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Funds for UTAS Defence precinct set

The federal government and University of Tasmania are set to sign an agreement for the funding of a new $30 million Defence and Maritime Innovation and Design Precinct at the Australian Maritime College in Launceston.

The funding was a key election promise by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the 2019 campaign.

The project is expected to create hundreds of jobs.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the agreement between Defence and UTAS outlined a three-year program, which would expand the capability of the AMC.

The funding agreement will result in $3 million in 2020-21, $15 million in 2021-22 and $12 million in 2022-23.

"I'm pleased to deliver this funding to develop the Defence and Maritime Innovation and Design Precinct at the University's Newnham Campus in Launceston," Senator Reynolds said.

"This new precinct will foster maritime-specific solutions as well as a broad range of science and technology capabilities, drawing academics from across the country to support Defence Science and Technology."

AMC principal Michael van Balen AO said there was potential for further funding through UTAS including via industry partnerships.

The aim of the DMIDP is to maximise opportunities for Tasmania from the Australian Government's $90 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan and the Defence Industrial Capability Plan.

"AMC's suite of maritime engineering and hydrodynamics test and experimentation facilities and researcher expertise is unique in Australia and will provide the core from which to establish the DMIDP," Mr van Balen said.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said it was critical that Australia harness the skills, talents and expertise of the entire innovation network to deliver the best possible outcomes for Defence and Australia more broadly.

"Launceston has long been considered a hub of excellence in maritime engineering and innovation," Ms Price said.

"This development will help preserve the AMC's role as our national maritime institute."

Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer said the partnership would create nearly 60 local jobs during the construction program.

"It's estimated the initiative will create over 150 new jobs in the region each year," Mrs Archer said.

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Published on: 14 Jul 2020 3:54pm