Topics: ARC Alloy Innovation for Mining Efficiency

Simon Birmingham: … Australian Government, of all Australian in terms of identifying, prioritising and delivering support for wonderful initiatives and projects such this one.

Jane, Vice Chancellor, Chancellor, DVCR, other leaders at Deakin, it’s wonderful to be here with you, such a passionate university, we’ve heard of course that already in Jane’s description about the role that Deakin has played in its own transformation over several decades now, an ongoing transformation in terms of its role in the local community. But of course also the transformation of industry here locally, in the Geelong area, in the broader region, the contribution that then extends across Victoria, across our nation and indeed globally in terms of the impact of so many of the breakthroughs that occur.

Your role, locally in particular, is one that my good friend and colleague Sarah Henderson champions so much in terms of her discussions with me about impact: impact of this university on its graduates; impact in this university on the local economy; impact in terms of the creation of new business opportunities, new enterprise, new innovation, and as a result, new jobs in the local community.

I too would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people, of the local area and all indigenous people and acknowledge how we as a nation continue to learn of, from, and build upon Indigenous culture and knowledge.

It’s a real thrill to be here today to launch the Australian Research Council Training Centre in Alloy Innovation for Mining Efficiency. A catchy title if ever there was one, that obviously rolls off the tongue very easily. But of course it’s not the title that matters but what you do with it: in politics, in business, in academia, in life, in research and it is wonderful to see again, from Deakin, a collaboration that brings together businesses from local area and broader Victorian regions, indeed collaboration, outside of Victoria with enterprise, with universities, looking at those logos flashing up behind us occasionally, not just into the university space but because of the nature of this industry, partnership with the likes of TAFE WA as well, recognising the mix of skills that are necessary in training centres such as this, that of course will develop those highly advance skills to continue to further research and innovation in this critical sector, but has to do so in conjunction and collaboration with all of those who work in terms of engineering, mining, and development space for the types of products that are essential.

I just had the joy of touring the Carbon Nexus research facilities, which of course are one of the most impressive facilities and stories in relation to Australian research breakthroughs in recent years. With tangible benefits. Tangible benefits where it is fabulous to hear the likes of carbon revolution, talk about not that many years ago being four people in a shed to today having of course a workforce of around 125 people with a plan that can realise some 600 jobs locally, 600 jobs in high technology, advanced manufacturing, export oriented, all of the sorts of things that can help to underpin, for Geelong and for Australia, the type of economy, jobs and standard of living that we want to ensure is available into the future.

That is hard, that is of course what research investment ought to be about; underpinning our standard of living as Australians and as global citizens. Not always in an economic context, for there are many areas of research that make valuable contributions that help to ensure enhancements of course in our healthcare, in our education, in a whole range of other services upon which we rely. But economically it is critical for that sustainment of jobs and prosperity. Mining Australians will appreciate is the one of the core [inaudible] of our country in terms of areas of economy production and indeed of the comparative advantages that we have as a nation.

But it counts for around 7 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product. It’s our third highest contributing industry to Australia’s GDP, of course sitting right up there in terms of exports though is indeed education as our third largest export earning. So mining and education going very much hand in hand in that sense. But an important part of Australia’s mining industry, is not just the resources that we manage to efficiently, safely, sustainably take from the ground and apply in a range of ways around the world, but also the knowledge that Australia has as one of the most efficient and sustainable and responsible mining countries in the world, a knowledge that can enable us to actually ensure our support for mining activities elsewhere around the world, the businesses that underpin those mining activities is at the cutting edge.

And this centre, this work, Matthew’s work and that of his team, is critical to making sure that Australia takes our comparative advantage, not just in minerals but in mining knowledge, skills, and capability and helps to build that in terms of the support services and industries that underpin mining around the globe. I want to thank and acknowledge not just Deakin for your commitment in this space but of course all of the various industry and education partners who come to the table to make this training centre a reality. It is to the credit of each of your partners that they see the opportunity here, that they put the effort into collaboration and that ultimately this will realise, I trust, a more richly skilled research and industry workforce that will be able to take the work that has been done in terms of mining alloy technology and apply it in a very rich and ongoing way for many, many years to come.

It is about building capability; capability across academia, capacity across industry. We are thrilled to be able to support it, thrilled to see the type of benefits it creates in terms of local jobs, prospects of employment, and delighted to officially open this centre today. Thank you so very much.