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Pinnacle too high for supercomputer

TWO weeks after WA Business News questioned the future of the Pinnacle Blue supercomputer, the State Government has dumped the project.

In a statement released this week, Premier Geoff Gallop said the Government’s in-principle support for a $30 million loan to Pinnacle Blue Pty Ltd to establish the $170 million facility in Perth had been withdrawn.

Pinnacle Blue had been unable to satisfy the Government that its proposal qualified for industry development assistance.

“While the general idea of a super computing facility is still attractive to the Government, it must meet a strict public interest test to qualify for financial assistance,” Dr Gallop said.

“Unfortunately, this was not the case with Pinnacle Blue and the Government’s in-principle support for the company’s proposal has now been withdrawn.”

The Government has ordered further investigations into the broader concept of a supercomputer facility in WA.

This work is expected to involve representatives from the Office of Science and Innovation, the Department of Industry and Technology and the Premier’s Science Council.

Pinnacle Blue Ltd is wholly owned by YZEPT Pty Ltd – in a consortium with other companies including IBM – whose premises are in the West Perth office of Alliance Energy. Alliance’s managing director and major shareholder, Peter Andrews, is also chairman of Pinnacle Blue.

When WA Business News contacted the Premier’s office earlier this month a spokesman said no announcement on the project was pending, despite the fact that State Cabinet was originally scheduled to approve the $30 million, no-interest loan in February.

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