Northern Grampians Shire Council, Vic, for From Italy to Stawell—the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory—Transcript

[Music plays and text appears on screen: From Italy to Stawell—the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory, Northern Grampians Shire Council, VIC. Contributing to Regional Growth CATEGORY WINNER. Australian Coat of Arms appears with text: Australian Government. Logo and text appears on the bottom right of screen: National Awards 2015 for Local Government]

[Image changes to show Justine Linley and text appears: Justine Linley, Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory, Northern Grampians Shire Council, VIC]

Justine Linley: Northern Grampians Shire is in western Victoria, so it's halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide.

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We were approached by the mine a couple of years ago. They'd been mining at 1.6 kilometers underground, and it was no longer economically viable to drag ore up from that depth, and that could lead to job losses.

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So one of the things that we did was work with the gold mine and members of our community to find an alternate use for the infrastructure that was currently there.

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A team from the Centre of Excellence in Particle Physics saw our call for ideas and came up with the idea of sighting[?] an underground physics lab in the mine.

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It seems incongruous to say that you need to sight a physics laboratory to detect dark matter, which is the substance that we believe holds the universe together, underground at a thousand metres, but the reality is that we need to be able to have an area that has very low background radiation, that isn't interfered with by cosmic rays, and the perfect site for that is underground.

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Aspirations for young people in regional areas can be quite low, partially because it's not there and on their doorstep.

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But we've seen an incredible interest in the particle physics labs from our local schools.

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The construction phase of the laboratory, and it's around about a $3.5 million project, will lead to a million dollars in wages and 19 jobs, and long term it's about 79 jobs that'll be generated in the first three to five years, and 200 plus in the ten year mark.

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I think there's a particle physics lab in every community, you've just got to figure out what form that will take.

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That's what the awards have done for us; it's opened up our eyes to looking outside of our own little patch, and being prepared to think a little bit differently.

[Text appears on screen: From Italy to Stawell—the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory, Northern Grampians Shire Council, VIC. Contributing to Regional Growth CATEGORY WINNER. Australian Coat of Arms appears with text: Australian Government. Logo and text appears on the bottom right of screen: National Awards 2015 for Local Government]

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Last Updated: 18 June, 2015