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The abandoned swimming pool at Nirimba Education Precinct.. The abandoned swimming pool at Nirimba Education Precinct.. Featured
06 June 2022 Posted by 


$500M windfall for Western Sydney University
Special Report
THE unique Nirimba Education Precinct at Quakers Hill is under threat of being sold off to developers for around $500M, says Blacktown MP Stephen Bali.

Expressing his concern for the future of university education in Blacktown, Mr Bali has written to Western Sydney University (WSU) Senior Vice Chancellor and Provost, Professor Clare Pollock calling on the university to clarify its position on the campus.

“I acknowledge the role WSU has played iп the provision of academic courses in the Blacktown area but unfortunately rumours persist as to WSU's intentions for Nirimba campus,” Mr Bali said in his letter to Professor Pollock.

Mr Bali told WSBA News that be believed the Precinct’s prime land was under threat and was estimated to be worth half a billion plus.

“I have been previously informed Ьу WSU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Glover АО that I ought to support the selling of the Nirimba campus so part of the funds may Ье invested into the Blacktown CBD campus.

“Obviously, at the time, I could not see the benefit to the people of Blacktown City, receiving а potentially minimalist approach for tertiary education in our expanding region.

“The evidence is clear that over the past 15 years that there has been а dramatic drop in course offerings, student numbers and staffing arrangements at Nirimba campus.

“Conversely, since 1995 and the establishment of WSU, Blacktown City's population grew Ьу more than 170,000, predominantly in the north-west area. Also, one cannot forget the closure of the pool which was part of the responsibility of precinct and the university,” Mr Bali said

The 65ha Precinct comprises Western Sydney University's The College, Wyndham College, Nirimba TAFE NSW, St John Paul II Catholic College and Wyndham College

Many local residents in adjacent Quakers Hill purchased their properties because they were close to the Precinct and it was promoted as a future powerhouse of education in the West.

Nirimba, which means pelican, was previously an RAAF base in WW2 and a Naval Training Academy up until 1994 (see breakout).

Mr Bali said the Education Precinct was established in 1995 with a vision of being a world-class educational community spanning senior secondary, TAFE and university sectors to provide a unique delivery of education and training through collaborative partnerships.

“Western Sydney University (WSU) began in 1995 to offer undergraduate courses through to post-graduate degrees in a range of disciplines, while TAFE offered opportunities for apprentices and trainees in building and construction industries, business, social sciences and other disciplines.”

Mr Bali said the secondary schools had gone from strength to strength, but it was a different story for WSU and TAFE.

“WSU began reducing degree offerings in 2004 and by 2007 announced the closure of degree courses forcing 2700 students to relocate to other campuses despite outcries by Blacktown City Council, State and Federal parliamentarians and the community, “he said.

“To somewhat address the community outrage UWS College began in 2009 with the goal of Blacktown City residents having pathway courses to start their university education.

Thriving community of students

“WSU College Nirimba was a thriving community of students as they began their university life through diplomas across arrange of disciplines.

“Despite being a profitable business unit for WSU, the past few years have seen many courses being deleted without any community or student consultation.

“Nirimba was once a thriving community of students numbering more than 10,000 but has turned into a ghost town.”

Mr Bali said he was outraged at the treatment of the business college students.

“WSU failed to fund the Nirimba pool for its upkeep and did not have the foresight to discuss with Olympic sports such as diving and water polo whether they could work with the University in delivering pathway opportunities.”

Mr Bali said the State Government had overseen trade and non-trade apprenticeships and traineeship commencements plummet by more than half in the past 10 years with dozens of TAFE campuses across NSW being either sold off or repurposed.

“What is the fate of the Nirimba campus? Is the writing on the wall?”

“The site would easily be worth a half a billion dollars in its raw form to property developers and it may be too much for the NSW Government and WSU to ignore.”

He claimed WSU failed to consult with anyone in 2007 prior to their degree closures, failed to consult with the pool closure, failed to consult with students when their diploma courses were relocated to other campuses.

“This is a legacy educational asset for the people of Blacktown City. This is not a cash cow for the State or WSU to sell off to put money into ‘other’ projects outside Blacktown City.”

Mr Bali is calling for transparent and community consultation on the future of Nirimba.

A spokesperson for WSU said Western Sydney University has a long and proud history at the Nirimba campus and the surrounding Nirimba Education Precinct.


“Western Sydney University is committed to a strong educational presence in Blacktown – continuing to optimise its course offerings at Nirimba to ensure it best meets the current and future educational needs of the local western Sydney community,” the spokesperson said.




Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.