LABOR has promised $150 million towards the University of Tasmania’s proposal to move its Launceston and Burnie campuses into the city.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten both visited Hobart on Thursday.
While Mr Turnbull said the campus relocation would bring “huge opportunity”, it was Mr Shorten who pledged the funds to make it happen – if Labor was elected.
“Over the last 12 months Labor’s Tasmania Taskforce has engaged with local communities in a frank conversation about how best to get Tasmania moving again,” Mr Shorten said.
“The University of Tasmania presented their proposal to the Tasmania Taskforce and have made a compelling case for a project that will transform Tasmania’s future.
“This co-investment will both increase higher education participation and attainment in Tasmania, as well as underpin growth and prosperity in North and North West Tasmania.”
Mr Shorten said the investment would help young Tasmanians get the “education they need to get a job and support a stronger economic future for the state”.
Mr Turnbull attended a Joint Commonwealth and Tasmanian Economic Council meeting in Hobart, and was briefed by the University of Tasmania.
“We’re very strongly in support of any developments that will see UTAS and Tasmania more generally better able to bring those export dollars here to drive its growth and its participation in the twenty-first century economy,” Mr Turnbull said.
“It has a significant foreign student component and it could be higher, it could be significantly higher.”
But he stopped short of making any promises.
UTAS Vice Chancellor Peter Rathjen welcomed Labor’s promise, and said he was delighted by the broad support for the project.
The proposal, which aims to process 12,000 extra students over the next decade, has a price tag of $300 million.
It would involve moving the Launceston campus to Inveresk, and the Burnie campus to West Park, creating about 3000 jobs.