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UTAS project receives national tick of approval

INFRASTRUCTURE Australia has approved the business case for the relocation of the University of Tasmania’s (UTAS) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) facilities to the Hobart CBD.

The nation’s independent infrastructure advisor has also added the project to the Infrastructure Priority List.

UTAS vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen said the project would build Tasmania’s capacity in the crucial STEM projects, as well as attract new enterprises and industries to the state.

“These were the pillars of the business case that was provided to Infrastructure Australia,” Prof Rathjen said.

“Many of the most advanced economies in the world are investing in higher education as a priority and this makes sense given the pivotal role innovation and human capital must play in our social and economic future.”

Infrastructure Australian chairman Mark Birrell said STEM skills were increasingly important for Australia’s economic competitiveness.

“Shifting the university’s STEM facilities to a new purpose-built factory in Hobart’s CBD will boost the state economy and show the major benefits that come from strategic infrastructure investment,” he said.

“With the university’s existing STEM facilities nearing the end of their usable life, the proposed relocation to the Hobart CBD has the potential to drive a 60 per cent increase in undergraduate demand.”

The Infrastructure Priority List is developed based on the data from the Australian Infrastructure Audit and extensive consultation with state and territory governments.

Speaker of the House of Assembly and Liberal Member for Denison Elise Archer said that if funding was secured, and the project proceeded, Hobart had the potential to become one of the world’s great university cities with a particular focus on STEM, medical research and a thriving arts precinct.

“Projects like this not only make UTAS an exciting place to study for local, interstate and overseas students, but the flow-on benefits to the wider community are enormous,” she said.

“I congratulate the vice-chancellor and his team on this national recognition, and I look forward to working with all parties to see this project proceed further.”

Caption: From left, Dean of the UTAS Science, Engineering and Technology Faculty, Professor Brian Yates, Infrastructure Australia Chairman, Mark Birrell, UTAS Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peter Rathjen, Liberal Senator for Tasmania, Eric Abetz, and Speaker of the House of Assembly and Liberal Member for Denison, Elise Archer.

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