The Federal Government has welcomed the unveiling of the new, $51 million  Murchison Widefield Array, the latest piece of the Square Kilometre Array in outback Western Australia.


Special Minister for State, Gary Gray, officially launched the new telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.


"This is one of three precursors to the SKA and it is the only one that will focus on the collection of low frequency radio waves which will enable scientists, for the first time, to understand how the Universe has evolved since the Big Bang," Mr Gray said.


"The completion of this ground-breaking telescope is the culmination of eight years' work between a consortium of 13 research institutes from Australia, India, New Zealand and the United States, and has been led by Western Australia's Curtin University."


Mr Gray said the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory is an outstanding location for hosting Australia's part of the SKA project, and two of its precursors, the Murchison Widefield Array and the Australian SKA Pathfinder.