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Funding deal saves Australian synchrotron

A measly $AU100 million keeps the particles moving

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A funding package worth $AU100 million was announced yesterday to keep the Australian Synchrotron operational.

The joint arrangement between the federal government, Victoria’s state government and New Zealand comes nearly a year after the state government pulled the funding needed to keep the 3GeV facility operational.

Victoria’s gambit now seems to have paid off, with Canberra picking up the lion’s share of the rescue. The federal government has announced it will tip in $AU69 million of the required funds, with Victoria to contribute $AU26 million and the New Zealand government giving in-principle support to a $AU5 million contribution.

Australia’s Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research minister Chris Evans said: "Without this funding deal, the ongoing operation of the facility was in doubt, jeopardising important research here in Australia," in a statement.

Victoria’s minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher, once a critic of the synchrotron who once told The Age it was part of a government “gravy train” culture is now a fan, saying: “The synchrotron has found its rightful home as a truly national science facility”.

Since 2006, the project has already cost more than $AU320 million in state and federal funds.

According to The Australian, the federal dollars will come from a range of higher education and research programs, including the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council, and university funding. ®

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