The Federal Environment Minister is bracing himself for some big decisions on the future of Australia's access routes to Antarctica.
Tony Burke has flown to the icy continent for the first time since taking over the portfolio in 2010.
The Australian Antarctic Territory covers 42 % of the continent.
Mr Burke says there are ongoing problems with melting ice runways at Australia's airfields.
"The runway hasn't worked as effectively as Australia hoped it would." "The ice-breaker is nearing the end of its life and so there's some major decisions that have to be made in the next few years."