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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3338

Mr SYMON (Deakin) (19:05): On Friday, 3 May I visited the Vermont terracotta roof tile factory operated by CSR Building Products. As many people in my part of Melbourne know, they are a very longstanding local employer and, of course, located within the electorate of Deakin. I was very pleased to be accompanied by the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation, better known to many as Yvette D'Ath, the member for Petrie. At the facility we were met by Andrew Rowe, the general manager with CSR Energy; Simon Robinson, CSR's operations manager at Vermont; and John Monaghan, CSR's Vermont production manager. They explained the tile-making process to us and showed off their new equipment—we will get to new equipment shortly

CSR Building Products in Vermont has received two grants through the Clean Technology Investment Program with the assistance of AusIndustry. The first grant of $250,000 was for a waste heat capture system for the factory's Ceric kiln. That is used to fire the clay tiles on a slow-moving conveyor system, but it consumes a huge amount of gas—they are by far and away the biggest gas consumer within the electorate. So on top of the $250,000 grant from the CTIP, CSR funded the project with another $500,000 making a total project cost of $750,000.

I had previously viewed this site and proposed project with the then Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Hon. Mark Dreyfus, in September 2012. On this subsequent visit I was shown the finished project that involved installing a high temperature off-take on the Ceric kiln and then using that waste heat to feed the tunnel dryer that the roof tiles travel through. By capturing and redirecting this formerly lost heat, the company has been able to save money on its very substantial gas bill, as some of the burners on the tunnel dryer are now turned off or running at reduced capacity. The total expected energy saving over the economic life of the project is forecast to be 351 terajoules, which is a huge amount of gas. I looked at the amount in cubic feet, but it was a bit too big for me to say here. However, as we were shown on the day we visited, this project is achieving slightly better results than forecast and there may be scope for even better efficiencies as the production team finetunes the new process.

CSR Building Products have also received another grant for the Vermont site of $25,733 to upgrade an air compressor system, reducing the emissions intensity of the compressor by controlling its flow and therefore its demand. Again, the company supplemented this grant with their own investment of $52,248, for a total cost of nearly $78,000. This grant from the Clean Technology Investment Program will allow CSR's Vermont site to save $12,000 a year in electricity costs from this one single compressor—although it is rather large. The air compressor with its new control gear now has an emissions intensity way below that of the old one. These investments in clean technology will pay themselves back to the company in as little as four years or so, as well as helping Australia's efforts to reduce our overall carbon emissions both now and into our future.

Many people would be familiar with the sight of terracotta roof tiles in many parts of Australia, especially around my part of Melbourne, where they are very familiar. Most of them over time have actually come from that particular facility. Indeed, in many years gone by it was where the clay was mined and that is why it is located where it is. The clay these days comes from a site in Lilydale. Often known as Monier or Wunderlich tiles, they can make up a substantial, although often unnoticed, effect on a suburb's character. It is great to see that local production of such as an essential building product continues and that CSR is prepared to invest in continued manufacturing in Vermont.

AusIndustry helped organise the grant application with CSR and they also assisted in the implementation of the project. The good thing is that other businesses can apply for funds from the Clean Technology Investment Program. I have seen some really great examples by both talking to AusIndustry and having a look on the website as well. Businesses can apply for funds for projects that will maintain or improve the competitiveness of their operations. The important thing is that it encourages businesses not only in Deakin but right across Australia. Contact AusIndustry. Call them on 132846 to find out how your business can become more economically and environmentally sustainable by accessing the Clean Technology Investment Program.