$288m AgriBio centre opens on Melbourne campus

Posted on April 10, 2013

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AgriBio at night: among the world’s best agricultural bioscience research facilities

Victoria’s new $288 million Centre for AgriBiosciences was officially unveiled in April on the University’s Melbourne campus.

Opened by State Premier Denis Napthine and Vice-Chancellor John Dewar, the cutting-edge facility houses some 400 world-leading scientists. It is a joint venture between the Victorian Government and La Trobe University.

Premier Napthine: new centre is at the forefront of innovation

Premier Napthine: new centre is at the forefront of innovation

‘The work carried out at the AgriBio centre will be of enormous benefit to the Victorian food and fibre industry,’ Dr Napthine said.

‘This facility is one of a kind in Australia and easily ranks among the world’s best agricultural bioscience research facilities.

‘The Victorian food and fibre industry produced a record $9 billion in exports in 2011-12 and the Coalition Government is committed to growing this figure through our super trade missions and the work that will take place at AgriBio.

‘Being at the forefront of innovation in agricultural research will be a massive advantage for our food and fibre producers and will make sure our valuable agricultural industries continue to deliver jobs and economic benefits throughout Victoria,’ Dr Napthine said.

Crucible of new discoveries

Professor Dewar said ‘I have no doubt AgriBio will be the crucible of many marvellous new discoveries that will underscore the University’s already formidable reputation for brilliant research.’

Building opened: Dr Napthine and Professor Dewar

Building opened: Dr Napthine and Professor Dewar

He said the state-of-the-art science centre was also an architecturally stunning addition to La Trobe’s Melbourne campus.

‘AgriBio’s presence will foster new opportunities for collaboration with leading national and international science organisations as well as being a beacon to people all over the world who want to study cutting-edge agricultural bioscience,’ Professor Dewar said.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the research undertaken at AgrioBio would lead to significant on-farm productivity gains and new defences against pests and diseases.

‘Scientists at AgriBio will be leading the world in gene discoveries in major plant and animal species and accelerated precision breeding technologies,’ Mr Walsh said.

‘They will also be at the cutting edge of biological control and other management strategies for weeds, plant and animal pests and serious diseases.

Goal to double food and fibre production

Guests at the opening included one of Australia’s most distinguished scientists, Sir Gustav Nossal, far right

‘Victoria has a goal to double food and fibre production by 2030 and this will only be achieved through investment now in research, development and extension of the kind that will be undertaken here at AgriBio,’ Mr Walsh said.

Minister for Major Projects David Hodgett said the facility was Australia’s only integrated agriculture biosciences research centre.

‘AgriBio has been specifically designed to enhance collaboration between scientists, and to facilitate a multidisciplinary approach to issues of local, national and international importance,’ Mr Hodgett said.

‘The facility will increase the competitiveness and sustainability of Victoria’s agriculture industry.

Tour of the labs: Dr Napthine with AgriBio joint Director, Professor German Spangenberg, right

Tour of the labs: Dr Napthine with AgriBio Co- Director, Professor German Spangenberg, right

The building includes one of Australia’s largest physical containment level three suites. The pressurized “box within a box” design of these suites will allow scientists to safely carry out industry-saving research on hazardous viruses.

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