$30 million to transform Newcastle Uni and CBD

15 April 2013

The University of Newcastle and Newcastle’s Civic Precinct will undergo a major transformation thanks to a $30 million funding injection announced today by Higher Education Minister Sharon Bird and Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Grierson.

Under the University’s Building Access and Attainment in the Hunter region project, its Faculty of Business and Law will move from Callaghan Campus to a new purpose-built Education Precinct in the city centre.

The funding is a result of the University’s successful bid under the Federal Labor Government’s Regional Priorities Round of the Education Infrastructure Fund and will create new opportunities to study for thousands of young people in the Hunter region.

“This $30 million investment will transform the University of Newcastle and the city centre, and have widespread benefits for the region,” Ms Bird said.

“This is a demonstration of the Federal Labor Government’s commitment to world class, accessible universities and to regional centres like Newcastle.

“The project will take the University of Newcastle to another level, supporting an additional 3,000 students in degree and enabling courses after three years of operation.”

Ms Grierson said the project heralded the next chapter in Newcastle’s higher education history and would significantly boost local economic activity and job opportunities and enhance the student experience.

“Construction is expected to create 300 jobs and the infrastructure, once operational, will create almost 200 jobs in teaching, learning and student administration,” Ms Grierson said.

“The University’s anticipated $95 million city campus project will add to the revitalisation of inner city Newcastle and will be a major catalyst for further investment into the city centre.

“Major economic and social changes will result with thousands of students and staff moving into and commuting to the city centre.

“Since 2007, Federal Labor has consistently delivered record funding to the University of Newcastle, including over $212 million in research grants, $30 million for the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources and $48.5 million for the Hunter Medical Research Institute, two outstanding centres of research and innovation.”

Member for Charlton Greg Combet welcomed the Gillard Government’s investment in higher education for the region.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you live, everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed,” Mr Combet said.

“That’s why Labor is in the business of investing in infrastructure like this, which will give local people a world-class education.”

Member for Shortland Jill Hall said: “I am pleased to join with my Labor colleagues in the Hunter in welcoming this announcement.”

“This investment in the Newcastle campus is great news for the Hunter and will greatly benefit students from the Shortland electorate,” Ms Hall said.

“It demonstrates the Federal Labor Government’s commitment to our region as a centre of excellence in education and research.”

As part of the project, the university will also invest in a major refurbishment at the Callaghan Campus, with vacated space to be refurbished to develop an innovative service hub for students undertaking enabling courses.

This hub will be a one-stop shop for students new to higher education and will boost participation of Indigenous students and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.