Joint with Senator Louise Pratt, Shadow Assistant Minister for Universities, Chris Bowen MP, Federal Member for McMahon, and Ed Husic MP, Federal Member for Chifley.

A Shorten Labor Government will commit $7 million towards plans put forward by Blacktown City Council and Australian Catholic University (ACU) to bring a university campus to Blacktown.

Labor commends the Blacktown City Council for its strategic vision seeking to attract a quality higher education provider into its CBD.

While 37 per cent of Greater Sydney’s university student population live in Western Sydney, only 18 per cent of university places are located there. A new Blacktown campus will help remedy this imbalance.

The Blacktown area has a higher proportion of residents from backgrounds less likely to attend university, including new migrants, Indigenous Australians, and students whose parents did not attend university. The new campus will give more people the opportunity to pursue higher education by providing a local option that is of high quality and is accessible.

Since the Liberals abolished the highly successful Education Investment Fund, universities have lacked the funds to support infrastructure investment.

In addition, the capping of university enrolments since 2017 has made it impossible for universities to grow to meet demand in underserved communities.

In contrast, Labor’s $7 million investment will ensure fast-tracked funding for this high priority project in Blacktown.

Equally important for the future of this new campus is Labor’s commitment to uncap university places, which will help ensure the Blacktown campus can teach up to 3,000 students in the next few years.

Both of these initiatives will enable students from surrounding areas to pursue meaningful and practical university courses in their own community, adding vibrancy to the Blacktown CBD and with quality education in professions such as nursing, teaching and law.

Labor’s funding will enable ACU to establish an operational campus by 2020, featuring a nursing simulation ward, science lab, student support space, and group study and informal learning areas.

Labor is committed to seeing the growth of new opportunities in higher education in Blacktown and Western Sydney. Only Labor has a plan to do this; with our commitment to uncap university enrolments and support for this new campus, we will see a real boost to the provision of quality higher education in the region.

“This announcement is a strategic investment in the long-term future of Blacktown City, providing students in Greenway with first-rate university access close to home,” Labor Member of Greenway, Michelle Rowland said.

“This election is a choice between Labor’s plan for better schools and universities, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals. After six years of Liberal cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready to deliver a fair go for all Australians.”

ACU will establish an operational campus at Main Street, Blacktown, by 2020. This campus will be leased for five years while a more permanent presence is constructed. Labor’s $7 million commitment will be matched by ACU to refurbish and fit out the interim premises.

This funding is part of Labor’s $300 million University Future Fund.