MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (11:23): We know Victorian universities have been hit hard by the fallout of COVID. We also know what a critical role Victorian universities play in our economy and communities. That is why the Andrews government has established the $350 million Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund.
Last Friday I joined local MPs Michaela Settle and Juliana Addison in Ballarat to announce another grant under the fund: a $9.5 million investment in the Federation University Business Centre of Excellence. This new centre will form part of Federation University’s business school, which will be located in Ballarat’s CBD. The centre will be involved in the refurbishment of two beautiful old buildings, the former School of Mines—a magnificent 1880s heritage building that holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Ballarat owing to its historical significance—and the old Carlton & United Breweries site, which will be revitalised and transformed into the IBM Watson Internet of Things institute.
Federation University’s creation of this centre is a perfect example of how universities can work with government and industry to ensure regional areas have highly skilled workers to fill high-value jobs. This project will boost educational opportunities in business and technology in the region. It will drive innovation and business acceleration by linking local industries to national and international expertise. It will stimulate jobs in areas such as manufacturing, renewable energy and med tech. It will have a ripple effect by attracting local business investment and building the connections we need to strengthen our regional economies.
In relation to investments under the fund more broadly, we are just getting started. I look forward to updating the house on the many other exciting fund announcements that we will be making over the next few months.