Strategic Insights 66

Cold calculations: Australia’s Antarctic challenges

This report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute looks at the range of Australian objectives in Antarctica, the assumptions that underpin those goals, and the options open for us to best achieve our aims. It’s hoped that this report will inform those responsible for formulating and implementing our Antarctic policies.

The paper looks at a range of strategic policy interests we have in Antarctica and whether we need to trade off any of these goals:
• preserving our sovereignty over our Antarctic territory
• maintaining the continent free from confrontation and militarisation
• protecting the Antarctic environment
• taking advantage of the special opportunities Antarctica offers for science
• deriving economic benefits from Antarctica
• insuring against unpredictable developments down south.
How we weigh and set both complementary and competing priorities among our Antarctic objectives (even if it’s somewhat imprecise) will be a key challenge, as will judging how other Antarctic players react to our policy objectives and our pursuit of them. Some of our policies mightn’t be complementary with those of other Antarctic players.

Authorised by the CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre October 2019.

The ACE CRC was established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.

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