Universities to collaborate for Western Sydney Airport precinct

SITE: Western Sydney Airport is the driving force behind the ground-breaking union of the universities. Picture: westernsydneyairport.gov.au
SITE: Western Sydney Airport is the driving force behind the ground-breaking union of the universities. Picture: westernsydneyairport.gov.au

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the addition of a university research facility at the Western Sydney Airport precinct at Badgerys Creek on September 13.

For the first time an alliance between the universities of Newcastle, NSW, Wollongong and Western Sydney will bring a world-class multiversity which will specialise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

This is expected to bring more opportunities to students, employees and the community.

The university vice-chancellors co-signed a statement of intent with the NSW Government.

It stated: “Higher education has traditionally been an intensely competitive sector.

“With the new multiversity, our universities are demonstrating how collaborative university partnerships can transform the region and produce the graduates, research and industry links needed to make the Aerotropolis a success.

“The four universities will create one campus with strong links to local industry, tailored vocational education and training and STEM-focused schooling.

“This will provide the foundation for the realisation of Government’s knowledge job-creation commitments.

“This is an unrivalled opportunity to place our world-class universities at the heart of what is surely the biggest and boldest project Australia has seen, or will see, for a very long time. Our universities bring a connected network of 180,000 students, researchers and academics to the Aerotropolis, with an established presence across every major Western Sydney centre.”

Liverpool Council welcomed this. Mayor Wendy Waller has been ongoing advocate for education in the region. 

“We have opened major city campuses of both the University of Wollongong and Western Sydney University in the past two years. The University of NSW has been part of our city for 25 years,” she said.

“Now, those three universities – and the University of Newcastle – are going to work together to create a new higher education centre able to capture the tremendous interest in science, engineering and aviation generated by the new Western Sydney Airport.”

Ms Waller said today’s announcement perfectly matched the council’s own vision for the future of education in the city.

“We know our residents are already desperate to gain qualifications.

“We now have nearly 10,000 university students – an increase of 42 per cent in the past five years.

“But we know that’s just the start. A young student from South-West Sydney who is keen on science, technology, engineering and maths [STEM] has this moment in history on their side.

“We’ve met many of these students and we’ve listened to their dreams to become astronauts, physicists, astronomers and pilots.

“They’re looking to the skies but now the chance to get there starts in their own backyard.”

Liverpool councillor Nathan Hagarty agreed with Ms Waller and said it would benefit many members of the community including those of low socio-economic households.

“It would be good if a child who’s living in public housing today could aspire to go to university and get a job at the airport, so we have a positive vision. People who are disadvantaged could really benefit from this coming.”

Western Sydney Business Chamber director David Borger said congratulated the universities.

He said the latest addition would help transform the region into an economic and jobs powerhouse.

“Universities have the power to revolutionize entire regions by significantly shifting the needle on jobs and will give students access to the best education for industry research and development,” Mr Borger said.

“A major research-focused university has been one of the missing pieces in Western Sydney. International experience shows that these type of universities such as MIT in the United States have a bigger impact on job creation.

“The new STEM-focused university is a significant addition to the Aerotropolis. It will be surrounded by cutting-edge and innovative industries and businesses, and will provide an opportunity for collaboration.”

He said there’s already been growing investment in the region through the private sector.