Council's scientific breakthrough

THE Hastings could be home to a leading science research centre under a multi-million dollar plan.

A partnership was sealed on Friday between Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and Charles Sturt University in a step towards a food, soil and water research centre.

The collaboration would focus on scientific research and education and an expanded council laboratory service.

Mayor Peter Besseling said the council had provided the proposal details to Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott.

The council will contribute the land and be responsible for the day-to-day operation and staffing of the centre.

Cr Besseling said the proposal would bring a commercial advantage to the council and would also come with community benefits.

“Having a real focus on science is something that is very exciting and a sign of the maturity of the Hastings,” he said. It is believed the centre would not only encourage young people to consider science as a career but provide career opportunities.

The project has an estimated $4.3 million price tag.

The three-storey concept includes a basement car park, first storey commercial laboratory with a research and education facility above.

It would be built on council-owned land fronting Lord Street next to the Caltex service station.

The head of Charles Sturt University Port Macquarie Campus, Professor Ross Chambers, said the centre would give the university the opportunity to move into research and higher degrees here in the areas of food, soil and water.

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It would pave the way for the university recruit PhD students, for example.

“It will help us inspire people about the importance of science and give people the sense it is worthwhile to have an aspiration in that area,” he said.

“Food, soil and water are key things to our community.”

He said CSU was passionate about science and the university was overjoyed to see the opportunity to move quickly into some really good science here.

Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott has started discussions about funding and will continue to advocate for the proposal.

“I think it’s a very exciting proposal,” he said.

“Collaboration works big time for me and make the ask of government a lot easier but there is still work to be done to chase the funding.

“That’s where I kick in.”

The council’s environmental laboratory is located next to the wastewater treatment plant which has restricted its analytical capabilities.

Its primary role is to undertake sampling, monitoring, reporting and provide advice on water quality analysis outputs for council’s monitoring programs as well as undertake commercial work.

The proposed food, soil and water research centre would allow the council’s laboratory to enhance its commercial role in water quality analysis as well as diversifying into food and soil testing, along with participation in research activities.

It would pave the way for the university recruit PhD students, for example.

“It will help us inspire people about the importance of science and give people the sense it is worthwhile to have an aspiration in that area,” he said.

“Food, soil and water are key things to our community.”

He said CSU was passionate about science and the university was overjoyed to see the opportunity to move quickly into some really good science here.

Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott has started discussions about funding and will continue to advocate for the proposal.

“I think it’s a very exciting proposal,” he said.

“Collaboration works big time for me and make the ask of government a lot easier but there is still work to be done to chase the funding.

“That’s where I kick in.”

The council’s environmental laboratory is located next to the wastewater treatment plant which has restricted its analytical capabilities.

Its primary role is to undertake sampling, monitoring, reporting and provide advice on water quality analysis outputs for council’s monitoring programs as well as undertake commercial work.

The proposed food, soil and water research centre would allow the council’s laboratory to enhance its commercial role in water quality analysis as well as diversifying into food and soil testing, along with participation in research activities.

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