Research hub a boost for region

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
DLR Building director Peter Dellar, Flourishing Oceans chief executive Tony Worby and Shire of Exmouth President Matthew Niikkula.
Camera IconDLR Building director Peter Dellar, Flourishing Oceans chief executive Tony Worby and Shire of Exmouth President Matthew Niikkula. Credit: Picture: Tony Tropiano

The world-class marine research hub set to bolster the esteemed Ningaloo Centre reached a major milestone last week when a local builder was given the building contract.

The $2.5 million Minderoo Foundation Exmouth Research Laboratory aims to attract international researchers and scientists to the northern town to study and improve ocean health and resilience. It includes a controlled aquaria space, wet and dry labs, molecular lab and office space.

It will be the latest addition to the established Ningaloo Centre, which opened in 2018 and includes an aquarium, visitor centre and function space.

Exmouth building company DLR Building was awarded the contract for the works, expected to create 30 jobs during construction. Once complete, the centre will employ three full-time roles with maintenance roles for local businesses.

DLR Building director Peter Dellar said the awarding of the contract to a local business helped ensure jobs remained in Exmouth. “We’ve been here for 30 years so it is fantastic that Minderoo Foundation was eager to work with a trusted local builder, employing local tradespeople,” he said.

Exmouth Shire president Matthew Niikkula said the project would help the town’s economic diversification.

“This is the signature project and economic diversification the Shire of Exmouth has been working hard to attract for decades,” he said. “Once complete, the MERL will bring year-round economic stimulus to town in the form of visiting academics and researchers.”

Minderoo’s Flourishing Oceans chief executive Tony Worby said the hub was gaining interest from the scientific community. “We already have our major Western Australian universities and the broader marine science community keen to utilise the facility in the first 12 months, undertaking an array of investigatory projects that will benefit the Ningaloo and Exmouth Gulf region and communities by studying and solving intractable threats to ocean health,” he said.

Building work is set to begin this month.

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