Opening of Science & Engineering Precinct at Federation University Australia, Mt Helen Campus

  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education

It is a pleasure to participate in today’s official opening of the Science and Engineering Precinct, and the Sports and Recreational Centre at the newly renamed Federation University Australia and represent the Minister for Education, the Honourable Christopher Pyne MP.

He sends his congratulations and best wishes — not only for today but also the 2014 university year, the first year of Federation University Australia.

I congratulate everyone who played a role in establishing both this precinct and the centre.

As has been outlined, Federation University Australia is regionally focused, the result of University of Ballarat’s acquisition of Monash University’s Gippsland Campus.

So it is fitting that so soon after your formation and renaming we are celebrating the opening of learning and research infrastructure in one of Victoria’s and Australia’s most important regional centres.

It is particularly encouraging, to me, to see that you are developing new partnerships with the Victorian TAFE network to deliver courses where access would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible.

As a provider of both higher education and VET qualifications, Federation University plays an important part in the Ballarat, Western Victoria and Gippsland economies and communities.

It is an employer, a research organisation and has strong ties with industry and local communities.

And strategic collaborations are also helping the University to connect Victoria and Australia with regions internationally and attracting overseas students.

The Australian Government provided $45 million to the university to build the Science and Engineering Precinct, and $3 million for the Sports and Recreational Centre.

The buildings we are opening today, in a formal sense, are world class.

Supporting IT infrastructure for distance learning, new spaces for collaborative learning and teaching, and areas for industry to provide equipment – these buildings represent the cutting edge of tertiary education.

The design of the Science and Engineering building reflects the importance of the built environment to the learning experience.

It brings together, under one roof, the main laboratory-based elements of the School of Science, Information Technology and Engineering; and the School of Health Sciences.

This will allow students to enhance their core area of study.

For example, where previously there was a lack of pilot scale equipment in mining-related disciplines, the addition of the multi-functional spaces will enable industry to bring in mining equipment for trial periods.

The precinct will also enable increased access to engineering and food science facilities for TAFE students and potential engineering-based collaboration with Holmesglen TAFE in Melbourne.

Importantly, the new facilities will boost interest and engagement in science and engineering with secondary students by building on the university’s links with 90 regional schools and collaboration with the State Specialist Centre in Science Education.

This precinct will strengthen and grow postgraduate programmes and provide expertise and leadership in the mining industry and beyond.

The multi-purpose Sports and Recreational Centre will enhance the teaching and learning experience in Health and Sports Sciences, and Human Movement.

In addition to providing accommodation space for course delivery, there are now specialist spaces for skills development in Sports Science.

It will become the university’s focal point for sports education.

It has been a privilege to actually join you here today on this first official function for Federation University Australia.

It is now my honour to declare the new buildings at Mt Helen Campus, officially open.

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