Shire invites Prime Minister, Tony Abbott to visit

Northern Grampians Shire Council has issued an invitation for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to visit Stawell.

Northern Grampians Shire Council has issued an invitation for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to visit Stawell.

NORTHERN Grampians Shire Council has issued an invitation for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to visit Stawell.

Following on from the attendance at the Australian Local Government Association conference in Canberra by the mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin and chief executive officer, Justine Linley, council voted to invite Mr Abbott to Stawell to learn more about the proposed Dark Matter Particle Physics Laboratory.

Council would look to outline to the Prime Minister, the national significance of the proposed first ever direct-detection Dark Matter experiment in the Southern Hemisphere, right here in Stawell.

Cr Erwin said the concept of undertaking a dark matter study at the former Stawell Gold Mines site had created a great deal of interest already since the issue was first raised earlier this year.

He said Australian High Energy physicists, Professor Geoffrey Taylor and Professor Elisabetta Barberio are key leaders in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP). Together with their colleagues, they have undertaken key roles in the decades-long quest to discover the Higgs boson.

"Professors Taylor and Barberio are now preparing for their next challenge," he said.

"Global leaders in particle physics believe that the next major discovery in this field will be Dark Matter.

"While there are many groups working on this problem worldwide, Australia is in a unique position to take a lead role in this global discovery with the identification of the Stawell Gold Mine as a location for a Dark Matter experiment in the Southern Hemisphere.

"The best place to discover Dark Matter is in deep underground mines and with its extraordinary mining history Australia has an excellent opportunity to develop a unique Southern Hemisphere underground laboratory in Stawell."

Professor Taylor and Mr David Varvell from CoEPP joined Cr Erwin and Mrs Linley as part of a deputation made to the office of the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, in June.

As a result of that meeting it was proposed that an invitation be extended to the Prime Minister to visit Stawell and that a meeting be sought with him in the first instance to outline the unique opportunity that Stawell has to develop a world-class particle physics facility.

Cr Erwin said it would be the first ever direct-detection Dark Matter experiment in the Southern Hemisphere and would take place at the Stawell Gold Mine site.

"Dark matter has certainly attracted interest at a state level and in some parts federal level," Cr Erwin said.

"We just need to get the Prime Minister interested in it."

Cr Wayne Rice agreed that it would be a big coup having the Prime Minister visit Stawell to learn more about Dark Matter.

"It would be a real feather in our cap to get the Prime Minister here," he said.

"Even better if it was found the Big Bang Theory was proved and it was found to be proved right here in Stawell."

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