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Australian Photonics Pty Ltd ( APPL ) was the commercial arm of the Australian Photonics Collaborative Research Centre ( CRC ). The Australian Photonics  REDcentre is a spinoff company targeted as Rapid Engineering Development and Business Networking for applications initially with a Photonics focus, but has since broadened its support for a wider range of technologies. REDcentre is particularly focused on supporting Small to Medium Enterprises ( SMEs ) and in 1998-99 Haltec Enterprises' Director - Ross Halgren - was contracted by REDcentre as the Business Development Manager for their NSW operations. As part of this engagement, the business plan for the establishment of a telecommunications systems oriented Photonics SME was undertaken and as a result, Redfern Broadband Networks Pty Ltd (  RBN ) was formed.


In May 1998, the Department of Industry, Science & Tourism (1) and the  Warren Centre sponsored an International Mission to benchmark Australia's Photonics capabilities before committing to another 7 years of CRC funding. Haltec Enterprises' Director - Ross Halgren - was selected as the technical investigator for the Mission. Accompanying Ross Halgren was Phil Carmont as the commercial investigator representing Macquarie Bank. Following the Mission, two reports were written, being a comprehensive Visit Report and a Final (Summary) Report. Both are available in pdf format, however, only the latter has been publicly released as Appendix C to a  Photonics Industry Update Report conducted by Dr Eric Heyde in 2001 for the Department of Industry, Tourism & Resources (1)AEEMA and the  Australian Photonics Forum.

Key observations and recommendations that are still relevant were as follows:

- Overall, Australia's industry standing was high in terms of Photonics research but in the more lucrative, mainstream ICT product markets was considered poor by international standards due to the lack of vertical integration into higher-value, locally developed Photonic products and systems. At the time, there was too much focus on pure optical components rather than integrated opto-electronic products, sub-assemblies and systems.
- The expected capacity growth in Metro and Fibre to the Curb ( FTTC ) access networks highlighted an opportunity for Australia Photonics SMEs to develop DWDM products for the global market. The Telco market downturn in late 2001 demonstrated that much of this expected growth was over-stated by the industry analysts although the market turned around in 2004 and in 2007 attained record growth figures again (  Infonetics  ).

(1)The erosion of Australia's Science and Technology base under 11 years of Liberal Government are reflected by their incessant renaming of this department. Previously known as the Department of Industry Science & Technology ( DIST ) under the previous Labor Government's "Clever Country" policy, became the Department of Industry Science & Tourism after the 1996 election. Clearly, Technology was out, Tourism was in. In 1999, this was again renamed the Department of Industry, Tourism & Resources ( DITR ). Now Science was out, Resources were in again - back to  The Lucky Country  syndrome. Given time, we surely would have seen another name change eliminating Australian Industry altogether. Under the new Labor Government, we now have the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (  DIISR ) - back on track again to the "Clever Country".

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