The decision to provide Southern Cross University with an additional $12.9 million over four years was warmly welcomed today.
After weeks of discussions with the Federal Government, Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker said the additional funding was a critical first step in recalibrating policy to assist regional Australia.
“The Government’s decision to reconsider its’ absolute cap on student places and award additional funding is welcome recognition of the value that Southern Cross University delivers to regional Australia,” Professor Shoemaker said.
“We have welcomed the willingness of the local Member, Luke Hartsuyker and Minister Birmingham’s office to work with us and listen to the need for a New Regional Deal to support regional communities and their universities.
“This funding is an important breakthrough for the Coffs area, and will help deliver not only improved education opportunities but also stronger health services for the region.
“This is a great start to our advocacy for a New Regional Deal – with strong evidence showing just how important regional university campuses are to the 30% of Australians who live outside capital cities.”
Professor Shoemaker said the University would continue to engage leaders across the Australian political, corporate and community spectrum to drive greater awareness of the impact of higher education caps in critical areas of regional need.
“We have developed courses that specifically address the needs and capabilities of regional Australia, delivering direct benefit through innovative education programs and research that stand to benefit millions both in Australia and overseas.
“Our specialised engineering course, introduced just this year, has capacity to train professionals who can help reduce flooding and improve water quality. Our marine scientists are playing a key role in protecting our fragile reefs and our organic and plant scientists are pioneering new ways to create a premium Australian food export market to cater to the world.
“We have worked hard to develop innovative new approaches that regional Australian communities need, and funding caps are severely restricting our ability to help drive change that will benefit all Australians.
“We welcome this funding as a win for positive, evidence-based dialogue and a welcome recognition of the value that Southern Cross University delivers to regional Australia. We look forward to continuing to work with leaders across Australia to create a stronger future for regional Australians.”
Media contact: Jessica Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org or 0417288794