Parramatta is now the education capital of Australia, with the NSW Government opening its new headquarters for the largest Education Department in the country. More than 1,800 NSW public service staff previously spread across five separate metropolitan locations have been busily moving west over the past month, thus cementing Parramatta’s place as the new epicentre of teaching and learning in NSW.
Rather than impose the cost on taxpayers of refurbishing 100-year-old buildings to suit modern needs, the new NSW Department of Education’s future-focused headquarters has been specially fitted out with the latest technology and resources so it can properly service the country’s largest school system in the 21st Century.
Education Minister Rob Stokes ceremonially ‘switched off the lights’ at the Department of Education’s old Bridge Street Headquarters near Circular Quay, a site that had been the home of NSW education for almost 150 years. “It is a sad day, but also one of celebration. While Bridge Street has shaped our past, it is now time to forge a bright new future,” Mr Stokes said.
“As beautiful as the Bridge Street building is, it is an analog facility in an increasingly digital world, and our students deserve the very best we can offer,” Mr Stokes said. The new educational command centre at 105 Phillip Street Parramatta is not only closer to Sydney’s new population centre, but the new headquarters also has the size and space to bring many of the Department’s primary functions together under one roof.
“Over the past century, just like Sydney, our education system has grown and changed. To properly serve our schools, teachers and students, we have to be where the people are,” Mr Stokes said. Keeping with the rich cultural tapestry of The Rocks and Circular Quay, the heritage aspects of the Bridge Street building will be properly preserved for posterity as it undergoes an exciting transformation into a new boutique hotel.
The move is part of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s increasing investment in Western Sydney. The Department of Education will join the Department of Planning and Environment, Department of Industry and the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation in creating more than 4,000 additional jobs in the Parramatta CBD.