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Victoria’s state-of-the-art research facility on track for completion

Construction on Victoria’s new home of agricultural science, the $288 million Centre for AgriBiosciences, is running ahead of schedule and is set to become one of most sophisticated facilities of its kind when it opens early next year.

Minister for Major Projects Dr Napthine was joined today by the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh in an inspection of the facility as it undergoes its final fit-out before technical completion.

“This centre will lead the fight against plant and animal disease and protect Victoria’s $9 billion agriculture industry,” Dr Napthine said.

“With more than 70 controlled environment rooms capable of simulating real world conditions for plant and pest research, AgriBio will be a tremendous asset for Victorian researchers and cement our reputation as a leader in agricultural science.

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

“On top of this the AgrioBio facility has achieved a 5 Star Green Star design rating, which means it will offer value for money by reducing running and operational costs over the next 25 years.

“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to protecting our vital agricultural industry and we have made sure this facility is tracking on schedule and will be ready for operation early next year,” Dr Napthine said.

The Ministers inspected some of the building’s features, including a sophisticated gas fired tri-generator that powers the building and feeds energy back into the electrical grid. The waste-heat generated by the system will heat and cool the facility.

Mr Walsh said the cutting edge research carried out at AgrioBio would create substantial productivity gains for Victoria’s food and fibre industries.
“As one of Australia’s premier biosciences facilities, AgriBio will give our food and fibre producers a competitive edge in global markets,” Mr Walsh said.

“It will help them harness the latest scientific and technological expertise to achieve new productivity gains on farm.

“The centre will lead the world in research on gene discovery in major plant and animal species, molecular breeding for drought tolerance and disease resistance and genetics related to plant and animal productivity and health.”

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson said the new facility will foster opportunities for collaboration and enhanced education outcomes.

“I am delighted to see the progress of this beautiful new building as it signifies the growth of new opportunities for science and collaboration between La Trobe researchers and world leading scientists,” Professor Johnson said.

The facility will provide a new research home for up to 400 scientists and students from the Department of Primary Industries and La Trobe University.

AgriBio is a joint initiative by the Victorian Government, through the Department of Primary Industries, and La Trobe University. It is being delivered by Major Projects Victoria as a Public Private Partnership under the Partnership Victoria framework.