Bid for high-tech facility to boost innovation and jobs

Tuesday, 29 May, 2001

Eminent scientist and former Australian of the Year, Sir Gustav Nossal, will lead Victoria's bid for a national synchrotron research facility to be built beside Monash University.

Making the announcement, the Minister for State and Regional Development, Mr John Brumby, said Victoria's position as national leader in science and innovation made it the logical place to establish such a facility.

Sir Gustav agreed, saying Australia desperately needed the facility and Melbourne was the best location for it to be built.

"This facility will build on Victoria's strengths in high-technology and innovation, particularly in fields such as biotechnology and materials research," he said.

Mr Brumby said a synchrotron in Melbourne would directly and indirectly create up to 700 jobs in Victoria and add as much as $65 million a year to the economy.

He said the proposed Clayton site for the facility was ideal as it was close to the Monash health research precinct, the Alfred medical research and education precinct, Telstra laboratories and several CSIRO divisions involved in manufacturing, materials and minerals.

Mr Brumby said the Bracks Government in conjunction with Monash University was seeking Commonwealth funds towards the estimated $150 million capital cost of the facility. Victoria will provide significant investment and will seek the balance from the private sector and other sources.

"Last week's State Budget included $2 million over the next 12 months to prepare a bid for the facility."

At present, Australian scientists wanting to conduct synchrotron-based research are forced to join long queues at overseas facilities in Japan or the US, and effectively give up their intellectual property.

"Australia needs this facility so we can develop pharmaceuticals and new materials and processes more quickly and capture as much of the commercial benefit as possible," Mr Brumby said.

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