The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon. Greg Hunt announced today that a bid for a Future Water CRC has been shortlisted to proceed to Stage 2. A vision for a new industry-led research centre that will address the water challenges that constrain community and economic development is a step closer to being realised.
The Future Water CRC (FWCRC) will foster strong research collaboration between industry and academia to provide new water technologies and management solutions that will enable Australia’s impaired water resources to be used for economic benefit. Impaired waters include resources such as saline groundwater, municipal and agricultural wastewater, seawater, and oil and gas produced water. The proposed FWCRC has a vision for climate-independent, affordable and fit for purpose water whenever and wherever it is needed. Secure water for all of Australia will sustain industry and quality of life, especially in regional and remote communities.
The FWCRC aims to position Australia as a world leader in innovative water technologies and management and it is well qualified to fulfil this promise. The proposal has assembled the best water researchers from leading universities in Australia and internationally, and has secured the support of industry and water utility partners, such as South32, Osmoflo, Harvey Water and SA Water. These partners will direct industry relevant research activities and provide the means to ensure adoption and commercialisation.
Both the nominated Chair, Professor Don Bursill AM and Interim CEO, Neil Palmer have proven experience in similar roles, having successfully led CRC-scale research centres in the water domain, meeting the challenges of guiding effective collaboration between industry and academic partners.
“This is a water centric proposal but its key objective is to enable enhanced economic development through improved productivity of marginal land. The FWCRC will seek to apply its approach to improving the sustainability, viability and productivity of degraded areas as well as to the development of currently underutilised land” says Professor Bursill.
The Future Water CRC is aiming to do significant research in field trials and case studies. Neil Palmer says “It’s amazing how much can be achieved when academics, innovators, industry and suppliers engage in finding solutions to real life problems.” Mr Palmer said the $5 million world class desalination research facility at Murdoch University’s Rockingham campus will be available to the new CRC.
Graham Dooley, a Director of Osmoflo, commented that the conversion of unusable water to a quality suitable for mining and resources, food processing, power generation, agriculture and human consumption is one of Australia’s great challenges. “Osmoflo is a foundation member of the FWCRC because its whole business of advanced water treatment and supply is integral to this objective. There can be no more important enabler of economic growth than having the right quality water in the right place at an affordable price. “
The proposed centre will be hosted by Murdoch University in Perth Western Australia and the key players will have the ability to draw on the required expertise from a wide range of Australian and international sources, including former centres such as the NCEDA.
An extended business case for the Future Water CRC will be submitted to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science by the end of October with an outcome expected by early 2017.