This morning, nature campaigners from Bob Brown Foundation scaled flag poles at the Australian Antarctic Division Headquarters in Hobart, unfurling a large banner to protest Australia’s Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s plans to build a giant concrete airport in Antarctica.
Antarctica is a natural wonder of the world — but it’s facing the threats of immediate industrialisation and climate impacts. This is a place of remarkable wild beauty dedicated to nature, peace and science,” said Dr Bob Brown.
“But Minister Sussan Ley and the Australian Antarctic Division want to build a giant destructive concrete airport in the middle of this extraordinary ecosystem.”
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the historic Antarctic Treaty coming into effect, which designated the continent as a global common for peace and science.
“Right now, Australia is attending Antarctic Treaty meetings and tabling preliminary plans for this multi-billion-dollar project, which will be built using public funds,” said Alistair Allan, Bob Brown Foundation’s Antarctic Campaigner.
“This proposed mega-airport will blast petrel rookeries, disturb penguin and seal colonies and encase this astonishing wild landscape in more than 115,000 tonnes of concrete. This disastrous project stands in stark opposition to the spirit and terms of the historic Antarctic Treaty.
“This is not the Australian Antarctic Division we as Tasmanians have come to value as part of Hobart's Antarctic connection. Director Kim Ellis needs to know that this is not what we expect from our Antarctic Division. The Antarctic Division conducts great science that contributes to a multitude of important areas, be that krill population or the effects of global warming on Antarctica. But that science is losing funding already and will be almost completely displaced by the airport construction crews for at least 10 years if this airport goes ahead. Antarctica needs more science and collaboration, not concrete and industrial infrastructure” said Alistair Allan
Elsewhere around the country, the Australian public expressed their concerns.
“With demonstrations in Melbourne, Hobart, Perth, Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Castlemaine, Albury and Bells beach, there is a growing opposition to this airport as more and more people are astounded to find out what the government is planning,” said Dr Bob Brown.
Concerned citizens across the country — from Perth to Bells Beach — have taken action today to voice their concerns with this proposal to build a giant concrete airport in Antarctica. Demonstrations have taken place in Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Castlemaine, Bells beach and Albury
“Antarctica is no place for a giant concrete airport,” said Bob Brown.