ACT Government supporting local jobs, education and innovation through AIE Agreement,-education-and-innovation-through-aie-agreement
Released 29/08/2020

More local jobs will be created following an agreement between the ACT Government and the of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) for a revitalised campus precinct in Watson.

The project will help create local jobs, support the economic recovery from COVID-19 and further cement Canberra as the knowledge capital with another world-class higher education facility to be established in the ACT.

The Agreement reached between the two parties will ensure the future use of the old Watson high School site as an education precinct. It will also provide higher quality dedicated public green space for community use.

This is another vote of confidence in Canberra’s economy and our education sector and follows UNSW’s announcement earlier this year that it will build a new $1 billion campus in the city.

Canberra Technology Park has been the home of AIE since 1996. The agreement between AIE and the ACT Government, which involves a direct sale of land to AIE at market value, will allow the growing organisation to retain its global headquarters in Canberra at a new purpose-built boutique campus.

The agreement will also ensure green space around the site is retained, upgraded and maintained by the Territory, in line with community expectations. Further consultation will take place with the community regarding the detailed design of the green space.

AIE will develop a future intentions plan and engage with the community on its plans for the site, which includes administration and teaching facilities, a business incubator, space for industry partners, workshop spaces and student accommodation. That plan must be approved by the Territory prior to the sale of land being finalised.

The project signifies a $200 million investment in Canberra over 20 years, with the precinct expected to employ more than 250 staff and create more than 200 new jobs including in teaching and administration. The flow-on benefits to the local construction sector once development work commences are also an important part of the project, contributing to jobs and investment in the Territory.

The ACT Government’s decision regarding Canberra Technology Park was informed by the outcome of community consultation undertaken in February and March 2018, which showed 85 per cent support for the proposed future use of the site as a higher education and community precinct, including student accommodation, and upgraded public green space.

As part of the agreement, the ACT Government will demolish the buildings and remediate the site. AIE will also make a significant financial contribution to the replacement of the site’s existing tennis courts with two new multipurpose courts within the community green space.

AIE is at the forefront of education and training in the computer game development, 3D animation, technology, film production and visual effects industries. Its presence and continued growth in Canberra will attract investment, support innovation and create more job opportunities for young people.

Quotes attributable to John and Vicki De Margheriti, CEOs and Founders, Academy of Interactive Entertainment:

“Our ambition is to deliver a world class educational precinct that marries vocational and tertiary education with essential industry partnerships and research and development opportunities that have a strong commercialisation focus in games, film, and technologies like virtual production and other future careers that haven’t even been imagined yet!”

“We are committed to helping students realise their dreams and will be focusing on initiatives that provide a direct pathway into jobs so we can help to grow Canberra’s economy”.

– Statement ends –

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases