Western Sydney’s reputation as a hub for research, education and innovation, continues to grow, with today’s announcement that Australian Catholic University (ACU) will open a new campus in Blacktown CBD.
Chairman of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown AM, who is also Pro Chancellor at Western Sydney University and Convenor of Advance Blacktown, a civic leadership forum, welcomed the news of the region’s newest educational centre.
“Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali has driven support for a local university, and this project, which starts with an innovative pop-up campus in Main Street, is a game-changer for the city,” Mr Brown said. “He deserves great praise for his leadership in securing this big hometown win.”
Mr Brown said the new campus should provide the spark for a broader renewal of the Blacktown CBD. “Blacktown is well-connected and is at the centre of a huge population catchment with a growing appetite for higher education. A university campus should be the first step in a larger urban renewal project for the Blacktown CBD, leveraging its existing transport, health, entertainment and retail assets.
Today’s announcement builds on recent new campus announcements at Westmead, Parramatta and Badgerys Creek, as more and more universities begin to recognise the potential and growth opportunities in Western Sydney.
ACU’s commitment to Blacktown sees them join WSU, UNSW, Sydney and Wollongong universities as institutions which have all recently announced plans to develop new facilities in the region.
“We’ve seen the impact that universities have had on cities in Western Sydney, not only in terms of education, but helping generate positive urban, social and economic outcomes. Parramatta, Campbelltown and Liverpool are great examples and we can expect a similar outcome in many of our other growth areas, including Blacktown,” Mr Brown said.
The Dialogue also paid tribute to ACU Chairman, Hon. John Fahey AC, for his personal support of Western Sydney.
The university will invest $220 million in the fit-out of an interim building and two permanent, high-rise buildings in Warrick Lane. The interim campus is the first phase in ACU’s program that will see four faculties set up. The new campus will occupy part of Blacktown Council’s Main St building, while two high-rises along Warrick Lane are built.
Enrolments in Blacktown courses will start in 2020 across education and arts; health sciences; law and business; and theology and philosophy.
ACU is Australia’s largest provider of graduate teachers and nurses and is ranked in the top 3% of university’s worldwide. An information centre will be established at the Main St building in 2019.