Labor pledges $7m to ACU Blacktown

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ACU Blacktown announcement
From left: Senator Louise Pratt, Labor MP Michelle Rowland, ACU vice chancellor Hayden Ramsay, Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali. PHOTO: ACU

Australian Catholic University has welcomed a federal Labor Party election promise to dedicate $7 million towards the establishment of a new Blacktown campus.

Shadow assistant minister for universities and equality Senator Louise Pratt announced on 24 April that the ALP would allocate the grant from a $300 million University Future Fund it has promised to establish if elected.

Senator Pratt said the multi-million dollar funding promise was part of the party’s wider commitment to remove caps on university places to allow students greater access to tertiary education in western Sydney. The grant would speed up the renovation of a building in Main Street as the start of ACU’s new campus from 2020 providing facilities for students from western Sydney.

Deputy vice-chancellor Professor Hayden Ramsay welcomed the election pledge. “The university can now build the nucleus of an ACU Blacktown campus even more quickly and with great confidence,” he said.

“It is time now for a university option in Blacktown so people who live here, work here and have commitments here can go to a university on their own doorstep.”

ACU Blacktown campus
The proposed design for the ACU Blacktown campus. IMAGE: ACU

Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali said Blacktown City Council also welcomed the announcement by the Federal Labor Party. “ACU’s Blacktown Campus is a vital part of Council’s vision for transforming Blacktown,” he said.

Federal Labor member for Greenway Michelle Rowland said the 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.

ACU has partnered with Blacktown City Council to establish a university campus with four faculties and more than 30 courses.

It will open in 2020 with pathway and business leadership programs. From 2021 it will offer full-degree programs from four faculties.