Jun 1, 2011

Major project facilitation status: Aurora Algae project

Major project facilitation status: Aurora Algae project

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

1 June 2011

In recognition of its potential to assist Australia to take advantage of the global economic recovery as well as the commercial opportunities flowing from international efforts to cut carbon pollution, I’ve granted Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status to Aurora Algae Pty Ltd’s cutting edge waste conversion project.

The project seeks to commercialise new technology which takes algae and waste CO2 from industrial processes such as those employed in the production of LNG and ammonia to produce: biodiesel for the mining sector; protein-rich biomass for aquaculture and animal feed; and omega-3 oils for human nutrition.

If given the final go ahead, Aurora Algae expects to have its first commercial scale facility up and running in the Western Australian town of Karratha by early 2013. It’s a $100 million project which would create more than 200 jobs during construction and up to 100 ongoing full time jobs.

With the right support from government, Australia can become a world leader in renewable technologies such as those being pursued by Aurora Algae, with the real potential of creating tens of thousands of highly skilled ‘green’ collar jobs and new export opportunities.

All up, the Gillard Labor Government has so far granted or renewed MPF status to projects worth more than $100 billion with the potential to create up to 39,000 jobs across the vital sectors of infrastructure, mining and resources, and advanced manufacturing.  

BACKGROUND

The Major Project Facilitation program is administered by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

Under the program, the Department provides the project with a facilitation service to achieve quick and timely assistance from the Australian Government. The service ensures:

Access to information on government approval processes;

All relevant government processes are coordinated, including those of state and territory governments, so that as far as possible they occur simultaneously and without duplication;

Government agencies respond promptly to issues raised by the project proponent during the approval process; and

Assistance in identifying and accessing government programs is provided.

MPF status does not imply any Government guarantee for the commercial success or otherwise of the project, nor does it absolve the project from meeting less than the full statutory and other requisite criteria of relevant approval processes.

Proponents may apply to the Minister for MPF status if their proposed project meets the following three criteria:

The project is of strategic significance to Australia:

The project will significantly boost Australian industry innovation:

a) Increasing research and development (R&D) and commercialisation capability; and/or

b) A new application of skills and knowledge; and/or

c) Technology transfer; and/or

d) Cluster development.

Or, the project will have significant net economic benefit for regional Australia, taking account of a region’s investment needs.

Or, the project’s estimated investment exceeds A$50 million or makes a significant contribution to economic growth, employment and/or infrastructure.

It requires Australian Government approval(s) in order to proceed and/or significant Australian Government involvement through, for example, federal programs.

It has sufficient financial resources to complete the Australian Government approval(s) process and has demonstrated commercial viability.

Further details on the program are available from the Major Project Facilitation Unit within the Department of Infrastructure and Transport: GPO Box 594, CANBERRA, 2601 or telephone +61 2 6274 6684.

MPF Website: www.majorprojectfacilitation.gov.au