilities which may have the ability to work in the Southern Ocean region, they had not been acquired specifically with that environment in mind, and 'the extent to which they are able to do so will depend on the threat environment and other demands on their capability.'27

The 2014 Budget

1.30 Significant controversy surrounded the impact of the 2014 Federal Budget on Australia's scientific, operational and other work in the Antarctic region. The government highlighted new funding in support of Australia's leadership as an Antarctic nation as one of the flagship outcomes of the budget, drawing attention to the commitment to procure a new icebreaker as a major demonstration of its commitment to both Tasmania and Antarctica.28 Other new initiatives announced in

25 Mr Roman Quaedvlieg, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 30.

26 Mr Roman Quaedvlieg, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 30.

27 Department of Defence, Opening Statement tabled at the committee's public hearing, 26 September 2014, p. 2.

28 The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, 'Boosting Australia's commitment to Tasmania and Antarctica with new icebreaker', Media Release, 13 May 2014.

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the budget were $24 million over three years for a new Antarctic Gateway Partnership for scientific research between AAD, the University of Tasmania and CSIRO (to be administered by the Australian Research Council), $25 million over five years for the continued work of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC), and $38 million to upgrade Hobart airport.29

1.31 In addition, the government announced an additional $45.3 million to support the Antarctic airlink, $13.4 million for logistics support, and $9.4 million for the maintenance of Australia's Antarctic bases.30

1.32 At the same time, core budget and staffing cuts to the Department of the Environment, CSIRO and other agencies and programs were severe, and expected to compromise Australia's ability to maintain its scientific and operational activities in the region.31 The annual appropriation to the Department of the Environment for its Antarctic program was cut from $136.4 million in 2013-14 to $107.8 million in 2014-15, with a further $17.8 million to be cut over the four-year forward estimates.32 This formed part of an overall foreshadowed $100 million cut to the Department of the Environment's core budget over four years, which it was expected would lead to the loss of around 670 jobs department-wide.33

1.33 For its part, the CSIRO was facing the biggest cut to its budget in recent memory. While $65.7 million was allocated over four years for the operation of the new research vessel RV Investigator, core funding was cut by $27 million in 2014-15 as part of $111.4 million in direct reductions over the four year estimates, with the additional loss of an efficiency dividend of $3.4 million.34 It was widely reported that CSIRO would lose more than 500 positions, including significant losses from its marine and atmospheric research areas.35

Acknowledgements 1.34 The committee thanks all those who contributed to the inquiry by making submissions, providing additional information and appearing at the public hearings. The committee is also grateful to the staff of AAD and CSIRO who facilitated and hosted its site visits in Tasmania.

29 The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, 'Shortlisted companies announced to build new Antarctic icebreaker', Media Release, 30 May 2014.

30 The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, 'Boosting Australia's commitment to Tasmania and Antarctica with new icebreaker', Media Release, 13 May 2014.

31 ABC news online, 'Fears over Antarctic research jobs and programs under $100 million federal budget cuts', 8 April 2014.

32 Portfolio Budget Statement 2014-15, Environment Portfolio, p. 76.

33 ABC news online, 'Fears over Antarctic research jobs and programs under $100 million federal budget cuts', 8 April 2014.

34 CSIRO, Annual Directions Statement 2014, May 2014, p. 3.

35 ABC Rural News, 'CSIRO job cuts to hit marine research', 11 June 2014.

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Note on references 1.35 References to the committee Hansard are to the proof Hansard. Page numbers may vary between the proof and the official Hansard transcript.

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Chapter 2

Looking south: Australia's interests and obligations 2.1 Australia has numerous reasons to pay attention to the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters. These include Australia's sovereignty and associated rights to resources in our Exclusive Economic Zones, security on our southern border, the impact of changes in the Southern Ocean on Australia's climate, and the existence of significant international search and rescue obligations.

2.2 But Australia is far from the only nation with strong Antarctic interests, and the international environment to our south is presently in a process of significant change, demanding this country's attention and response.

The strategic environment: peace, science and growing international interest 2.3 The Southern Ocean does not, in general terms, present a strategic threat to

Australia. In its evidence to the committee, the Department of Defence confirmed the assessment made in Australia's most recent Defence White Paper, that Australia's national interests to our south were unlikely to be challenged in ways that might require a substantial military response over the next few decades.1

2.4 Among other things, the Antarctic Treaty expressly prohibits actions of a military nature in Antarctica, such as the establishment of military bases, weapons testing or military manoeuvres.2 The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) observed that in ensuring that the region remained free from military competition or cooperation, this regime was advantageous to Australia's interests in particular, given our geographical proximity.3

2.5 In addition, the vast distances, remoteness from population centres, harsh environment and resulting paucity of human activity in the Southern Ocean make it an unlikely and inhospitable theatre for nationalist aspiration or armed conflict. No suggestion was made to the committee that any nation intended to undertake military activity in the Antarctic region or posed a military threat to Australia from the south.

2.6 The same factors which mitigate against strategic threat in the Southern Ocean, similarly limit the activities of our own defence force: the prohibition on militarisation imposed by the Antarctic Treaty, the unique demands of the Southern

1 Department of Defence, Submission 20, p. 4.

2 Antarctic Treaty, Article I. Article I(2) provides that the Treaty does not prevent the use of military personnel or equipment for scientific or peaceful purposes. Other Articles of the Treaty are also relevant, such as Article V, which prohibits nuclear explosions in Antarctica, and Article VII, which requires advance notice to be given by the parties of any military personnel entering the region.

3 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 4.

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Ocean operating environment, and the lack of assessed risk compared to other national priorities.4

2.7 Nevertheless, in its evidence the Department of Defence noted that international activity and interest in the region was increasing, and Australia's interests could be challenged in future, 'especially if resources elsewhere become more scarce. It will remain important to monitor developments, and this is no small feat given the vastness and remoteness of Australia's maritime territory'.5

2.8 In their submission, Dr Sam Bateman from Wollongong University and Dr Anthony Bergin from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute agreed that despite a lack of military threat:

Protecting Australia's maritime sovereign interests and exercising jurisdiction over Australia's very large maritime domain constitutes one of the most challenging and fundamentally important of all security tasks confronting Australia in peacetime.6

2.9 Dr Tony Press told the committee that '[i]f there was going to be a dispute about resources [in the Antarctic region] at all, that would probably be about the marine environment and fisheries'.7

2.10 Dr Bergin and Dr Bateman observed that this challenge was particularly acute in the Southern Ocean, Antarctic waters and Australia's Macquarie Island and HIMI jurisdictions, given the vast distances and challenging sea conditions involved.8

Emerging players

2.11 Much has been written and said in recent years about the increasing interest of 'new players' in the Antarctic region. A number of emerging nations including China, India, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea are rapidly increasing their investments and activities in the region, giving rise to speculation about the nature of their interests, and concern about the declining influence of the traditional Antarctic powers.

2.12 In particular, the growing profile of China as an Antarctic actor was mentioned frequently to the committee. China joined the Antarctic Treaty in 1983, but its engagement was relatively modest until this century. In the last ten years China has significantly increased its investment in the Antarctic region, including more than

4 Department of Defence, Opening Statement tabled at the committee's public hearing, 26 September 2014, p. 2.

5 Department of Defence, Opening Statement tabled at the committee's public hearing, 26 September 2014, p. 1.

6 Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin, Submission 2, p. 2.

7 Dr Tony Press, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2012, p. 67.

8 Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin, Submission 2, p. 2.

13

doubling spending on Antarctic science and logistics, and building new bases on the continent itself, including in the Australian Antarctic Territory.9

2.13 Other nations have similarly, on varying scales, demonstrated a strongly growing interest in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic regions in recent years. The Republic of Korea has significantly increased its investment in Antarctic science, supplementing its long-standing engagement in high seas fisheries in the region with increasing interest in the exploration of potential biotechnology and polar marine products.10 Malaysia, previously a vociferous critic of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), acceded to the Antarctic Treaty in 2011 and now aspires to Consultative Party status.11 In 2009 Japan commissioned one of the biggest icebreakers operating in Antarctica.12 Russia, India, China, France and Italy now have bases in the Australian Antarctic Territory.13 Iran announced plans in 2013 to establish a permanent Antarctic base, with its navy stating that the base would support the country's interests as a maritime power.14

2.14 Various motivations have been imputed in the media and academic literature to the new players taking an interest in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. The most common is a perceived interest in establishing a foothold from which to exploit potential mineral resources in future, both on the Antarctic continent and under the Southern Ocean sea floor. For example, academic Anne-Marie Brady wrote in 2012 that Chinese-language debates about Antarctica 'are dominated by debates about resources and how China might gain its share'.15 Interest among others including Russia and Ukraine in exploring the future mineral potential of Antarctica has been noted by academics, and even by Russia itself in Antarctic Treaty meetings.16

9 Anne-Marie Brady, 'The Emerging Economies of Asia and Antarctica: Challenges and Opportunities' in Jabour et al, Australia's Antarctica: Proceedings of a symposium to mark 75 years of the Australian Antarctic Territory, Hobart, 24 August 2011, pp 104-105.

10 Anne-Marie Brady, 'The Emerging Economies of Asia and Antarctica: Challenges and Opportunities' in Jabour et al, Australia's Antarctica: Proceedings of a symposium to mark 75 years of the Australian Antarctic Territory, Hobart, 24 August 2011, pp 106-107.

11 Government of Malaysia, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, 'Malaysia reaffirms its commitment on Antarctica', Media Release, 22 May 2013.

12 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 21.

13 Under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, sovereignty claims in Antarctica are neither endorsed nor disputed during the life of the Treaty, and any Treaty party may establish a scientific base in any part of Antarctica. Dr Tony Fleming, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 54.

14 Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 'Cold Calculations: Australia's Antarctic challenges', Strategic Insights, October 2013, p. 9.

15 Anne-Marie Brady, 'The Emerging Economies of Asia and Antarctica: Challenges and Opportunities' in Jabour et al, Australia's Antarctica: Proceedings of a symposium to mark 75 years of the Australian Antarctic Territory, Hobart, 24 August 2011, p. 105.

16 Dr Klaus Dodds, 'Five inconvenient truths about the Antarctic', Oxford University Press blog, 18 March 2013, at http://blog.oup.com/2013/03/five-inconvenient-truths-about-the-antarctic/; The Hon David Feeney MP, Submission 16, p. 16.

14

2.15 Under Article 7 of the Madrid Protocol, '[a]ny activity relating to mineral resources, other than scientific research', is prohibited. Provisions in Article 25 of the Protocol, however, which cover amendment of the treaty, open the possibility of

reviewing its terms 50 years after its entry into force: that is, in 2048.

2.16 In the 20 Year Strategic Plan, Dr Tony Press sought to calm fears about these provisions being enacted to open up Antarctica to mining post-2048. The Plan indicated that under the legal provisions set out in the Madrid Protocol, it would be extremely difficult for any nation to garner the numbers necessary to lift the mining ban.17 In addition, in his evidence to the committee, Dr Press classified it as 'very unlikely' that continental or seabed mineral resources would be physically or economically able to be exploited for many decades to come. 'The reality is that the minerals ban is going to be around for a very, very long time'.18

2.17 DFAT emphasised to the committee that, rather than seeing the interest of new states in the region as a threat, it welcomed their engagement, and regarded its ability to work with and positively influence other nations within the framework of the ATS as 'critical' to Australia's own national interests in the region:

We see this as not necessarily being a zero sum game at all, but a positive sum game, where all states that are parties to the Antarctic Treaty and the various other treaties that make up the Antarctic Treaty System, are committed to Antarctica as a zone of peace where there are no military activities and activities are directed towards cooperation in science and preservation and protection of the environment.19

2.18 One representative of private industry indicated that it was important that Australia engage positively with new stakeholders on regional issues, and not adopt a 'high moral ground' approach, recognising that there is a new international political framework emerging in the region, which needs to be handled sensitively.20

Australia's policy framework 2.19 Successive Australian governments have endorsed a policy framework for Australia's activities in the Antarctic region that rests upon six key principles:

• preservation of Australia's sovereignty over the Australian Antarctic Territory,

including adjacent offshore areas;

• taking advantage of the region's special opportunities for scientific research;

• protection of the Antarctic environment, with regard to its special qualities and importance for Australia;

• maintaining Antarctica as a region of peace, free from military or political

conflict;

17 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 48.

18 Professor Anthony Press, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 67.

19 Dr Greg French, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 16.

20 Austral Fisheries, Submission 13, p. 6.

15

• being informed about and able to influence developments in the region; and

• deriving reasonable economic benefits from its living and non-living

resources, excluding mining and oil-drilling.21

2.20 The 20 Year Strategic Plan reaffirmed these six principles (with one minor amendment) and recommended the addition of a seventh, 'support a strong and effective Antarctic Treaty System'.22

2.21 Indeed, DFAT reaffirmed the primacy of the ATS in Australia's approach to the region:

The ATS provides the international framework within which Australia pursues its sovereign, strategic, environmental and economic interests. The Government regards the ATS as the pre-eminent forum for managing all matters related to Antarctica. We maintain our influence through being active in Antarctic governance forums, ensuring a credible and robust presence on the ground, and through our contribution to Antarctic science and environmental protection. These activities support Australian interests and also protect and strengthen the contemporary relevance of the ATS and the norms embodied in its treaties.23

2.22 Others endorsed the value and importance of the ATS, including the Australian fishing industry, which noted in particular the importance of Australia's leadership role within CCAMLR.24

2.23 In this way, the Antarctic region is unique. National interests are protected, and influence maintained, not primarily through strategic capability or even economic weight, but through constructive international engagement and investment in diplomacy, science, environmental protection and operational presence.

2.24 Many submissions to the committee expressed concern that Australia's historical leadership in Antarctic and Southern Ocean affairs was in decline, as a result of reducing Australian investment and activity, at a time of significant, even exponential increase in that of other nations.

2.25 Dr Press told the committee that:

With regard to my discussions conducting the 20-year Antarctic strategic plan, inside government there is much more recognition of the importance of Australia's investment, however you look at it, and our engagement in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean than there was, say, 20 years ago.25

21 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 1; Department of Environment, Submission 15, p. 2.

22 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 20.

23 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 2.

24 Australian Longline Pty Ltd, Submission 21, pp 2-3.

25 Professor Anthony Press, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 62.

16

2.26 At the same time, Dr Press' assessment of Australia's present approach echoed the more sombre view expressed by many, in both the Plan and in his own evidence to the committee:

I think it is fair to say that Australia's standing in Antarctic affairs is eroding somewhat, because of historical under investment at a time when new players are starting to emerge on the Antarctic scene. The leadership that we have naturally assumed by our proximity to Antarctica in the Southern Ocean, by our history and by our experience in the region risks declining.26

Committee View

2.27 The argument about Australia's declining influence in Antarctica, and the resourcing and priorities for activities in specific areas to address this, are discussed further in the following chapters of this report. As a starting point, the committee welcomes the commissioning of the 20 Year Strategic Plan by the government, and the valuable and insightful analysis undertaken by Dr Press in the preparation of the Plan. Dr Press' reaffirmation of Australia's enduring interests in the Antarctic region and the articulation of key policy priorities provide a basis for the renewed and strengthened Antarctic engagement which is essential for the pursuit of Australia's interests in the Southern Ocean.

2.28 The committee also agrees with the assessment of Dr Press and others that the importance for Australia of robust engagement in the ATS can not be underestimated. The ATS is the foundation for continued peace and constructive activity in the region to our south. As such, it must also be regarded as a keystone in Australian foreign and strategic policy.

Recommendation 1

2.29 The committee recommends that the government reaffirms the primacy of the Antarctic Treaty System to Australia's sovereignty and national interests, and continues to support and resource Australia's robust engagement in Antarctic Treaty processes and fora in the pursuit and promotion of those interests.

2.30 The committee endorses the attitude of successive Australian governments in welcoming and engaging with all countries which choose to take a constructive interest in the Antarctic region under the terms of the ATS. In a changing strategic landscape in the Southern Ocean, global engagement with respect to that region is central, not peripheral, to Australia's national interest. Moreover, on Australia's southern border, diplomatic and practical engagement is the most important means of pursuing and protecting our interests.

2.31 As such, the committee believes that Antarctic discussions and engagement could and should be a more prominent item on the agenda for Australia's bilateral and multilateral diplomacy; not just in dedicated ATS meetings, but in places such as the

United Nations and in bilateral meetings at leaders' and ministerial levels.

26 Professor Anthony Press, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 61.

17

Recommendation 2

2.32 The committee recommends that Antarctic and Southern Ocean issues be a standing theme for Australian ministers and officials in relevant multilateral and bilateral diplomatic discussions, particularly those with our Asian neighbours, and that Australia continues to seek all possible opportunities for constructive, practical cooperation with other nations engaging in that region.

Search and Rescue 2.33 Australia holds responsibility under international law for search and rescue (SAR) in a very large area of ocean to our south.27 Australia's SAR region covers one tenth of the earth's surface, including 8.5 million square kilometres of ocean below 60° South latitude.28 This, naturally, presents significant challenges to a middle-sized country with limited maritime resources.

2.34 In its evidence to the committee, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania expressed the view that there was potential for increasing pressure on Australia's SAR responsibilities in the coming years:

The established tourism industry to east Antarctica is small in comparison to other destinations on the Antarctic Peninsula. Nevertheless, a continuation or even a rise in tourism traffic, alongside increasing uncertainties about shipping hazards, such as fluctuating sea ice production - which we do not fully understand - and strengthening westerly winds, underscore that Australia's responsibilities in its extensive search and rescue zone will increase.29

2.35 Tourism to Antarctica has expanded significantly over recent decades, from 6700 people on 12 vessels in 1992-93 to around 36,000 on 33 commercial tour ships in the 2013-14 Antarctic summer, along with 18 private yachts. Most of these operated in the Antarctic Peninsula region, south of South America, and outside Australia's SAR region, while five tourist ships visited the Ross Sea and East Antarctica, carrying 1300 visitors. The vessels, and their passengers, represent a wide range of nations: Australians made up 13 per cent of the tourists last summer, with the United States contributing the most (30 per cent).30

2.36 Other maritime traffic in the Southern Ocean can pose special challenges such as illegal fishing vessels, which seek to avoid monitoring and evade detection. When they encounter trouble, therefore, response can be even more difficult.

2.37 A recent incident apparently involving such vessels starkly demonstrated the scale of the SAR challenge in the region. On 30 March 2014 the Australian Maritime

27 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Submission 9, p. 3.

28 Mr Brad Groves, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 29.

29 Dr Julia Jabour, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 1.

30 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, answers to questions on notice following the 26 September public hearing, received 10 October 2014.

18

Safety Authority (AMSA) detected an emergency beacon in Australia's SAR region in the Southern Indian Ocean near Antarctica. AMSA was unable to contact the vessel and made a broadcast seeking other ships in the area, but the nearest vessel was over 1,800 kilometres away. AMSA then tasked a civil aircraft and a RAAF P3 Orion to locate the vessel. After flying for over five hours to reach the site, the aircraft sighted debris but no ship, nor signs of life. Weather conditions at the time, including sea temperatures below 2°C, were such that medical experts advised AMSA on 31 March that in the 24 hours since the emergency beacon was activated, 'even under the best circumstances, namely the crew abandoning ship into a dry life raft, there is no prospect of survival'. AMSA therefore abandoned the search.31 It is believed that the ship concerned was an illegal fishing vessel, and later indications suggested that some or all of its crew may have been rescued by another illegal fishing vessel operating in the same area.32

2.38 Nevertheless, Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin believed that this 'is an example of what may become more common in the future as fishing, particularly for krill, increases'. They noted that, if survivors had been cast adrift and sighted by the aircraft, no timely surface response would have been possible and it is 'highly questionable' whether their lives could have been saved.33

2.39 Mr Brad Groves from AMSA explained to the committee at its public hearing in Canberra that the vastness of the region prevented any single-provider solution, whether government or private. Instead, Australia mobilised SAR capacity through utilising 'vessels of opportunity' closest to, or appropriate for, the region of an incident. This may include vessels of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), Australian Defence Force (ADF) and commercial vessels in the area, as well as military or chartered aircraft.34

2.40 Australia has only one ice-capable vessel to respond to a SAR mission in icebound waters, the AAD's Aurora Australis. As such, all involved are conscious that any necessary response in the icy waters furthest south diverts that ship from its existing research and resupply responsibilities.35 While the maritime assets of the ADF and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service can be and are used when needed for SAR, these have limited or no ability to operate in ice-bound regions of Antarctic waters.

2.41 The Department of Defence nevertheless plays quite a significant role in Australia's SAR missions when they occur, even though it admits that its own capabilities are limited, particularly to operate in the extreme environment of the Southern Ocean. This includes in particular the deployment of Royal Australian Air

31 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, 'Search suspended for missing fishing vessel', Media Release, 31 March 2014.

32 Mr Kingsley Woodford-Smith, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 33.

33 Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin, Submission 2, p. 3.

34 Mr Brad Groves, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 24.

35 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Submission 9, p. 5.

19

Force (RAAF) aviation capacity to undertake searches: 'We recognise that there are a range of defence capabilities that are the only things that we possess in the country that are capable of meeting some of those requirements in the more remote extremes of that zone'.36

2.42 It should be noted that Australia is tasked to coordinate SAR within its area of responsibility, not to unilaterally conduct it. In evidence to the committee AMSA advised that Australia can, and frequently does, call upon the assets of other nations to assist in complex or remote SAR operations in the Southern Ocean. This often occurs in an ad hoc manner when the need arises to call upon (government or private) assets which may be proximate at the time an incident occurs. Australia has also concluded more formal bilateral arrangements for SAR cooperation with New Zealand and South Africa, who manage the SAR zones adjacent to Australia's.37

2.43 One such example discussed with the committee was the emergency experienced by a Russian-flagged tourist vessel, the Akademik Shokalskiy, which became entrapped in ice off East Antarctica in December 2013. Australia's response called upon vessels and personnel from France, China and the United States, in addition to its own (AAD) resources, to respond and ultimately evacuate the vessel's passengers, before a change in conditions eventually enabled the ship's crew to extract it from the ice in early January 2014.38

2.44 AMSA's overall view was that while increasing activity in the region and limited national resources were likely to pose ongoing challenges, Australia's present SAR arrangements were fundamentally sound, and had proven effective in responding to incidents in Antarctica.39 Mr Brad Groves from AMSA pointed out at the committee's public hearing that, while SAR responsibilities undoubtedly placed a strain on Australian resources from time to time, 'if the Aurora Australis was on the other side of this equation, under those conventions we would be expecting other countries to assist us'.40

2.45 In its submission, AMSA referred to ongoing collaborative work within the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) to explore opportunities for strengthened cooperation and information-sharing between the five nations with SAR responsibility in the Antarctic: Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. AMSA emphasised the importance of continued work to maintain and enhance practical collaboration including web-based tools for real-time information sharing, and development of a best-practice and lessons learned facility.41

36 Mr Tyson Sara, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 16.

37 Mr Brad Groves, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 24.

38 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Submission 9, p. 6; Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, pp 27-29.

39 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Submission 9, p. 7.

40 Mr Brad Groves, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 29.

41 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Submission 9, p. 5.

20

2.46 The need to undertake preventive action in terms of enforcing vessel safety standards, communications and awareness was also raised as relevant to the effective management of Australia's SAR responsibilities. AMSA advised the committee about negotiations within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) toward developing a new Polar Code, in which Australia is playing a key role. The Polar Code would strengthen existing codes by setting safety and pollution standards for ships, including tourist vessels, operating in Antarctic (and Arctic) waters. The Code would include mandatory measures, and it was hoped would come into effect by 2017.42

2.47 Mr Groves attested to the importance of preventive work, given the challenges of SAR response:

From the authority's point of view, we work on a premise of making sure the event does not happen in the first place. The more effort we can focus in that area, hopefully the less effort we will need in a response. That polar code is still currently being worked on, but it is about making sure that ships have greater stability, greater subdivision, heightened operational practices and better environmental credentials when operating in that area. Certainly passenger ships are part and parcel of that.43

Committee view

2.48 The committee recognises the significant challenge, and demand, that Australia's search and rescue responsibilities place upon the nation. This can be seen as a cost of Australia's extensive interest in activity and sovereignty south of its shores, and as part of its responsibilities as a good global citizen. In both cases, it is a responsibility that must be taken seriously and fulfilled diligently, albeit at some cost to limited resources.

2.49 The committee welcomes the work being undertaken by AMSA to ensure maximum coordination and effectiveness in the conduct of Australia's SAR mandate, and the contribution made by other national agencies to meeting this need. The committee encourages AMSA to continue its efforts to maximise international cooperation toward best-practice approaches to SAR in the Southern Ocean, as well as to awareness and prevention activities toward making emergencies less likely to happen in the first place.

2.50 The committee acknowledges AMSA's recommendation that SAR needs be taken into account in Australia's consideration of future asset requirements for the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters.44 In Chapter 5 of this report, the committee addresses Australia's overall maritime fleet and its management in respect of this country's Southern Ocean responsibilities, and makes recommendations for enhancing capacity in that regard. SAR is one area where the committee believes that examination of new approaches would yield notable benefits.

42 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Submission 9, pp 1-2.

43 Mr Brad Groves, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 29.

44 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Submission 9, p. 5.

Chapter 3

Combating crime in the Southern Ocean 3.1 While the committee received no evidence indicating threats from terrorism, people smuggling or other transnational crime in the Southern Ocean, the vast and scarcely monitored waters to Australia's south remain open to threats which would be hard to detect and even harder to respond to. Australia's large proximate border and maritime sovereign jurisdiction creates a unique need to monitor activities and protect our interests there.

3.2 Meanwhile there are crimes taking place about which Australia is well aware. The scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in southern waters was a prominent theme in the submissions made, as was the need for Australia to maintain a deterrent and monitoring presence in response to future lethal whaling.

Illegal fishing 3.3 The Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters offer a unique and lucrative source of fish for both legal and illegal operators. Australian fisheries lie in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) around Macquarie Island and around the territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI), which generate some $50-$80 million annually from Patagonian toothfish and mackerel icefish, presently harvested by two licensed Australian companies.1 The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) advised that one Australian company had also applied to CCAMLR for permission to fish for Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea area of the Antarctic high seas, commencing in December 2014.2

3.4 The Southern Ocean also supports an enormous population of Antarctic krill, which is not presently fished by Australian companies but is an area of existing and increasing interest among others who fish for krill on the high seas. In their submission Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin described the Antarctic krill fishery as 'the largest underexploited fishery in the world' and one that was most likely to become the major focus of increased illegal exploitation in the Southern Ocean.3

3.5 In their submissions, the Department of Agriculture and AFMA noted that portions of the Southern Ocean off the coast of South Australia and around Macquarie Island and HIMI also formed part of Australia's southern bluefin tuna fishery, one of Australia's most valuable fisheries, with exports valued at over $150 million in 2011-12. Parts of the Southern Ocean were in addition encompassed within the high seas fisheries managed by a number of other regional fisheries management organisations.4

1 Mr Martin Exel, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 22.

2 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 3.

3 Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin, Submission 2, p. 2.

4 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 17, p. 2.

22

3.6 The issues raised during the inquiry were, however, generally focused on the Australian Macquarie Island and HIMI fisheries, and Antarctic waters under the CCAMLR area of competence.

3.7 The fisheries regime in Antarctic waters is unique, being governed under the CAMLR Convention. Unlike other regional fisheries arrangements, the CAMLR Convention is first and foremost a conservation agreement, but it is one which also operates as a fisheries management treaty, providing for 'rational use' of Antarctic marine living resources under an ecosystem-based approach to the protection of all marine life in the Southern Ocean. Australia's priorities within CCAMLR therefore marry environmental objectives, such as the establishment and maintenance of marine protected areas, with continued sustainable access for Australian fishers to the resources of the HIMI fishery, and action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.5 The Department of the Environment explained that 'Australia is a fishing country with a strong conservation agenda, and is focused on maintaining an appropriate balance with regard to CCAMLR's objectives'.6

3.8 Mr Martin Exel from Austral Fisheries, one of the Australian companies operating in the southern toothfish and mackerel fisheries, provided a positive assessment of the state of legal fishing in Australia's southern maritime jurisdiction: 'We are very confident that stocks are healthy and things are going right'.7 This was confirmed by AFMA, who verified that the fisheries were well-managed and not overfished.8 Australia's Macquarie Island and HIMI fisheries are independently certified as sustainable and well-managed by the international Marine Stewardship Council.9

3.9 Submissions and evidence welcomed Australia's efforts to eradicate illegal fishing in Australian waters, notably in the HIMI EEZ. AFMA advised that between 1997 and 2005, Australia apprehended nine large industrial foreign fishing vessels in the Southern Ocean.10 Australia also played a leading role during this period in the development by CCAMLR of a comprehensive suite of measures against IUU fishing in its area of responsibility.11 Since 2005 no IUU fishing had been detected in the Macquarie Island or HIMI EEZs.12 Speaking on behalf of the fishing industry, Mr

5 Department of Agriculture, Submission 17, p. 3.

6 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 7.

7 Mr Martin Exel, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 22.

8 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, pp 2-3.

9 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 3; Austral Fisheries, Submission 13, p. 2.

10 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 3.

11 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 58; Department of the Environment, Submission 15, pp 5-6.

12 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 3.

23

Exel affirmed this outcome and commended Australia's 'exceptional' efforts to combat IUU fishing.13

3.10 At the same time both Australian fishing companies emphasised to the committee the importance of continued vigilance against IUU fishing, to protect the previous investment made in that regard.14 The industry noted its own efforts to collectively respond to the threat of IUU fishing, originally through the ISOFISH grouping and more recently through establishment of the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators (COLTO), which worked with CCAMLR and relevant governments toward eliminating IUU fishing and ensuring the continued sustainability of the legal industry.15

3.11 The government agreed that continued IUU fishing activity on the high seas remained a concern.16 Ms Gillian Slocum from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) confirmed that the Australian government was aware of the 'continuing, persistent problem' of IUU vessels operating in adjacent waters.17 CCAMLR maintains a list of IUU vessels which currently numbers 18, at least eight of which have been recently observed operating in the CCAMLR area close to the HIMI EEZ.18 Other witnesses concurred with the assessment that IUU fishing remained a significant concern on the southern high seas, and was potentially increasing.

3.12 In addition to the economic cost of IUU fishing, the Department of the Environment and AFMA both expressed concern that IUU vessels in the Southern Ocean tended to use demersal gillnets to catch Patagonian toothfish, a method particularly destructive to other marine and bird life, and therefore prohibited by CCAMLR.19 The Department of the Environment noted that Australia's extended continental shelf off its HIMI territory was an important toothfish habitat and an area in which large-scale IUU fishing took place. The department assessed that

It is likely that fishing practices empoloyed by IUU fishers are having an impact on benthic species on the Continental Shelf and possibly long term impacts on Australia's interests including benthic habitats. It is in Australia's interests to better exercise control over the extended continental shelf.20

13 Austral Fisheries, Submission 13, pp 2-3; Mr Martin Exel, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 22.

14 Australian Longline Pty Ltd, Submission 21, p. 2; Mr Martin Exel, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 22.

15 Austral Fisheries, Submission 13, p. 2.

16 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 3.

17 Ms Gillian Slocum, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 52.9

18 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 4.

19 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 4; Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 4.

20 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 11.

24

3.13 Australia's response to IUU fishing is a multifaceted one, encompassing on-water surveillance and enforcement, regional and international cooperation, diplomatic representations, in-country education and capacity building. AFMA asserted that its Southern Ocean program had evolved over many years and each component was integral to its success.21

Surveillance and patrolling

3.14 Much of the evidence placed great importance on surveillance and patrolling within Australia's Macquarie Island and HIMI fisheries to continue to protect them from IUU fishing.

3.15 Beyond Australia's EEZ, the committee was advised that Australia held certain obligations and powers to act against IUU fishing on the high seas, within the terms of the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement22 and regional fisheries agreements such as the CAMLR Convention,23 although AFMA conceded that the conditions on these arrangements made high seas interception more challenging.24

On the water

3.16 From 2006-10, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) patrol vessel Ocean Protector conducted between three and five patrols each year in the Southern Ocean. In the 2010-11 and 2011-12 financial years, this was reduced to two patrols per year, due mainly to diversion of the ship to duties in Australia's northern waters, principally the transport of illegal maritime arrivals. The ship was also tasked to support other law enforcement and humanitarian missions in Australian waters during those years. The Ocean Protector last patrolled the Southern Ocean in February 2012, and since then has undertaken all of its patrol days in Australia's northern waters.25

3.17 Several submissions expressed grave concern that there had been no maritime patrols conducted by Australia in the Southern Ocean in over two years, and that Australia's only maritime vessel suited for Southern Ocean operations now spent all its time elsewhere.

21 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 4.

22 United Nations Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, done at New York 4 December 1995, entered into force for Australia 11 December 2001, [2001] ATS 8.

23 Dr Greg French, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 23; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, answer to question on notice following the 26 September public hearing, received 9 October 2014.

24 Mr Peter Venslovas, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 26.

25 Immigration and Border Protection portfolio, answer to question taken on notice (Question 29) at Additional Budget Estimates hearing of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, 25 February 2014.

25

3.18 Mr Eldene O'Shea, a student at the University of Tasmania, was motivated to make a submission expressing his concerns about what he saw as a weakening Australian response to IUU fishing in the Southern Ocean. Mr O'Shea believed it was important for Australia, as one of the few CCAMLR members with territorial waters within the Convention area, to maintain a strong physical presence to prevent and deter IUU fishing. He noted that an independent study had assessed Australian agencies as among the most important organisations in the world for preventing IUU fishing in the Southern Ocean. Mr O'Shea assessed that in light of the absence of border protection assets in recent years, however, Australia was 'effectively opening the Southern Ocean back up for exploitation by IUU fishing vessels'.26

3.19 Indeed, Mr O'Shea questioned the validity of CCAMLR and ACBPS reporting that there were no IUU vessels presently operating in Australia's HIMI fishery:

ACBPS reporting that no vessels were spotted during the previous year does not mean that there are no vessels operating, what it does show is that Australia is not finding them.27

3.20 Austral Fisheries expressed concern that dedicated funding previously provided to AFMA for its patrol program had been directed elsewhere, with a potential loss of $2 million per annum earmarked for patrolling against IUU fishing in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic region.28

3.21 In its submissions, Australian government agencies acknowledged that competing priorities had prevented on-water surveillance by Australian border protection assets in recent years. However, they noted that maritime patrolling of Australia's HIMI EEZ continued to take place during that time under the terms of bilateral arrangements between Australia and France.

3.22 In 2005, a bilateral agreement entered into force between Australia and France which established a framework for cooperation in the surveillance of fishing vessels and in fisheries-related scientific research within the adjoining waters of Australia's HIMI fishery and the French territories on the Kerguelen Plateau.29 A subsequent agreement which took effect in 2011 enhanced these arrangements by enabling enforcement personnel from each party to deploy on the other's vessel patrols, and to

26 Mr Eldene O'Shea, Submission 7, p. 2.

27 Mr Eldene O'Shea, Submission 7, pp 2.

28 Austral Fisheries, Submission 13, p. 3.

29 Treaty between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic on Cooperation in the Maritime Areas Adjacent to the French Southern and Antarctic Territories (TAAF), Heard Island and the McDonald Islands, done at Canberra 24 November 2003, entered into force 1 February 2005, [2005] ATS 6.

26

undertake cooperative enforcement activities such as apprehension, boarding and hot pursuit.30

3.23 AFMA indicated that since these agreements entered into force, AFMA and ACBPS officers had been routinely deployed on French patrols, which took place on average four times per year. This had enabled cooperative enforcement to be undertaken including the apprehension of an IUU vessel from the Republic of Korea fishing in France's EEZ in 2013.31

3.24 The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) described these agreements as 'a very innovative and useful legal basis for engaging in cooperative surveillance and enforcement activities'.32 Mr Roman Quadvlieg from ACBPS offered the view that 'the collaboration between the French and us in terms of identification of potential fishing threats and agreements and discussions around responses has been very good.'33

3.25 On the other hand, others were critical that Australia's maritime patrolling now relied entirely on Australia's participation in vessel patrols by France under the bilateral arrangement. This delegated the timing and frequency of Australian patrolling of its waters to another nation's control, and limited Australian maritime surveillance to the geographic area around the adjacent HIMI and Kerguelen Plateau jurisdictions.34 Dr Bateman went so far as to describe Australia as 'freeloading' on the French over the past two and a half years.35

3.26 DFAT advised, however, that France had not expressed any concerns to Australia in that regard.36 The ACBPS was also at pains to dispel the concerns expressed:

it is a long-term relationship that we have with the French; it is 10 years or more. Also, the relationship has multi elements. It is satellite coverage. I guess its crown jewel is surface assets and cross-secondments of our officers onto our respective vessels. There is other work that we share in the intelligence space. There is other cooperative work that we do in terms of our own aerial surveillance flights. Let me come back to the issue that has been touched upon a couple of times around cooperative patrols. Yes, we

30 Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement of Fisheries Laws between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic in the Maritime Areas Adjacent to the French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Heard Island and the McDonald Islands, done at Paris 8 January 2007, entered into force 7 January 2011, [2011] ATS 1; Department of the Environment, Submission 15, pp 4-5.

31 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 5.

32 Dr Greg French, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 20.

33 Mr Roman Quaedvlieg, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 31.

34 Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin, Submission 2, p. 3, Austral Fisheries, Submission 13, p. 4.

35 Dr Sam Bateman, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 4.

36 Dr Greg French, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, pp 19-20.

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have not had a large vessel in the Southern Ocean since January-February 2012. Prior to that, the French and us both had assets in the Southern Ocean at various times and there were cross-secondments of officers on those vessels. In the last couple of years, we have had officers embarked on French vessels. We have not been able to conduct our own patrols to embark French officers onto; however—and I need to emphasise this point—we have had very intimate and regular discussions with the French over the last couple of years in relation to this issue. They fully appreciate and are sympathetic to the priorities that we have in terms of our north-western corridors and dealing with our maritime people-smuggling threats. They have shown much grace and tolerance in allowing us to focus our assets towards that particular threat. They are now heartened by the fact that Operation Sovereign Borders has reduced that to almost zero trickle, and they are very much looking forward to the two 40 day patrols that we have planned upon which they will embark officers. It is a very mature, very longstanding and very collaborative relationship with the French.37

3.27 Austral Fisheries acknowledged that scientific assistance from Australia to France had been 'significant', in return for increased dependence on French patrol resources, while emphasising the importance of ensuring an appropriate balance in the cooperative arrangement.38

3.28 In its submission, AFMA mentioned that in 2011 Australian officers participated in a New Zealand patrol in the high seas area of the Ross Sea, within the CCAMLR area of competence.39 Noting the importance of an on-sea presence, AFMA recommended that Australia should consider putting in place more collaborative surveillance and enforcement arrangements with like-minded states in the Southern Ocean, such as New Zealand and South Africa.40

3.29 The ACBPS is in the process of acquiring eight new Cape class patrol boats, which will replace and improve upon the Bay class fleet they are replacing.41 While these vessels are not suited for operations in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, the ACBPS advised the committee that it was hoped they would assist in freeing up the Ocean Shield to undertake patrolling duties in the Southern Ocean. Mr Roman Quaedvlieg from ACBPS advised the committee that ACBPS planned to conduct two 40-day patrols of the Southern Ocean on the Ocean Shield this financial year, subject to other demands.42

3.30 During the inquiry some discussion was held about the possibility of deepening cooperation with the commercial fishing sector for collaborative use of its

37 Mr Roman Quaedvlieg, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 32.

38 Austral Fisheries, Submission 13, p. 4.

39 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 5.

40 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 6.

41 Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, 'Customs and Border Protection Cape Class Patrol Boats', information sheet, October 2013.

42 Mr Roman Quaedvlieg, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 31.

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vessels to increase Australia's presence in the Southern Ocean for other purposes, including surveillance and patrolling. While this was already taking place and potentially able to be further explored for scientific research (see chapter 4), the idea of utilising fishing vessels for security monitoring and law enforcement was met with more caution. In fact, Australian fishing vessels already carry official observers who monitor their voyages for IUU fishing. While such monitoring and reporting roles were feasible:

…you would encounter some difficulties if it were to be law enforcement as well. For a start, vessels can only undertake law enforcement at sea if they are a warship or a vessel that is clearly marked as being on government service. I think you could start running into some conflicts of interest between the commercial side of things and the government side of things if you were to go as far as to expect the vessel to undertake any law enforcement other than, of course, a reporting role. A reporting role could be important in itself.43

3.31 Possible cooperation with non-government organisations was also canvassed. The Department of the Environment advised that environmental and industry organisations including the World Wildlife Fund, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition and COLTO had played a 'significant role' in awareness-raising, information sharing and interdiction of IUU activities in port or at sea. The department said that the government collaborated closely with both non-government and industry organisations in that regard.44

3.32 Mr Jeff Hansen from Sea Shepherd Australia provided examples from elsewhere in the world in which his organisation worked in cooperation with local authorities, to the extent of providing vessels and volunteer crew to local enforcement officers to allow them to act against illegal fishing.45

In the air

3.33 Above the water, the committee heard that other forms of surveillance such as satellite monitoring and aerial patrols had been increasingly utilised in recent years to detect illegal fishing and enable tracking and response. Mr Peter Venslovas from AFMA advised that aerial surveillance had become very useful in identifying IUU vessels in order to approach partners in port or market states for further action. Mr Venslovas stated that since February 2012, 35 such representations had been made to regional partners in South-East Asia, with resulting action taken against six vessels.46

3.34 AFMA also highlighted the importance of satellite surveillance both within the Southern Ocean and to trace IUU vessel movements in transit,47 and ACBPS

43 Dr Sam Bateman, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 4.

44 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 5.

45 Mr Jeff Hansen, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 15.

46 Mr Peter Venslovas, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 26.

47 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 5.

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advised of a contract between Australia and France on satellite monitoring, under which Australia obtained access to 'almost live' data covering nine million nautical square miles per year in the Southern Ocean.48

3.35 The committee noted that the planned acquisition by the Australian Defence Force of a number of Triton unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) was another example of an aerial asset that may be useful in monitoring illegal activity in the southern waters. Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Davies, Deputy Chief of the Air Force, confirmed that the Triton UAV would have the range and capacity to operate in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.49

3.36 DFAT explained to the committee that an expanded understanding of the legal concept of 'hot pursuit' was being introduced, including in the Australia-France agreements, which would enable pursuit of vessels for law enforcement:

by so-called technical means, which could be pilotless aerial vehicles or satellites. As technology is evolving and becoming cheaper it opens up the possibility for commencement of surveillance and enforcement activities at vastly lower cost than is currently the case without necessarily having on-the-water presence in our EEZ around Heard Island and McDonald Island... We see that as an important and useful development, which may into the future render less significance to the extent to which a state may have an on-the-water presence in a particular EEZ.50

3.37 The committee heard that there were nonetheless legal and practical limits on the utility of non-vessel methods of surveillance and law enforcement in the region. Mr Venslovas explained to the committee that with regard to IUU fishers within Australia's EEZ:

In order to get the evidence necessary to undertake prosecution, you first of all have to identify who that person is, and to do that from an aircraft is very, very challenging, almost impossible, because you cannot identify the person through a radio interrogation, for example. You cannot be sure that they are who they say they are. So, essentially, you need to physically apprehend the person on the boat to identify who they are and also to be able to take action in court based on the proofs of evidence that we have to utilise—to prove those or apply to prove those proofs of the offence.51

3.38 Mr Venslovas further noted that Australian law makes provision for forfeiture of IUU vessels in certain circumstances, but this required physical apprehension of the vessel and its crew and its escort to the Australian mainland.52 The committee was also advised that in the most recent port interception of an IUU vessel in Malaysia, the

48 Mr Roman Quadvlieg, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 31.

49 Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, pp 24-25.

50 Dr Greg French, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 20.

51 Mr Peter Venslovas, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 26.

52 Mr Peter Venslovas, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 26.

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FV Thunder, the vessel operator was fined but the illegally poached toothfish were never recovered.53

Market and Port State Measures

3.39 As noted above, submissions recognised that actions against port and market states constituted an important element in the suite of responses to IUU fishing in the region. In its submission, AFMA stated that:

Recognising IUU fishing is highly organised, mobile and elusive, AFMA sees regional cooperation by port and market states as central to combating the problem by disrupting IUU operations at port and blocking the flow of IUU catch into national and international markets.54

3.40 AFMA advised the committee that surveillance had yielded 'clear evidence' that IUU fishing vessels were primarily using ports in the South-East Asian region to unload catch and resupply.55 In recent years, Australia had worked with South-East Asian countries to develop and implement the Regional Plan of Action to Promote Responsible Fishing Practices including Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in the Region (RPOA-IUU). The RPOA-IUU provided a framework under which Australia could cooperate with participating states to take action against IUU vessels tracked from the Southern Ocean fisheries to their ports and markets.56

3.41 Mr Ian Thompson from the Department of Agriculture advised that:

Vessels that are identified going to and from Antarctica have to go into a port somewhere, and using powers at port we have had some success in recent years in having countries like Malaysia or others in South-East Asia that have been traditional ports of unloading either deny port entry or undertake vessel inspections, which is making the operations of illegal fishers on the high seas a lot more difficult, and that clearly is a far more cost-effective means of interdicting illegal fishers than sending boats out looking for them in the Southern Ocean. You wait for them to come in closer to your waters and take them there. That cooperative arrangement, which has been developing over the last probably 10 years, has started to bear fruit in the last 12 months.57

3.42 In its submission, AFMA referred to 35 sightings of IUU vessels by Australian surveillance and enforcement operations, leading to six actions under the RPOA-IUU to intercept vessels in South-East Asian ports for inspection and/or denial

53 Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 34.

54 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 6.

55 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 4.

56 The RPOA-IUU was established as a joint initiative of Australia and Indonesia, and the other participants are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 7.

57 Mr Ian Thompson, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, pp 20-21.

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of entry since early 2012.58 AFMA emphasised the value and importance of Australia's continued active involvement in the RPOA-IUU and its ongoing work to strengthen compliance activities. AFMA also raised the possibility of extending such arrangements to other port and market states, noting that evidence had also indicated IUU vessels unloading catch from the Southern Ocean in African ports.59

3.43 Several submissions noted that a critical element in strengthening international cooperation to combat IUU fishing was the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (Port State Measures Agreement). The Port State Measures Agreement was adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2009, and is presently awaiting the 25 ratifications necessary to enter into force.60

3.44 Under the Agreement, states parties undertake to apply minimum harmonised standards against IUU fishing vessels in their ports, including the refusal of entry to ships identified as IUU vessels by regional organisations. The Agreement also provides a platform for states parties to share information and to cooperate in various ways to block the flow of illegally caught fish to markets.

3.45 Australia signed the agreement on 27 April 2010, but is yet to ratify it. The agreement was examined by parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in May 2014, and the committee recommended ratification of the Agreement.61

3.46 In its submission and its evidence to the committee, EDO Tasmania called for Australia to ratify the Port State Measures Agreement without further delay. Ms Jess Feehely said ratification 'would be a significant statement by the Australian government of its commitment to deter illegal fishing'.62 The Law Council of Australia likewise urged Australia to ratify the agreement, stating that it would enhance Australia's international reputation as a responsible fishing nation, as well as providing a basis for greater cooperation with other states to reduce IUU fishing.63 AFMA also cited encouragement of other states to join the treaty as an opportunity Australia should take to enhance the effectiveness of Australia's activities against IUU fishing.64

3.47 Several submissions highlighted the work undertaken against IUU fishing under the auspices of CCAMLR. The 20 Year Strategic Plan also did so, noting the

58 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 7.

59 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, pp 4, 8.

60 http://www.fao.org/fishery/topic/166283/en

61 Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Report 139, 13 May 2014, pp 23-33.

62 EDO Tasmania, Submission 8, pp 3-4; Ms Jess Feehely, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 11.

63 Law Council of Australia, Submission 19, pp 4-5.

64 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 12.

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successes of the program and Australia's leading role in that regard. Dr Press stated that:

Continued action by the Commission as a collective voice against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing will need to continue to avoid any resurgence as global market demand for fish increases. Australia's continuing role as a champion in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing will be critical for the Commission and the sustainable management of marine living resources of the Antarctic.65

3.48 The committee was advised of broader diplomatic initiatives undertaken to encourage action by other states against IUU fishing, notably in relation to the flag states of vessels involved, and to support countries in the implementation of international standards and processes through education and capacity building. Action through INTERPOL to identify and respond to illegal fisheries operations was another element in the suite of actions taking place.66

Committee View

3.49 The committee welcomes advice from ACBPS that with the acquisition of new patrol vessels, it anticipates the re-commencement of patrolling in the Southern Ocean, using the Ocean Shield. The committee strongly urges that priority be given to patrolling the Southern Ocean to monitor, deter and respond to transnational crime, particularly IUU fishing.

Recommendation 3

3.50 The committee recommends that Australia commits to re-commencing maritime patrolling in the Southern Ocean, including a minimum of two 40-day patrols by the Ocean Shield in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 financial years.

3.51 The committee recognises that resourcing for surveillance and patrol is part of the overall question of the nature and management of Australia's maritime assets in the Southern Ocean, which is addressed further in chapter 5.

3.52 Given the apparent constraints on Australia's ability to mobilise vessels for adequate patrolling in the Southern Ocean, in response to both illegal fishing and whaling, the committee believes that exploration of enhanced partnerships for surveillance and patrol is well worthwhile. Principally, the committee endorses the proposal for the pursuit of further international arrangements for joint surveillance and enforcement building on the success of the Australia-France model. New Zealand, South Africa and the United States may represent priority countries for initial consideration in that regard.

65 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 58.

66 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, pp 8-10.

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Recommendation 4

3.53 The committee recommends that Australia explores the possibility of concluding new agreements with neighbouring and like-minded countries to cooperate in patrol and deterrence in the Southern Ocean, based upon the example of the arrangements presently in place with France.

3.54 The committee notes in that regard, however, that Australia must be prepared to contribute its fair share to any bilateral arrangements, including the extant agreements with France, by allocating appropriate resources to meet this party's commitments to scientific, surveillance and operational collaboration.

3.55 In addition, while the committee recognises that there are limits on feasible cooperation with commercial and non-government entities for law enforcement purposes, the government should continue to identify and maximise any opportunities that may arise for such mutual support.

3.56 The committee was encouraged by the evidence it received regarding the potential of aerial technology to support Australia's security and law enforcement objectives in the southern region. The committee believes that the quality and affordability of technology in this field is likely to experience rapid advancement in coming years. Air and satellite resources, including unmanned aerial vehicles, may prove particularly well placed to support demands such as those faced by Australia to surveil a vast area with limited resources.

Recommendation 5

3.57 The committee recommends that the government actively investigates the potential for further use of non-vessel technologies, including consideration of the potential application of new Defence assets, to support law enforcement and border patrolling in the Southern Ocean.

Whaling 3.58 Evidence given to the committee on the issue of Southern Ocean whaling repeatedly noted the long-held majority public opinion in Australia against killing whales, and the importance of preservation and conservation of certain whale species which had become endangered due to the proliferation of commercial whaling in the early twentieth century. The committee was also educated about the importance of whale populations to the overall functioning of the Southern Ocean ecosystem, including the continued prosperity of Antarctic fisheries.67

Monitoring and deterrence

3.59 The position of successive Australian governments against lethal whaling in the Southern Ocean has been clear for many years. In 2008, the Federal Court of Australia affirmed the legal validity of the ban on lethal whaling in the Australian

67 See, for example, Ms Sharon Livermore, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 17.

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Antarctic whale sanctuary declared within Australia's Antarctic territory.68 The 2014 International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision provided further legal ballast to the efforts of this country and others to combat lethal whaling in the broader Southern Ocean.

3.60 However, Australia does not exercise powers of enforcement over non-Australian nationals within its Antarctic EEZ, under a long-established understanding between Antarctic Treaty parties.69 Dr Greg French from DFAT explained Australia's continued commitment to this approach:

while at times it may appear useful or it would seem opportune to be able to enforce our laws in the Australian Antarctic Territory, including maritime areas adjacent to it, against foreign nationals for particular specific policy purposes, looked at in the broad in terms of the abiding and deep strategic interests Australia has in maintaining the Antarctic Treaty System and through that maintaining our sovereignty over the Australian Antarctic Territory, we believe that it remains the wisest and most prudent course to maintain the current setting of not enforcing our laws against foreign nationals in that area. So it is a very important overlay in the whaling context.70

3.61 Mr Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, expressed concern that Australia's concrete activity to monitor and deter whaling within its southern waters had decreased. There had been no vessel patrols in the Southern Ocean during the 2013-14 whaling season, and Mr Hansen said Sea Shepherd's observations suggested that surveillance flights were sporadic and ineffective:

Sending a Customs plane is pretty much like having a helicopter go over a bank to watch the bank robbers pulling money out of a bank; you are just watching a crime taking place...

So it was very disappointing when surveillance flights were sent, because that was $300,000 spent. That could have been better spent to fuel our fuel tanks, if they were not going to send a vessel.71

3.62 Mr Hansen advised the committee that in recent seasons Sea Shepherd vessels had sighted at least one whale killing within Australia's Antarctic EEZ, as well as incidents of Japanese whaling ships transiting Australia's maritime jurisdiction.72

3.63 The government has expressed some apparent concern about the direct anti-whaling activities of activist groups such as the Sea Shepherd. In December 2013 the Australian government issued a joint statement with the governments of the

68 Humane Society International Inc v Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd [2008] FCA 3 (15 January 2008).

69 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, response to question on notice following the 26 September public hearing, received 10 October 2014.

70 Dr Greg French, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 22.

71 Mr Jeff Hansen, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 12.

72 Mr Jeff Hansen, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 20.

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Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States condemning 'dangerous, reckless or unlawful behaviour' by all parties at sea during the Southern Ocean whaling season, highlighting the risks incurred both to whaling and protest vessels and their crews, and to rescuers sent to assist them. The statement reaffirmed that the respective governments remained 'resolutely opposed' to commercial whaling and would 'continue to engage on this matter'.73

3.64 Mr Hansen told the committee that:

our position is that if the government were to do a lot of the work that Sea Shepherd is doing in the Southern Ocean we would be happy not to send our vessels down there.74

Non-lethal research: making the case

3.65 Submissions from both government agencies and non-government organisations emphasised the importance of non-lethal whale research both for its inherent value, and also for rebutting the case put forward by Japan and others for lethal 'scientific' whaling. In this respect, the committee's attention was drawn in particular to the valuable work of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership (SORP). SORP is a collaborative effort between 11 countries, launched by Australia in 2008.

3.66 Dr Nick Gales, Chief Scientist in the AAD, described the evolution of the initiative:

In essence, the International Whaling Commission would talk about priorities but it was left in a relatively ad hoc way for members to come back and provide research against those priorities. The notion of the partnership that Australia took to the IWC was to get collective groups of countries in regions together to go quite rigorously through the IWC's processes to ask: what are the actual priorities and how can they be best addressed? We went through that whole process and developed a range of priorities.75

3.67 The Australian government invested approximately $14 million in SORP over five years from 2008-2013, as part of a broader package of funding for non-lethal whale research and related diplomacy totalling $32 million.76

3.68 SORP's research was described as crucial in demonstrating that non-lethal methods were able to obtain all the research information which had been previously cited by Japan and others to justify the 'scientific' slaughter of whales. In doing so, SORP provided the key evidence which resulted in Australia's success against Japan's lethal whaling program in the ICJ. Dr Gales told the committee that:

73 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 'Joint statement on whaling and safety at sea', Media Release, 20 December 2013.

74 Mr Jeff Hansen, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 10.

75 Dr Nick Gales, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 51.

76 International Fund for Animal Welfare, response to question on notice following the 16 September public hearing, received 9 October 2014, p. 3.

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We have certainly demonstrated in the development of the techniques we have used that all of the questions the International Whaling Commission has come up with, that it has said are important to be answered for a whole range of issues, even driven by other countries who wish to utilise whales in a different way than Australia or other countries, can be addressed using nonlethal techniques. None of them are value added with the use of lethally acquired data.77

3.69 Government funding for future whale research, including SORP, is presently under review, with no confirmed funding beyond 2015. Funding of $6 million for a major blue whale research voyage planned for 2014 was placed on hold following the 2013 election, and the government stated at that time that future operations would be considered in light of the ICJ decision and the outcomes of the 2014 IWC meeting.78

3.70 Ms Sharon Livermore from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) told the committee that:

SORP is delivering valuable, best practice, non-lethal research, which demonstrates that whales do not need to be killed in the name of science…

On the back of that success in the world court, it is important that Australia continue to support that non-lethal research. Japan have made their intentions clear to go back. There is funding and there are resources from the Australian government to lead SORP non-lethal whale research in Antarctica, and Japan needs an invitation to join SORP. It is not less of a priority now that the ICJ decision has been made.79

3.71 IFAW and other witnesses noted the importance of engaging Japan in the wake of the ICJ decision to positively influence its future decision making in relation to whaling. While diplomatic sensitivities were acknowledged, others noted that a time when diplomatic relations are very strong provides an excellent opportunity for 'some friendly conversation among best friends'.80

3.72 One possibility mentioned in relation to encouraging Japan away from lethal scientific research was inviting Japan to join SORP. The Department of the Environment advised the committee that the matter had been raised with Japan (and other countries) by Australian ministers in the past, and such an invitation was most recently made by the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, to Japan's Commissioner at the IWC meeting on 15 September 2014.81

77 Dr Nick Gales, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 57.

78 Andrew Darby, 'Whale research takes budget hits', The Age, 15 May 2014; Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 55.

79 Ms Sharon Livermore, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 10; p. 13.

80 Ms Sharon Livermore, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 17.

81 Department of the Environment, response to question on notice following the 16 September public hearing, received 13 October 2014.

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Committee view

3.73 The committee welcomes the constructive approach taken historically by Australia to pursue its opposition to lethal whaling through diplomatic, legal and scientific means. The ICJ decision was an important stepping stone toward the abolition of so-called 'scientific' whaling, and the product of significant effort and investment.

3.74 With a partial victory in place, and Japan's active interest in forging its future whaling intentions, now is not the time for Australia to lose sight of the issue or abandon its courage and commitment.

3.75 The committee recognises the legal and practical limits on Australia's ability to prevent lethal whaling through direct intervention in the Southern Ocean. Nonetheless, the physical presence of Australian assets in the Southern Ocean provides a powerful symbol of deterrence as well as a facility for active monitoring of whaling activities. It may also contribute to ensuring the safe and measured behaviour of all other stakeholders who may be present.

3.76 As such, the committee encourages the judicious use of Australia's maritime resources, including the Ocean Shield, to undertake monitoring and deterrence as appropriate, should Japan re-commence its 'scientific' whaling program in future seasons.

3.77 Meanwhile, Australia's scientific and diplomatic investment to date should be further exploited, in appropriate ways, to influence Japan toward a more acceptable position on this issue. Australia should continue to play a leading role in internationally collaborative non-lethal whale research, and should encourage Japan's positive engagement in that work.

Recommendation 6

3.78 The committee recommends that the government commits to continued funding of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership for at least a further five years beyond the completion of the current funding in 2015.

Recommendation 7

3.79 The committee recommends that Australia prioritises the active pursuit of further diplomatic discussions with Japan about its future whale research plans, including extending a formal invitation to Japan to join the Southern Ocean Research Partnership.

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Chapter 4

Scientific research and the marine environment Harbinger of change: the significance of the Southern Ocean 4.1 Compelling evidence was provided to the committee from several submitters and witnesses in relation to the unique environmental importance of the Southern Ocean. Dr Bruce Mapstone, Chief Research Scientist at CSIRO, emphasised that research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean provided important knowledge to advance Australia's economic and environmental wellbeing and its security, as well as its international influence.1

4.2 The Southern Ocean was particularly recognised as an important harbinger of Australian and global climate change. The first evidence that ocean acidification as a result of increased absorption of carbon dioxide was having an effect on living organisms was found in Southern Ocean waters.2

4.3 Dr Mapstone highlighted two crucial ways in which the Southern Ocean was indicating and influencing change:

Australian research has shown that the Southern Ocean soaks up more heat and carbon dioxide than any other latitude region globally, helping to slow the pace of climate change. The key question is whether the region will continue to provide that service into the future.

Sea level rise is an aspect of climate change that will have one of the most significant direct impacts on human populations, including very many Australians who live around our coasts. The largest uncertainty in projections of future sea level is the future behaviour of the Antarctic ice sheet and the effects on it of warming in our Southern Ocean. We need to understand those interactions in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean better to anticipate and adapt to future sea level rise.3

4.4 Professor Nathan Bindoff from the University of Tasmania's Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) elaborated on these issues, explaining to the committee that within the last two decades, scientific research in the Southern Ocean (by Australia and other countries, working in collaboration) had altered scientists' understanding of changes occurring within and between the earth's oceans. The deepest waters around Antarctica were changing rapidly in relation to other oceans, with the Southern Ocean (and the North Atlantic) absorbing heat at a faster rate than other oceans, and the Antarctic ice sheet losing mass. In a conundrum yet to be fully understood, sea ice was increasing in east Antarctica but rapidly decreasing in other

1 Dr Bruce Mapstone, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 41.

2 Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin, Submission 2, p. 3.

3 Dr Bruce Mapstone, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 41.

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parts of Antarctica.4 The importance of these factors for global ocean health, weather and climate demanded further understanding.

4.5 Scientists emphasised that these changes were of very practical significance to understanding shifts in weather and climate, especially for Australia. Witnesses from CSIRO elaborated on research undertaken which showed striking (inverse) correlation between snowfall in the region of Antarctica south of Western Australia, and rainfall patterns in south-western Australia. Reduced rainfall and periods of drought over the last century in the south-west of Western Australia could be attributed to heavy snowfall in Antarctica. While the research was ongoing, CSIRO noted its potential importance for the design of future investment in water infrastructure and management, agriculture and related issues in that part of Australia.5

4.6 Professors Bindoff and Boyd from IMAS agreed:

The challenge with the Antarctic ice sheet and the Southern Ocean is: how much will it change into the future? We already see it changing. We never understood how much the climate of Australia depends on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Some of the biggest dries - there are some beautiful records of the changing rainfall over the south-west of Australia - are connected to the ice cores that we collect…

It is the global climate, it is the Australian climate, it is a driver of Australian weather. It is a key element in the climate system and it is actually a source of key risk, particularly around sea level but also against other parameters.6

4.7 Professor Kurt Lambeck from the Australian Academy of Science added:

Antarctic science is important, not just for the sake of doing science, but I believe for Australia as well. A lot of the processes that go on there have an immediate impact on the Australian climate and on the ocean environment around us. Large parts of our climate, parts of our weather, are driven by Antarctic. So having a clear understanding of what is happening down there, of understanding the processes that are behind the changes that we observe, are absolutely critical. They are critical for our agricultural industry, if it enables us to improve our medium-term forecasting, for example. They are critical for our understanding of changes in the ocean circulation.7

4.8 The importance of Southern Ocean research to Australia is well understood by Australian scientists, including those in government agencies. The current Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan identifies 'Climate Processes and Change' and 'Southern Ocean Ecosystems' as two of four key themes for Australia's research

4 Professor Nathan Bindoff, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 6.

5 Dr Bruce Mapstone, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 48.

6 Professor Nathan Bindoff and Professor Philip Boyd, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, pp 6-7.

7 Professor Kurt Lambeck, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 8.

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focus.8 In their evidence to the committee, CSIRO and the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) confirmed that studying acidification of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on sea life and on climate remained high priorities for Australia's scientific research.9

4.9 Dr Steve Rintoul from CSIRO summed up Australia's approach:

Our science over the last decade or so has shown that the Southern Ocean is critical for many aspects of the earth's climate. If it changed, climate would also change. So a large part of our work is aimed at detecting changes in the Southern Ocean and explaining why they are occurring.10

Protecting the southern waters: Australia's environmental engagement

4.10 The Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) was developed with a strong emphasis on sustainable and effective management of the pristine environment of the Antarctic region. The Madrid Protocol declares Antarctica to be a 'natural reserve devoted to peace and science' and creates detailed rules for the protection of its environment and associated ecosystems.11 As noted in chapter 3, the CAMLR Convention adopts an ecosystem-based approach to ensure the protection and sustainable use of marine life in the Southern Ocean.

4.11 The Department of the Environment advised the committee that Australia was a leading participant in the international mechanisms established under the ATS to meet its environmental objectives. For example, Australia had been 'the key proponent' in the recent development of a multi-year strategic workplan for the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM).12 The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade noted in its submission that the 2014 ATCM had elected Australia's candidate as chair of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) under the Madrid Protocol. The department described this as 'tangible recognition of the continuing contribution Australia is making to Antarctic governance'.13

4.12 Australia was also an active member of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), and within this forum had facilitated discussions on improved environmental outcomes, as well as a Southern Ocean Observing System

8 Australian Government, Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan 2011-12 to 2020-21, March 2011, tabled by Dr Tony Fleming at the committee's public hearing on 16 September 2014, p. 13.

9 Dr Steve Rintoul, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, pp 45-46; Dr Nick Gales, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 56.

10 Dr Steve Rintoul, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 42.

11 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 4; Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 7.

12 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 7.

13 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 2.

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workshop and resulting think tank, with the objective of coordinating and enhancing efforts by all nations and bodies to gather data from the Southern Ocean.14

4.13 The 20 Year Strategic Plan stated the importance of ensuring continued understanding of, and commitment to, the Madrid Protocol, particularly given speculation about the possible interest of some nations in re-negotiating its environmental protection provisions. The Plan recommended that Australia undertake diplomatic and practical activities to support the Madrid Protocol, including capacity building and education with other parties and prospective parties.15

Marine Protected Areas

4.14 One key initiative raised with the committee was Australia's proposal, in collaboration with France and the European Union, to establish a network of new Marine Protected Areas (MPA) under CCAMLR, in waters off East Antarctica claimed as part of the Australian Antarctic Territory. The MPA would not prohibit fishing or scientific research in those areas, but ensure that they were conducted sustainably under agreed terms. The Department of the Environment described this initiative as 'significant not only in terms of Australia's marine environment conservation objectives, but also…a major step in marine area protection within the context of the ATS'.16 Consensus was not reached on this proposal at CCAMLR's 2013 meeting; however, Australia was continuing its diplomatic efforts to seek agreement on the measures in 2014.17

4.15 EDO Tasmania and the Law Council of Australia were two of several organisations that expressed support for Australia's efforts to establish marine protected areas in Antarctic waters, including the new proposals.18 Ms Jess Feehely of EDO Tasmania spoke to the committee about the unique biodiversity of the waters involved, and the usefulness of establishing MPAs as a framework for best-practice management of research and conservation.19

4.16 Mr Martin Exel from Austral Fisheries sounded a note of caution in regard to Australia's commitment to the establishment of MPAs:

If you set aside too big an area as a marine protected area, unless you have the adequate monitoring and surveillance, it will simply become a red target for illegal fishermen. So when you are setting marine protected areas you need to make sure that there is adequate resourcing and funds so that you can have the science, monitor what is going on and actually create

14 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, pp 7-8.

15 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 49.

16 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 7.

17 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Submission 6, p. 4.

18 EDO Tasmania, Submission 8, p. 4; Law Council of Australia, Submission 19, p. 5.

19 Ms Jess Feehely, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 20.

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surveillance to prevent anyone doing what you do not want them to do there.20

Committee view

4.17 The committee recognised the compelling evidence provided that monitoring and better understanding changes in the Southern Ocean, and their impact on the Australian and global climate, was important to our national interests. As such, and also bearing in mind the concomitant benefits of such research for Australia's standing in the ATS, the committee believes that continued prioritisation of Southern Ocean climate and ecosystem research is necessary.

4.18 Moreover, protection of the marine environment in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters benefits both Australia's standing in the ATS, and its interests in fisheries and science. As such, the committee encourages Australia's continued leadership in regional environmental work, including specific initiatives such as the creation of new marine protected areas in East Antarctica.

Recommendation 8

4.19 The committee recommends that researching the impact of changes in the Southern Ocean on the Australian and global climate remain a strategic priority in Australia's future planning and resourcing of scientific research.

Recommendation 9

4.20 The committee recommends that Australia continues its advocacy for the establishment by CCAMLR of new Marine Protected Areas in the waters of East Antarctica.

Scientific research: the currency of the ATS 4.21 In addition to the special environmental and climatic significance of the Southern Ocean noted above, IMAS commented that many Australians relied in other practical ways on Australian research conducted in the Southern Ocean. These included farmers who drew upon meteorological information gathered there, fishing companies who operated in some of the remotest waters of the world, and the many Hobart-based businesses and stakeholders who operated in and around the region.21

4.22 Submissions and evidence from the Australian fishing industry confirmed the practical importance of science to its work. Mr Martin Exel from Austral Fisheries observed that 'we want very much effective, accurate science, and that goes straight to our allowable catches'.22

4.23 Professor Anthony Worby from the Australian Academy of Science agreed:

From observations that have been made in the Southern Ocean since the early nineties we know that the Southern Ocean is fresher, warmer, more

20 Mr Martin Exel, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 26.

21 Dr Julia Jabour, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 2.

22 Mr Martin Exel, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 22.

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acidic and lower in dissolved oxygen than it was several decades ago. That points to some fairly fundamental changes that are happening in the Southern Ocean and it is important that we understand what those processes are if we are to understand the likely future impacts on climate and ecosystems and, therefore, fish stocks. So a lot of that work, our understanding of ecosystems in the Southern Ocean, feeds for example into the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Australia holds a very important place in those negotiations. I would expect over time that the pressure within that forum for more fishing and greater exploitation of resources will come to bear. So Australia, from its research, brings value into those kinds of fora in being able to articulate the benefits of a precautionary approach to fishing, for example.23

4.24 Austral Fisheries and AFMA both highlighted the benefits of bilateral cooperation with France in relation to scientific research of fish stock movements and related ecosystem development on the Kerguelen Plateau. Both industry and government encouraged the continuation and further development of that work as a priority.24

4.25 Beyond the specific applications of the science conducted in the region, the inherent value of Australian scientific research in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters was emphasised repeatedly during the inquiry. The committee heard scientific research described as the 'currency of influence' in the ATS, and various submissions and witnesses emphasised that a strong and credible scientific research profile was essential to the maintenance of Australia's influence among the nations operating in Antarctica.

4.26 The Australian Academy of Science, for example, argued that:

…participation as a Consultative Party [in the Antarctic Treaty System] is dependent on demonstration of a substantial scientific program. Actively pursuing our role as a major Consultative Party ensures that Australia's Antarctic interests are not diminished. Regardless of what path or direction Australian investment in Antarctica takes in the next 20 years, it is of fundamental importance to demonstrate that we have a credible, competitive scientific program that is producing high quality, scientific outputs and delivering high quality scientific outcomes.25

4.27 The Department of the Environment concurred:

Australia's prominent role in science, operations, environmental protection and international cooperation in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean over the

23 Professor Anthony Worby, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 11.

24 Austral Fisheries, Submission 13, pp 4-5; Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Submission 11, p. 11. The 20 Year Strategic Plan also recommended the prioritisation of research in the HIMI territory and its surrounding waters: AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 55.

25 Australian Academy of Science, Submission 5, p. 2.

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past century has yielded substantial influence within the ATS, and a range of concomitant benefits to Australia.26

4.28 Some witnesses went as far as to link continued resourcing of Australia's science-based international influence to the ability to maintain our claims to sovereignty in Antarctica and its waters:

Underfunding and downsizing scientific resources will reduce our research capacity and ultimately undermine our leadership in the scientific community, an important currency in Australia's status in the Antarctic Treaty System. Without a commanding sovereign presence in the Australian Antarctic Territory and its exclusive economic zone, Heard and McDonald Islands and their EEZ and Macquarie Island and its EEZ, the validity of our claim to 42 per cent of the Antarctic continent and the maritime zones generated from that land claim will be more difficult to sustain.27

4.29 As Professor Lambeck said to the committee: 'If we claim to manage a large part of Antarctica then we also have to do the supporting science'.28

4.30 The AAD is responsible for the coordination and implementation of Australia's scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, in line with the whole-of-government strategy agreed in the Australian Antarctic Science Strategic

Plan.29 The department advised that in 2012-13 the Australian Antarctic Science Program undertook 61 science projects involving 136 scientists from 36 Australian institutions, including research conducted in collaboration with 71 institutions in 23 other countries.30

4.31 The department cited sea ice research as a key marine science priority for Australia, noting in particular a 'major and highly collaborative' marine science project undertaken in East Antarctica under Australian leadership, the Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystems Experiment (SIPEX). The SIPEX II voyage, undertaken by the Aurora Australis in the 2012-13 season, involved 51 scientists from 9 countries, and was followed in 2013-14 by the participation of six AAD scientists on a German-led multinational mission to continue research on sea ice and Antarctic krill in the Southern Ocean. The department said that these missions 'demonstrated the value of bringing large international teams of researchers together to undertake complex projects that address key global issues'.31

26 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 10.

27 Dr Julia Jabour, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 2.

28 Professor Kurt Lambeck, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 9.

29 Australian Government, Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan 2011-12 to 2020-21, March 2011, tabled by Dr Tony Fleming at the committee's public hearing on 16 September 2014.

30 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 8.

31 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 9.

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4.32 The 20 Year Strategic Plan also highlighted the SIPEX project as an example of Australian leadership in major collaborative science in the region.32

4.33 The CSIRO cited its key research priorities in the Southern Ocean, in line with Australia's Antarctic Science Strategic Plan, as: marine living resource analysis, Southern Ocean dynamics and the implications for the climate, Southern Ocean carbon analysis, ozone hole observation and analysis, greenhouse gas observation and analysis, and climate and earth system simulation.33

4.34 Dr Tony Press expressed the view in the 20 Year Strategic Plan and in his evidence to the committee, that the arrangements under which Australia conducted its official Antarctic science programs were fundamentally sound. 'I have seen other national Antarctic science programs around the world and I think Australia has it just about right'. In the Plan Dr Press described Australia's model as a 'hybrid' one, in which strategic priorities are set by government through the Antarctic Science Strategic Plan, and the government pursues those objectives directly through its science programs in AAD and also CSIRO. This is then complemented by private research supported by government through various competitive grants schemes, assessed against the same research priorities.34 Dr Press told the committee that the hybrid model 'has been very effective in harnessing the full science potential that the various parts of the research community in Australia can provide.'35 The Australian Academy of Science agreed that the 'current mixed-model approach' to the coordination of Australia's scientific interests was 'highly effective'.36

4.35 Widespread concern was expressed, however, that Australia's investment in Antarctic and Southern Ocean science was in decline. In its submission, the Department of the Environment acknowledged that marine science conducted by the AAD had reduced over the past ten years, primarily due to the competing demand on the Aurora Australis to undertake resupply. Marine science days undertaken by the ship had reduced from an average of 66 per year between 1990 and 2007, to an average of 28 days between 2008 and 2014.37

4.36 The 20 Year Strategic Plan stated that:

Australia has been active in Antarctic science for over one hundred years, and in the post Second World War period, one of the leading countries in Antarctic scientific research. Australia's pre-eminence in Antarctic research capability and output is now declining due to historical under-funding and

32 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 60.

33 CSIRO, Submission 14, pp 5-6.

34 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 33.

35 Professor Anthony Press, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 61.

36 Australian Academy of Science, Submission 5, p. 4.

37 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 13.

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the emergence of other countries as big players in Antarctic and Southern Ocean research.38

4.37 The Plan stated that current funding grants were inadequate to service research demand and the large collaborative projects needed in the region. As a result, 'the outlook for support for high profile, priority, collaborative science in the Antarctic is very limited'.39 Professor Lambeck from the Australian Academy of Science asserted that in recent decades the number of scientists researching Antarctic issues had almost halved, with a commensurate decline in scientific output.40

4.38 The government's allocation of two new envelopes of funding for Antarctic-related scientific research in the 2014 Budget was mentioned by a number of relevant stakeholders, and was broadly welcomed. This was comprised of $24 million for a new 'Antarctic Gateway Partnership' fund, to be administered over three years by the Australian Research Council and utilised collaboratively by the AAD, CSIRO and University of Tasmania; and $25 million over five years for the continued work of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC), another flagship collaborative research initiative.

4.39 Witnesses agreed that the problem of long-term security for scientific research was not thereby resolved. Dr Press was mindful of the conclusion of these two funding commitments in 2017 and 2019 respectively, describing them as 'two funding cliffs' on the horizon for Antarctic science.41

4.40 The committee heard evidence about a parallel process with the potential to impact on the future of the ACE CRC, in the form of a review of Australia's suite of Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) recently commissioned by the government and due to report in early 201542. In this respect witnesses stressed that the value and achievements of the ACE CRC as a 'public-good' research centre must be acknowledged, in the face of increasing emphasis on supporting national science which directly delivered research outcomes to industry.43

4.41 In addition, it was made clear to the committee that the decline in Australia's ability to conduct scientific research in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters was not only a question of direct research funding, but stemmed at least equally from reductions in the operational, logistical and infrastructure support necessary to mount research expeditions in the region. These were, on the whole, complex and expensive. Much of the present (and necessary) science taking place in Antarctica and its waters

38 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 30.

39 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 32.

40 Professor Kurt Lambeck, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 9.

41 Professor Anthony Press, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 66.

42 The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry, 'Business leader appointed to review Cooperative Research Centres', Media Release, 16 September 2014.

43 Dr Anthony Worby and Professor Kurt Lambeck, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, pp 12-13.

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was also very long term in nature. Major research projects of the type conducted in the region involved lengthy planning, and observation and analysis on issues like oceanic change and climate required ongoing data collection over a period of decades.44

4.42 There was acknowledgement that to some extent the nature of scientific research was changing. The use of new technologies including remote observation equipment was being adopted where possible, to complement the movement of personnel and vessels for research. At the same time, it was equally acknowledged that technology's utility had its limits, and would never replace the need for scientific personnel and physical presence in the region. Dr Steve Rintoul from CSIRO told the committee:

The truth is that we are doing much more remotely by satellite or autonomous gliders and floats in the ocean than we ever did before. There are more than 3,000 floats that are profiling up and down in the upper two kilometres of the ocean globally that are allowing us to really measure the ocean year round in remote places like the Southern Ocean for the first time.

The problem is that these instruments cannot measure everything that we need to know. They cannot measure carbon dioxide levels, for example…It is true for many other chemical, physical and biological parameters that we need to measure to understand what is happening to the system down there. The balance is shifting. Much more of it is being done without people on the ground, but we are not yet and are unlikely to ever be at the point where we can do everything that way.45

4.43 Nevertheless, limited access to operational capacity in terms of ship places for scientific voyages was acknowledged by all as a key impediment to maintaining, not to mention growing, Australia's research profile. Dr Sam Bateman from the University of Wollongong suggested that from the very outset of considering research proposals, scientists were stymied by the operational limitations:

I think one of the issues here is that you have demand really being fitted to the supply of ships. If we had more ships, we would certainly be able to undertake a greater range of scientific research. The trouble at present, as I understand it, is that the scientists are not making enough proposals for the research they would like to undertake, because they know there is only the one ship available and they are unlikely to get time on that particular ship because of the other types of research and organisations that are bidding for research time. My feeling is that we need to look a bit more closely at how we set the requirements for scientific research in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters and make sure that we are getting a full picture of the requirements given the changing oceanographic conditions there rather than just setting our requirements to the likely ship availability…46

44 Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, pp 13-14.

45 Dr Steve Rintoul, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 48.

46 Dr Sam Bateman, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 5.

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4.44 The Department of the Environment expressed the hope that the commissioning of a replacement icebreaker for AAD, the acquisition by CSIRO of its new research vessel, and the recommendations made in the 20 Year Strategic Plan, would assist in enhancing Australia's future ability to undertake Antarctic and Southern Ocean science.47

4.45 The 20 Year Strategic Plan placed great emphasis on the importance of maintaining Australia's leadership in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean through substantially increased funding for scientific research and for the operational support which made it possible. Its recommendations included substantially increased funding for Australian Antarctic Science grants (and not at the expense of other core functions of the Australian Antarctic program), support for the operational capacity required to undertake such research, prioritisation of collaborative research and large field-based campaigns, and development of a Commonwealth-state position on ongoing funding for collaborative research bodies, upon the cessation of current funding for the Antarctic Gateway Partnership and for ACE CRC.48

4.46 In evidence to the committee CSIRO advised that the specific utilisation of the new Antarctic Gateway Partnership funding had not yet been determined, but active discussions between the three recipient partners were taking place. It was envisaged that some of the funds would need to be allocated to the operational costs of fieldwork and equipment in order to support the research ultimately approved.49

Youth and experience - maintaining scientific expertise

4.47 A particular element of the future of Antarctic and Southern Ocean science raised in evidence was the impact of reducing investment on the development of future scientists and science potential. Antarctic and marine science is a significant drawcard for both Australian study, and international study in Australia. The Department of the Environment indicated that eighty students, including 53 PhD candidates, were involved in Australian science projects in 2012-13.50 The benefits of Antarctic and marine education have also been identified as an area of comparative advantage, and of potential further growth, for Tasmania's educational and research institutions.

4.48 The committee was told of the impact of the loss of science jobs for expertise in the sector, with many experienced scientists retiring or moving away, and young scientists unable to continue working in their fields of expertise. Mr Tim Lamb, a CPSU workplace delegate from the AAD, provided a striking example:

…some of those people will retire, some will move into consultancy, many - particularly the younger ones - will need to find something else, so they

47 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, pp 13-14.

48 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, pp 34, 36.

49 Dr Steve Rintoul, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 46.

50 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 8.

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may go off and do a different job. A young woman recently had to go and find a new job; she was a recent PhD graduate; she is a travel agent now.51

4.49 The CPSU argued in its submission that the AAD was struggling to retain younger scientists 'who previously saw a future career in Antarctic work. These younger staff represent the future of the AAD and the impact of their loss is immense'.52 Mr Mark Green from the CSIRO staff association told the committee that budget and job cuts in key government agencies were cutting off career paths for young scientists:

It is a very difficult climate, when the two biggest employers of marine scientists are actually laying people off…we now have young scientists qualifying - doctorates and post doctorates - and they are finding it very hard to find a job. Being a barista is a career choice at the moment.53

4.50 The committee heard that there was some recognition among government agencies of the need to preserve and promote Australian scientific expertise in relation to the Southern Ocean. Dr Steve Rintoul from the CSIRO advised the committee that there was positive consideration being given toward allocating at least some of the new Antarctic Gateway Partnership funding to support early- to mid-career researchers.54

Collaboration

4.51 The committee was told that Antarctic science was almost unique among scientific endeavours in its very high levels of international collaboration. The expense and difficulty of scientific research in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica had generated a cooperative rather than competitive approach among countries undertaking research, extending as far as the creation of various bodies, including the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), dedicated to multinational collaboration. SCAR made a submission to the inquiry stating that it had 'long appreciated Australia's significant contribution to science in the region and in particular to the leadership roles Australian scientists have played in SCAR programmes, committees and activities'.55

4.52 Professor Anthony Worby elaborated on the ubiquity of the collaboration:

Most of the marine science—in fact, I could go out on a limb and say all of the major marine science voyages that are undertaken by the Australian program—would include world-leading scientists from other countries. We would always extend an invitation to world experts that can provide complementarity to our own expertise on any particular voyage, and I have to say other countries do the same thing. Australian scientists would

51 Mr Timothy Lamb, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 29.

52 Community and Public Sector Union, Submission 20, p. 2.

53 Mr Mark Green, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 32.

54 Dr Steve Rintoul, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 46.

55 Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Submission 3.

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participate in German, American and French expeditions that are also undertaking research, so it is very much an international space that we operate in.56

4.53 Many witnesses before the committee stressed the importance and efficacy of continued and strengthened international collaboration to ensuring that the expensive and challenging business of Southern Ocean research could be effectively undertaken. Dr Tony Press endorsed the generally positive assessment of Australia's scientific partnerships with other countries, but also believed that collaboration within Australia, and between Australia and other nations, could be further improved: 'it can get better…it is certainly very, very good but not excellent'.57

4.54 The need for continued Australian investment to enable this country to be an attractive collaborative partner was apparent, and the impact of the Australian situation on our ability to be an international leader pertinent. Professor Philip Boyd from the University of Tasmania offered the example of young international researchers who had come to work in Australia but were now 'twiddling their thumbs' because of the unavailability of ship days, unsure whether and when they would have an opportunity to conduct their research.58

4.55 For its part, the commercial fishing sector is already engaged with scientific research, and regards it as within its interests to work with the scientific community. In its submission, Australian Longline Pty Ltd endorsed the value of Australian scientific research in the region, both for its direct impact on the industry, and for maintaining Australia's influence within the ATS.59 Mr Martin Exel from Austral fisheries advised the committee that the industry provided approximately $1.25 million per annum in direct funding for scientific research, with a commensurate contribution in kind including the carriage of scientific observers and equipment on voyages. The commercial fishing companies also conducted at least 20 days per year surveying as a condition of their licences. Mr Exel said from the industry's perspective:

The operations and the work we do with researchers we can always extend as long as it is done in a way that does not directly impede or cost too much…We are happy to consider any offers.60

Committee view

4.56 The committee was convinced by the comprehensive and compelling evidence confirming that scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is a worthy investment, as a public good and as a practical underpinning to significant Australian national interests. Australian leadership in the ATS, in environmental

56 Professor Anthony Worby, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 13.

57 Professor Anthony Press, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 65.

58 Professor Philip Boyd, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 9.

59 Australian Longline Pty Ltd, Submission 9, p. 2.

60 Mr Martin Exel, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 23.

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protection, and Australia's sovereign and economic interests require continued strong investment in Southern Ocean science. Indeed, Australian investment is already so deeply embedded — one need only consider the millions in current spending on new vessels for AAD and CSIRO — that to fail to maximise our scientific potential would make no sense.

4.57 The committee welcomes the government's commitment of new funding in the 2014 budget for scientific research, in the form of the Antarctic Gateway Partnership, and continued support of the ACE CRC. The committee was also encouraged by the assessment of Dr Press and others that Australia's arrangements for managing scientific research in accordance with agreed national priorities were effective and appropriate.

4.58 The committee recognises nonetheless that scientific research needs to be better resourced, and that such resourcing needs to be secured over the long term, to provide the foundation for Australia's participation in the major and collaborative projects crucial for Southern Ocean and Antarctic research.

4.59 Efficiencies may come from better alignment and rationalisation of existing programs. The new Antarctic Gateway Partnership has provided a platform for a badly-needed injection of additional resources, but the committee was not entirely clear on what it may offer that was not already captured in existing collaborative initiatives between the same organisations, notably the ACE CRC. Naturally, a desperate research sector is happy to accept whatever resources government is prepared to give, in whatever form. However, with the completion of current funding on the horizon for both the Gateway Partnership and the ACE CRC, there is an argument for exploring whether research funding sources can be more efficiently streamlined.

Recommendation 10

4.60 The committee recommends that an immediate commitment be made by the government to continue funding for Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific research beyond the sunset dates of existing collaborative initiatives in 2017 and 2019.

4.61 The committee further recommends that appropriate funding for Antarctic and Southern Ocean science be assured through a commitment in the Budget process to a funding cycle reflecting, and integrated with, the ten-year cycle of the Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan, and in line with Recommendation 13.

4.62 The committee is particularly concerned to ensure that Australia continues to provide a hub of scientific excellence and a coterie of world-class experts in relation to Antarctic and Southern Ocean science. With budget cuts biting into that expertise, the committee believes that supporting early-career scientists is essential, both financially, and through practical initiatives for mentoring and the sharing of knowledge within the Antarctic science community, especially among Tasmania-based organisations.

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Recommendation 11

4.63 The committee recommends that future allocation of research funding for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean include specific funds to support young and early-career scientists, in recognition of Australia's comparative advantage in maintaining world-class scientific expertise in these fields into the future.

4.64 The committee further recommends that government agencies and scientific research organisations, particularly the science community based in Tasmania, work to develop a program of mentoring to facilitate information-sharing and professional support between experienced and retired scientists and those commencing in the field.

4.65 The committee acknowledges that restoring Australia's scientific activities is at least equally about addressing the essential capacities that support scientific research: operational and logistical funding and staff, vessels and infrastructure. These issues are discussed further in the following chapter.

Mapping the southern waters 4.66 The need to invest in enhanced maritime mapping in the Southern Ocean was a further issue raised with the committee. Dr Chris Carson from Geoscience Australia told the committee that:

the Australian Antarctic marine jurisdiction around the coastline of the Australian Antarctic Territory actually represents quite a large area, about 2.2 million square kilometres, roughly 15 per cent of Australia's marine estate. Yet, less than one per cent is adequately mapped by modern seafloor mapping techniques.61

4.67 In its submission Geoscience Australia argued that mapping the Southern Ocean sea floor was an effective means of demonstrating and reinforcing Australian territorial sovereignty in the region. Marine geoscience surveys were essential for defining Australia's maritime boundaries on its extended continental shelves in the Southern Ocean, and also on the Antarctic ice-fringed coast, which was subject to changes over time and therefore needed ongoing monitoring.62

4.68 Geoscience Australia asserted that contributing to mapping the Southern Ocean sea floor would be another significant demonstration of Australia's scientific engagement, enhancing Australia's presence and influence in the ATS, while providing a practical resource to ATS bodies such as CCAMLR.63 Geoscience information obtained by Australia was, for example, used to support Australia's ongoing advocacy within CCAMLR for the establishment of new marine protected areas in East Antarctica.64

61 Dr Christopher Carson, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 18.

62 Geoscience Australia, Submission 12, pp 11-12.

63 Geoscience Australia, Submission 12, pp 3, 7.

64 Geoscience Australia, Submission 12, p. 8.

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4.69 Improving geophysical information would also provide critical support for a number of functions aligned with Australia's national priorities in the region, including scientific research, environmental and fisheries management, navigational safety and search and rescue.65

4.70 Geoscience Australia regarded the acquisition of Australia's new research vessels, the RV Investigator and the new icebreaker, as providing the opportunity to address the present lacuna in mapping the maritime region and support the geoscience objectives identified in its submission.66 Indeed, the committee observed during its inspection of the RV Investigator that it was equipped with a gondola fixed underneath the ship containing modern sonar equipment, allowing for the possibility of enhanced mapping activities.67

4.71 Geoscience Australia recommended that Australia develop and undertake a priority-driven seafloor mapping program in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters. Geoscience Australia provided a detailed set of priorities for such a mapping program. Notably, it advised that mapping in Australia's HIMI maritime jurisdiction was inadequate, and that improved mapping in the heavily-used near shore areas close to Australia's Antarctic bases should be a priority.68

4.72 The agency also mentioned the potential for further international collaboration in this regard, drawing attention to geoscience cooperation already taking place under bilateral arrangements between Australia and Japan. Germany, France, the United States and Italy were other nations engaged in mapping in the Southern Ocean, with whom Australia could pursue collaboration.69

Committee view

4.73 It seems self-evident that if Australia is to claim and exercise sovereignty and influence and appropriately pursue its interests in the Southern Ocean, it must know the terrain. The committee was surprised to learn of the paucity of seafloor mapping and geoscientific information available to support Australia's many activities in the region, including its own maritime jurisdiction. The committee commends the submission from Geoscience Australia in offering a cogent argument and clear priorities for a Southern Ocean mapping and geoscience program, and joins that agency in urging that, with the arrival of new and well-equipped vessels for the purpose, this work be taken forward.

65 Geoscience Australia, Submission 12, p. 3.

66 Geoscience Australia, Submission 12, p. 8.

67 CSIRO Marine National Facility, information sheet distributed to committee and oral briefing provided to the committee during tour of the RV Investigator, 15 September 2014, Hobart.

68 Geoscience Australia, Submission 12, pp 3, 10-11.

69 Geoscience Australia, Submission 12, pp 9-10.

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Recommendation 12

4.74 The committee recommends that resources be dedicated to the development and implementation of a Southern Ocean mapping program, as a whole-of-government initiative under the guidance and coordination of Geoscience Australia, and that such a strategy be included in future decisions about the allocation of funding and vessel time.

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Chapter 5

Resourcing Australia's engagement: investment and reward 5.1 From the submissions and evidence presented to the committee, it was apparent that many see this as a crucial moment in determining the future of Australia's status as an Antarctic nation. In a submission the Hon David Feeney MP wrote:

We are…entering a key juncture for international involvement in the Antarctic. Australia can no longer afford to be complacent. At a time when budget pressures are diminishing Australia's ability to maintain its Antarctic effort, other nations are rapidly building their presence and investing in new capabilities to support an Antarctic presence for the decades ahead. Australia must make critical decisions about the future of access to and activities within the AAT, or run the very real risk of being left out in the cold.1

5.2 The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) articulated the concern expressed by many that resources were declining at a time of increasing demands on Australia in the Antarctic region:

Our understanding of future activities in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean leads us to believe that Australia's responsibilities will increase significantly over time. Therefore, under-resourcing or downsizing resource capabilities will also have significant impacts on security, search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, scientific research and, ultimately, sovereignty.2

5.3 The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) wrote in late 2013 that:

two fundamental budget issues are combining to potentially cripple Australia's Antarctic efforts. The first is that Aurora Australis is reaching the end of its life…The second budget issue is the steady erosion of base funding through the imposition of efficiency dividends and other budget savings.3

Jobs and funding 5.4 A common theme in many submissions, including from government agencies, was concern about the loss of jobs and funding for Australia's Antarctic engagement brought about by budget efficiencies in recent years, particularly the most recent deep cuts in the 2014 Budget.

1 The Hon David Feeney MP, Submission 16, p. 9.

2 Dr Julia Jabour, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 1.

3 Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 'Cold Calculations: Australia's Antarctic challenges', Strategic Insights, October 2013, p. 17.

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5.5 The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), which represents staff in the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) and CSIRO, stated that the cuts of approximately $100 million to the Department of the Environment and $115 million to CSIRO over the forward estimates were resulting in extensive damage to the marine and Antarctic work of both agencies. The union advised that while it had had difficulty precisely tracking the number of jobs lost, it believed that some 49 ongoing and non-ongoing positions had been abolished in AAD to date, and a similar number in CSIRO's Tasmania-based Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship program, with further job cuts to follow, including a further 59 positions to be cut from CSIRO's marine base in Hobart by the end of 2014.4 This amounted overall to a loss of approximately 25 per cent of the Tasmania-based staff of AAD and CSIRO, and the CPSU foresaw the cuts as continuing with the impact of further budget efficiencies in both agencies in coming years.

5.6 In its evidence AAD advised that a slightly smaller number, 44 positions, had been abolished in that agency since May 2013, with no further job losses envisaged at this stage. This included the loss of 18 scientists from a cadre of around 110.5

5.7 CPSU stated that the recent cuts had a particularly hard impact on the science branch of AAD, with a freeze on the recruitment or extension of non-ongoing staff, a high number of whom were employed by AAD. These tended to be junior scientists and field researchers employed for the duration of particular projects, and operational support staff engaged on a seasonal basis. The inability to re-engage such staff in turn impacted on the ability of AAD to mount future field research expeditions.6 Dr Nick Gales, Chief Scientist at the AAD, acknowledged that the largest constraining element on scientific research by AAD was the operational capacity to support scientists.7

5.8 CPSU highlighted the 'disconnect' between the government's significant investments in new infrastructure, such as the RV Investigator and the replacement icebreaker vessel, and the removal of the staff and budgets necessary to utilise the ships: 'we do not understand why you would make those significant investments if you were not going to make the same investments in the staff'.8

5.9 IMAS and others similarly argued that while new funding for scientific research had been made available by the government, such as the Antarctic Gateway research partnership support of $24 million over three years, there was insufficient support for logistics to sustain the research expeditions necessary for effective utilisation of the grant.9

4 Mrs Jessica Munday, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 28.

5 Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 58.

6 Community and Public Sector Union, Submission 20, p. 2.

7 Dr Nick Gales, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 56.

8 Mrs Jessica Munday, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 30.

9 Professor Nathan Bindoff, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 4.

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5.10 In addition to staffing cuts, Antarctic agencies also faced significant losses to core funding. The CPSU stated that this year AAD would face a $12 million funding shortfall and this would have to be found through savings in operations, potentially leading to further curtailment of marine science voyages. Other efficiencies such as restrictions on international travel had reduced Australia's capacity to engage and exercise influence in Antarctic Treaty System-related international meetings.10

5.11 In its submission, the Department of the Environment noted the very high proportion of AAD's budget tied up in fixed costs. The nature of the Australian Antarctic program was such that around 70 per cent of AAD's expenditure represented fixed costs necessary to sustain operations, and that these costs, such as fuel, were subject to price rises and volatility over time. That budget was nonetheless subject to the same efficiency dividends and cuts as other departmental expenditure.11

5.12 Professor Anthony Worby summarised the impact of that budget profile in times of austerity:

The current Antarctic program funds three largish stations in Antarctica as well as one ship, an air link, the Wilkins base and Macquarie Island. Managing all of that comes at a certain fixed cost per year, and that fixed cost goes up. In an environment where you have to maintain all those services and your budget is shrinking, the residual budget that you have left to do your science program is shrinking year on year on year.

Unfortunately, it has been the science program within the Australian Antarctic program that has been seen as the discretionary part that gets squeezed as budgets get squeezed. That is why we have seen a very significant reduction in the amount of marine science time in particular.12

5.13 Mr Timothy Lamb, a CPSU workplace delegate from the AAD, expressed the opinion that a crunch point was rapidly approaching:

We have made numerous small cuts - trimming the bush, if you like - but we are now at the stage where you probably cannot continue to trim it any further without having to make a decision about which large direction we drop altogether…We cannot just continue making little, tiny cuts forever.13

5.14 Dr Tony Fleming, Director of AAD, highlighted that new research partnership funds announced by the government in the 2014 budget would flow through to support the activities of AAD, but also acknowledged the challenge:

Because the budget is under pressure - the federal government is under pressure - we will do less science. The efficiency dividends over the last few years have bitten now. So we will do less science.14

10 Community and Public Sector Union, Submission 20, p. 3.

11 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 12.

12 Professor Anthony Worby, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 13.

13 Mr Timothy Lamb, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 30.

14 Dr Tony Fleming, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, pp 56, 59.

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5.15 Concerns about AAD's financial situation have been addressed in the 20 Year Strategic Plan, which recommended that the Department of the Environment and the Department of Finance undertake a joint review of the AAD budget, taking into account its particular core functions and its high fixed costs, and 'the future operational support required to sustain a credible Antarctic program that matches Australia's national interests in the Antarctic'.15 The Plan also noted that the Department of the Environment had raised the possibility of diversifying the funding base for its work from other sources such as business, philanthropic institutions and crowd-funding, and encouraged the department to explore such options.16

5.16 For its part, CSIRO was facing the biggest budget cuts in recent memory: $111.4 million in direct reductions over four years, plus an efficiency dividend of $3.4 million, and other indirect losses flowing from cuts to collaborative programs. These reductions would necessitate not only the loss of 500 full-time equivalent positions, but also cuts to research programs, closure of laboratories and sale of assets. The CPSU's submission stated that the division which housed CSIRO's Antarctic and Southern Ocean work would be one of the key areas facing cuts, with research programs to be reduced or abandoned in areas such as bathymetry, coastal modelling, ocean climate, marine biodiversity including fisheries, marine risk assessment and marine habitat mapping.17

5.17 Mr Mark Green from the CSIRO staff association expressed concern that priority research projects were now at risk due to inadequate staff to continue long-term data collection in areas such as carbon sequestration, which builds models for climate and weather forecasting.18 Witnesses representing CSIRO, however, reassured the committee that the organisation was seeking to ensure that it maintained the capacity to work in its priority areas, including marine science, despite reductions in staff.19

5.18 The impact of CSIRO budget cuts on the proposed operations of the RV Investigator was a major concern raised with the committee by several witnesses, and is discussed further below.

Committee view

5.19 As ASPI succinctly stated in 2013, 'the bottom line is that Antarctic logistics are both necessary and expensive'.20 The impact of budget cuts and efficiencies on the core functions of Australia's key Southern Ocean and Antarctic agencies is undeniable. The committee recognises that funds are limited, but Australian

15 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 46.

16 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 45.

17 Community and Public Sector Union, Submission 20, pp 3-4.

18 Mr Mark Green, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 31.

19 Dr Bruce Mapstone, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 43.

20 Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 'Cold Calculations: Australia's Antarctic challenges', Strategic Insights, October 2013, p. 18.

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investment in this priority area must be protected. As such, the committee endorses the balanced and constructive recommendations made in the 20 Year Strategic Plan for a comprehensive review of AAD's budget, taking into account its special characteristics and needs, and re-consideration of the Division's financing needs accordingly.

Recommendation 13

5.20 The committee endorses Recommendation 28 of the 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, proposing a comprehensive review of the budget and resourcing needs of the Australian Antarctic Division, and recommends that this be adopted and undertaken by the government as soon as practicable.

Australia's maritime presence in the Southern Ocean 5.21 It was clear to the committee that high demands on a very limited Australian maritime presence in the Southern Ocean led to inevitable compromise to operations. With the acquisition of new and improved maritime assets, and increasing demand upon their use, a significant challenge existed to ensure a national fleet capable of meeting Australia's needs in its southern waters, and managing that fleet to greatest effect.

The Aurora Australis and its replacement

5.22 The government's flagship icebreaker, the Aurora Australis, originally commissioned as a research vessel, has been subject to competing demand since a decision was made in 2007 to shift to aviation capacity for Antarctic transport, rather than a second ship. As a result the Aurora Australis is required to conduct both the AAD's resupply and scientific tasks.21

5.23 Professor Kurt Lambeck from the Australian Academy of Science suggested that the air link had perhaps not been as successful as originally hoped in facilitating improved access to Antarctica for scientists, in place of the second ship.22 In evidence to the committee, however, the AAD and CSIRO indicated that Australia's chartered air links were very valuable, and did not support sacrificing them in order to return to a dual-ship model.23

5.24 The reality remains that AAD's budget will not allow for both, and the impact of funding and job cuts over several years appears to have increasingly shifted the balance of the Aurora Australis's tasking to the detriment of Antarctic science. As noted in chapter 4, AAD itself reported a dramatic reduction in marine science days undertaken by the Aurora Australis since 2008.24 The CPSU advised that while in past years the Aurora Australis had managed to undertake one or two dedicated research voyages per season in addition to its resupply responsibilities, high operating costs,

21 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 12.

22 Professor Kurt Lambeck, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 8.

23 Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 52; CSIRO, Submission 14, p. 8.

24 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 13.

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declining budgets and disappearing specialist staff now meant the AAD no longer had the capacity to fund more than one science voyage every two years.25 Professor Philip Boyd from IMAS asserted that there would be only 12 dedicated marine science days on the Aurora Australis in the coming season, down from 80 days in 2013-14.26

5.25 This was also due in part to the additional demand on the vessel, as Australia's only icebreaker, to respond when needed to search and rescue emergencies in Antarctic waters. IMAS reflected on the pressures experienced during the most recent summer season:

The 2013-14 Australian Antarctic season and also that of other national operators was disrupted a number of times. There were difficulties getting into Mawson and Davis stations because of higher than normal sea ice concentration. A helicopter crashed on the Amery iceshelf and a number of staff were injured and required repatriation to Australia. The Aurora Australis was diverted from its normal operations to rescue passengers from the Akademik Shokalsky…27

5.26 The government's announcement, during the course of this inquiry, that funds had been allocated and the tender process commenced for a replacement icebreaker for the Aurora Australis was seen by all as a welcome development. Several submissions emphasised the importance of the new icebreaker to Australia's continued ability to demonstrate an effective presence in the Antarctic region.

5.27 The Department of the Environment stated that the new vessel would provide a 'sustainable and modern capability' to support Australia's Antarctic activities into the future.28 Dr Sam Bateman expressed optimism, based on the tender information available to date, that the new icebreaker would have significantly better capability than the Aurora Australis in terms of size, cargo capacity and icebreaking ability.29

5.28 Describing the state of the Aurora Australis as 'the single biggest point of failure in Australia's Antarctic efforts', the 20 Year Strategic Plan affirmed this view, adding that the new ship's increased capability would also provide a platform from which Australia could increase its collaboration with other nations. The Plan warned, however, that 'the capabilities of the new icebreaker must be matched with the capacity to conduct both scientific and logistic operations': that is, adequate budget support must be in place for it to do its job.30

5.29 The Plan recommended a number of parameters for the new icebreaker and its use. These included the requirement that the vessel be actively engaged in 'world class research' in the Southern Ocean and in logistical collaboration with other countries,

25 Community and Public Sector Union, Submission 20, p. 3.

26 Professor Philip Boyd, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 7.

27 Dr Julia Jabour, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 2.

28 Department of the Environment, Submission 15, p. 12.

29 Dr Sam Bateman, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 5.

30 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 21.

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but also that, when not engaged directly in Australia's Antarctic program, the vessel should be available for other appropriate uses by the Australian government.31

The RV Investigator

5.30 The delivery in September 2014 of CSIRO's new Marine National Facility research vessel, the RV Investigator, was heralded as a long-awaited boost to Australia's marine science research capacity. In CSIRO's own words, the Investigator:

…must be all things to all Australian marine scientists, as Australia has only one blue-water research vessel. The vessel will support atmospheric, oceanographic, biological and geoscience research…

The ship is technically impressive and will open up avenues of discovery both within and across scientific disciplines. With an enviable suite of equipment, the ship will dramatically improve the national marine knowledge, putting Australia at the forefront of ocean research globally.32

5.31 The committee had the opportunity to tour the newly-arrived vessel in Hobart, and was impressed by its state-of-the-art and comprehensive scientific capabilities.

5.32 Several witnesses lamented, however, that even before the RV Investigator's work commenced, its research expedition time had been cut from the 300 days originally planned to 180 days per year. These days would be shared between expeditions in the north, south, east and west of Australia, leaving many in the science community with little optimism about the opportunities available to utilise its facilities in the Southern Ocean.

5.33 CSIRO advised that the 180 days per year was consistent with the voyage days undertaken by the vessel's predecessor the Southern Surveyor in recent years, and that the Investigator offered increased capacity in terms of the number of scientific berths on the vessel. CSIRO also advised that it intended to seek interest from international research partners in chartering the ship during the remaining days, and hopefully in doing so create further opportunities for the collaborative involvement of Australian researchers.33 Nevertheless, there was palpable disappointment among submitters and witnesses within the scientific community that this state-of-the-art, costly and beautifully-equipped research vessel would now be available to play its core role of supporting Australian-led science less than half the days of the year, and of those, an unknown proportion in the Southern Ocean.

5.34 Witnesses from CSIRO also emphasised the importance of being able to access the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters year-round, including in winter, to make scientific observations, monitor instruments, and measure physical processes throughout the seasons.34

31 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, pp 21-22.

32 CSIRO Marine National Facility, Investigator, information sheet distributed to committee, 15 September 2014, Hobart.

33 Ms Toni Moate, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 44.

34 Dr Bruce Mapstone and Dr Steve Rintoul, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 42.

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The Ocean Shield

5.35 On the security and patrolling front, the committee was briefed on the new arrangements between the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) and the Department of Defence for the replacement of the Ocean Protector by the Ocean Shield. While indicating the intention of ACBPS that the Ocean Shield conduct two 40-day patrols in the Southern Ocean in the coming year, Mr Roman Quaedvlieg from ACBPS explained that its agreement with Defence for the transfer of the vessel included a commitment that the two agencies would closely coordinate its use 'in such a way that, during the disaster season, if you will, it will be on a short tether and be available for humanitarian disaster relief taskings'.35 It was clear that the pressure of competing demands on Australia's only ice-strengthened patrol vessel would remain.

5.36 At the committee's public hearing in Canberra, Mr Quaedvlieg set out the challenge:

We have a number of civilian maritime threats that we deal with…maritime people smuggling, our Southern Ocean patrols, maritime piracy, the security of our offshore and gas installations, the theft of natural resources. So in our coordination of our resources against all of those threats, we use all of our vessels—both marine and air. The Ocean Protector and now the Ocean Shield is obviously, as I mentioned, the flagship, and we will prioritise the use of that particular asset depending on what particular threats are facing us at any given point in time. So we just had a conversation in relation to the Ocean Shield and its utility for humanitarian

and disaster relief operations. It has equal and if not more utility for our maritime people-smuggling operations under Operation Sovereign Borders. It is also, as I mentioned, the only vessel that we have that is capable of operating in any meaningful way in the Southern Ocean. So just on those three threats alone you will see that the Ocean Shield needs to be spread across all of our threats, and we will make those determinations at the time, depending on the particular priority of the threats that we are facing.36

Maritime assets of the Australian Defence Force

5.37 The Department of Defence indicated that although the present threat level in the Southern Ocean was regarded as low, recognition of potential future risks to Australian interests in the region would be a factor in determining future surveillance capabilities, including in the context of the proposed 2015 Defence White Paper.37 While acknowledging that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) lacked significant resources with the capacity to operate in the icy conditions of Antarctic waters, ADF air and sea assets were already assigned to Border Protection Command as needed, and the department indicated that its assets could also be used where required, and

35 Mr Roman Quaedvlieg, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 30.

36 Mr Roman Quaedvlieg, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 30.

37 Mr Tyson Sara, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 19.

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where available, in support of other civil activities such as search and rescue, surveillance, and logistical support to the Australian Antarctic Program.38

Management of the national fleet: a National Fleet?

5.38 In light of the limited maritime resources available for Australia's various responsibilities in the Southern Ocean, witnesses before the committee recognised the importance of ensuring their most efficient and appropriate use to achieve Australia's national interests.

5.39 CSIRO referred to the possibility of more streamlined coordination of research voyage allocation between the Investigator and the AAD's present and future icebreaker. Dr Bruce Mapstone observed that:

There has not historically been a very close link between the process through which we allocate time on the Marine National Facility, formerly the Southern Surveyor, now the Investigator, and research time that is allocated on the icebreaker. There is a great opportunity, I think, for us collectively to better synchronise the allocation of research to the vessels, particularly now, with the Investigator being able to go further south than the Southern Surveyor, so that we are using the best ship available for the job. It would not make a lot of sense, for example, if logistically we could have the Investigator doing work in the Southern Ocean, where there is not an issue with ice, but instead we had the icebreaker sitting out in the Southern Ocean. That is the sort of thing we are talking about…

It makes good sense for a nation with a small fleet of research vessels to be using them as best we can, and that means we need to look at ways of making sure that, when we are allocating research time on vessels, we are allocating each piece of research to the most appropriate vessel, whether that is one run by the CSIRO on behalf of the nation or the icebreaker run under the Antarctic program, or indeed, possibly vessels run by other agencies around the country.39

5.40 Dr Mapstone clarified that this did not necessarily require uniting both vessels under a single management structure, and that there would be some challenges in that regard. He noted that CSIRO had acted to bring senior representatives of AAD and the broader marine community on to the Marine National Facility Steering Committee, to improve coordination of decisions about vessel allocation. Dr Nick Gales from AAD also pointed out that the new model for assessing and allocating science bids for the use of the RV Investigator was yet to be fully tested.40 Dr Mapstone and Dr Rintoul recognised, however, that there would be value in examining the possibilities for a move toward strengthening links between research approval and related voyage allocation processes, and across the range of national marine facilities in Australia.41

38 Department of Defence, Submission 22, p. 1.

39 Dr Bruce Mapstone, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, pp 43-44.

40 Dr Nick Gales, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 55.

41 Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 44-45.

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5.41 In the 20 Year Strategic Plan, Dr Tony Press observed:

Assets used for Antarctic research are in high demand and are expensive to operate. It is therefore important that there is coordination between the Australian Antarctic Division as the lead agency for the Australian Antarctic Program, and other funding bodies and facilities such as the Australian Research Council, the Integrated Marine Observing System, and the Marine National Facility. Processes and systems need to be developed which ensure that investment in Antarctic and Southern Ocean science is coordinated; that there is efficient use of resources; that resources such as ships and moorings are used to best advantage; and that limited resources are focused in priority areas.42

5.42 In their submission to the committee, Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin argued that Australia's lack of on-water capability in the Southern Ocean was a major problem for the nation, particularly in terms of responding to IUU fishing and search and rescue emergencies, but also to the detriment of Australia's leadership in marine science.43 In evidence at the committee's public hearing in Canberra, Dr Bateman said that in terms of on-water activity 'Australia's lack of research capacity compares most unfavourably with other countries such as Canada, Japan and Russia'.44

5.43 Dr Bateman and Dr Bergin proposed that consideration be given to the adoption of a 'national fleet' approach to address the issues facing Australia's maritime capacity:

Rather than each agency doing its 'own thing' with blue water capabilities, there is scope for a 'whole of nation' approach to address all national requirements for these capabilities other than naval war-fighting. This would ensure that important capability requirements do not fall down a 'hole' between national agencies.45

5.44 Dr Bateman saw the biggest 'hole' in Australia's Southern Ocean capability lying in 'the lack of a decent offshore patrol vessel':

Neither the Customs cape class nor likely the Navy's Armidale class are vessels suited for operations in the Southern Ocean. They do not have the range or seakeeping qualities and also, significantly, they do not have a helicopter. I think the latter, the ability to carry a helicopter, particularly one that can be stowed in a hangar to protect it from weather, is an essential capability for the sovereignty protection and law enforcement tasks...So there are many gaps with regard to our current service capability.46

42 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 32.

43 Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin, Submission 2, pp 2-3.

44 Dr Sam Bateman, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 1.

45 Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin, Submission 2, p. 4.

46 Dr Sam Bateman, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, pp 1-2.

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5.45 Dr Bateman and Dr Bergin argued that it would be extremely difficult to remedy such a capacity gap without a unified national approach, as no single agency would regard a large new patrol vessel as sufficiently necessary to its core business to fund its acquisition. Dr Bateman elaborated that the navy would regard such a vessel as 'insufficiently warlike', while ACBPS would take the view that such a boat was 'bigger and more complex than Customs actually requires for its present activities', particularly given the present border protection focus on Australia's north.47

5.46 However, Dr Bateman and Dr Bergin believed that:

if such a vessel were to be acquired, not only would it fill a gap in our ability to patrol in the further limits of Australia's EEZ, including in the Southern Ocean and off Antarctica, it could also have a significant marine scientific research capability.48

5.47 Dr Bateman told the committee that utilising patrol boats for research occurred on similar vessels around the world, and while not able to carry out the level of complex research of a ship like the Investigator, such a vessel even if operated by the navy or border protection services, could play a significant subsidiary role in marine science.49

5.48 Dr Bateman and Dr Bergin suggested that the national fleet concept might provide a basis for more appropriate consideration of Australia's broad sweep of Southern Ocean needs in both the tender to replace the Aurora Australis, and in the Department of Defence's project to acquire around 20 Offshore Combatant Vessels (OCV). With respect to the latter, they proposed that rather than purchasing an updated version of the same Cape class vessels as those being acquired by the ACBPS, which are unsuitable for patrolling in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, the ADF could seek a longer-term OCV fleet which took into account the need to operate in Australia's southern waters.50 Dr Bateman advised the committee that there were many examples around the world of vessels which may be suitable.51

Committee view

5.49 This decade is one of significant and necessary investment in Australia's marine capacity, for the Southern Ocean and for Australia's waters more generally. The RV Investigator represented an outlay of some $120 million to acquire, and will cost a further $66 million to operate over the next four years.52 The cost of replacing the Aurora Australis has not yet been determined, but the government estimates it will

47 Dr Sam Bateman, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 3.

48 Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin, Submission 2, p. 4.

49 Dr Sam Bateman, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 2.

50 Dr Sam Bateman and Dr Anthony Bergin, Submission 2, p. 4.

51 Dr Sam Bateman, Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 3.

52 CSIRO Annual Directions Statement 2014, May 2014, p. 3.

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run into the hundreds of millions.53 Meanwhile our defence and border protection authorities continue to review and update their respective marine assets to meet Australia's significant maritime security and border protection responsibilities.

5.50 It is therefore self-evident that the most effective and efficient management and coordination of such resources, including their flexible tasking where possible and appropriate, should be undertaken to maximise the return on the national investment, and make the best possible attempt to meet the demands in our waters.

5.51 In relation to the RV Investigator, the committee finds it difficult to justify that a vessel which represents such a major investment of Australian resources will potentially spend 120 days of the year languishing in port. The committee is strongly of the view that the government should restore budgetary allocation to CSIRO that would allow for the ship to meet its potential of 300 days at sea in coming years. The CSIRO should, in parallel, pursue opportunities to offset this expenditure wherever possible through international charter arrangements, prioritising those which would facilitate the involvement of Australian scientists.

Recommendation 14

5.52 The committee recommends that all options be examined including that budgetary allocation be provided to restore the ability of the RV Investigator to spend its optimum 300 days per year at sea, in support of Australian and international scientific research.

5.53 The committee welcomes the recognition by all agencies involved of the importance of Australia's responsibilities in our southern waters, and their expressed and often demonstrated willingness to utilise those resources flexibly where needed and appropriate.

5.54 The Southern Ocean should not be the poor cousin in Australian defence and border protection. Consideration of the needs to our south should factor into decisions about the most practicable acquisition of defence patrol resources. The ADF's present project to update its offshore patrol fleet appears to present one timely opportunity to do so, and is worthy of further examination.

5.55 The committee believes that there is merit in considering a more formal 'national fleet' approach to the management and tasking of Australian maritime resources, with a view in particular to meeting the present deficit in Australia's maritime presence in the Southern Ocean.

Recommendation 15

5.56 The committee recommends that an interagency working group be established to review Australia's current and proposed marine assets and their utilisation, and to explore the potential costs and benefits of a national fleet approach to the acquisition and management of Australian vessels.

53 ABC News online, 'European shipbuilders short-listed to build Aurora Australis replacement', 19 May 2014, at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-19/overseas-countries-short-listed-to-build-aurora-australis-repla/5462594

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5.57 Taking into account Recommendation 17, the committee further recommends that the working group should commission and draw on an independent expert study of Australia's requirements for effective patrol, surveillance and research including in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, the ability of existing national maritime assets to meet those requirements, significant gaps in capacity, and possible best-practice models for the management and coordination of national maritime assets to meet Australia's needs.

5.58 The committee agrees that this should exclude naval war-fighting vessels and direct military activities, but should include the potential use of defence maritime assets in support of Australia's other national interests in the Southern Ocean.

5.59 The allocation of research places on Southern Ocean and Antarctic voyages is an important, and more immediate, subset of this issue. The committee welcomes the recognition by AAD and CSIRO that consideration of research proposals should include a mechanism to specifically consider the most efficient possible tasking of maritime resources. The committee acknowledges steps taken in this direction through cross-representation in decision making bodies, but urges AAD and CSIRO to consider whether and how this coordination can be taken further.

Recommendation 16

5.60 The committee recommends that CSIRO and the Australian Antarctic Division work on a streamlined and integrated approach to the management of scientific research proposals requiring vessel time in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, to ensure the efficient and appropriate use of vessels.

Tasmania: the Antarctic gateway 5.61 Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are important in Tasmania. Hobart is one of five internationally-recognised 'Antarctic Gateway' cities,54 offering proximity to the Southern Ocean with modern amenities and transport infrastructure, and world-class expertise in science, logistics, support services and education.55 Tasmania is home to 17 governmental, academic and related organisations undertaking Antarctic and Southern Ocean work, two secretariats of international organisations focused on Antarctic waters, and approximately 50 local businesses accessing work from the sector.56

5.62 According to the Tasmanian government, in 2011-12 the Antarctic and Southern Ocean sector directly employed 1185 Tasmanians and indirectly another 1606; directly contributed $187.4 million (0.8 per cent) of Tasmania's gross state product, and indirectly another $256.9 million. Every dollar generated in the sector

54 The other four are Christchurch, New Zealand; Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina and Capetown, South Africa. Professor Denzil Miller, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 38.

55 Tasmanian Government, Submission 4, p. 1.

56 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 37.

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generates multipliers in economic benefits to Tasmania and Australia.57 The Government of Tasmania estimated that in total, the sector and its flow-on effects generated $444.2 million for Tasmania in 2011-12, while contributing 4663 jobs and $687.4 million to Australia's GDP.58

5.63 There are qualitative benefits to the Tasmanian Antarctic hub too. In its evidence to the committee, IMAS emphasised the value of the unique collaboration between key Australian agencies and organisations made possible by their co-location in Hobart: 'We have created programs around Antarctica and the Southern Ocean that did not exist…We have led the science around exploration of the Southern Ocean'.59

5.64 The Tasmanian Government pointed out in its submission that this concentration of expertise and engagement in Hobart had also birthed a 'unique government-business alliance' in the form of the Tasmanian Polar Network, comprising a diverse membership of 60 governmental and private bodies, with funding support from the state government, and direct input into Antarctic policy initiatives.60

5.65 The attributes and services offered by the Antarctic gateway have further benefited Tasmania by attracting other nations to adopt Hobart as a base for their own Antarctic activities. Port visits to Hobart by Antarctic vessels are estimated to generate an average $1 million to $1.5 million per visit.61 The Tasmanian Government informed the committee that it had concluded various memoranda of understanding with international Antarctic programs and other bodies for cooperation in Antarctic and Southern Ocean related work. Long-standing cooperation with France, for example, had been further enhanced with a new memorandum of understanding signed in September 2014, focused on maritime cooperation and port services worth around $15 million.62

5.66 China was also a key partner and investor in Tasmania, with significant potential for further growth in the relationship. A memorandum of understanding between the Government of Tasmania and the State Oceanic Administration of China was signed in September 2013.63 In evidence to the committee, Professor Denzil Miller from the Tasmanian Government noted that the details of practical cooperation to be undertaken under the memorandum were still being negotiated, but he believed that accessing a Hobart base and support for China's vessels and sea-going operations

57 In evidence to the committee, Professor Anthony Worby cited an earlier study which found that the return on investment was around $3.50 to $4.00 for every dollar spent. Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 11.

58 Tasmanian Government, Submission 4, p. 1; AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 37.

59 Professor Nathan Bindoff, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 4.

60 Tasmanian Government, Submission 4, p. 1.

61 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 37

62 Professor Denzil Miller, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 38.

63 Tasmanian Government, Submission 4, p. 2.

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was a central element of its interest. Professor Miller indicated that cooperation under the agreement could yield $15 million to $20 million per year.64

5.67 Professor Miller also advised that more limited cooperation took place with the United States (mostly in the nature of vessel visits), and that the state government was also in discussions with India and Russia to promote the use of Hobart's Antarctic facilities and services.

5.68 Attracting further international investment and deeper cooperation in the Antarctic sector was seen as a potential growth area for Tasmania's economy, as well as a positive contribution to Australia's own Antarctic collaborations, and its international standing in Antarctic and Southern Ocean affairs. Hobart's location and attributes made it an undoubtedly strong contender to exploit such opportunity, but it was not the only city seeking to capitalise on international Antarctic interest. Christchurch was noted before the committee as one key competitor.65

5.69 Professor Miller advised that:

The countries concerned will go to where it is most convenient and most competitive for them to go...We do not just have to be competitive - it is not about competition; it is about winning. We need to give the best service and make sure we are the most convenient place for those vessels to come…66

5.70 Discussing China's interest in particular, Dr Tony Press advised the committee that three things would attract Chinese investment to Hobart: the ability of its port to service Chinese vessels effectively and competitively; the presence of a large and respected science community with whom Chinese scientists could interact; and the facilities provided by Hobart airport for transport between China, Tasmania and Antarctica.67

5.71 The government's stated commitment to maximising Hobart's Antarctic gateway potential, and its promise in the 2014 budget of $38 million for upgrading Hobart's airport in particular, were welcomed as important contributions to both the Tasmanian economy, and to Australian leadership in Antarctica.68

5.72 Nevertheless, it was repeatedly highlighted to the committee that the present decline in resourcing and priority to core Antarctic activities must be reversed if the gateway's potential was to be realised. The decline in resourcing for Antarctic agencies in Tasmania, and the consequent reduction in operational and scientific activity, was cited as a direct threat to maximising the opportunities available to Tasmania. IMAS argued that the leadership represented in Tasmania was already

64 Professor Denzil Miller, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 37.

65 Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, pp 37-38.

66 Professor Denzil Miller, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 38.

67 Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, pp 63-64.

68 Professor Denzil Miller, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 37.

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under threat due to diminishing resources for Hobart-based agencies, and for scientific research.69

5.73 The Tasmanian Government told the committee that there were opportunities to build on the benefits derived from Tasmania's status as the Antarctic gateway, but that without continued priority resourcing:

Erosion of Australia's international [Antarctic and Southern Ocean] affiliations/cooperation will negatively impact future sustainability of the Tasmanian [Antarctic and Southern Ocean] Gateway. This would compromise the state's regional development by possibly foreclosing on socio-economic benefits from, and investment in, Tasmanian based Antarctic and Southern Ocean-associated activities…70

5.74 The Tasmanian Government urged the Commonwealth and state governments to recognise the potential and priority of development of the Antarctic Gateway, for both Tasmania and for Australia's larger national interests. The Tasmanian Government proposed the development of a cooperative model under which the state and federal governments would integrate their commitments, initiatives and priorities, including the alignment of funding as well as strengthened public-private partnerships.71

5.75 In the 20 Year Strategic Plan, great emphasis was placed on the potential benefits for Tasmania of developing its status as the Antarctic gateway. The Plan assessed that:

Tasmania has the capacity to become a market leader in Antarctic support and logistics services, and the market leader in this sector in East Antarctica…[but t]he capacity to expand this sector without investment in critical infrastructure is extremely limited.72

5.76 The Plan emphasised the need to upgrade the Port of Hobart, and to remedy its present shortcomings with respect to fuel availability, as crucial to Hobart's ability to sell its Antarctic and Southern Ocean services. It recommended that the Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments work together on addressing these infrastructure issues, and also that Commonwealth agencies in Tasmania actively engage with the Tasmanian business community to facilitate opportunities for businesses to participate in procurement processes and other work in the Antarctic sector. Dr Press also mentioned other opportunities for maximising Tasmania's Antarctic connection, by promoting its expertise in areas such as education and polar medicine.73

69 Professor Nathan Bindoff, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 4.

70 Tasmanian Government, Submission 4, p. 3.

71 Professor Denzil Miller, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 36.

72 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 39.

73 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, pp 39-42.

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Committee view

5.77 Making the most of Tasmania's potential as the 'Antarctic Gateway' is a win-win for Australia. Increased national and international concentration of resources and expertise in the state will boost the Tasmanian economy, while enhancing Australia's Antarctic leadership and influence. Moreover, the benefits of co-location among experts in the region are already apparent, and can only grow with the injection of more international students and scientists.

5.78 However, like all aspects of Australia's Antarctic engagement, reaping the reward requires investment. The government's commitment to upgrading Hobart airport is a welcome step toward the renewal of infrastructure necessary to attract and retain international partners to Hobart. Creating the necessary port facilities should be next. As such, the committee endorses the recommendations of the 20 Year Strategic Plan, that the Commonwealth and state governments continue to work together in a structured way to build Tasmania's capacity to be a leading global gateway to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Recommendation 17

5.79 The committee recommends that the Commonwealth government and the Government of Tasmania work together on the development and implementation of a dedicated strategy for maximising Tasmania's potential as an Antarctic Gateway, including joint investment toward the upgrading of Hobart's port and other key infrastructure, and drawing upon the recommendations made in the 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan.

Whole-of-government coordination 5.80 Antarctica is a cross-portfolio issue for Australia and so, by extension, is the Southern Ocean. While the AAD takes the leading role on science, operations and environmental policy, others such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also hold key diplomatic and legal responsibilities, and maritime operational activities further engage a broad range of implementing agencies. The receipt of no less than nine separate submissions from Commonwealth agencies to this committee's inquiry demonstrated the point.

5.81 The committee's interactions with government representatives throughout the inquiry indicated that relations between the various agencies working on policy and operations in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean were generally positive and functional. The Antarctic community is a close-knit one, and the functional cooperation required between actors conducting operations in the challenging conditions of the Southern Ocean has given rise to strong working relationships and effective lines of communication.

5.82 Several submissions, including from the Tasmanian Government and from some Commonwealth government agencies, nevertheless recommended that whole-of-government coordination could be further strengthened. Dr Tony Press said:

I think one of the things that the government can do and that future governments should do is to look at how [Australia's] strategic interests are

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then dealt with in a whole-of-government sense and reported on in a whole-of-government sense.74

5.83 In the 20 Year Strategic Plan, Dr Press proposed the specific allocation of responsibility for each of Australia's Antarctic priorities to one leading agency, with lines of communication and accountability between relevant bodies channelled through the lead agency.75

5.84 The Plan also recommended greater coordination between the Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments, including pursuit of a joint agreement for infrastructure investment to support the East Antarctic gateway. This reflected the submission made by the Government of Tasmania, which urged stronger coordination of policy and integration of activities between the federal and state governments in this work.76

5.85 Some submitters, such as Austral Fisheries, also proposed that more cost efficient and effective linkages between agencies at the operational and technical level could save money, citing as examples 'greater exchange and sharing of expertise amongst the organisations and greater linkages for such aspects as gear storage and supply, equipment purchase and distribution [and] improved logistics arrangements'.77

Telling the story

5.86 Raising public awareness of Australia's interests and activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, particularly the importance of Antarctica to Australia, our sovereignty there and the value of the scientific and other work undertaken in the region, was identified as an important element in justifying the necessary prioritisation of resources. Dr Tony Press told the committee that Australia's interests and activities in Antarctica were recognised:

to a certain extent inside the community, although I think there is more that we can do in bringing Australians up to speed with how important that region is to us economically, politically and otherwise.

5.87 Witnesses from the Australian Academy of Science discussed the challenge of attracting media and public interest in Australia's research in the Antarctic.78

5.88 In the 20 Year Strategic Plan, Dr Press recommended that Australia facilitate a program of visits by senior government figures to the Australian Antarctic Territory, as part of a series of activities to better highlight Australia's sovereign interests in the region.79

5.89 In his submission the Hon David Feeney MP proposed the creation of a Special Ambassador for Antarctica, to coordinate Australia's Antarctic policy and to

74 Professor Anthony Press, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 63.

75 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, pp 19-20.

76 Tasmanian Government, Submission 4, p. 4.

77 Austral Fisheries, Submission 13, p. 5.

78 Committee Hansard, 26 September 2014, p. 12.

79 AJ Press, 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, July 2014, p. 26.

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lead bilateral, regional and international diplomacy in relation to the region. Mr Feeney argued that such an appointment would 'ensure Australian interests are represented and convey the weight the Commonwealth places on the Antarctic issue'.80

Committee view

5.90 The committee is satisfied, in broad terms, that whole-of-government coordination on Antarctic issues is in good shape. Nevertheless, at a time of limited budgets and increasing demand, the committee welcomes the suggestion from several witnesses both inside and outside government that scope may exist for further improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the whole-of-government effort. The committee encourages the government to carefully examine the recommendations made by Dr Press for the allocation of responsibilities within government and the strengthening of whole-of-government coordination in relation to Antarctic and Southern Ocean policy and activity.

5.91 At the operational level, the committee also urges relevant agencies, particularly those based in Tasmania, to explore what new arrangements may be possible to maximise cooperation and efficient resource-sharing in practical terms.

5.92 Further, the committee urges the Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments to continue to pursue close cooperation and coordination toward their shared interests in maximising the benefits of the Antarctic Gateway for Tasmania and Australia.

5.93 Given the significant level of resourcing required to maintain Australia's role in the region, the committee also sees value in government considering how public awareness of, and support for, Australia's Antarctic interests could be better promoted, particularly outside Tasmania, provided that any such initiatives do not unduly divert resources from the core needs of the Antarctic programs themselves.

5.94 The suggestion of an Antarctic Ambassador may in fact serve both ends: providing key leadership and focus for whole-of-government coordination around Antarctic and Southern Ocean issues, and at the same time raising the profile of Antarctica within government and with the broader Australian public. The committee believes that such a role could conceivably be created without significant diversion of resources, and recommends its further consideration.

Recommendation 18

5.95 The committee recommends that the government considers options for further strengthening whole-of-government coordination in the pursuit and promotion of Australia's national interests in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, including the appointment of an Australian Antarctic and Southern Ocean Ambassador to coordinate whole-of-government policy and to provide senior leadership for the promotion of Australia's interests and role domestically and internationally.

80 The Hon David Feeney MP, Submission 16, p. 28.

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Chapter 6 Conclusion

6.1 Professor Denzil Miller, a South African-born expert with a long international history of involvement in Antarctic and Southern Ocean affairs, and presently a senior representative of the Government of Tasmania, offered the following perception of Australia's role in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean:

If you really wanted to ask me, in both my previous and present lives where and at which country I looked with envy for Antarctic associations and Southern Ocean activities, there was only one and that was Australia. It is the real deal as far as I am concerned. That goes right across all sorts of things. It goes across environmental stewardship, it goes across diplomatic action, it goes across scientific capability and competence, it goes across governance capability and it goes across political will…

We have to accept that this is an expensive business - Antarctica is an expensive business - but the benefits that we receive as a nation from that business are enormous. It allows us to have a place that is very high and very central in the world. It allows us to look after an area south of us that is free of international discord. It was the first de-nuclearised continent on the planet. It fits in with our basic values. It is our space program. It is about the nation. To me and in my perception, that was something that I was always very envious of and I am now very proud of.1

6.2 An acknowledged middle power in many facets of our international engagement, in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters Australia is a world leader. Australia engages in the region with a solid historical record, a unique geographical proximity, an expansive sovereignty and a significant international responsibility. The importance of the Southern Ocean to Australia is under-acknowledged but undeniable, and while the costs of our activities there are high, the present and potential benefits are numerous in strategic, diplomatic, environmental and economic terms.

6.3 Australia's leadership is, however, not assured. Growing interest and activity from new nations in Antarctica and its waters is being met by declining Australian investment in personnel, science and operations. The significant role that the Southern Ocean plays in shaping the Australian and global climate requires further understanding, at a time when Australian research capacity in the region is being rapidly lost. Inadequate patrol resources challenge Australian authorities trying to counter an increasing threat from illegal fishing, and the impact of growing tourism on Australia's expansive search and rescue responsibilities. After a significant legal victory against whaling in the Southern Ocean in 2014, Australia's response to the threat of its future resumption is uncertain.

1 Professor Denzil Miller, Committee Hansard, 16 September 2014, p. 39.

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6.4 A hard decision is required. Does Australia remain a principal and influential player on its southern border and maximise the benefits of significant past investment, or is it time for government to let that leadership slide?

6.5 This inquiry has made clear to the committee that the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters represent a region of significant interest and comparative advantage for Australia. As such, the committee believes that Australia should place importance upon maintaining its leadership in the region, prioritising its interests there, and restoring the resources necessary to support them.

6.6 The completion of the 20 Year Strategic Plan in 2014 was an important and constructive initiative offering a blueprint for the way forward in respect of Antarctica. The government's commitment to move forward with the construction of a new icebreaker vessel also represents a positive and necessary investment. Collaboration between the Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments toward maximising the potential of Hobart as an Antarctic Gateway city is encouraging and needs to continue.

6.7 In this report, the committee has made practical recommendations to ensure the protection and promotion of Australia's key interests in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters. The committee is of the view that increased investment is required in a number of areas including scientific research initiatives and the work of the Australian Antarctic Division necessary to support these; in new and more appropriate maritime patrol resources; and in port and maritime infrastructure in Tasmania. The committee has recommended a number of actions which seek to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the various government processes that support Australia's Southern Ocean interests. The report has also focused on opportunities to further exploit the potential for greater international cooperation and resource sharing, in a region where international collaboration is particularly strong.

6.8 The committee commends the excellent work being done by numerous people and bodies in various parts of the Commonwealth government, as well as in the Tasmanian government, the private sector and non-government organisations, to facilitate Australia's multifaceted engagement in the important waters to Australia's south. Much is already being done that largely goes un-noticed, at a time and in an environment of significant challenge. The committee hopes this report will provide a constructive contribution to highlighting the value of that work, and ensuring that it will attract the support it demands to remain a flagship for Australia into the future.

Senator Alex Gallacher Chair

Additional comments by the Australian Greens 1.1 The Greens support the recommendations of the inquiry into Australia’s future activities and responsibilities in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters. However we would like it noted that the Greens are proposing two further recommendations that we believe will ensure the ongoing viability of Southern Ocean and Antarctic science and research.

1.2 There are thousands of scientists working in Hobart. Hobart has the highest number of scientists per capita of any city in Australia. Any cuts to scientific research funding across Australia therefore have a greater impact on Hobart. The research sector is crucial to Hobart and Tasmania. As the Tasmanian Government stated in its evidence at the hearing in Hobart, for Tasmania the Antarctic sector represents in the 'order of $600 million to $700 million per annum, based on … figures for 2011 and 2012'.

Recommendation 1

1.3 A minimum of 20 per cent of the Australian Antarctic Division budget should be ring fenced for science, including the associated logistical support. This should be looked at more closely in line with Recommendation 13 in the report.

1.4 During the federal election the government promised funding to extend Hobart Airport’s runway to attract larger aeroplanes and international carriers to fly to Hobart. It has become increasingly clear that at least in the short term international carriers will not be utilising Hobart Airport.

1.5 The new CSIRO research ship the RV Investigator was designed to spend 300 days per year at sea to support scientific research. Following cuts by the Government the ship is only funded for 180 days of science. At $140,000 per day running costs, reallocating the Hobart airport funding could keep the RV Investigator at sea for an extra 85 days per year over the next three years.

Recommendation 2

1.6 As a temporary measure the funding provided for the Hobart Airport runway extension should be diverted into providing more days for the ship RV Investigator to conduct work.

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson

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Appendix 1

Public submissions

1 International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

2 Dr Anthony Bergin and Dr Sam Bateman

3 Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

4 Tasmanian Government

5 Australian Academy of Science

6 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

7 Mr Eldene O'Shea

8 EDO Tasmania

9 Australian Maritime Safety Authority

10 Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

11 Australian Fisheries Management Authority

12 Geoscience Australia

13 Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd

14 CSIRO

15 Department of Environment

16 The Hon David Feeney MP

17 Department of Agriculture

18 Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

19 Law Council of Australia

20 Community and Public Sector Union

21 Australian Longline

22 Department of Defence

23 Sea Shepherd Australia

82

83

Appendix 2

Public hearings and witnesses

Tuesday 16 September 2014—Hobart

BINDOFF, Professor Nathan Lee, Professor of Physical Oceanography, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

BOYD, Professor Philip Wallace, Researcher, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

HODGSON-JOHNSTON, Miss Indiah, PhD Candidate, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

JABOUR, Dr Julia Ann, Senior Lecturer, Ocean and Antarctic Governance Research Program, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

FEEHELY, Ms Jess, Principal Lawyer, Environmental Defenders Office (Tasmania) Inc.

HANSEN, Mr Jeff, Managing Director, Sea Shepherd Australia

LIVERMORE, Ms Sharon, Marine Campaigner, International Fund for Animal Welfare

EXEL, Mr Martin, General Manager Environment and Policy, Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd

GREEN, Mr Mark Arnold, Tasmanian Section Councillor, CSIRO Staff Association

LAMB, Mr Timothy David, CPSU Workplace Delegate, Australian Antarctic Division

MUNDAY, Mrs Jessica Lee, Acting Tasmanian Regional Secretary, Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU-PSU)

MILLER, Professor Denzil George Maxwell, Director, Antarctic Tasmania and Science Research Development, Department of State Growth, Government of Tasmania

MAPSTONE, Dr Bruce David, Chief Research Scientist, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

MOATE, Ms Toni, Director, Strategy & Development and Executive Director, Future Research Vessel Project, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

RINTOUL, Dr Stephen Rich, CSIRO Fellow, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

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FLEMING, Dr Anthony, Director, Australian Antarctic Division, Department of the Environment

GALES, Dr Nick, Chief Scientist, Australian Antarctic Division, Department of the Environment

MUNDY, Mr Jason John, General Manager, Strategies Branch, Australian Antarctic Division, Department of the Environment

SCHWEIZER, Ms Christine, Assistant Secretary, Marine and International Heritage Branch, Department of the Environment

SLOCUM, Ms Gillian, Manager, Territories, Environment and Treaties, Australian Antarctic Division, Department of the Environment

PRESS, Prof. Anthony James, Private capacity

Friday 26 September 2014—Canberra

BATEMAN, Dr Walter Samuel Grono, Private capacity

CHOWN, Professor Steven Loudon, Representative, Australian Academy of Science

LAMBECK, Professor Kurt, Academy Fellow, Australian Academy of Science

WORBY, Professor Anthony Peter, Expert Advisor to the Academy on Antarctic Science, Australian Academy of Science

BUCHANAN, Ms Kelly, Director, Regional Fisheries and Treaties, Sustainability and Biosecurity Policy Division, Department of Agriculture

THOMPSON, Mr Ian, First Assistant Secretary, Sustainability and Biosecurity Policy Division, Department of Agriculture

CARSON, Dr Christopher, Senior Antarctic Geoscientist, Geoscience Australia

FOSTER, Dr Clinton, Chief Scientist, Geoscience Australia

JOHNSTON, Mr Gary Michael, Group Leader, Geoscience Australia

FRENCH, Dr Gregory, Assistant Secretary, International Legal Branch, Legal Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

WHYATT, Mr Justin, Director, Sea Law, Environment Law, and Antarctica Section, Legal Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

SARA, Mr Tyson, Assistant Secretary Strategic Policy, Department of Defence

DAVIES, Air Vice Marshal Gavin, Deputy Chief of Air Force, Department of Defence

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GROVES Mr Brad, Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Australian Maritime Safety Authority

MacMILLIAN, Ms Christine Lynn, Manager, Planning and Business Support, Emergency Response Division, Australian Maritime Safety Authority

QUAEDVLIEG, Mr Roman Alexander, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Border Enforcement, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

TIMMISS, Mr Trent, Senior Manager, Tuna and International Fisheries, Australian Fisheries Management Authority

VAN BALEN, Rear Admiral Michael, Deputy Chief of Navy, Department of Defence

VENSLOVAS, Mr Peter, General Manager, Fisheries Operations, Australian Fisheries Management Authority

WOODFORD-SMITH, Mr Kingsley, Acting Commander, Border Protection Command, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

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Appendix 3

Tabled documents, answers to questions on notice and additional information

Additional information and tabled documents

1 Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan 2011-12 to 2020-21, tabled by Dr Tony Fleming, Department of the Environment at public hearing held in Hobart, 16 September 2014

2 Opening Statement, Department of Defence, at Public Hearing held in Canberra 26 September 2014

3 "The Economics of Japanese Whaling", submitted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare

4 Additional Information submitted by Professor Matt King, University Of Tasmania, received on 27 October 2014

Answers to questions on notice

1 Department of Defence answer to Question on Notice 1 from public hearing on 26 September 2014, Canberra

2 Department of Defence answer to Question on Notice 2 from public hearing on 26 September 2014, Canberra

3 Department of Defence answer to Question on Notice 3 from public hearing on 26 September 2014, Canberra

4 Department of Defence answer to Question on Notice 4 from public hearing on 26 September 2014, Canberra

5 International Fund for Animal Welfare answers to Questions on Notice from public hearing on 16 September 2014, Hobart

6 CSIRO answers to Questions on Notice from public hearing on 16 Septmeber 2014, Hobart

7 Australian Maritime Safety Authority answer to Question on Notice from public hearing on 26 September 2014, Canberra

8 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade answer to Question on Notice 1 from public hearing on 26 September 2014, Canberra

9 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade answer to Question on Notice 2 from public hearing on 26 September 2014, Canberra

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10 Department of Environment answer to Question on Notice from public hearing on 16 September 2014, Hobart

11 Australian Academy Of Science answers to Questions on Notice from public hearing on 26 September 2014, Canberra

Appendix 4

Recommendations of the 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan

Recommendations#of#the#20#Year#Australian#Antarctic#Strategic#Plan#

The!recommendations!of!this!report!are!made!to!provide!guidance!on!how!Australia!can!ensure!that!its! Antarctic! interests! are! protected! and! advanced! over! the! next! 20! years! and! beyond.! Many! of! the! recommendations! require! wholeFofFGovernment! consideration! in! the! near! to! short! term! in! order! to! ensure!that!Australia’s!relative!standing!in!Antarctica!is!protected.!!

Australia’s#Antarctic#Interests#

Recommendation#1#F!The!Australian!Government!should!reaffirm!Australia’s!Antarctic!interests!and! put!in!place!mechanisms!to!ensure!wholeFofFGovernment!commitment!to!their!implementation.!

∞ Responsibility!for!Australia’s!Antarctic!interests!should!be!explicitly!assigned!to! relevant!agencies.!

The!Australian!Government!should!also!consider!amending!these!interests!and!adding!the!additional! interest!of!“Support!a!strong!and!effective!Antarctic!Treaty!System”.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>IMMEDIATE>ONGOING# # #

Recommendation#2#F!The!replacement!for!Aurora&Australis!should!be!capable!of!meeting!Australia’s! likely!needs!for!at!least!the!next!20!years!and!be!used!to!Australia’s!maximum!advantage:!

∞ It!should!be!more!iceFcapable!than!Aurora&Australis&enabling!yearFround!access!to!the!seaF ice!zone;!

∞ It!should!be!Australian!owned,!controlled,!and!flagged;!

∞ It!must!be!used!efficiently!for!resupply!of!Australia’s!Antarctic!stations;!

∞ It!should!be!used!as!a!platform!for!a!program!of!logistic!collaboration!with!other!! countries;!and!

∞ It!should!be!engaged!in!conducting!world!class!research!in!the!Southern!Ocean!and!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Antarctica!to!lead!Australia’s!Antarctic!science!efforts.!!

When! not! engaged! directly! in! Australia’s! Antarctic! program,! the! vessel! should! be! available,! where! appropriate,!for!other!uses!by!the!Australian!Government.!!!

HIGH#PRIORITY>ONGOING# #

Recommendation#3#F!Australia!should!build!on!its!development!of!groundFbreaking!interFcontinental! air!transport!by!exploring!capabilities!including!those!that!were!previously!unavailable,!including:!

∞ Options! for! intraFcontinental! air! transport! to! link! with! the! direct! flights! from! Hobart! to! Wilkins!Aerodrome;!

∞ The! viability! of! flying! skiFequipped! aircraft! directly! from! Australia! to! Antarctica,! or! other! direct!flight!options;!

∞ Assessing!the!longFterm!viability!of!the!Wilkins!Aerodrome;!and!

∞ The!option!of!regular!heavyFlift!aircraft!flights!from!the!extended!Hobart!Airport!runway! to!Wilkins!Aerodrome!or!elsewhere!in!Antarctica.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>MEDIUM#TERM>ONGOING#

#

Recommendation# 4# F! Australia! should! reFacquire! its! deep! field! traverse! capability! to! support! high! priority!science.!&

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM>ONGOING#

Recommendation# 5! F! Australia! should! develop! a! program! for! the! modernisation! of! its! Antarctic! stations!which!includes:! ∞ More!efficient!station!operations;!

∞ Increased!flexibility!in!the!configuration!and!use!of!assets!and!personnel;!

∞ Increased! capacity! to! support! science! and! high! priority! activities! throughout! the! Australian!Antarctic!Territory;!and!

∞ Increased!collaboration!with!other!nations!active!in!East!Antarctica.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>MEDIUM#TERM>ONGOING#

# Australia’s#Administration#of#the#Australian#Antarctic#Territory#

Recommendation# 6# F! The! AttorneyFGeneral’s! Department! and! the! Australian! Antarctic! Division! of! the! Department! of! the! Environment! should! undertake! a! review! of! legislation! and! administrative! practices!applicable!to!the!Australian!Antarctic!Territory!to!ensure!that!it!is!effectively!administered.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>MEDIUM#TERM>ONGOING#

Recommendation#7#F!Australia!should!consider!administrative!steps!such!as:!

∞ Appointing!exFofficio!the!Director!of!the!Australian!Antarctic!Division!as!Administrator! to!the!Australian!Antarctic!Territory!and!the!Territory!of!Heard!Island!and!McDonald! Islands!(this!could!be!done!through!amendment!to!the!Australian&Antarctic&Territory& Act!(1954)!and!the!Heard&Island&and&McDonald&Islands&Act!(1953));!!

∞ Adopting!flags!for!the!Australian!Antarctic!Territory!and!the!Territory!of!Heard!Island! and!McDonald!Islands!(the!adoption!of!these!flags!could!be!done!as!part!of!a!broader! Government!program!to!adopt!flags!for!all!of!Australia’s!external!territories!including! the!Coral!Sea,!and!Ashmore!Reef!and!Cartier!Islands);!!

∞ Ensuring!a!continuing!program!of!mapping!of!the!Australian!Antarctic!Territory!and!its! adjacent!maritime!zones;!and!

∞ Facilitating! a! program! of! visits! by! Senior! Government! figures! to! the! Australian! Antarctic!Territory.!

MEDIUM#PRIORITY>MEDIUM#TERM#

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# Regional#Security#

Recommendation# 8# F! Australia! should! work! to! ensure! that! the! Antarctic! Treaty! System! remains! strong!and!stable.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>ONGOING#

Recommendation# 9# F! Australia! should! devote! diplomatic! resources! to! provide! influence! in! the! Antarctic! Treaty! System,! and! to! work! with! Parties! within! it,! in! order! to! maintain! Antarctic! Treaty! System!norms!and!practices!which!keep!the!Antarctic!free!from!discord,!conflict!and!militarisation.!!

HIGH#PRIORITY>ONGOING#

Recommendation#10#F!Australia!should!engage!with!other!Antarctic!Treaty!Parties!operating!in!the! Australian!Antarctic!Territory.!!

HIGH#PRIORITY>ONGOING#

Recommendation# 11# F! Australia! should! specifically! engage! with! countries! now! emerging! as!

significant!players!in!Antarctica,!especially!in!the!Australian!Antarctic!Territory.#!!

HIGH#PRIORITY>IMMEDIATE>ONGOING#

Recommendation#12#F!Australia!should!ensure!that!important!existing!biFlateral!arrangements!it!has! with! other! countries! (for! example! its! Treaty! with! France,! and! biFlateral! agreements! with! France,! China,! Russia,! and! New! Zealand)! are! adequately! serviced! and! supported.! Australia! should! give! further!consideration!to!its!use!of!these!kinds!of!arrangements.!!

MEDIUM#PRIORITY>ONGOING#

Recommendation#13#F!Australia!should!engage!with!natural!groupings!in!the!Antarctic!Treaty!System! to!pursue!common!objectives!in!ensuring!the!stability!and!strength!of!the!Antarctic!Treaty!System.!!

HIGH#PRIORITY>ONGOING#

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Antarctic#Science# #

Recommendation# 14# F! The! Australian! Antarctic! Division! Chief! Scientist! should! meet! annually! with! the! Heads! of! the! Integrated! Marine! Observing! System;! the! Marine! National! Facility! Steering! Committee;!and!the!Australian!Research!Council,!and!others!as!required,!to!ensure!coordination!of! research!effort!in!Antarctica!and!the!Southern!Ocean.#

HIGH#PRIORITY>IMMEDIATE#

Recommendation# 15! F! Australia! should! retain! the! ‘hybrid’! system! of! supporting! Antarctic! science,! with!the!Australian!Antarctic!Division!of!the!Department!of!the!Environment!providing!the!core!of! researchers! focussed! on! delivering! priority! scientific! advice! to! government,! and! national! and! international! research! institutions! and! universities! providing! competitiveFbased! research! against!

Australia’s!Antarctic!Science!Strategic!Plan.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM>ONGOING#

Recommendation# 16# F! Funding! for! Australian! Antarctic! Science! grants! should! be! increased! substantially!to:! ! •!!! Facilitate!national!and!international!collaboration!in!priority!science!in!the!Antarctic! and!Southern!Ocean;!

! •! Facilitate! the! planning! and! conduct! of! logistically! complex! priority! research! programs!that!may!extend!over!a!number!of!years;!

! •! Encourage!greater!collaboration!among!nations!in!East!Antarctica;!and!

! •! Demonstrate!Australian!leadership!in!Antarctic!science.!

Funding!for!collaborative!research!should!not!be!allocated!at!the!expense!of!other!core!functions!of!

the!Australian!Antarctic!Program.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM#

Recommendation# 17# F! In! conjunction! with! an! increase! in! Australian! Antarctic! Science! grants,! the! Australian! Antarctic! Division! of! the! Department! of! the! Environment! should! budget! sufficient! appropriation!to!support!the!planning!and!conduct!of!major!campaigns,!particularly!those!that!rely! on!complex!logistics!and!which!may!extend!over!a!number!of!years.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM>ONGOING#

Recommendation#18!F!Australia!should!continue!to!engage!in,!promote!and!facilitate!international!

collaboration!in!Antarctic!science!and!governance.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM>ONGOING#

Recommendation# 19# F! Australia! should! prioritise! large! fieldFbased! research! campaigns! in! areas! of! high!priority!scientific!research,!and!promote,!encourage!and!facilitate!international!collaborations! in!these!campaigns.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM>ONGOING#

Recommendation# 20# F! Australia! should! engage! with! other! Antarctic! nations! in! their! research! programs!to!provide!assistance!and!research!collaborations!consistent!with!the!Australian!Antarctic! Science!Strategic!Plan.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM>ONGOING#

Recommendation# 21# F! The! Australian! Antarctic! Science! Strategic! Plan! should! be! renamed! the! ‘Australian!Antarctic!Science!Plan’!and!should!be!reviewed!regularly!(every!5!years).!

! The! process! for! reviewing! the! Australian! Antarctic! Science! Plan! should! be! led! by! the! Australian! Antarctic!Division!of!the!Department!of!the!Environment!and!include:!

∞ External,!independent!review!

∞ Broad!consultation!with!the!Australian!science!community!and!professional!bodies!

∞ Broad!consultation!across!Government.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM>ONGOING#

Recommendation#22#F!A!wholeFofFGovernment!position!should!be!reached!on!ongoing!funding!for! national!and!international!collaborations!in!Antarctic!science!to!cover!the!cessation!of!the!Antarctic! Gateway! Partnership! funding! in! 2017! and! the! Antarctic! Climate! and! Ecosystem! Cooperative! Research!Centre!funding!in!2019.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM#

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Economic#Benefits#for#Tasmania#as#an#Antarctic#Gateway#

Recommendation# 23# F! The! Australian! and! Tasmanian! Governments! should! work! together! to! build! Tasmania’s!capacity!to!be!a!leading!global!gateway!to!East!Antarctica.#

HIGH#PRIORITY>IMMEDIATE>ONGOING#

Recommendation#24#F!A!joint!TasmanianFCommonwealth!Government!agreement!should!prioritise!

infrastructure!investment!decisions!to!support!the!East!Antarctic!gateway,!including:!

∞ Investment!in!Hobart’s!rundown!port!facilities!to!ensure!they!are!able!to!capitalise!on! growing!marine!research!and!resupply!shipping!in!East!Antarctica;!

∞ Ensuring! that! Hobart! has! the! ability! to! hold,! and! efficiently! supply,! ship! and! aircraft! fuel;!and!

∞ Ensuring! that! efficient! port! access,! quarantine,! storage! and! resupply! facilities! are! in! place!in!order!to!service!the!potential!growth!in!East!Antarctic!sea!and!air!traffic.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>IMMEDIATE>ONGOING#

Recommendation# 25# F! The! Australian! and! Tasmanian! Governments! should! jointly! commission! a! report!on!the!future!shipping!fuel!facility!requirements!for!the!Port!of!Hobart,!including:!! ∞ Options!for!delivery!of!fuel!to!vessels!in!the!Port;!

∞ Options!for!the!supply!of!fuel!to!and!from!Selfs!Point;!

∞ The!cost!and!opportunity!cost!of!ship!transit!to!and!from!the!Port!to!Selfs!Point;!and!

∞ The! risks! associated! with! the! current! ship! refuelling! arrangements,! compared! with! viable!alternatives.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM#

Recommendation# 26# F! The! Commonwealth! should! actively! engage! with! the! Tasmanian! business! community!to!facilitate!opportunities!for!businesses!to!participate!in!the!Antarctic!sector.!

The! Commonwealth! should! explore! ways! to! engage! business! early! in! procurement! processes! in! order!to!foster!innovation,!efficiency!and!provide!better!value!for!money.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>IMMEDIATE>ONGOING#

Recommendation# 27# F!The! Australian! Antarctic! Division! of! the! Department!of! the! Environment,! in! consultation! with! other! agencies,! should! explore! opportunities! to! establish! partnerships! with! the! State,!other!organisations,!and!industry!in!Antarctic!related!activities,!including:!

∞ The!provision!of!training!and!services!in!medical!and!allied!health!services;!

∞ Maritime!skills!training!(including!operations!in!seaFice);!

∞ Antarctic!meteorological!services,!weather!forecasting,!and!provision!of!!

seaFice!assessments!for!shipping;!

∞ Scientific!instrument!and!technology!development;!

∞ Antarctic!field!training!and!support;!

∞ Training!in!AntarcticFrelated!trades;!

∞ The!provision!of!goods!and!services;!and!

∞ Polar!infrastructure!research!and!development.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>ONGOING#

Direct#Support#for#Australia’s#Antarctic#Program#

Recommendation# 28# F! The! Department! of! the! Environment! and! the! Department! of! Finance,! in! consultation!with!other!relevant!Departments!and!agencies,!should!jointly!undertake!a!review!of!the! budget!of!the!Australian!Antarctic!Division!(Department!of!the!Environment,!Outcome!3).!!

This!review!should!include:!

∞ The!fixed!costs!of!running!the!Australian!Antarctic!Program,!including:!!

− The!operation!of!Australia’s!Antarctic!stations;!

− The! operation! of! logistics! to! support! Australia’s! sovereign! and! strategic! interests!in!Antarctica!and!the!Southern!Ocean;!and!

− The! operation! of! the! Australian! Antarctic! Division’s! station! on! Macquarie! Island.!

∞ The! core! functions! undertaken! by! the! Australian! Antarctic! Division! of! the! Department! of! the! Environment! in! operational! support,! science,! policy,! and! the! administration!of!the!Australian!Antarctic!Territory!and!the!Territory!of!Heard!Island! and!McDonald!Islands;!

∞ The!funding!required!to!meet!Australia’s!obligations!in!the!Antarctic!Treaty!System! including! environmental! management;! sustainable! management! of! marine! living! resources! and! conservation! in! the! Antarctic,! Southern! Ocean! and! the! Territory! of! Heard! Island! and! McDonald! Islands;! and! scientific,! practical! and! diplomatic!

engagement;!

∞ The! funding! required! to! advance! Australia’s! Antarctic! interests! through! the! initiation,! conduct! and! support! of! priority! science! in! Antarctica! and! the! Southern! Ocean;!

∞ The! provisions! required! to! meet! Australia’s! obligation! to! remediate! environmental! damage!and!abandoned!sites!in!Antarctica;!!

∞ The! future! requirements! for! capital! investment! and/or! renewal! in! logistics! and! infrastructure;!!

∞ Opportunities! to! diversify! the! funding! base! to! support! some! Antarctic! activities! including!from!business!and!philanthropic!sources;!and!

∞ The!future!operational!support!required!to!sustain!a!credible!Antarctic!program!that! matches!Australia’s!national!interests!in!the!Antarctic.!

The! review! should! call! on! the! expertise! of! external! experts! in! polar! operations! and!

science.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM#

The#Protocol#on#Environmental#Protection#to#the#Antarctic#Treaty#

Recommendation#29#F!Australia!should!undertake!diplomatic!and!practical!activities!to!support!the! provisions! of! the! Madrid! Protocol,! including! the! prohibition! on! Antarctic! mineral! activities.! These! activities! should! include! capacity! building! efforts! and! education! on! Parties’! obligations! under! the! Madrid!Protocol!and!its!provisions!with!respect!to!mining.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM#

Antarctica#and#World#Heritage#Listing#

Recommendation#30#F!Australia!should!approach!with!extreme!caution!calls!to!have!Antarctica!listed! on! the! World! Heritage! List! and! should! not! pursue! World! Heritage! nomination! for! the! Australian! Antarctic!Territory!or!Antarctica!as!a!whole.!

MEDIUM#PRIORITY>ONGOING#

Recommendation#31!F!Australia!should!consider!any!assessment!of!proposals!to!place!Antarctica!on! the!World!Heritage!List!against!the!comprehensive!protections!already!provided!within!the!Antarctic! Treaty!System,!including!the!Protocol!on!Environmental!Protection!to!the!Antarctic!Treaty,!and!the! impacts!that!pursuing!such!a!proposal!may!have!on!the!Antarctic!Treaty!System!itself.!

MEDIUM#PRIORITY>MEDIUM#TERM#

Recommendation# 32# F! Australia! should! identify! opportunities! to! actively! promote! the! natural,! scientific,!and!cultural!values!of!the!Antarctic!and!the!environmental!protection!outcomes!achieved! by!the!Madrid!Protocol,!especially!in!the!lead!up!to!its!25th!anniversary!in!2016.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM#

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The#Territory#of#Heard#Island#and#the#McDonald#Islands#

Recommendation#33#F!Australia!should!support!fisheries!surveillance!and!enforcement!operations!in! the!French!and!Australian!Exclusive!Economic!Zones!in!the!Heard!IslandFKerguelen!Island!region,!and! in!the!surrounding!areas!of!the!Convention!on!the!Conservation!of!Antarctic!Marine!Living!Resources! in!accordance!with!the!Treaty!with!France.!

HIGH#PRIORITY>ONGOING#

Recommendation# 34# F! The! Australian! Antarctic! Division! of! the! Department! of! the! Environment! should!provide!the!Government!with!a!carefully!considered!budget!for!conducting!priority!research! at!Heard!Island!and!McDonald!Islands!and!surrounding!waters!and!supporting!Australia’s!presence! in!the!Territory.!!

Priority! research! in! this! region! should! be! considered! part! of! the! core! responsibilities! of! the! Australian! Antarctic! Division! as! the! region! is! strategically! important! for! Australia,! has! important! fisheries!resources,!and!is!important!for!wildlife!conservation.!

MEDIUM#PRIORITY>SHORT#TERM#

Macquarie#Island#

Recommendation# 35# F! The! operation! of! the! research! station! on! Macquarie! Island! should! be! reviewed!as!part!of!the!Australian!Antarctic!Division’s!modernisation!project.!!

MEDIUM#PRIORITY>MEDIUM#TERM#