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24 September 2020
The center of Perth will be transformed into a university district with Edith Cowan University constructing a new campus in the city’s central business district as part historic $695 million Commonwealth-State City Deal.
The deal will see Edith Cowan create a new multi-storey campus in Wellington Street, which will include a new WA Academy of Performing Arts – responsible for producing some of Australia’s best known performers, including Hugh Jackman.
The new campus, built on State-owned land on top of the underground bus station in Wellington Street and adjacent to Yagan Square, is expected to be built by 2025 and draw more than 9200 students and staff into the CBD.
Hollywood A-Lister Hugh Jackman throws support behind CBD WAAPA campus
That number is expected to increase to about 11,000 by 2030, with more than 300 public performances by the world-famous WAAPA to be held in the Perth CBD each year, attracting potentially 100,000 visitors to the city.
The CBD university, which will bring together programs in technology, industry and creativity, including the School of Business and Law and an advanced technology and cyber security centre, will replace Edith Cowan University’s Mount Lawley campus – the site reverting to State Government ownership and a master plan developed for the site.
The brand-new CBD campus is projected to improve the WA economy by $1.5 billion, with 3000 jobs generated throughout construction as well as more than 380 ongoing jobs.
It is a key plank part of an on-going plan to make the Perth CBD a university precinct, with Murdoch University and Curtin University also discussing plans to expand into the CBD with the State Government.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new campus was a “game changing investment in education, culture, jobs and lifestyle”, while WA Premier Mark McGowan said the university would attract thousands of people into the city, building on Perth’s reputation as a “vibrant cultural and entertainment district”.
“This is a JobMaker investment which will generate employment for thousands of hard-working West Australians. It will boost those businesses that are already in the CBD and it will drive new businesses to open,” Mr Morrison said.
“WA, like the rest of Australia, needs a targeted economic stimulus which will provide a boost now and into the future, and this is what we’re delivering.”
Edith Cowan Vice-Chancellor Steve Chapman said Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who is retiring from politics at the end of 2020, had been a leading force behind obtaining the necessary federal funding for the ECU move into the heart of Perth city.
“Senator Cormann has worked in partnership with Premier McGowan to deliver this game changer for the city” Professor Chapman said.
Planning and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti had also performed a significant part in guaranteeing the CBD campus.
Senator Cormann, who will deliver his seventh and final Budget with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on October 6, verified that $245 million would be put aside in next month’s Federal budget for the new Edith Cowan CBD campus.
“When ECU first briefed us about their ideas for this move I was immediately persuaded by the exciting transformational opportunities this could bring to Perth and to Western Australia more broadly. I wanted to help make this happen before I go,” Senator Cormann said.
“We have committed $245 million in this year’s Federal budget to help make this project a reality and we helped bring all the parties together through the Perth City Deal.”
The value of the WA Government contribution towards this project is $150 million, which includes supplying Edith Cowan with Lot 10N and Lot 10S at the Perth City Link on which to build the new campus.
Edith Cowan University is projected to contribute $300 million towards the project.
Mr McGowan said Mt Lawley Senior High School was set to expand into the current Edith Cowan University campus in Mt Lawley as part of a strategy to transition the school into specialist performing and visual arts facilities.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our students to have access to top quality facilities throughout their formative years,” Mr McGowan said.
“We will continue working with the community of Mt Lawley to ensure the site becomes a location everyone can enjoy.”
Ms Saffiioti said a master plan would be developed for the Mt Lawley site.
“Moving Edith Cowan University from its current campus opens up realms of opportunity, not just for Mt Lawley Senior High School students but for the broader community,” she said.
“A master plan will be developed for the site and surrounding areas, opening up new and exciting opportunities for one of Perth’s most popular inner suburbs.”
Edith Cowan University Vice-Chancellor Steve Chapman said the new CBD campus would be unlike anything Perth had ever seen before.
Professor Chapman said the new multi-storey CBD campus would bring new life into centre of Perth.
He said the world-renowned WA Academy of Performing Arts would be part of the new ECU campus – which has produced the likes of Hollywood heart throb Hugh Jackman.
“On the ground floor will be a podium level which will have all the state of the art performing arts facilities and museums,” he said.
“People will see theatres, museums, art galleries and cafes.
“The exciting thing is that if you are a member of the city, you won’t know where the city ends and the university begins – it will be completely seamless.
“In the evening, at 7.30, there will be performances going on.
“There will be acting, there will be dance.”
Jackman has supported WAAPA relocating into the heart of Perth.
“A state-of-the-art WAAPA in the Perth CBD will attract, develop and deliver local, national and international talent on a world-class stage,” Jackman said.
Work on the new Edith Cowan CBD campus is anticipated to start in 2021.