He cited La Trobe’s ‘Future Ready’ campus development plan for its Melbourne campus in Bundoora as a good example of what the government has in mind with its new ‘20 Minute Cities’ concept, part of the ambitious new Metropolitan Planning Strategy.
Mr Guy’s comments came after he and Premier Ted Baillieu opened a planning forum in Melbourne this weekend.
He said La Trobe was discussing with government the development of ‘a job cluster’ or ‘precinct.’ ‘They plan to build a ‘”Univer-CITY”. That’s a great concept,’ he added.
‘The University has a great range of facilities and open space, which they want to use beyond traditional university hours.
‘What they want to do is build higher-density accommodation that can service the campus and surrounding precinct.’
Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar congratulated the State Government on this acknowledgement of the University’s efforts, and its recognition of the potential importance of La Trobe as a growth hub in Melbourne's north.
‘Such a move will consolidate La Trobe as a globally excellent university that also has a strong and increasing commitment to its local community,’ he said.
Professor Dewar said Melbourne’s north has grown and changed substantially since the University was established.
‘It is time that we refresh our vision for how we will play our role in this dynamic region with its rapidly growing population, industries and infrastructure.’
He said that the University is already well advanced with plans to expand the Northern Bioscience Precinct. It is also partnering with local governments, Northern Melbourne Regional Development Australia and NorthLINK to organise a regional Summit, ‘Melbourne's North: Now and Tomorrow’ to help support regional growth.
‘We have just opened on campus our new $100 million La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science, and are about to officially launch the $300 million agricultural biotechnology research hub, Agribio, a joint venture with the Department of Primary Industry.
Other facilities in the precinct include the Victoria Police Forensic Science Laboratories, EPA Victoria, and Charles La Trobe College with its Quantum Victoria schools science education centre.
‘All of this has the potential to greatly improve employment opportunities and residential infrastructure in Melbourne’s north,’ Professor Dewar said.
‘Our new vision for Melbourne’s north will see us turn the Melbourne campus “inside out” so we can reach out to the surrounding community more actively than we have in the past.
‘In this way we can build a more creative and dynamic environment for the University and local people.
‘Our goal is to become a vibrant centre of culture, recreation and education which welcomes a broad cross-section of students, staff as well as the surrounding community.’
‘As Minister Guy has highlighted, we have many facilities on this campus – from a library, shops, banks, newsagent and post office to sporting areas, including an indoor swimming pool, many of which we plan to upgrade in the near future.’
Professor Dewar said while La Trobe is closer to the Melbourne CBD, and to its nearest railway stations than Monash University, there is still great need for improved public transport to better connect the campus to all parts of Melbourne's north, as well as the rest of the city.
There is a good tram service, but public transport to the University lacked a strong rail network with a connection of hub of bus lines. For example, only 21% of journeys to La Trobe are by public transport, yet students come from most residential postcodes of Melbourne.
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