Finalised contracts herald start to National Marine Science Centre

Published 26 February 2001

The $12.0 million, Federally-funded National Marine Science Centre (NMSC) on the NSW north coast has taken a major step following the official exchange of contracts finalising the consortium's purchase of land and buildings from Thackral Holdings. The NMSC's Board also awarded the building contract recently, selecting Wheeler, Rice and Associates from a competitive pool of eight tenderers.

The Centre, located at Charlesworth Bay, 3.6kms north of Coffs Harbour, will be operated jointly by the University of New England and Southern Cross University. It is being funded by the Commonwealth Government's Federation Fund and will undertake research projects drawing on the two Universities' complementary strengths in marine biology, ecology, coral biology, pollution and coastal management.

It will also offer access to school groups and consult closely with marine industries and environmental, commercial and community interests. The NMSC's current Director, Professor Rod Simpson of UNE, said that the Centre was on track to be completed by the end of this year. "The exchange of contracts and appointment of a construction company means that we're on time to be ready for students in this facility at the beginning of 2002," Professor Simpson said.

Southern Cross University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Rickard said the Centre was already attracting a great deal of national and international research interest.

"Several government departments and other universities have expressed an interest in being part of the Centre and its programmes," Professor Rickard said. "It is already being seen as a hub for development of advanced marine technology."

Also represented on the Centre's Board is the Federal Member for Cowper, Hon. Garry Nehl, who submitted the project to the Federal Government and campaigned strongly to secure funding for the Centre.

For further information please contact:

Professor Rod Simpson, UNE (Director, NSMC), 02 6773 5021 Professor John Rickard, Vice-Chancellor, Southern Cross University 02 6620 3703 Professor Ingrid Moses, Vice Chancellor, University of New England 02 6773 2144 Garry Nehl, MP, 02 6652 6233