A long-speculated, triple-tiered government deal in Western Australia was finalised on Sunday, which will see the state’s Edith Cowan University (ECU) move into the Perth CBD ready to open its doors in 2025.
The massive $695 million agreement is a joint effort between federal, state and local governments to kickstart major projects in the city centre, bringing ECU from its Mount Lawley campus to Wellington Street, just west of Yagan Square. The land for the project has been contributed in-kind by the State Government and is valued at $150 million; the Federal Government is further contributing $245 million, with the university agreeing to spend $300 million for the new campus.
More than 9,200 students and staff from the university’s technology, arts, business and law and cybersecurity schools are to be included in the relocation. Estimates have the project pumping an additional $1.5 billion into the local economy and should see more than 3,100 news jobs created during construction.
Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said the ‘Perth City Deal’, as it is referred to, would “revitalise" the city centre.
"I think this is the biggest announcement for the Perth city in the history of the state," she said.
"I think it'll completely transform the city and bring that activity, that vibrancy, that we've all wanted and I think other cities have been able to achieve through having university campuses."
ECU vice-chancellor Steve Chapman also commented on the deal’s significance for both the university and the city, stating, “This is an outstanding result for ECU and for the state.”
“We are delighted to be working with all levels of government to create Perth’s first comprehensive university campus in the heart of the city.” He continued.
“It is a transformational project which will change the face of our city and shape the future for ECU and its students.
“ECU City Campus will naturally be a drawcard for students and academics, but it will also provide enormous opportunities for industry integration, including areas like cybersecurity ensuring the development of a future-fit workforce."
The deal is also set to benefit a number of other projects, with $105 million set aside for a CBD transport plan, $20 million for the Perth Cultural Centre precinct and $42 million to develop the Perth Concert Hall. Homeless services will also get a boost, under the previously announced 'Common Ground' project, of around $36 million.
The Mount Lawley Senior High School will also benefit, expanding its grounds into the old ECU Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). The popular senior school is in dire need of land and facilities and so ECU’s move into the city is seen as a win-win and for ends of the transfer.