The Western Australian Government has announced an investment of $10.8 million in new roads, power and optic fibre infrastructure in the State’s Mid-West in an attempt to bolster Australia and New Zealand’s bid for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope project


During a visit to the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Mid-West, State Science and Innovation Minister John Day said the infrastructure is critical to the success of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), which is an important precursor project to the SKA.


“The new roads, power and optic fibre infrastructure will link the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, ASKAP and potentially the SKA to the world, while also benefiting Mid-West communities. 


The route for the fibre installation from the MRO to Geraldton was planned with the City of Geraldton-Greenough to provide better connectivity for government buildings, the new technology precinct and Geraldton Airport.


The $2.2billion SKA project will see more than 70 institutions in 20 countries involved in developing the world’s biggest radio telescope.


Two consortia are in contention to host the SKA:  Australia-New Zealand and a group of nine African countries led by the Republic of South Africa.  The final site selection will be announced in 2012.