Three local companies can now participate in the construction of the world’s largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), in west-central western Australia.
The three new construction contracts offered at the SKA location include high-quality buildings, the main access road and the emergency airfield as well as the road, fiber optic and power connections between the antenna stations.
Some of the contracts also contain specific local content requirements to ensure that Wajarri Yamaji’s traditional landowners are involved in the construction.
These contract opportunities represent an exciting new phase in the international project that will give astronomers unprecedented insights into our universe and its origins.
“This project has taken more than a decade and is now moving from concept to reality thanks to a $ 387 million commitment from the Morrison government to start construction,” said Secretary of State for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said.
“This investment opens up incredible opportunities for a range of industries and will give the local economy a much-needed boost and hundreds of job opportunities for Australian workers, including in the advanced manufacturing sector.
“In addition, our economic modeling shows that the SKA’s first 30 years of operation will draw an estimated $ 1.8 billion in overseas income streams to Australia,” he said.
Australia is a co-host member of the Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO), a UK-based intergovernmental organization responsible for all procurements for the construction and operation of the SKA telescope project.
SKA market surveys are a critical “expression of interest” step for companies applying for SKA work. Suppliers who have registered their interest will receive a prequalification questionnaire and companies in the shortlist will be asked to advertise for the work packages.
To ensure that Midwestern companies owned by Wajarri Yamaji can participate, the main access road and emergency flight path have been split off from a larger work package and will be made available this week specifically for companies based in the area.
Other major infrastructure packages require at least 30 percent of the contract value, excluding critical materials and equipment, to be supplied by Midwestern companies.
“There are also other incentives for local and Wajarri Yamaji companies to participate in the infrastructure contracts, with preferred evaluation criteria for Midwest and Wajarri Yamaji participation,” Porter said.
The market surveys Infra 1 (Spatial) and Infra 3 (Buildings) are now open and will be closed on Tuesday, August 10th. The market survey Infra 7 (main road and emergency airport) will be made available this week for companies in the Midwest.
To be considered by SKAO, companies must complete the survey on the procurement portal accessed through https://www.skatelescope.org/procurement
Further information on the SKA project can be found at www.ska.gov.au.
Companies can join the Australasian Square Kilometer Array Industry Cluster (ASKAIC) at Industry.gov.au/askaic, to receive regular project updates and to get in touch with other companies and stakeholders interested in the SKA.