Graeme Rowley, former Executive Director of Operations at Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), has been announced as the inaugural Independent Chair of the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination (NCED).
The Vice Chancellor of the Centre’s Administering Organisation, Murdoch University, said Mr Rowley had a strong understanding of the limiting nature of water for sustainable growth of our natural resource base.
“Mr Rowley’s experience in the resources sector is unparalleled, as is his commitment to the development of inland and regional Australian infrastructure, including water and Indigenous employment opportunities,” said Vice Chancellor Professor John Yovich.
Mr Rowley helped establish FMG with Andrew Forrest, where he continues as a non-executive member of the FMG Board. Prior to joining FMG in 2003 he worked in a number of senior executive roles for Rio Tinto Ltd following a distinguished career in the Royal Australian Air Force.
Mr Rowley said the new position represented an opportunity to help develop a world-leading Centre of Excellence of which Australia could be particularly proud.
“Australia is already recognised internationally as a nation that has embraced the use of desalination technology for our own water security,” Mr Rowley said.
“My expectation is that we will also become known as a nation that can successfully develop, apply and commercialise that technology as well.”
The NCED is funded by a $20 million commitment from the Australian Government under its Water for the Future program with additional funding from the Western Australian Government to design and construct a world-class desalination pilot testing facility at Murdoch University’s Rockingham campus.
Murdoch University leads 12 other pre-eminent Australian research institutions in the Centre.