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NZ and Victoria to collaborate on biotechnology

Friday, 28 November 2003 Media Statement

NZ and Victoria to collaborate on biotechnology

Minister of Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson will sign a biotechnology collaboration arrangement tonight with the Hon Steve Bracks, Premier of Victoria. Mr Bracks is visiting New Zealand at the invitation of the Prime Minister to promote linkages between New Zealand and Victoria.

"This arrangement will enhance collaborative and commercial opportunities in biotechnology for researchers and firms, to the benefit of New Zealand and Victoria," Mr Hodgson said. "Our biotechnology sectors share strengths and complement each other in critical areas, so it makes good sense to develop these links further."

New Zealand and Victoria have agreed to explore a broad range of initiatives, including assessing potential areas of mutual comparative advantage, examining the potential for coordinating biotech investment activities and research programmes, and identifying potential regulatory and other barriers to cooperation.

Mr Hodgson said officials in New Zealand and Victoria would be working together closely over coming months to identify potential joint projects. The Victorian Government has already asked New Zealand to invest in a major high tech Synchrotron facility under construction in the state and this is currently under consideration.

The arrangement with Victoria would also identify areas of possible collaboration with the Government of Australia and other Australian states, Mr Hodgson said.

"In this regard, I am delighted that Premier Bracks, Premier Beattie of Queensland and Premier Carr of New South Wales have expressed their strong desire for New Zealand to join the Australian Biotechnology Alliance. The Alliance is an important broader biotechnology grouping that would see New Zealand work more closely with Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. We would also collectively promote our strengths internationally where possible."

ENDS

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