THE Independent member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has appealed to the Prime Minister, Tasmanian Premier, and the owner of the RSV Aurora Australia, so its cultural, heritage and social values can be assessed and other options explored.

Mr Wilkie understands the Aurora Australis, owned by P&O Maritime Services, is days away from being sold overseas, or worse still, broken up for scrap. The bright orange vessel has been an iconic piece of Hobart’s waterfront for 30 years.

“Tasmanians have a very strong connection to the Aurora Australis,” Mr Wilkie said.

“To see the vessel sold overseas or for scrap without pause to assess its cultural values, let alone it’s economic value, to the Tasmanian community and to Australia broadly, would be an act of betrayal.

“Just as the owner of an historic building can’t level it without government permission, P&O, if it wishes to be a responsible corporate citizen, has an obligation to at least give the Tasmanian community a say on the future of the Aurora Australis.

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Mr Wilkie said he had received several proposals for the vessel’s future use that would see it remain either in maritime service or as a tourism and cultural asset.

“These and other should all be given the chance to be considered,” he said.

In his letter to P&O on the matter, Mr Wilkie stated, “I do understand that P&O is a commercial enterprise that will make commercial decisions, but I would also like to think that P&O has a fondness for the ship and would want to mark in some way its long association with the Antarctic.

“I ask that you pause on the sale of the Aurora Australis, at least for a few months while other options are considered.”

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