Perth Plans COVID-19 Recovery With $500 Million For New University

Perth Plans COVID-19 Recovery With $500 Million For New University
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan speaks during a media conference at Dumas House in Perth, Australia on Sept. 4, 2020. (Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)

The City of Perth is getting a $1.5 (US$1) billion makeover in a joint COVID-19 stimulus project with the federal government.

More than half a billion dollars will be spent on a new West Australian university campus in the heart of the CBD.

Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) Creative Industries, Business and Technology Campus will cost $695 million in federal and state funds, and is expected to attract thousands of students and staff into the city centre.

Two other universities, Curtin and Murdoch, will also shift or expend their campuses in the city to the tune of $360 million.

Perth’s cycleways, footpaths, and bus stops will get an upgrade while $42 million will also be spent on refurbishing the Concert Hall.

Meanwhile, the Western Australia Cricket Association will get a $100 million face-lift complete with a new swimming pool.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the project will be a game-changing investment for the city.

“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,” Morrison said in a statement.

In return, the state government will take full ownership of ECU.

The university’s new campus will combine the renowned WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) with schools of business, law and advanced technology and cybercrime centre.

WAAPA alumni include Hugh Jackman, Lisa McCune, and Tim Minchin.

It’s hoped the campus will attract 9,200 students by 2025 and more than 11,000 by 2034, as well as thousands more theatre-loving tourists to its stage productions.

The development will create 3,000 jobs during its construction phase with 380 ongoing positions, and generate $1.5 billion in economic stimulus.

Premier Mark McGowan said the investment would take advantage of the state’s low COVID-19 cases.

“Our strong response to COVID-19 means there is no better place to be in the world than WA, and the new campus will attract both domestic and international students when our borders are safe to re-open.”

The WA government will contribute $150 million in grants and the land for the project, with the Commonwealth pitching in a further $245 million.

About $36 million will also be spent on tackling homelessness in the city, and $10 million will be invested in an Indigenous Business and Employment hub.

By Sophie Moore