The Australian Education City consortium has reaffirmed its vision for the East Werribee Employment Precinct by launching a new website that further details its $31 billion smart city plan.
The new website features previously unknown detail about the AEC’s masterplan for the 412-hectare site, and a number of videos from key players within the consortium and its partners that espouse the benefits of the East Werribee plan.
The consortium has promised to deliver six million square metres of education, research and development, innovation, residential, community and commercial space on what is the largest undeveloped parcel of publicly-owned surplus government land in metropolitan Melbourne, including:
– A university to cater for 40,000 students, including 20,000 international students;
– Housing to accommodate 80,000 residents, including 21,000 high or medium density apartments, 6900 student dwellings and 1450 stand-alone houses and townhouses;
– An underground train line and new stations that link up to the Werribee line;
– Nearly 800,000 square metres of research and development space to be operated by international business park partners, and 1.15 million square metres of other commercial office floor space, which will contribute to more than 90,000 new jobs; and
– An arts, culture and entertainment precinct that will include exhibitions, waterfront entertainment and community sporting facilities.
The consortium has memorandums of understanding to partner with a number of Asian and global companies including PWC, IBM, Honeywell, Cisco, Telstra, JP Morgan and Jacobs.
AEC executive director Ross Martiensen said East Werribee would be a “live, work and play environment” that would create a 20-minute walkable neighbourhood and strong employment opportunities close to home.
“The Australian Education City will incorporate four schools, from primary up to secondary, as well as a 10,000-student TAFE or training facility and a 40,000-student campus, both undergraduate and post-graduate,” Mr Martiensen said.
“The [university] campus is going to be a little bit different in that there’s going to be integration with industry and commercial opportunity, but also it’s going to be serviced by a number of different educational institutions all operating within the same space.
“What excites me about this project is the opportunity to build a new precinct from scratch.
“We expect that public transport will be the primary mode of transit, and we also have a goal to be energy-neutral to provide enough energy for the site from sustainable sources.”
He said planned initiatives include the use of microgrids and renewables; energy storage via battery banks; and centralised cooling, heating and waste management services shared by neighbourhoods.
Wyndham council deals, investment and major projects director Kate Roffey added: “We really need to start to generate the jobs growth, the high-end technical growth that we need to match the population growth.
“This is a city shaper, [it] puts us on the map.”
AEC advisor Haydn Wright said the support and participation of Chinese and other foreign investors was essential for several reasons, and would provide the consortium with the required level of capital and create academic and commercial gateways between Australia, Europe, the US and China.
As reported by Star Weekly last month, the future of the East Werribee Employment Precinct remains under a cloud more than three years after announcing the AEC as the preferred bidders for the site.
A spokesperson for Werribee MP Tim Pallas said that the state government was “continuing to undertake an assessment of this project before making any decisions about whether it will proceed”.
The government would not reveal why it is taking so long for a decision to be made on the plans for the precinct or when a decision could be expected.
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