Two new oil and gas research initiatives have received promises of federal funding, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd talking up the future of the sector in Western Australia today.
Mr Rudd said Labor, if re-elected, would invest $30 million towards a new floating LNG research centre in Perth.
The National Floating Systems Research Centre will be managed by CSIRO and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in partnership with industry, with the project partners to match the government’s funding.
Mr Rudd said managing a transition towards new industries beyond the mining boom was the “core economic challenge” for the nation.
“We believe that this is going to be a huge potential export platform for services for the future,” Mr Rudd told reporters.
“Australia is on track to be one of the first nations in the world to deploy floating LNG technologies, building industries and jobs for the future as well.”
Mr Rudd claimed Australia would boast “the only workforce in the world” capable of operating floating LNG technology.
A CSIRO spokesperson said the $30 million co-investment would be "a combination of capital and in-kind contributions from the project partners including AIMS, Charles Darwin University, CSIRO, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia."
AIMS science and business leader WA, Steve Rogers, said the co-investment was still being fleshed out.
"We are prepared to commit some co-investment to this, depending on the outcome of the full development of the centre," Dr Rogers said.
A re-elected Labor government would also invest $16 million over four years towards an Oil and Gas Innovation Partnership with headquarters in Perth, as part of the $504 million Industry Innovation Precincts program.
The Perth headquarters will link to nodes in Brisbane, Darwin, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association chief executive David Byers said the plan “recognises the importance of the oil and gas sector to the Australian economy”.
“The industry-led partnership can make an important contribution to more competitive supply chains, increased productivity, advances in cutting-edge oil and gas technology and a greater understanding of the social impact and contribution of the industry in Australia,” he said.