THE University of Tasmania's $83.5 million Northern health science precinct would be a major step closer to becoming a reality under a re-elected Labor government.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will today promise $28 million over four years for the university's ambitious plan to build a new health science and sports training and research precinct at its Newnham campus.
The project would allow an extra 700 students to be trained in nursing, physiotherapy or sports science fields and more health science subjects to be incorporated into other degrees offered at the campus.
Bass Labor MHR Geoff Lyons said it was the boost Northern Tasmania needed.
``The idea of this is to increase the level of healthiness in Northern Tasmania,'' Mr Lyons said.
He hoped work could begin as soon as next year with the investment estimated to generate a $1.2 billion economic return to Tasmania over the next decade.
Mr Lyons said it would allow more students to complete health courses without having to travel interstate.
The university has predicted the initiative would drive the development of new industries such as solutions to chronic disease, lifestyle and physical activity, disability and ageing and others that rely on the National Broadband Network such as tele-health and e-health.
Mr Lyons said he had lobbied hard to secure the funds under a re-elected Labor government.
``It is really the boost that the university needs,'' Mr Lyons said.
``It'll be set up as an exercise hub so that if the English cricket team were in Tasmania and wanted somewhere to train or some expertise they could come here.''
The existing campus would be redeveloped to provide new labs and teaching spaces.
The university will also seek funding from the state government for the project which is backed by more than 20 community, health, sporting and local government organisations, including the CSIRO and the North Melbourne Football Club.