Approval given to begin development phase of new UNSW Canberra City campus

The establishment of UNSW’s new Canberra city campus will attract local, national and international students and strengthen the University’s collaboration with ACT industry partners.

UNSW Canberra City Campus

The establishment of UNSW’s new Canberra city campus announced today by the ACT Government is forecast to attract around 6000 students, and become a hub of innovation. Photo: Vision for the UNSW Canberra City campus from Constitution Avenue, Artists’ impression.

The ACT Government today announced the approval of the Master Plan for the new UNSW Canberra City campus, giving the go-ahead for the development phase of the project to begin.

Together with UNSW Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Attila Brungs and UNSW Canberra Dean and Rector, Professor Emma Sparks, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr delivered the key milestone for the new $1 billion campus to be built on Constitution Avenue.

The establishment of UNSW’s new Canberra city campus is forecast to attract around 6000 local, national and international students, and will also become a hub of innovation, with a new Defence and Security Innovation Precinct set to be a key feature of the new campus.

UNSW Canberra campus builds on collaboration with ACT industry 

Professor Brungs said a second Group of Eight university in the city will strengthen Canberra’s reputation as the knowledge and education capital of Australia.

"The new, state-of-the-art campus will be a hub for UNSW to deepen our existing collaboration with industry in the ACT, which is already exemplified by 350 staff co-located onsite," Prof. Brungs said.

"UNSW Canberra City will strengthen UNSW’s robust commitment to education, research and innovation in the ACT, building on the strategic partnership that has endured for 55 years in UNSW Canberra at ADFA.

"Importantly, UNSW Canberra City will support capability growth in critical technologies and national priority areas such as cyber security and artificial intelligence. 

"I would like to thank the ACT Government and other project partners who have been instrumental in bringing a future-focused vision of the site to life in the UNSW Canberra City Master Plan."

Chief Minister Barr said development of the new UNSW Canberra city campus will support the further growth and diversification of the ACT economy through increased student numbers, research investment and the creation of additional jobs, and will generate up to $3 billion in economic benefits for the ACT economy. 

"The last three years has seen UNSW consult and work with the local community to ensure the Master Plan not only delivers educational and innovation outcomes, but also delivers a campus that revitalises the eastern edge of the Canberra CBD," Chief Minister Barr said.

"I would like to congratulate UNSW for reaching this important stage and milestone of the project, and for their comprehensive engagement with the local community through the master planning process."

Development planning for the campus is now underway, with the appointment of architects expected in the coming months. Work on the new campus is hoped to begin in 2024 and the project, which consists of 14 buildings across the eight hectares, is scheduled for completion in 2036.

New campus located in the heart of Canberra's innovation hub

The UNSW Canberra City campus will be built in stages to accommodate future growth and is located in the middle of Canberra’s research and innovation corridor, situated with other like-minded institutions such as the Defence precinct in Russell and Campbell.

“The campus is an ideal location for industry, government and universities to collaborate and work more closely together,” Prof. Sparks said.

“The campus will also be the new home for UNSW Canberra's highly successful Launch initiative, which is a purpose-built precinct designed to host industry and entrepreneurs in a vibrant, connected environment."

Complementing existing academic courses and research at the ADFA campus, UNSW Canberra City advances the University’s place in the nation’s capital, reinforcing its commitment to the region.  

“Today is a really important and proud day for UNSW. What was up until now just an idea has become a reality and it means that we can now move forward with the design and construction of what will be a truly world-class university campus, right in the heart of Canberra,” Prof. Sparks said.