The Coalition Government will invest more than $3.9 million in Charles Sturt University to develop a training hub to protect Australia’s agricultural industry.
Minister for Regional Education, Bridget McKenzie said a total of more than $19 million is being invested in a range of projects to boost the research capabilities of Australia’s regional universities and, with it, create strong and thriving local economies.
Minister McKenzie said the ‘Training Hub promoting Regional Industry and Innovation in Virology and Epidemiology’ project, or ‘THRIIVE’, is one of five projects to be funded under the Coalition Government’s Regional Research Collaboration program.
Zoonotic diseases are those that can be transferred from animals to humans, or humans to animals. The $3.99 million research project will aim to reduce the disastrous impact on the Australian agriculture industry of Swine-Flu, Japanese encephalitis virus, Rift Valley fever virus, African swine fever virus, and other diseases.
“Australia produces world-class research, and we want our regions to contribute to that proud tradition as well as reap the benefits from it, creating more resilient regional economies,” Minister McKenzie said.
“This project will benefit the nation’s entire agricultural industry, playing a key role in how we can protect against zoonotic diseases by building regional capability in disease modelling, molecular virology and novel therapies.
“This will enhance our regional workforce with skills in detection, treatment, management and eradication of zoonotic diseases to reach the farming sector’s goal of a $100 billion agricultural industry by 2030.
“The Coalition Government continues to build on its more than $120 billion investment in regional Australia – the engine-room of our nation’s economy – to ensure a sustainable, prosperous and secure future for people living in the regions.
“By contrast, Labor has no plan or vision for regional centres like Wagga Wagga. Labor Leader Anthony Albanese can barely bring himself to mention the word ‘region’.”
Nationals Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack welcomed the announcement for the region and said the project championed world-class research being undertaken in the Riverina.
“The Regional Research Collaboration program supports the Coalition Government’s agenda to strengthen tertiary education in regional and remote Australia and works to align the research conducted at Australian universities with our National Manufacturing Priorities,” Mr McCormack said.
“Only a strong Coalition Government can ensure the delivery of more projects that grow our regional communities, while Labor continues to neglect and ignore regional Australians.”
Charles Sturt University Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon said this project will benefit multiple facets of the agriculture sector, including food and beverage, medical manufacturing, and livestock disease control.
“THRIIVE directly addresses the need for regional-based research by developing long-term strategic collaborations with industry and leading national and international research partners,” Ms Leon said.
“It will produce innovative solutions to agricultural viral modelling, diagnostics, vaccine development, antivirals, and novel therapeutics. These products will then be pursued for commercialisation.
“Charles Sturt University is thankful for the funding and proud to be leading a project that will have so many benefits in protecting regional Australia,” said Ms Leon.
The Regional Research Collaboration program was announced as part of the Job-ready Graduates program and addresses a key recommendation from the Napthine Review to grow the tertiary education sector in regional Australia.
Only the Coalition will continue to deliver a better future for Wagga Wagga, and this is part of our plan to build a strong economy and a stronger future.