The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

19 December 2012

Townsville uni campus to be transformed with $47 million investment

Joint media release with
Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

James Cook University will almost double the number of students studying science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health courses due to a $47 million investment by the Gillard Government.

This funding injection is being delivered to North Queensland as part of the Government's Regional Priorities Round of Education Investment fund (EIF).

Acting Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, attended a ceremony at James Cook University in Townsville to celebrate its successful bid to construct the $80 million project to be called 'The Science Place'.

The new facility at the campus will use audio-visual and video-conferencing facilities to enable remote teaching, and will include teaching spaces and computing labs fitted with the latest visualisation technology.

The new infrastructure will replace two existing buildings at the campus, providing improved facilities for current students as well as capacity for growth in student numbers.

The project will create around 530 local jobs for North Queensland during the construction phase.

Growth in student numbers will also see the creation of 51 positions for full time staff at the University, with significant flow-on impacts for local jobs.

"At the very core of the Gillard Government is the belief that every student in Australia should have access to first-class education facilities," Mr Swan said.

"This targeted investment gives students in Townsville access to better quality education and training opportunities, helping to support increased participation and the skills needed in the region.

"Our substantial commitments to building up tertiary education facilities will continue to open vital doors for our universities during the Asian Century."

Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, said the Gillard Labor Government's historic investment meant more regional Australians than ever before are now able to benefit from higher education.

"The Science Place will transform the way tertiary education is delivered across the whole of northern Queensland," Senator Evans said.

"It is a new way of thinking in how we deliver education services, particularly to students in rural and remote regions.

"The Gillard Government is opening up the doors to university, improving campuses and facilities and boosting student support.

"No longer is your postcode a barrier to university."

James Cook University has embraced a whole range of new technologies like the NBN and is leading the way in the regionalisation of universities in Australia.

North Queensland's Regional Development Australia Committees should also be congratulated for facilitating the cross-regional approach to education delivery.

An education in science and maths develop skills in critical thinking, reasoning and creativity that are essential across disciplines and will be vital for the jobs of the future.

In addition, it is great to see the jobs and ongoing economic activity that is going to be brought to Townsville as a result of this fantastic funding injection.

New online and blended delivery modes at JCU will link students living in remote areas outside Townsville with university, including students in Cairns, Mackay, Atherton, Mareeba, Mt Isa and Thursday Island.

The Science Place will also house CSIRO Education which works to boost students' interest in study and careers related to science, maths and engineering.

Further successful projects in the Regional Priorities Round will be announced in coming months.