Opportunity for businesses to help build the world's largest radio telescope

Australian businesses have the chance to help build the world’s largest radio telescope, with expressions of interest opening today for the first major construction contract linked to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. 

The contract is for the construction and operation of a temporary accommodation facility to house workers needed to build the telescope in Western Australia’s Murchison region. 

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said this was an excellent opportunity for qualified Australian businesses to use their skills and expertise to contribute to a globally significant project.

“Working on the Square Kilometre Array will not only bring financial rewards, it opens up business connections and provides the satisfaction of being involved in a project that will give us a better understanding of the origin and future of the universe,” Minister Porter said.

“In coming months, Australian businesses will have further opportunities to express interest for other major SKA infrastructure contracts, including buildings, access roads, an airstrip, ground preparation and power and fibre networks.” 

Australia is a co-host member of the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), a UK-based intergovernmental organisation responsible for all procurement for the construction and operation of the SKA telescope project.

The SKAO will use market surveys to identify potential suppliers for major contracts, usually over €200,000 (around AU$310,000). These potential suppliers will be sent a pre-qualification questionnaire and shortlisted companies will be invited to tender for the work package. 

Further market surveys relating to other work will open over the next few months. The next survey is expected to open early in June and will relate to power and fibre networks, ground preparation, access roads and an emergency airstrip.

The LOW Infra 6 (Construction Camp) survey is now open and will close on 14 June 2021. To be eligible for consideration by the SKAO, businesses must first complete the survey on the Procurement Portal accessed through https://www.skatelescope.org/procurement 

Further information on the SKA is available at www.ska.gov.au

Businesses can join the Australasian Square Kilometre Array Industry Cluster (ASKAIC) at industry.gov.au/askaic to receive regular project updates and engage with other businesses and stakeholders interested in the SKA.