The NSW Government will build a new Centre of Innovation in Plant Sciences in Western Sydney. What this means is a $60 million package to position NSW as Australia’s leader in plant science.
Artist’s Impression: Construction for the National Herbarium of NSW at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan will begin in 2019.
The package will fund a state-of-the-art innovation centre at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, making Western Sydney the new home of the National Herbarium of NSW, which is currently located at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
The Herbarium’s current building in Sydney, the Robert Brown Building, will then be rejuvenated into a globally visited, high-quality science, education discovery and engagement centre, showcasing the work of botanists and scientists.
The new Herbarium will be co-located with the award-winning Australian PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, to create Australia’s leading plant science precinct.
Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton, and Shelley James, Curator Manager of National Herbarium of NSW.
The Centre of Innovation in Plant Sciences at Mount Annan will be a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility created to protect the Gardens’ nationally and internationally significant collection of more than 1.4 million plant specimens dating back to those collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on Cook’s voyage in 1770.
The new Herbarium will become the nation’s premier international botanic research facility for scientists, and contribute to Western Sydney’s emergence as an important scientific hub and Australia’s fastest growing economy.
The Herbarium has been located within the Robert Brown Building since it was constructed in 1982, with no change to the facility or the operations since that time. The building now has a lack of effective environmental controls placing the collection at risk.
Several options were considered and assessed in detail to keep the Herbarium onsite in Sydney. However, in the end the preferred optimal outcome for ensuring the long-term protection of the collection was to build a new facility at Mount Annan linked to the existing award-winning PlantBank.
Scientists working at the current laboratory in the Brown Building at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
In total the project will run for four years from shovel in the ground to the centre opening in 2022. Detailed planning is currently underway to define the requirements for the new Centre and the procurement will commence shortly through a design competition.
The successful design and contractor team will work with the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney to develop the design for the Western Sydney Centre, with the final concept design to be unveiled later in this year. Planning for the rejuvenation of the current Herbarium will also commence this year.
Construction will start in 2019 and generate more than 350 jobs throughout the construction project.
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