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Australian Antarctic science is being frozen out by budget cuts

By Matt King, University of Tasmania

Despite rising costs, the government this year handed an 8% budget cut to the Australian Antarctic Division.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

A hundred years after Australian explorer and geologist Douglas Mawson returned from his epic scientific adventures in Antarctica, Australia’s scientific exploration of the icy southern continent has all but ground to a halt, for reasons I’ll discuss below.

This matters to Australians because, if Antarctica sneezes, we get a cold. Whether it’s unusual weather affecting our agriculture, food prices and economy or the gradual loss of our coastline due to sea level rise, Antarctica matters.

So the fact scientists such as myself have experienced a near-total rundown in their ability to understand the most remote bits of Antarctica is of great concern.

What’s gone wrong?

If filling the tank of your car has sent you broke in recent times, then the idea of filling the 2.4-million-litre tank of Australia’s icebreaker, the Aurora Australis, will give you sleepless nights.

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The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.