The University of Wollongong's Innovation Campus is perfectly positioned to become one of the federal government's new industry innovation precincts, according to the Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation Kate Lundy.
The Australian Institute for Innovative Materials, based at the North Wollongong campus, was the first stop on a whirlwind tour of the city by Senator Lundy yesterday.
"One of the things that struck me was the way in which the institute was working with industry ... which sits in harmony with the government's recently released industry statement," she said.
"Under the new policy the government will spend $500 million on 10 new industry innovation precincts - five from emerging technology centres and five from established industries.
"We've announced two of those, but the two-part competitive process for the rest is now open for the next two months.
"This presents a strong opportunity for institutes such as this, with facilities, with capabilities across industry and innovation, to prepare a submission for one of the precincts - or even to become an outpost for another precinct.
"Based on what I've seen [at the Innovation Campus] this morning, I'm quite inspired."
Senator Lundy was wearing one of her many hats during her visit to Wollongong yesterday - her role as minister assisting was apparent during the visit to UOWs main and innovation campuses.
She pulled out her sports minister hat during a visit to the Snakepit, where she met the Wollongong Roller Hawks and paid a surprise visit to the Wollongong NRE Hawks players.
"I met some future Paralympians - and they certainly put me through my paces," she said.
"Sitting in the chair you realise how awe-inspiring their skills are - it's hard enough trying to manoeuvre the chair, let alone trying to do anything creative on the sports court.
"The Roller Hawks are a great example of how the community rallies around and supports a local team, and that was apparent with the Hawks as well."
Senator Lundy then tried a bit of thong-throwing down at Belmore Basin, where she read a congratulatory message from Prime Minister Julia Gillard at Headspace Illawarra's fifth birthday celebrations.
"Over 3000 young people have been supported and assisted and offered hope over the last five years by Headspace, and I was honoured to pass on the Prime Minister's acknowledgement," she said.
Finally, Senator Lundy pulled out her multicultural affairs minister's hat for the launch of a publication at the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra Forum.
Traditional Tales: A collection of stories from Burma and Africa was put together by Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families.
Senator Lundy said she hoped the book would open people's eyes to the strengths refugees brought to the Illawarra.