A WARRNAMBOOL business is playing a key role in helping to answer some of the biggest questions about the universe.
The University of Melbourne is building an underground physics laboratory at Stawell to prove the existence of dark matter and Tasweld Engineering is manufacturing a vessel to help facilitate the research.
The federal government recently committed $5 million to the facility and on Tuesday Member for Wannon Dan Tehan visited Tasweld Engineering to have a look at the vessel the company is building.
Richard Parkinson, co-owner of the business, said Tasweld Engineering had been in discussions with the University of Melbourne about the project for over two years.
He said the stainless steel used to build the tank was sourced from Italy to meet the project specifications.
Mr Parkinson said the 2.6 metre tank would weigh over three tonnes when completed.
He said an estimated 600 man hours would go into building it.
Mr Tehan said it was an exciting project.
"It's absolutely fantastic to think that in Stawell they're going to have this laboratory which is going to unlock one of the secrets of the universe - hopefully - and the equipment that's going to do that is manufactured here in Warrrnambool using a local company and local welders," Mr Tehan said.
He said it was a unique project for the company, which had to import specific materials for the project.
"We're seeing world-first technology being built here which could unlock one of the secrets of the universe," Mr Tehan said.
Mr Tehan also made a number of other announcements in the south-west on Tuesday.
The Warrnambool State Emergency Service received $5000 from the federal government's Volunteer Grants Program to purchase portable rescue torches, while the Warrnambool Triton Woodworkers received $4100 to improve record keeping and safety at their workshop.
"It is wonderful to see these two important community groups receive grants from the Coalition Government," Mr Tehan said.
He also announced a $2300 grant for the Hexham Community Association to purchase new tables and chairs for the town's community hall.