Coalition to produce Antarctica plan

The federal coalition has announced it will produce a 20-year strategic plan for Australia's interests in Antarctica.

The plan will be developed by Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre chief Tony Press.

Mr Press is a former director of the Australian Antarctic Division.

"Australia has had a leading presence in Antarctica built up from over 100 years of scientific research, engagement and protection of this unique and fragile environment," shadow environment minister Greg Hunt said.

"We will build on the tradition of Douglas Mawson to ensure Australia ... remains at the forefront."

The plan will focus on access to the frozen continent, scientific research and Australia's influence among the nations with claims to Antarctica, Mr Hunt said.

The coalition has committed $87 million for research and infrastructure development of Antarctica, including a $38 million extension to the runway at Hobart International Airport.

It also includes $25 million in continued funding to the ACECRC, which Labor announced in the May federal budget.

The ALP has also begun the tender process for the ageing icebreaker Aurora Australis to be replaced.

Greens leader Christine Milne said $100 million was needed to reverse cuts to the Australian Antarctic Division and $66 million to increase new research ship the RV Investigator's days at sea.

"In a race for votes in Tasmania, it is not surprising (the major parties) are making a last minute pitch by announcing they will increase support for Antarctica," Senator Milne said.