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Western Australia's industry and enterprise minister, Francis Logan, has unveiled plans for what he claims will be Australia's biggest technology precinct and the only one dedicated to information and communications technology.

The State Government had committed $8.55million for the initial infrastructure requirements for the long-term project. It will be created through a sevenfold increase in the size of the current 42ha Bentley Technology Park, already one of the biggest in Australia. According to Logan, it will be home to telecommunications, information services and computer gaming companies, as well as companies that service this sector including specialised lawyers, patent specialists and financial houses.

$2.2million will be spent to construct a high-speed fibre network within the existing park that will be linked to the CBD and provide initial connection speeds of 1Gbps. This will eventually be expanded to incorporate the whole precinct, providing access speeds up to 10Gbps.

Logan said the Bentley Technology Precinct would establish Western Australia as a dynamic technology-driven destination and secure its international standing as an innovation leader; creating a culture of innovation, with cutting-edge architecture and eco-friendly services. "It will be Australia's Silicon Valley - but with soul."

He claimed that numerous ICT companies from around the world were looking to move into the precinct and said that US-based Interzone, which develops online entertainment products, has already established its game development studio there.

 "The Bentley Technology Precinct will become a destination where business meets research and research has access to business; where knowledge is shared among companies and partnerships are established," Logan said.

"The precinct will become a lifestyle, integrating people, business, technology and education within an energetic and vibrant environment. Cafes, bars and restaurants will become boardrooms and central, shared facilities will provide mentoring and support for companies at all stages of commercialisation. Sustainable transport options will be explored and pathways expanded for a pedestrian friendly location.

"The precinct will be an environment where established businesses can grow and new businesses have opportunities and support to develop, further strengthening the future growth of the State's economy."

The draft structure plan for the precinct was developed in consultation with the neighbouring Curtin University of Technology, City of South Perth, Town of Victoria Park, Government departments, industry, academia, researchers and the community. The community and other stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback on the draft plan via a blog site http://www.communityofminds.com.au

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