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Green Light For Stawell Underground Physics Lab

27 July 2019

Plans to turn Stawell into a global physics research hub are back on track with the Andrews Labor Government today announcing support for the construction of the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory.

Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes today announced the Labor Government will provide $5 million for the construction of the laboratory, which will be one kilometre underground within the Stawell Gold Mine.

The lab will provide ultra-low background research facilities needed in the groundbreaking search for dark matter – and will put Stawell on the world’s particle physics map, helping Victoria attract and retain world class scientists and boost the regional economy.

The project is expected to deliver economic value to the region of $180.2 million in its first ten years, and support nearly 80 ongoing jobs.

Almost all the laboratory’s construction and fit out will be sourced locally from Stawell and Western Victoria, with 15 full time equivalent roles created during the first phase of work – for geotechnical engineers, earthmoving equipment operators, electrical tradespeople and transport operators.

The project will also provide local education benefits, with its counterpart project in Italy attracting around 8,000 school students each year.

The Commonwealth Government is providing the remaining funds need to construct the lab, which will be 30 metres long, 10 metres wide and 10 metres high.

The project is a collaboration between six university partners - led by the University of Melbourne alongside Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Adelaide, the Australian National University, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes

“I’m so proud to announce this project and put Victoria’s scientific expertise on the world map. The Stawell Underground Physics Lab will not only position us as a leader in dark matter research, but it will also bring local job opportunities and investment to the region.”

“With nearly 80 ongoing jobs connected to the lab, this project will diversify Stawell’s economy – attracting a new highly-skilled workforce to the region to live and work.”

Quote attributable to University of Melbourne project leader Professor Elisabetta Barberio

“The investment by both the State and Federal Governments will ensure the Lab is large enough to host dark matter experiments as well as everything from fundamental cancer research into how radiation affects cells growing, to creating new ultra-sensitive detectors and novel geological exploration techniques.”

Quote attributable to Swinburne Professor Alan Duffy

“For local students this Lab will undoubtedly inspire them to study physics in school and on into university but it also means that if they want to be part of a global scientific experiment they can do that right here in Stawell.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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