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Government ramps up bid for worlds's largest telescope.

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Innovation, Industry, Science and Research: Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary


Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, will promote Australia's bid to host the world's largest and most powerful telescope, the $2 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA), to Europe's science and research leaders.

Senator Carr will also discuss Australia's innovation agenda with leaders of major companies with local interests while in Japan and Europe over the coming days.

Australia is one of two potential sites short-listed for the SKA, the other being South Africa. A decision is expected around 2011.

"With the involvement of 19 countries, the SKA will be one of the largest and most ambitious international science projects ever devised and the Australian Government is working hard to be the country to host it," Senator Carr said.

"If Australia wins the SKA it will be an enormous boost to Australia's international science and research profile, and create hundreds of high-skill, high-wage jobs over the 50-year life of the project.

"Establishing the SKA would be one of the world's largest ICT projects, with enormous implications for Australian industry - including fibre optics, data-storage, transport and many other areas.

"The SKA will be over fifty times more sensitive than the world’s largest existing telescope. It will be able to 'see' back to the birth of the universe, the emergence of the first stars and galaxies," he said.

Senator Carr said he would be meeting with European Union officials including Dr Janez Potocnik, the EU Commissioner for Science and Research, and other EU science policy advisers.

"I will also be putting forward Australia's iron-clad case for hosting the telescope during a high-level SKA roundtable in Berlin and an SKA presentation in Brussels," Senator Carr said.

Senator Carr will also meet leaders of global companies with significant Australian involvement in Berlin to present the Government's vision for Australian innovation and industry.

For more information on Australia's SKA bid, involving the Australian and WA Governments along with the CSIRO, visit

Media contact: Catriona Jackson, Minister's Office, 0417 142 238

IISR Minister > Senator the Hon Kim Carr

Media Release

Senator the Hon Kim Carr

27 Feb 2008