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Victoria looks set to become Australia's nanotechnology centre of expertise, with the Federal Government opening a $63 million Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, as the core research lab within the Australian National Fabrication Facility.


Even before the looming federal election is called, the Gillard Government is peppering the electorate with big ticket announcements, this time with the Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry Richard Marles cutting the ribbon on a research complex that includes the largest clean-room in the southern hemisphere.

The centre is a joint project with funding coming from both the State and Federal governments as well as Monash, Swinburne, Deakin and La Trobe universities, RMIT, CSIRO and MiniFab Australia.

The facility, which is open to researchers from academia as well as the private sector, is expected to perform important work in telecommunications, where Melbourne is the established research and operational leader for the sector in Australia. The pharmaceuticals and medical industries are also expected to be users.

"Nanotechnology is a genuinely exciting scientific field and the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication is a state-of-the-art facility," Mr Marles said.

"The clean room will allow scientists to work with materials at the microscopic level to produce the next generation of technology," he said.

"This $63 million facility will position Australia at the cutting edge of R&D and in a prime position to become a world leader in commercial nanotechnology."

Melbourne's status as Australia's centre for telecommunications research and operational skills was given a fillip a week ago with the announcement that NBN Co would base its operations centre in the city - precisely to access its telecoms skills.

Marles is the Member for Corio near Geelong in Victoria, and is a parliamentary secretary in Kim Carr's Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

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