Port Macquarie to get multi-million dollar food, soil and water research centre

A MULTI-MILLION dollar investment in Port Macquarie’s higher education sector is expected to be announced today.

Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott is likely to announce a food, soil and water research centre will be built in Port Macquarie at a cost of more than $5 million.

That will put Port Macquarie at the forefront of food, soil and water research on the Mid-North Coast.

The centre would be delivered in partnership with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and Charles Sturt University at the university’s campus in the planning stages off Major Innes Road.

The science research centre concept was unveiled by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and Charles Sturt University late last year when the two signed a memorandum of understanding.

A federal contribution was needed to make the project a reality and that is where Mr Oakeshott’s assistance was sought.

At the time, Mr Oakeshott said a science centre would make a significant contribution to research into soil quality, water management and environmental sustainability – the key issues confronting our farm and land sectors this century.

“If Australia wants to make the most of the economic opportunities of the world’s population doubling by 2050, then we need to find the answers to some pretty significant challenges, including feeding more people with less arable soil and less water,” Mr Oakeshott said.

Charles Sturt University and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, which operates an environmental laboratory for water, soil and other testing services, signed a memorandum of understanding on the research institute last December.

“A new food, soil and water research centre will resolve the council’s challenges with its tired, old facility in Koala Street,” Mr Oakeshott said.

It is understood the council would have faced the cost of relocating its laboratory in the future if this project did not get across the line.

Mr Oakeshott said the research centre would deliver another education arm to the ongoing expansion of Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie and it would deliver to our community higher-end research fields to complement our ongoing push for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

“We are changing education opportunities, and career opportunities, on the Mid-North Coast – not just for the foreseeable future but for decades to come,” he said.

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