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Southern Cross University worth $483 million to regional economies


Brigid Veale
18 November 2009
Southern Cross University will be worth an estimated total of more than $483 million to the regional economies of the Northern Rivers, Coffs Coast and the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads in 2010, according to new economic reports.

The economic reports have been completed by Southern Cross University’s Regional Futures Institute, using the computer-based Regional Economic Modelling and Planning System (REMPLAN).

The reports have found that in 2010 the value of Southern Cross University to the Northern Rivers region will be $291 million; to the Coffs Coast $67 million; and to the Tweed and Gold Coast region $125 million.

The report also found that an estimated 2774 jobs (including direct employment, construction and student expenditure impact) can be attributed to the University across the entire region.

Associate Professor Jeremy Buultjens, director of the Regional Futures Institute, said the economic modelling was based on an input-output model.

“This is a standard modelling tool which gives an estimate of the value of an economic activity on a regional economy,” Professor Buultjens said.

“We have used the number of employees and non-local student expenditure as inputs to the model, which then allows us to determine the estimated output in economic value, jobs and household income,” Professor Buultjens said.

Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee said the reports provided a clear message about the economic value of the University to the region, stretching from the Coffs Coast north to the Gold Coast.

“Education is a key industry across this region, providing not only opportunities for students but contributing to the overall economic and social development of communities,” Professor Lee said.

“We are investing heavily in this region and are committed to providing increased opportunities for high quality university education. The federal government has set a target of 40 per cent of all 25- to 34-year-olds to hold a qualification of at least bachelor level by 2020, and we are certainly aiming to contribute to meeting that target.

“Our new Gold Coast campus will open in February 2010, we are building a new primary health care clinic and swimming pool and gymnasium at our Lismore campus, and are planning a $10 million expansion at Coffs Harbour.”

Professor Lee said the University was also taking a prime role in environmental sustainability and the social and cultural development of the regions.

“We have strong connections with many business and community organisations and we will continue to look for new ways to strengthen those ties.”