Geraldton is set to become home to one of the most significant and unique maritime centres in the world with construction of the $11.9million Batavia Coast Marine Centre and Abrolhos Islands Research Institute starting today.
Education and Training Minister Alan Carpenter, together with Fisheries and Mid-West Minister Kim Chance and local MLA Shane Hill, visited the site at Separation Point today.
Mr Carpenter said the project had been developed in partnership with the State and Commonwealth Governments, Mid-West Development Commission, City of Geraldton, Central West TAFE, the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Fisheries.
“The development of the Separation Point Marine Precinct is one of the Gallop Government’s key commitments and will create many opportunities for Geraldton in areas such as employment, tourism, research, education and training,” he said.
“Completion of both centres is scheduled for November 2005 in time for the start of the 2006 academic year.
“The $9.9million Batavia Coast Marine Centre will be a maritime and aquaculture skills training campus of Central West TAFE with the capacity for up to 210 full-time students.
“The marine centre will be managed by Central West TAFE and will educate and train students from entry level to advanced techniques in maritime studies, aquaculture and emerging aspects of the fishing industry - a vital part of Geraldton’s economy.”
Mr Carpenter said the marine centre also included a $1.3million saltwater underground pipeline - the seawater intake - to be built by Engineered Water Systems. The pipeline is planned for completion in July this year.
Mr Chance said work at the $2million Abrolhos Islands Research Institute would consolidate WA’s reputation as a leader in establishing sustainable fisheries.
“The institute, managed and operated by the Department of Fisheries, will be one of only a few crustacean-oriented centres of specialisation in the world,” he said.
“Its functions will include monitoring of rock lobster numbers, facilitating opportunities to harness post-harvest technology and complementing research on the Islands being conducted at the Saville-Kent Centre on Rat Island.”
Mr Chance said the precinct was designed to maximise available land for future expansion and included the capacity to support a future Marine Interpretive Centre.
“The Marine Interpretive Centre, the third component of the Separation Point Marine Precinct, would be a great tourism opportunity for Geraldton, showcasing the Mid-West maritime and fishing environment,” he said.
“It is still in the planning stage, with the Mid-West Development Commission starting a feasibility study shortly.”
Mr Hill welcomed the start of work on the new facilities and said there had been strong support from the Geraldton community for the project.
“These facilities will be integral in assisting the growth and development of the vital fishing and aquaculture industries in the Mid-West,” he said.
“Apart from raising the international profile of the region, the precinct will create employment opportunities for the local community and give the people of Geraldton the opportunity to acquire skills in the region where they work and live.”
The State and Commonwealth Governments jointly fund the Batavia Marine Centre.
The tender for the marine centre and research facility has been awarded to builders Cooper and Oxley. Cox Howlett and Bailey Woodland are the architects for the project.
Education and Training Minister’s office: 9213 6800
Mid-West Minister’s office: 9213 6700