Deputy PM a welcome visitor to North Coast

Published 15 May 2001

Southern Cross University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Rickard, has welcomed the forthcoming visit to Coffs Harbour and surrounding areas by the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. John Anderson, and a group of National Party colleagues, saying that in an election year the more attention focused on regional issues, the better.

The Deputy PM's group, including Senators and parliamentary members of the National Party, will be touring the Southern Cross University CHEC campus between 4.00pm and 5.00pm on Wednesday, 16 May as part of a local fact-finding visit.

The VC praised the commitment of federal MPs such as Garry Nehl, Larry Anthony, Ian Causley and Mark Vaile to boosting regional development, describing them as "good friends of Southern Cross University who have understood our needs and worked hard to convey them to their parliamentary colleagues."

Professor Rickard expressed the hope that politicians of all persuasions would do their utmost to help address such pressing regional concerns as high unemployment, shortcomings in telecommunications infrastrucuture and inadequate funding for higher education.

"Any government that suggests a solution to the problems of our overcrowded cities is to encourage people and businesses to relocate to regional areas should be committed to providing an appropriate level of infrastructural support," Professor Rickard said.

"In rural areas people have become very skilled at using their resources efficiently, and they're certainly not afraid of hard work, but there is a limit to how many economies can be made. People often hit a brick wall that is not of their own making.

"On top of that, significant investments need to be made in order to create an innovative and more sustainable social environment. The only possible source of such funding is government, and it is vital that this message is continually delivered to Canberra and heard loud and clear in the party rooms and in the Parliament."

Media contact: SCU SCU