MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (11:51): The Andrews Labor government’s $350 million Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund continues to provide much-needed stimulus to Victoria’s universities as they respond to the challenges of COVID-19. Last week I joined Darren Cheeseman, the member for South Barwon, at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus to announce $10 million for ManuFutures2, a purpose-built manufacturing innovation facility that will position Geelong as Australia’s leading advanced manufacturing precinct. Yesterday I joined Colin Brooks, the member for Bundoora, and Anthony Carbines, the member for Ivanhoe, at the Bundoora campus of La Trobe University to announce a $17 million grant for the new bio and digital innovation hubs in Bundoora.
Deakin University’s ManuFutures2 will include a product engineering laboratory, six adaptable spaces for tenants to develop, test and manufacture products. As its name suggests it is the second hub of its kind at the university. Products manufactured at the first hub included the world’s lightest and strongest carbon fibre road bike wheels and enhanced fabrics used for athletic clothing and equipment. The facility will create 172 jobs and double the number of resident startup companies to 26. It will support research and work opportunities for Deakin staff and students, as well as providing a space for community events and training. La Trobe University’s bio and digital innovation hubs will be a one-stop shop for a range of organisations in the digital and biotech fields. Antiviral medication, water treatment solutions and farm technology are just some of the fantastic products that we can expect to be developed there. These are great projects which are a great investment in taking great ideas into commercialisation.