New agricultural sciences hub in Riverina

A new $45 million education and research facility at the Wagga Wagga campus of Charles Sturt University (CSU) will make sure the study of agricultural sciences reflects the changing needs of the industry.

Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education and Skills, Sharon Bird, today opened the National Life Sciences Hub at CSU.

“The hub increases higher education opportunities for regional Australia” Ms Bird said.

“It will boost research to improve the national response to issues in food production and help Australian farmers increase productivity and exports to meet the world food needs.”

The hub aims to contribute to improving agricultural production in a water-stressed environment, food security, sustainability in food and crop production and to providing solutions for sound agro-ecosystem management in general. It will be used by some 400 students and 100 staff each year.

The new facilities contain a life sciences teaching and learning complex, glasshouses, and an integrated field laboratory with rhizolysimeter, one of the most sophisticated of its type in the southern hemisphere, which measures sub-soil conditions affecting plant growth.

Ms Bird said the Australian Government’s $34 million investment in this project through the Education Investment Fund (EIF) offered direct economic and social benefits for the region.

“The ongoing economic activity associated with research and education has a positive impact on the sustainability of our rural and regional communities,” Ms Bird said.

“This investment is a fine example of the Australian Government’s commitment to expanding higher education opportunities in regional areas.

“Government investment in strategic infrastructure projects will help transform Australian tertiary education and research and achieve long term benefits for all Australians.”

Since 2009, the Australian Government has committed more than $4.5 billion of the EIF to projects in higher education, vocational education and training and research sectors across the country.