Western Australia Minister for Science and Innovation John Day
Enhanced Radio-Quiet Protection Will Help Astronomy And Mining Co-Exist
Victor P Taffa
Science and Innovation Minister John Day today welcomed a decision by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to enhance existing radio-quiet protections that would help radio astronomy and industry, including mining, to co-exist in the Mid-West.
In 2005, ACMA established the Mid West Radio Quiet Zone to protect the sensitive radio astronomy equipment located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) from unwanted radio communication signals.
Mr. Day said the MRO was a uniquely radio-quiet area located 330 km north-east of Geraldton, and was Australia-New Zealand’s selected host site in its bid for the $2.2 Billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.
“ACMA’s decision to enhance the radio-quiet protections surrounding the MRO balances the priorities of science and the resources industry.” Mr. Day said.
“The measures take into account the requirements of the radio-quietness needs of radio astronomy proponents of the MRO, major proposed mining activities in the region, and the policy of Federal and WA State governments.”
“It is important the resources industry and the SKA can co-exist so today’s announcement is a big step to secure this for the Mid-West.”
The Minister said the final site decision for the SKA was fast approaching and ACMA’s announcement signalled the strength of Team Australia and New Zealand’s bid.
The SKA project involves more than 70 institutions in 20 countries in the development of the world’s biggest radio telescope. Australia-New Zealand and a group of nine African countries led by the Republic of South Africa are vying to host the SKA and final site selection will be announced in 2012.