Scott Morrison has underscored the threat to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean posed by climate change, illegal fishing and marine pollution in a statement marking three decades of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
“By meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and continually improving the world’s environmental practices to protect Antarctica’s cherished biodiversity and marine environment, we are determined to do our part to meet these challenges,” Morrison said in a media statement, highlighting Australia’s commitment to the ongoing study and conservation of Antarctica.
The PM said that Australia’s world-class scientific research made it a leader in Antarctic preservation efforts since the early explorer Sir Douglas Mawson and his peers ventured to Antarctica on an expedition more than 100 years ago. He added that Hobart in Tasmania played an important role as a key gateway for Australia’s permanent presence in the Australian Antarctic Territory.
“We will continue to work closely with our fellow Antarctic Treaty parties in support of peace, science and environmental protection in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean,” Morrison said.
On Monday the prime minister, together with foreign minister Marise Payne and environment minister Sussan Ley, joined a virtual event to mark the 30th anniversary of the Madrid Protocol.
The event was hosted by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, and Morrison thanked him for marking the ‘momentous occasion’.
“Australia played a leading role in initiating development of the Madrid Protocol, which was adopted on 4 October 1991, at the conclusion of the Special Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting held in Madrid, Spain,” Morrison said.
“It is a historic pact to protect the Antarctic wilderness.”