Melbourne could soon be home to a vast hi-tech education hub housing more than 80,000 international and local students in a 1.5 million-square-metre city campus.
The Chinese backed commercial venture, Australian Education City, hopes to establish itself as an inspirational education hub for 40,000 students with the creation of new high schools, vocational institutions through to universities as well as tapping into China’s $700 billion expenditure in research and development.
“We will deliver a collaborative university campus with one of Australia’s universities as our lead university, in conjunction with one of China’s top universities and a leading United Kingdom university,” the group’s website reads.
It is understood that Investors Direct — the consortium behind Australian Education City — is one of the remaining two bidders for 775 hectares of farmland between Geelong and Melbourne that the state government is selling.
It has already attracted a line-up of high-profile backers including former premier John Brumby, president of the Australia-China Business Council.
The other is Australand, one of Australia’s leading property developers, who is believed to be still in the race.
According to The Australian, the commercial project will likely feature an Australian and a Chinese university with the aim of “tapping into soaring demand from China for education in Australia and other Western nations”.
International education is currently Australia’s 4th largest export industry following a record number of 589,860 enrolments by full-fee paying international students in Australia last year.
China alone, contributed 115,311 enrolments by March this year making up 27.9% of the total number.
In addition to being an innovative education hub, Australian Education City could also see a huge boost in tourism numbers with China already generating more than 250,000 visitors per year and the largest international tourism market in Victoria.
Sale for the site began last June after the Andrews government called for bidders to submit long-term plans for the redevelopment of the area.
The Andrews government is hoping to see a total of 58,000 new jobs created with another 7000 new homes built on the site.
The Metropolitan Planning Authority is expected to announce the winning bidder later this month.
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