Push for satellite deal

Push for satellite deal

3 December 2006

published by www.news.com.au

Australia — A German satellite company is about to sign an agreement withthe State Government to potentially establish a $300 million facility inAdelaide, creating 200 jobs.

Infrastructure Minister Pat Conlon will make a lightning visit to Germany today– missing most of the sittings during the year’s last week of Parliament –to sign a memorandum of understanding with aerospace business DLR and offer it aletter of assistance.

“We’re not offering financial assistance – let’s make that very clear,”Mr Conlon said yesterday.

“It’s about putting them in touch with other opportunities in SA . . .they’re interested in connections with local universities.”

Mr Conlon said DLR had been in talks with the SA and Victorian governments inthe past year but he believed Adelaide had an edge.

He said former Victorian Treasurer Tony Sheehan brokered the deal andrequested a senior Cabinet minister sign the memorandum.

“We’re quietly confident about it, about them relocating a couple ofhundred people here,” Mr Conlon said.

“They’ve visited here, we’ve taken them out to Mawson Lakes, to TechPark, which is ideally suited to their sort of business.

“It’s about broadening our skills base . . . from ourperspective we see it fitting very well with our hi-tech defence industries.”

The Government expects a final decision from DLR by the middle of next year.

The company runs the AUSBIRD (Bi-spectral InfraRed Detection) remote sensingsystem for the early warning of fires, coastal surveillance and natural resourcemonitoring via satellite.

While hoping “something tangible happens from the MoU”, Oppositionfrontbencher Martin Hamilton Smith said the Government was showing contempt foraccountability in the final week of Parliament.

“It’s unfortunate that (Treasurer) Kevin Foley has missed a week ofsittings and now Pat Conlon is missing this week – when there’s so many issuesgoing on,” he said.

“It’s very unfortunate they time these things during sitting time whenthe public expects accountability.”

Mr Conlon is due back in Adelaide for the final Question Time of the year onThursday.

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