The Hon. Sussan ley MP


Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz


Having spectacularly opened the door to a new era of polar science in its maiden season, Australia’s state of the art ice breaker RSV Nuyina is setting sight on new journeys of discovery, including one to Antarctica’s remote ‘ice-edge’ to unlock the mystery of sea ice changes.

Minister Ley was on-board the world’s most advanced polar research vessel at its Hobart dock today confirming a $44.2 million investment in additional shipping capacity that will allow the Nuyina to spend more time researching the Southern Ocean.

She also expressed the hope that the Nuyina can find time in its schedule to visit major Australian ports and give more Australians a first-hand look at this amazing vessel.

“In two short trips to Antarctica the Nuyina has grabbed the international spotlight mapping vast undersea canyons and an underwater mountain higher than Mt Kosciusko,” Minister Ley said.

“It has refuelled and resupplied Australia’s Antarctic stations, unloaded more than 2000 tonnes of cargo and brought new technology to the study of krill and other marine ecosystems, cementing its claim as a genuine polar triathlete.

“As we focus forward our additional shipping capacity investment means that there will be an even greater focus on the Nuyina’s role as a world leading scientific research platform.

“Already there is a collaboration being planned with the Australian Research Council for RSV Nuyina to travel to the stormy marginal ice zone, a 48-day program battling turbulent seas and icebergs that was beyond the capacity of previous vessels.

“The final planning and timing of these opportunities will be a matter for the AAD but already the Nuyina and the Morrison Government’s $804.4 million investment in Antarctic leadership are opening new horizons in Australia’s proud Antarctic history.

“As part of its scheduled commissioning, the Nuyina will leave tomorrow for a dry dock in Singapore before returning for the next Antarctic season.I have also asked for the Nuyina to find time to visit major Australian ports in the future to highlight the importance of the work it is undertaking and our leadership in polar exploration.”

Led by RSV Nuyina, Australia has completed an epic Antarctic season packed with achievements, while successfully preventing COVID-19 transmission to the icy continent.

All four Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations were re-supplied, and expeditioners changed over, with 87 ‘winterers’ now safely in place for the rest of the year.

So hectic has the schedule been that today’s visit was the first opportunity to fully explore the ship and discuss plans for medium lift helicopters, drones and increased scientific capability that are included in the Antarctic leadership package.

Announced in February by the Prime Minister, the Morrison Government’s Antarctic leadership package, increases Australia’s scientific and strategic capability, strengthens our national interests in Antarctica and supports Tasmanian jobs.

Senator for Tasmania Eric Abetz said RSV Nuyina was a symbol of opportunity for Hobart with AAD programs set to generate hundreds of jobs with Australian businesses, contractors, medical suppliers, researchers and providores reaping the benefits of local procurement.

“Tasmania is the international gateway to East Antarctica and the Nuyina is a ship that commands world-wide attention in highlighting that position,” Senator Abetz said.

“It is important that we build on these opportunities and create more jobs for Tasmanians in the process.

“Australia has a proud history of polar exploration and scientific leadership, and Tasmania has played a key role in those achievements over many decades.

“The Morrison Government’s investment in Antarctic leadership and science will ensure that remains the case for many years to come.”