20 May 2022

Coalition's $20 million election promise to Charles Sturt University

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Deputy vice chancellor Professor Mark Evans, Minister for Regional Education Bridget McKenzie and Member for Riverina Michael McCormack at Charles Sturt University on Wednesday (18 May). Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

The Coalition has pledged to invest $20 million into Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) research and development if re-elected.

Minister for Regional Education Bridget McKenzie and Member for Riverina Michael McCormack announced on Wednesday (18 May) that the Coalition Government would contribute $20 million towards world-class research and development infrastructure for the AgriSciences Research and Business Park (AgriPark), as well as upgrades of the campus’s Convention Centre to enable it to host international business conferences.

The construction of the two projects would generate up to 150 jobs and further 400 ongoing jobs upon completion. It is anticipated more than 75 per cent of these jobs will be filled by Riverina locals.

READ ALSO McCormack offers a $20 million Wagga Airport upgrade if elected

Minister McKenzie said the $37.5 million projects will deliver an ecosystem where innovation and productivity can meet to grow the nation’s agriculture sector to a $100 billion industry by 2030.

The AgriPark will have research and development facilities, collaboration and innovation spaces and shared accommodation for education and industry partners.

“It’s no good having great ideas and wonderful research sitting in a lab in a university,” Ms McKenzie said.

“The whole purpose of education and research is to improve the human condition and improve our lives, the productivity of our businesses and our families. And that’s what this investment is going to do.”

When questioned why the investment was an election promise and not funded despite the benefits it was predicted to bring the agriculture sector, Ms McKenzie deferred to Labor.

“I think the question is better directed to the federal Labor Party. Do they back rural and regional Australia? Do they back regional universities?” she asked.

Digital impression of proposed AgriPark district at Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt University’s vision for the AgriPark precinct. Image: Charles Sturt University.

Ms McKenzie said the Coalition Government continues to invest in regional Australia whereas Labor has no plan or vision for cities like Wagga.

“Labor Leader Anthony Albanese can barely bring himself to mention the word ‘region’, ” she said.

Whether or not the Coalition is re-elected on Saturday, CSU is committed to delivering on the projects through additional funding from ongoing high quality partnerships.

Deputy vice chancellor Professor Mark Evans said the funding would help accelerate the process.

“We will realise this vision over the next five years,” he said.

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Minister McCormack was delighted at the prospect of the government’s partnership with CSU in a facility that placed Wagga and the Riverina at the forefront of one of Australia’s most important, productive and innovative industries.

“The returns on this investment will benefit rural and regional Australia for generations to come,” he said.

CSU vice chancellor Professor Renée Leon said Charles Sturt is Australia’s leading regional university and a key driver of nation-shaping agricultural research and innovation.

Digital impression of proposed Convention Centre at Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt University’s vision for Convention Centre. Image: Charles Sturt University.

“The Wagga campus is already home to the Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub and the Global Digital Farm and has been announced as the site of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Biosecurity Training Centre,” she said.

The proposed upgrade to the Convention Centre precinct is also set to generate significant benefits for the region.

“The precinct will be able to support local events, vie and secure national and international conferences,” Ms Leon said.

Original Article published by Shri Gayathirie Rajen on About Regional.

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