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Support for Sydney campus of Notre Dame.

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I am pleased to announce today that the Government will approve and support the establishment by the University of Notre Dame Australia of a campus in Sydney on the site of the historic St Benedict’s church and school in Broadway, Chippendale and the Sacred Heart parish site in Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, opposite St Vincent’s Hospital.

The project will see the introduction by Notre Dame in 2006 of courses in Law, Business, Teaching, and Nursing. In 2007 it will seek to establish a Medical School based on the Darlinghurst site, which will service the long-term needs of Catholic hospitals and health care services in south eastern Australia, including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and the regional Catholic hospital and health care system in New South Wales and Victoria. This new Medical School, which will require formal Australian Medical Council accreditation before it can commence, will have an initial intake of 80 students. It will be an important contributor to the long-term viability and mission-focus of the Catholic health care system in eastern Australia.

The Government will support this new university development with an allocation of 60 Commonwealth supported commencing HECS places in medicine, 60 commencing HECS places in nursing, and 80 commencing HECS places in teaching.

It is anticipated that the University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney based campuses will grow to an undergraduate and postgraduate enrolment of up to 3,000 students. Most of these will be fee-paying and will benefit from the very significant Fee Help Scheme recently introduced by the Commonwealth as part of its Higher Education reforms. Fee Help provides equitable access for fee-paying Australian students to Commonwealth assistance in meeting the cost of their higher education fees.

The Commonwealth will also provide a capital contribution of $4m to help meet the costs of the refurbishment and development of the facilities on the Broadway and Darlinghurst campus. The Archdiocese of Sydney will be contributing more than $20 million to the project in the form of the value of existing land and buildings, and $5m in direct cash support.

This is an excellent example of the private sector cooperating with Government to provide valuable and much needed services of outstanding quality and relevance to meeting the health and education needs of the people in south eastern Australia. The medical faculty will serve regional health care providers as well as those in the main metropolitan areas. The teacher education courses will provide special support for the rapidly expanding Catholic school system in the Diocese of Parramatta.

I am delighted that the Government is able to support this project and congratulate Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, and Dr Tannock, Vice Chancellor of the University of Notre Dame Australia, for developing the initiative.

1 August 2004