• Tony Bosworth

$16.7m for world leading state-of-the-art Hawkesbury Agri Tech Hub - Labor election pledge

In the largest Hawkesbury financial commitment so far by the Labor Party during this election campaign, a $16.7 million election commitment to support the Western Sydney University’s vision for a world-leading Agri Tech Hub at its Hawkesbury campus has been announced.

MP Susan Templeman and Labor's Deputy Leader Richard Marles at WSU today

Western Sydney University welcomed the announcement made by the Deputy Leader of the Federal Opposition, Richard Marles MP, and Susan Templeman MP, Federal Member for Macquarie, during a visit to the Hawkesbury campus this morning - Friday.

This announcement is a big win for our community," said Ms Templeman.

“The Hawkesbury is the beating heart of peri-urban farming in NSW. Our region has a rich tradition in food production and land management, and this initiative opens up opportunities for 21st Century agri-tech.

“Not only will our investment create thousands of new jobs, it will train the next generation of agricultural workers and carry out essential research. This is also expected to generate more than $30 million of economic activity for the surrounding region”

“This is exactly what Labor Governments do, grow our economy, create secure local jobs and train the next generation of Australian workers.”

The $50 million Agri Tech Hub will be Australia’s first high-tech commercial, teaching and research greenhouse complex – creating new jobs, attracting industry and driving agriculture innovation for the Hawkesbury region.

Spanning six-hectares, it will include a high-tech, industry-partnered greenhouse array and house state-of-the-art agriculture technology for teaching, research and commercial food production at scale.

The Agri Tech Hub will significantly expand industry-partnered research in globally competitive fields like food technology, land-use management and consumer demand, says WSU.

It will feature co-location spaces for work-integrated learning, as well as collaboration opportunities for local businesses, TAFE NSW, and programs for schools and community groups.

It will help address sovereign risk in food security by providing a large and sustainable supply of fresh produce to Western Sydney and Australia, reducing dependency on foreign supply chains.

Professor Andy Marks, Pro Vice-Chancellor Strategy, Government and Alliances, said the Agri Tech Hub is a multi-million dollar investment in the future of sustainable agriculture in Australia – cementing Western Sydney’s position as a world leader in protected cropping, and delivering critical knowledge jobs to the Hawkesbury region.

“This will be a globally significant hub. It will accelerate the technological innovation, jobs pipeline and research required to grow agriculture in Australia to a $100 billion industry by 2030,” Professor Marks said.

Professor Marks said the Agri Tech Hub will benefit immensely from its location and proximity to the new airport at Badgerys Creek – supporting the rapid export of high-quality, high yield produce, straight from Western Sydney and into South-East Asia. “Growth and investment in the region is only set to intensify over the coming years with the new airport. The Agri Tech Hub is a chance for Hawkesbury residents to directly benefit from these major infrastructure investments in our region, and secure knowledge jobs in a rapidly expanding agriculture sector, close to home,” said Professor Marks.

Western Sydney University was recently named best in the world for its social, ecological and economic impact in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings. These rankings look at how universities address issues such as sustainability, climate action, inclusivity and social justice. The Agri Tech Hub will be shaped by this world's best expertise. The Hub is part of the University’s ‘Western Growth’ strategy – an ambitious program that is reshaping the University’s campus network and co-creating transformative educational infrastructure across Western Sydney. This is being done in partnership with industry and government, and is fostering deep engagement with the University's local communities.

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