Launch of Steel Research Hub

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today, the Dharawal people, and pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

Professor Patricia Davidson Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Wollongong.

Dr Paul Zulli Director, Steel Research Hub, University of Wollongong.

Mr David Scott General Manager Manufacturing, BlueScope Steel Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Steve Porter Head of Sustainability, Innovation and Trade, InfraBuild.

Ms Judi Zielke Chief Executive Officer, Australian Research Council.

My friend, Alison Byrnes, the Member for Cunningham.

And Adam Gilchrist, Global Ambassador for the University of Wollongong.

We have a steel industry we are rightly proud of.

We’ve been making it for more than a hundred years.

Today we produce more than five million tonnes a year worth more than $29 billion.

We export it to China, Japan, South Korea and the US.

And it employs a lot of Australians. About 100,000.

A lot of them here in the Illawarra.

You see it everywhere from roofs to fences to bridges.

From rainwater tanks to high schools.

You can also see it at the SCG.

I have been trying to work out this morning how I can talk about steel and cricket in the one speech.

Here is my attempt.

If you stand at the Randwick end of the SCG and look toward the Paddington end you see this big canopy which looks like it is floating over the Noble and Bradman stands, shielding 13,000 fans from the heat.

That roof, it won’t surprise you, is Australian steel – more than 5,000 square metres of it.

Steel appropriately named Fielders FreeForm.

Custom designed to look impossibly light. And the steel was rolled on site at the SCG.

That’s innovation at work.

Which brings me to what we are talking about today.

The official opening of the Steel Research Hub.

It is the innovation and research that happens here, that will help develop products and processes that the people who set this industry up more than 100 years ago could never have dreamed of.

Like how research into thermal bridging effects in steel framed ceilings can make homes more energy efficient.

Or how we can use the waste from steel production to build roads.

I am proud that the Federal Government is investing $5 million in this Hub.

What really excites me though is the fact that this is bringing together nine universities and 10 industry partners.

As well as the University of Wollongong, other partner universities are the Australian National University, Deakin University, Monash University, University of NSW, RMIT, University of Sydney, Swinburne University, University of Newcastle.

Industry partners include AiG, Bluescope, Infrabuild, Arcelor Mittal, Liberty, Aust Steel Institute, Bissaloy, Weld Australia and the National Association for Steel Framed Housing and the Australian Research Council.

That sort of collaboration and team work is how we make sure we stay ahead of the pack.

I also want to thank the ARC for its work in establishing this Hub.

It’s one of five ARC hubs across the country focussed on research to help transform Australian industries and help keep them competitive.

Congratulations to everyone involved. And best of luck.

I am looking forward to seeing what the expertise and ingenuity here produces.

On our roads.

In our homes.

From the production of the most intricate of surgical instruments to sheltering a crowd on a hot day three at the SCG.

What we do here is important and I thank you for it.