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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 194

(Question No. 905)

Senator Bolkus asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science and Technology, upon notice, on 29th May 1984:

(1) How many research breakthroughs of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation over the last fifteen years have led to developments by Repco.

(2) What were these developments and when did they take place.

(3) How much has CSIRO obtained from Repco during this period for such developments or otherwise?

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Science and Technology has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Two.

(2) (a) The textile yarn spinning process known as 'Sirospun' originated in CSIRO's Division of Textile Industry in 1972 and was developed by Repco Ltd in collaboration with CSIRO and the International Wool Secretariat during 1977-80. The process enables the spinning and twisting operations required to produce weaving yarns to be carried out in one stage with only slight modification to conventional spinning machines.

(b) The composite wood product known as 'Scrimber' originated in CSIRO's Division of Chemical and Wood Technology in 1976 and, since September 1977, Repco Ltd, and its subsidiary Repco Research Pty Ltd, in consultation with CSIRO , has been developing the Scrimber process and machinery with a view to commercial exploitation most probably through the licensing of the joint CSIRO/ Repco technology to an interested manufacturer. The process involves the crushing of young tree stems to result in a loosely connected web which is then dried, coated with adhesive and pressed together to form structural lengths comparable to engineering grade timber.

(3) Amounts obtained by CSIRO from Repco over the last fifteen years are:

(a) In respect of 'Sirospun' Royalties 32,508 Reimbursement of patent costs 39,367 (b) In respect of 'Scrimber' (still under development) Nil (c) Otherwise

Royalties in respect of Self Twist Spinning Machines* 1,040,634

Total 1,112,509

* The self-twist spinning process and machines were developed by CSIRO in the period 1961-67. Production by Repco commenced in 1970.