IN a visionary move, the WA State Government has announced the signing of a multi-million dollar agr

31 May, 2007 07:00 PM
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The Department¹s new premises are scheduled for construction during the next four years.

WA Agriculture Minister Kim Chance announced last week that $126 million had been allocated to merge the Department¹s metropolitan research, policy and administration services and new bio-security facilities with the veterinary school and WA Biotechnology Centre at Murdoch University.

The Department will vacate its aging metropolitan offices at South Perth and assume fresh facilities on the grounds of Murdoch University.

The proposed new metropolitan centre and bio-security research facility will replace the aging and outdated South Perth facilities built in the 1950s.

Two other metropolitan sites, at Midland and Armadale, were considered for the project but Murdoch was preferred after studies considered the long-term viability of each location.

Relocation from the old site and establishment of WA¹s new Bio-security Centre is due to be completed by 2011.

Land for the new facilities is being leased from Murdoch University by the Agriculture Department at a bargain basement cost of only $1 a year.

The project has been on the Department¹s agenda for more than a decade with initial planning starting in 1997.

The Department will now decide how to re-shuffle its 1700 strong work force, and in particular determine the future for about 800 of its staff housed at metropolitan locations.

Around 680 staff members are expected to be posted to the new facility at Murdoch University while the remaining 120 staff will be re-located to other metropolitan sites, in moves designed to maximise research alliances with a number of other universities and CSIRO.

The project¹s supervisors have provided assurances that the Department¹s day-to-day services and critical research projects, in particular for vital areas of bio-security, will remain un-interrupted during the process of moving to the new location.

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