People across regional Australia should be celebrating that they have finally been heard, after the Federal Budget provided overdue recognition that universities are a cornerstone to the future of regional Australia, according to Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker.
Southern Cross University has played a key role in advocating for a New Regional Deal for regional Australians and the $96 million awarded to regional universities in last night’s budget showed the Federal Government had listened, Professor Shoemaker said.
“This budget is a tremendous first down payment in establishing a New Regional Deal to benefit all regional Australians,” Professor Shoemaker said.
“The Halsey Review which informed this approach must become a watershed for regional education – so that the whole country understands the importance of university education and research in driving hope and opportunity in regional Australia.”
Key measures promised in the 2018 budget include:
- the $12 million already announced for places at our Coffs Harbour campus
- $28.2 million over four years for enabling courses to prepare people for universities,
- $14 million over four years for an additional 185 commencing students in 2019, rising to an additional 500 regional students in 2022;
- $1.9 billion over 12 years for research infrastructure; and
- Additional funding for 2,300 students by increasing the parental income threshold for the Youth Allowance for Regional Students.
“Regional Australians urgently need access to university places – and this package makes an important start in the right direction,” Professor Shoemaker said.
“Regional universities offer a pathway to better careers, research to underpin stronger communities and importantly, many new opportunities to build a 21st century agricultural economy.
“There is still much to be done to ensure regional universities can sustain their future with a higher cost base, fewer public transport alternatives for students, increased challenges in attracting international students and a powerful, but sometimes geographically-isolated research capability.
“Southern Cross aims to establish a new approach to regional industry and community engagement, immersing our programs and our research in the needs and interests of the people and companies in our back yard to benefit students and communities around the world.
“This funding provides recognition that regional universities really matter.”
Media contact: Nicholas Hyde 0437 451 395