Media Release - Australia's paved runway sets a dangerous precedent for Antarctic protection

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Media Release
21 May 2018    

Australia's paved runway sets a dangerous precedent for Antarctic protection

The Turnbull Government's plan to build a paved runway in Antarctica is an error of judgement, says Humane Society International. Ministers Josh Frydenberg and Julie Bishop announced the Government's intention to build a paved runway on Friday.

The paved runway would be the first ever to be constructed in Antarctica and is set to be located near Australia's southern most Antarctic research station.

Humane Society International's Adviser on Antarctic Policy, Alistair Graham, said: "Building a paved runway in Antarctica is a terrible abrogation of Australia's duty to protect the Antarctic continent and to tread lightly upon it in conducting scientific activities. The Antarctic Treaty's Madrid Protocol on environmental protection designates Antarctica as a 'natural reserve, devoted to peace and science' and establishes that 'protection of the environment shall be a fundamental consideration in the planning and conduct of all activities in the Antarctic'. To be the first country to build a paved runway in Antarctica is not only a breach of these fundamental treaty obligations but also a distressing breach of faith with those of us in the Australian community who have supported past governments – of all persuasions – as good and honourable custodians of Antarctica." 

Humane Society International says major permanent infrastructure is the thin end of the wedge for inappropriate development of Antarctica, inconsistent with managing the icy continent for its awe-inspiring remoteness.

"How sad and frustrating it is to note yet another cornerstone of Australian environmental policy is being undermined by the current Government," said Mr Graham. 

Mr Graham has attended meetings of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources for more than two decades.

For interviews with Alistair Graham, Antarctic Policy Adviser at Humane Society International, please contact: 0439 568 376

About Us

Humane Society International concentrates on the preservation of endangered animals and ecosystems and works to ensure quality of life for all animals, both domestic and wild. Humane Society International is the largest animal protection not-for-profit organisation in the world and has been established in Australia since 1994. Humane Society International is the global arm of The Humane Society of the United States.

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Humane Society International Inc
PO Box 439, AVALON NSW 2107 AUSTRALIA Tel: +61 (2) 9973 1728
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