Western Sydney University’s new Liverpool campus was nothing short of invigorating as it displayed replica hospital rooms, a LaunchPad start-up incubator and sleeping pods at the opening on Wednesday, conducted by Treasurer ScottMorrison.
It comes after WSU researchers released reports of the region’s high level of youth unemployment, despite progress in recent years.
“Disadvantage is high in the region – and youth unemployment is high in Liverpool compared to the rest of urban NSW. However, there are also economic, educational and occupational inequities which are apparent in areas with high concentrations of affluence,” said lead researcher Professor Paul James.
“The report highlights the issues that local communities, the city and the government should focus on to provide adequate support for these vulnerable people.”
This is massive for Australia. The aerotropolis is not just a runway, a couple of roads and a railway. It’s about city-shaping into the future.Scott Morrison
The Liverpool university will specialise in general nursing, midwifery, social sciences and psychology with estimates it will bring a $54-million boost to the region’s economy and employment.
Before unveiling the university plaque, Mr Morrison referred to the university as “innovative” and an “extraordinary achievement”.
“My wife studied nursing and was in the first intake of nurses who went through the university system. To see how it’s changed and the facilities today is tremendous,” he said. “Why is the education or health minister not here today? Because what’s happening here is far bigger – I think this is a massive investment for Australia and our people.
In 1978 I studied as a way of putting a roof over my children’s heads because we were technically homeless – I was living with relatives at the time. I was a single mother with three kids under 5.Wendy Waller
“The aerotropolis is part of a bigger vision for Sydney. It’s not just a runway and a couple of roads and a railway. It’s about city-shaping into the future and learning institutions are just as important to the prosperity as the roads and railway.”
Liverpool Mayor WendyWaller welcomed the university. “In the past five years there’s been a 42 per cent increase in number of Liverpool students enrolled in our tertiary education system. We’re now the home of all these great educational opportunities. They weren’t always here and I can personally attest to that. I was a student at Western Sydney University,” she said.
She explained the role WSU played in her life as a struggling single mother of three children under 5 five. “In 1978 I studied as a way of putting a roof over my children’s heads because we were technically homeless – I was living with relatives at the time. I was a bit of a late-starter!
“I spent nine years at uni and eventually got my masters, an associate degree and a diploma and I was thrilled because I was one of the first in my family to get a university degree. I did end up with a career. It’s incredible what it does for you.”
Former mayor Ned Mannoun was also influential in proposals for the university and its early plans. He was present at the event with his wife, deputy mayor TinaAyyad.
“When we first had the idea to get a university in Liverpool a lot of people laughed at us and unfortunately not all of the council supported the concept . As mayor my goal was to get three universities into the Liverpool CBD. We currently have two,” he said.
“When they first made the announcement they said they’d only take 1000 square metres of space but now they’ve taken 9000 because they saw the potential. One of the reasons we got the university here is through the New Cities Program.
“There’s a saying: roll out the carpet and cut the red tape. This building was approved in 62 days and it took five months and six days to get my house approved. In my opinion this is the most beautiful building in Liverpool. It was the imagination of Liverpool and built by the people of Liverpool. Hopefully, my children can attend one of the universities here. I’d love one more to open up!”
A couple of nursing students captured the limelight on the day as they demonstrated resuscitation with lifelike models.
Cabramatta resident KhanhDuong is in her second year of studying a bachelor of nursing.
“I did my first term of my second year here already which started in February. It’s only 10 minutes from the train station. It’s pretty convenient for me,” she said.
“This building is lovely – I spend most of my time in the library. It’s fully equipped with high technology compared to other campuses. I’m really enjoying my time here and I think I’ll be best placed when I start applying for jobs.”