Australian Prime Minister John Howard last week officially opened the first stage of a A$300 million (US$212 million) technology park in Melbourne.

Known as Digital Harbour, the park is located in Melbourne’s Docklands, and is set to be a hub of high technology for the state.

“Over the years as it develops and brings together not only academia, but business, cooperation between the commonwealth and state governments and the commitment of the City of Melbourne, it will become a lively part of the future of this city,” Howard said.

Telstra Technology Innovation and Products is the anchor tenant of the first building constructed on the site, called the Innovation Building.

Other tenants for the five-storey complex will come from IT, pharmacy, film and television and digital media industries.

Digital Harbour Holdings chairman Leon Kempler said the precinct exemplified a new culture where technology-based businesses could collaborate and leverage off one another’s success.

The technology park, on a 4.4-hectare parcel of land on the northern corner of the Docklands, kicked off in 2001 with a A$22.5 million grant from the federal government’s Federation Fund.

Other companies backing the technology park include KPMG, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Melbourne University, Baulderstone Hornibrook, Edgate and Jones Lang LaSalle. The park is expected to be completed in the next 10 years and to accommodate a workforce of up to 10,000 people.

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