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Campus News : December 2011
www.uow.edu.au University of Wollongong Campus News December 2011 5 Minister predicts a SMART future The University of Wollongong's SMART Infrastructure Facility is destined to play a vital role in Australia's future, according to Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese. Mr Albanese was speaking before officially opening the $62 million SMART (Simulation, Modelling, Analysis, Research and Teaching) headquarters, one of the largest infrastructure research facilities in the world, on November 11. It is Australia's first dedicated cross-disciplinary infrastructure research and training centre, drawing on UOW's expertise across the Faculties of Engineering, Science, Informatics, Law, Commerce and Health and Behavioural Sciences to conduct high-level analysis of major national infrastructure projects. SMART's funding comprises $35 million through the Federal Government's Education Investment Fund, $17 million from UOW and $10 million from the NSW Government through RailCorp. The new building has 12,000 square metres of floorspace, with 30 specialist research and teaching laboratories focusing on a range of infrastructure services including electricity, energy, water, gas and rail and road transport. It can also accommodate up to 200 higher degree research students. Mr Albanese predicted research carried out at SMART would have a major impact on Australia's future, by analysing how the nation can embrace and harness new technologies to improve Australia's liveability and sustainability. "The Federal Government's $35 million contribution to SMART is an investment in our nation's future, and a vote of confidence in the future of the Illawarra," Mr Albanese said. "It is significant that SMART is located in a major regional university that is already home to other leading technology facilities in innovative materials and sustainable buildings. This means there is a growing cluster of creative minds and industries that are helping to regenerate the skills base of the Illawarra." The Minister noted that the government and SMART had formally agreed to exchange information freely "so that good research can become good policy". He also acknowledged how hard Illawarra MPs, Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird and Member for Throsby Stephen Jones, had pushed for federal government support of the facility. SMART Chief Executive Officer Garry Bowditch was the master of ceremonies at the opening, while recently appointed SMART Advisory Council and former Treasury head Dr Ken Henry officially welcomedguests. Dr Henry told guests he was delighted to be involved in SMART through his new role. He praised UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerard Sutton and Advisory Council foundation chairman, former NSW Premier Nick Greiner, for their vision and efforts in championing the establishment of the facility and for drawing together "a team of talented and experienced experts". "Australia's future prosperity depends on our infrastructure systems," Dr Henry said, adding that research already underway at SMART was being supported by government agencies, corporate entities and fellow research organisations around the globe. Mr Albanese praised Dr Henry's appointment to head the advisory council, saying he had made a huge contribution during his time on the Australian Infrastructure Council and that he could think of no-one better to chair SMART's council. In her vote of thanks, UOW Chancellor Jillian Broadbent thanked the Minister "for his enthusiasm about what this facility can do". Ms Broadbent said there was a great sense of pride within the University about SMART. "As a collaborative research facility, it is what this University is all about -- federal, state and UOW funding, and collaborative inter-disciplinary research. It required a lot of cooperation to run with this vision and keep that vision in sight as we garnered the support necessary to make it a reality." NH UOW Chancellor Jillian Broadbent thanks federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Anthony Albanese after the official opening of the SMART Infrastructure Facility, as UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerard Sutton looks on. One of Australia's most influential public policy experts, Dr Ken Henry, has been appointed Chairman of the SMART Infrastructure Facility Advisory Council. Dr Henry was Commonwealth Treasury Secretary from 2001 to 2011. He replaces foundation chair, former NSW Premier Nick Greiner, who stepped down after being appointed chair of the NSW Government's new body, Infrastructure NSW. SMART CEO Mr Garry Bowditch welcomed Dr Henry's acceptance of the role, which was announced in October. "Dr Henry brings exceptional experience and unique insights into the Australian economy and its place in the world. His knowledge will play a key role in Henry chairs Advisory Council our planning and engagement with government and industry," Mr Bowditch said. Dr Henry said: "SMART is an important national initiative seeking to have a positive impact on how we consider, view, procure, design and manage infrastructure systems. I am looking forward to contributing to this new and highly relevant area of research." Dr Henry studied economics at the University of NSW and gained his doctorate at the University of Canterbury. He represented Australia at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and served as Commonwealth Treasury Secretary from 2001 to 2011 during the Howard, Rudd and Gillard governments. On 1 June 2011, he was appointed as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister. BG Dr Ken Henry Infrastructure institute to play key national role