Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility $150m secures Education Civic Precinct

NAIF Darwin city deals
From left: Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis, CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks, Minister for Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan and Chief Minister Michael Gunner announcing funding for CDU’s new CBD campus.

Charles Darwin University and the City of Darwin have welcomed the commitment from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility of a $150 million loan, which will enable the City Deal’s Education and Civic Precinct to progress.

The partners of the City Deal today inspected the site which will incorporate a new CDU city campus, a central city library (co-locating parts of existing libraries at CDU, COD and NTG) and a Darwin civic centre.  

The $150 million loan is in addition to $97 million already committed by the Commonwealth Government through the City Deals program.

“A $250 million development on this site is a game changer for the future of CDU and the Darwin CBD,” said CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks.

In partnership with COD and NTG a draft masterplan for the site, on the corner of Cavanagh Street and Garramilla Boulevard, has been developed.

The masterplan stipulates the precinct will be:

  • Iconic and vibrant
  • A world-class student experience
  • Green with innovative tropical architecture and cooling
  • Welcoming and connected at street level
  • Reflective of Larrakia Country and inclusive of diverse cultures.

At the heart of the precinct will stand the heritage-listed boab tree, which was planted in the late 1800s to provide shade in the first Darwin school yard. 

“The tree will provide a physical link to the long-standing use of the site as an education precinct,” Professor Maddocks said.

Every aspect of design of the new precinct must consider the boab, including heights of buildings, proximity of buildings and the underground car park. This will ensure the tree continues to receive maximum sunlight, water and drainage. 

Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said: “The City Deal partnership has provided a unique opportunity for all levels of government to work together to develop a project that will attract people to the city centre, support our local economy and establish Darwin as a place to live, learn and visit.”

“When the precinct is complete, people will drive up Garramilla Boulevard or walk along Cavanagh Street and when they see this precinct will think – ‘wow!’  It will be different from anything else in Darwin,” he said.

The precinct will take three years to complete, with expressions of interest currently open for detailed concept design.

“With modern, competitive infrastructure in the CBD we’re confident our international enrolments will grow by 500 students to 2500 by the time the city campus is open in February 2024,” Professor Maddocks said.

“By 2028 our projections show this number doubling to 5000 students – all living, studying, working and playing in the CBD.  The impact of this growth on the NT economy has been estimated at $250 million over 15 years,” he said.

To find out more, read the CDU Education and Civic Precinct factsheet.