Baw Baw should seek international students
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.