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The Government will provide $40.2 million over four years to support Australia’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), in partnership with New Zealand.

Australia is an ideal candidate to host the SKA, thanks to the data and speed capabilities of the National Broadband Network, our large tracts of radio-quiet land and our research strengths in astronomy, the physical sciences and ICT.

Our joint bid with New Zealand is one of two shortlisted to host the SKA, with a decision on the final site expected early in 2012.

This funding will assist Australia’s bid and support pre-construction design and development work if the bid is successful.

Attracting global investment in this massive technologically advanced project to Australia will generate spin-off returns for business.

Researchers and engineers from the world’s leading institutions will work together on the SKA, developing the next generation technologies the project will demand. In turn, Australia’s research community will build their skills and expand their networks.

They can use those same capabilities to create cutting-edge products for consumers in computing, in renewable energy and in communications.

By the end of 2011 the SKA program will be ready to transition to the detailed design and pre-construction engineering phase.

“The Australian and New Zealand Governments have been instrumental in the bid to host the SKA so far and this funding further strengthens that support.  It will be invaluable to Australia’s continued involvement in the international project,” says Professor Steven Tingay, ICRAR Deputy Director.

Adapted from a Ministerial Release.