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Brumby calls for joint nano development

Published by MAC on 2005-09-26

Brumby calls for joint nano development

By Ian Porter, The Age

26th September 2005

PRODUCT development and manufacturing — not to mention profit margins — across a wide range of industries will be affected by the spread and adoption of nanotechnology in coming years.

But Australia is going to have to be smart about how it approaches the new engineering discipline, according to Treasurer John Brumby. "Nanoengineered products offer radical new functionality, reduced cost and size and improved efficiencies and reliability," Mr Brumby said ahead of the Living in a Nano World conference, starting in Melbourne today.

It is being presented by Materials Australia, the CSIRO, Nanotechnology Victoria and MiniFAB.

Mr Brumby said nanotechnology would reach into many of the industries that are prominent in Victoria, from automotive and biotech to chemicals and textiles. Mining was a prime candidate to benefit, Mr Brumby said.

"Companies like BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Mindata are working on separation nanotechnologies and bio-extraction applications for particles and powders." Future possibilities include mining without surface disturbance and processes to eliminate tailings and mining waste, two areas of contention for the industry.

A total of around $150 million has already been committed by governments to the funding of research and establishing organisations such as Materials Australia and Nanotechnology Victoria, and that does not include the $206 million synchrotron in Victoria, which is expected to play a key development role behind the new engineering.

But Mr Brumby also is realistic.

"Australia does not have the markets or scale of resources that can be committed to nanotechnology compared with other economies," he said. "So we need to be smarter and co-ordinated across states and territories at both the R&D (research and development) and business level."


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