The Western Australian government has signalled its interest in Australia’s Antarctic Program amid an ongoing stoush between the Tasmanian and federal governments over the future base of Australia’s national icebreaker.

The RSV Nuyina currently uses Hobart as its home port, but federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek last week said the dispute had put the city’s status as an Antarctic gateway at risk.

In a leaked letter sent to Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff, Ms Plibersek raised concerns about the “exorbitant cost” of redeveloping aging facilities at Macquarie Wharf 6, where the ship docks.

The Commonwealth recently signed a long-term lease keep the Australian Antarctic Division located at its headquarters in Kingston, south of Hobart.

It has also promised $240 million as part of the redevelopment of the Macquarie Point precinct, where a new AFL stadium is planned, although that funding is contingent on upgrading Macquarie Wharf 6.