WA's Great Southern will host a new world-class centre for rural medicine and natural resource management with today's opening of The University of Western Australia's $6.2 million UWA Albany Science Building.
The ceremony was jointly conducted by the Hon. Brendon Grylls, MLA, Minister for Regional Development, Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development and Leader of the National Party of WA; and the Hon Peter Collier, MLC, WA Minister for Education.
UWA - ranked 26th in the world for life and agricultural sciences and in the band 51-75 for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy - has built Albany's new state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities for UWA's Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management (CENRM) and the Rural Clinical School of WA.
Mr Grylls said the State Government had invested $1.5 million of WA Royalties for Regions funds for science research and teaching in Albany to help reinforce UWA's strong contribution and potential in the Great Southern.
In addition to Royalties for Regions funding, the project is supported by a further $1.5 million in State Government funding, $2.24 million from the Federal Government and $1m from UWA.
UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robyn Owens said today's opening marks a significant milestone in the advancement of world-class teaching and scientific research in regional Western Australia.
"The Great Southern is a biodiversity hotspot - a natural laboratory for advanced science to provide sustainable environmental solutions that will benefit industry, government agencies and the entire regional community," Professor Owens said.
"It's also a natural place to teach and research rural medicine in the context of local health needs and regional community expectations."
Albany's new science facility will be used to teach medical students from UWA and the University of Notre Dame Australia in a program designed specifically to attract more doctors to regional, rural and remote communities, including the Great Southern.
It will also expand the CERNM's leadership role - in partnership with Federal, State and Local Government agencies - in solving natural resource management issues through advanced research in areas such as water management, salt-tolerant tree crops, commercial horticulture, dairy farm ecology, abalone farming, nitrogen-induced algal blooms and fish kills, and the environmental impact of mining on wetlands.
Today's opening was also attended by Great Southern Development Commission CEO Bruce Manning, Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington and internationally renowned plant conservation biologist Professor Stephen Hopper, who is UWA's new Chair in Biodiversity.
The new UWA Albany Science Building is located at 31 Stirling Terrace, Albany.