Australia, NY leaders celebrate lithium-ion battery production initiative


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Leaders from Australia and New York gathered in Lower Manhattan this weekend to celebrate a new technology-sharing initiative aiming to end Western reliance on China for the production of lithium.

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) was joined by Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Richard Marles and Leader of the Opposition Party Peter Dutton for the fête Saturday night at One World Trade Center.

“The world is a challenging and precarious place and the alliance between Australia and the US has never been more important especially for Australia,” Marles told The Post.

“This event is an expression between the friendship and alliance between the United States and Australia.”

The event was on the tower’s 82nd floor, in what will soon be the offices of Scale Facilitation, the investment fund helmed by businessman David Collard, who arranged for New York-based experts to partner up with researchers and entrepreneurs in his native Australia on the project.

“Australia is one of American’s longest allies… and now we’re helping each other,” Collard told The Post. “When we’re both working on industries in our countries, it strengthens both our countries.”

Scale Facilitation founder David Collard said the partnership will strengthen both countries.
Stephen Yang for the New York Post
A lithium-ion battery factory in Endicott, New York.
A lithium-ion battery factory in Endicott, New York.

Scale helped launch a factory in the Empire State earlier this year that relies on cleaner ingredients to produce lithium-ion batteries — a necessary part for electric vehicles — rather than the toxic elements like nickel and cobalt China uses in their manufacturing process.

The event underscored a large effort on the part of Western nations to embrace friend-shoring — or moving important parts of the global supply chain to allied nations. Friend-shoring is intended to minimize the disruptions to the supply chain.

“The US has been our nation’s dear allies for decades and we’re further embracing the synergy between these two countries,” Dutton, the opposition party leader, told The Post.

Collard with New York Rep. Tom Suozzi at the event.
Collard with New York Rep. Tom Suozzi at the event.
Stephen Yang for the New York Post
Australian Leader of the Opposition Party Hon. Peter Dutton (center) at the event at One World Trade Center.
Australian Leader of the Opposition Party Hon. Peter Dutton (center) at the event at One World Trade Center.
Stephen Yang for the New York Post

Reps from the fund mingled with government officials in the new office space, which will also include a dedicated lounge for veterans and first responders from the US, Australia and other allied countries to relax, mingle and work.

Guests included many notable figures from Down Under, including Australia Consul General to New York Nick Greiner, Australian Ambassador to the United Nations Mitch Fifield and Head of Australian Defense Services & US Defense Attaché Major General Andrew Freeman.

At the beginning of the evening, attendees were serenaded by a didgeridoo — played by a man who flew from Australia just for the event.

“This is the most iconic address in the world — its extraordinary to see Scale here,” Marles said.

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