The Government’s new $30 million Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund, announced last week in response to job losses at BlueScope Steel, specifically targets firms providing: engineering, construction and support services to heavy process manufacturing and the mining industry; manufacturing for the power, mining and transport sectors; engineered equipment for oil, gas and downstream industries; and firms involved in creative multimedia and software development. Illawarra firms are innovative and are being encouraged to invest in new clean technology to apply to the Fund.
Firms like Partech Systems Pty Ltd, a local firm working in partnership with a researcher from the University of Wollongong, are developing and marketing a low cost solar-powered rail level crossing control system. The Government is currently backing Partech with a $50,000 Enterprise Connect Researchers in Business grant.
The University of Wollongong’s new Sustainable Buildings Research Centre will be located on the Innovation Campus. The Centre is part of the Retrofitting for Resilient and Sustainable Buildings (RRSB) project. This project will help transform our construction industry by discovering sustainable building practices and products and find ways to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. The Centre and the RRSB project are great news for the Illawarra region. The RRSB project, with the Centre as its main research facility, will create over 100 research jobs and open up to 100 undergraduate and 200 post-graduate positions, which will train students in sustainable construction technologies and practices.