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Flair, initiative and perseverance at the ATP

Last month the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Kim Carr, was at the Australian Technology Park (ATP) in Eveleigh as part of the federal government’s Powering Ideas initiative. The senator from Victoria was there as part of the Rudd Government’s long-term strategy to boost the nation’s innovation capacity and performance. This was part of the $3.1 billion injection into research and innovation from this year’s budget reports Nicholas McCallum in the South Sydney Herald of December 2009.

“It is a strategy to stimulate creativity, to accelerate the production and dissemination of new ideas,” the Senator said.

“It is also a strategy to translate more Australian ideas into products and services we can sell to the world”, stressing the importance of transforming Australia’s fresh ideas into commercially viable products.

“This is an area in which we have not always done well,” he stated, adding, “Having great ideas is one thing. Commercialising them is another.”

The Senator praised the steadfast abilities of the young technology companies located at ATP, despite recent economic difficulties. “Economic downturns do more than cause short-term hardship, they also destroy capacity that can take years to rebuild,” the Senator said. And whilst there was some praise for the Rudd stimulus package, Senator Carr did not take away from the efforts of the Australian workers and ingenuity housed at places like ATP.

“Most of the credit, however, goes to Australian workers and Australian industry,” he said. “Successful innovation requires flair, initiative and perseverance. They have contrived to keep skilled and experienced people in jobs. They have held their nerve under fire.”

Currently there are 55 individual companies at ATP, along with the historic rail heritage company, 3801 Ltd., and the unique blacksmith shop, Wrought Artworks, the ATP also hosts numerous IT companies. It is also home to national research centre for NICT Australia, and is the largest information and communications technology company in Australia, working in the fields of medical sciences, environmental management and intelligence.

Also found at the Technology Park is Marathon Robotics, a company that has been developing cutting-edge Rover System for realistic target training for military and law enforcement training.

There is also the GreenTech company, Biopower Systems, which has been concentrating on developing wave and tidal energy solutions. The company plans to bring its zero carbon emission bioWAVE  and  bioSTREAM online in Australia by 2010. These will be at specific locations around the country, feeding power into existing grids.

There are currently more than 450 fulltime employees at the ATP, attracting over $30 million in private and public investment, generating over 78 new products and services and over $40 million in revenue.

ATP Innovations works in partnership with Australian National University, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and University of Technology Sydney and has provided 95 new graduate positions as of 2008.

Senator Carr expressed his gratitude at the expanding possibilities and opportunities that the site offers for Australian ingenuity, and the role the ATP will play in transforming the nation’s ideas into products and services that will be accessible for the world.

“It is immensely satisfying to see innovation in action,” the Minister said.

It is also immensely satisfying to see government investment in Australian ingenuity within Australia, instead of allowing the country’s young and creative minds to be exported overseas. With continued investment it is hoped only their products will be leaving our shores.

Photo: Ali Blogg -  Senator Kim Carr talks with staff from Innovations

Source: South Sydney Herald December 2009