Baw Baw should seek in­ter­na­tional stu­dents

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

A “knowl­edge strat­egy” to boost Baw Baw Shire’s econ­omy by at­tract­ing in­ter­na­tional stu­dents is be­ing ad­vo­cated by a for­mer univer­sity pro­fes­sor.

Mur­ray Cree, who now lives in War­ragul, said a strat­egy through to about 2050 should aim at cap­i­tal­is­ing on Aus­tralia’s, and par­tic­u­larly Vic­to­ria’s, at­trac­tion to over­seas stu­dents.

With­out it, he says, Baw Baw shire stands to lose ma­jor market op­por­tu­ni­ties and in­come at a time when the dairy in­dus­try re­duces in size.

Mr Cree is a work­place me­di­a­tor, coach and coun­sel­lor but pre­vi­ously was a pro­fes­sor of busi­ness man­age­ment at the Churchill cam­pus when it was op­er­ated by Monash Univer­sity.

A pa­per on his pro­posal will be dis­cussed at tonight’s meet­ing of the Baw Baw Shire Ratepay­ers and Cit­i­zens’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

Mr Cree said Vic­to­rian ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions had about 250,000 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents each year, half the to­tal across Aus­tralia, that pro­duced a $3 bil­lion an­nual turnover and sup­ported 38,000 jobs.

He said de­ci­sions needed to be made on whether the shire was in­ter­ested in the growth of a knowl­edge in­dus­try, who will lead the strat­egy pro­cess, when should it start and whether it should be a pub­lic/pri­vate part­ner­ship.

“With­out a strat­egy, in­ter­na­tional stu­dents are not likely to bring their in­ter­ests or dol­lars into the shire”.

Mr Cree said that Baw Baw, as a peri-ur­ban lo­cal gov­ern­ment area, was close to the Mel­bourne market for over­seas stu­dents but does not have its own univer­sity.

It does have some metropoli­tan univer­sity ser­vices and ac­cess to the Churchill cam­pus of Bal­larat-based Fed­er­a­tion Univer­sity, he said.

Mr Cree claims the knowl­edge in­dus­try will con­tinue to flour­ish in Aus­tralia if the cur­rent fo­cus on re­search and high stan­dards of teach­ing are main­tained.

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