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State of the art laboratories opened at New Town

The Tasmanian Government's key analytical scientists are now located in a new state-of-the-art facility at New Town.

The co-location of two separate sites in the new .1 million complex, will increase efficiency and broaden the scope of testing available to the Government, industry and the wider community.

Until recently, AST has been operating from New Town and the University of Tasmania’s chemistry department in Sandy Bay.

Combining both labs in the one location has been planned for several years and will now centralise laboratory operations.

AST Manager Mike Johnson said the new facilities are equal to those of any laboratory complex in the country and something Tasmania can be proud of.
"The co-location will improve efficiency and make our work a lot safer," he said.

"Being on one site in this fantastic facility will make a big difference to our work.
"In the past we divided the work between Sandy Bay and New Town and had to transport hazardous samples and materials between laboratories."

Mike said the opening of the new laboratory meant that AST would be able to broaden the scope of its work.

He said AST provides a broad range of analytical services and advice to government agencies, private companies and the community, including the mining industry and the Derwent Estuary Program.

These include chemical analysis of heavy metals in water and sediment, acid mine drainage and pesticide residue, and identification and enumeration of freshwater and marine algae.

The new facility was officially opened today by the Minister for Tourism, Arts and the Environment, Paula Wriedt. The development also houses the Public Health Microbiological Laboratory which has moved from the Royal Hobart Hospital
The new building incorporates artwork which successfully marries science and art.

Three artists – Tracey Cockburn, Peter Battaglene and Stewart Wells – provided works commissioned by the Tasmanian Government’s Art for Public Buildings Scheme.

The first hint of art being incorporated into the new project is provided at the entrance to the building with Peter’s entry marker.

Etched floor tiles in the foyer, also in granite and gold leaf, complement the marker.

The design, titled "In Praise of Little Things", is derived from images of algal cells, staurastrum cosmarium pediastrum and scenedesmus

Also in the foyer and extending through the corridor are Stewart Wells’ photographs.

The series of seven aerial Type C colour images show environments where water testing or other environmental analysis might occur.

They are: Cox Bight with algal bloom (2007); Marion Bay Farm (226); Mt Wellington (2206); Arthurs Lake (2005); Fingal sheep (2005); Fish trap (2005); Mt Lyell with tank.

Tracey’s laminated digital prints on acrylic represent microscopic cell structures on a scientific slide.

Titled "Colony", the cell images are combined with flowing water and text in a grid arrangement representing DNA bands.

The 150 small panels are a stunning addition to the laboratory meeting room.

See more photos of the artwork here .