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Geelong's high tech fibre research centre on track

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SENATOR THE HON CHRIS EVANS Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

DARREN CHEESEMAN MP Federal Member for Corangamite


25 September 2012

Geelong’s high tech fibre research centre on track

A new $100 million Australian fibres research centre currently under construction at Deakin University will transform Australia’s manufacturing and fibre related industries and the economy of the Geelong region.

The Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC) is a collaboration between CSIRO, Deakin University and the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing and will position the region as an international hub for research in advanced fibrous materials.

Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, and Federal Member for Corangamite, Darren Cheeseman visited the AFFRIC site at the Waurn Ponds campus today.

“The centre will see CSIRO and Deakin University researchers working together on a series of projects aimed at increasing the research capacity of both organisations to service the textile and fibre industry,” Senator Evans said.

“Research and development partnerships already underway include Quiksilver for material for action sportswear, the Australian Defence Force to develop smart fibres for use in uniform fabrics and the Cotton R&D Corporation to develop low twist, fine count yarns and fabrics from cotton.

“The new centre will have a world-first, pilot scale research plant able to produce commercial quantities of carbon fibre which is at the core of a number of advanced materials used in aeronautical and other engineering applications.

“Its strength and light weight means carbon fibre will transform manufacturing.”

The region is set to benefit from the project.

“Geelong is a centre of manufacturing—having CSIRO, Deakin University and local manufacturers working together will help generate growth and jobs for our region,” Mr Cheeseman said.

“The local Geelong economy will also benefit—the AFFRIC is expected to generate almost 500 indirect jobs in the region during the construction phase.”

The AFFRIC will bring together expertise from around Australia in an international-standard hub and will allow Australian researchers to establish collaborations with researchers across the world.

“Already 14 researchers ranging from PhD students through to professor level have been recruited and, when completed, the centre will support another 300 students and staff,” Senator Evans said.

The Gillard Government has invested $37 million from the Education Investment Fund in the centre which is being created by refurbishing Deakin University’s Centre for Material Fibre and Innovation and building two new facilities—a Carbon Fibre Research Building and a Fibre Processing Building.

Senator Evans’ Media Contact: Amy McKenna 0408 570 603 Darren Cheeseman’s media contact: Fergus Vial 0419 691 516