30th anniversary of key Antarctic agreement

Media statement
04 Oct 2021
Prime Minister

The Hon. Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister

Senator the Hon. Marise Payne
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister for Women

The Hon. Sussan Ley MP
Minister for the Environment

Our Government was pleased to join leaders from other Antarctic Treaty nations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, also known as the Madrid Protocol, hosted virtually by Spanish Prime Minister Sánchez.

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. It is a historic pact to protect the Antarctic wilderness.

Australia’s commitment to the study and conservation of Antarctica is long-standing, including our early history of exploration, world-class scientific research today, permanent presence in the Australian Antarctic Territory, and Hobart’s important role as a key gateway to the continent.

Antarctica and the Southern Ocean now face unprecedented challenges including the impacts of climate change, illegal fishing and marine pollution.

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.

Australia has been a leader in Antarctic preservation efforts since the expedition of one of our greatest national heroes, Sir Douglas Mawson, and his companions over a century ago.

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.

We commend Prime Minister Sánchez for marking this momentous occasion.