UNIVERSITY PLANS FOR MARANOA
LEARNING HUB: A Country Universities Centre has been proposed
SCHOLARS may never have to leave the region to achieve their full academic potential with a country campus on the cards for the Maranoa.
Maranoa Regional Council was approached by the Economic Development Queensland office with a proposal that has the potential to benefit the region for the foreseeable future.
The plan is for a Country Universities Centre to be established in Roma.
Mayor Tyson Golder said it was a “no-brainer” to bring those opportunities to the west. “We want a university here,” Cr Golder said. “The vote was unanimous, the benefits for the region would be astronomical.
“This proposal will provide residents who are at a distance disadvantage with more opportunities to study.”
UNIVERSITY may no longer be out reach for Maranoa residents with plans for a Country Universities Centre to be established in Roma.
At the last Maranoa council meeting, the Economic Development Queensland office approached council with the proposition of collaborating with them in the establishment of a Country Universities Centre.
Mayor Tyson Golder said it was a “no-brainer” for securing a brighter future for the region.
“We want a university here,” Cr Golder said.
“The vote was unanimous, the benefits for the region would be astronomical.
“Being remote is a disadvantage when it comes to education and the more we can balance it the more opportunities we can provide residents to study.”
The concept has existed in New South Wales for five years with several regional centres having success including Cooma, Grafton and Broken Hill.
After receiving the presentation, the council voted to request a report in order to consider formalising an investigation into the concept as part of its operational plan for 2019–20.
The campus will be in partnership with universities throughout Australia, not just one institution.
Economic development councillor Cameron O’Neil said council was excited about the concept of a country university centre.
“Council has been working for a number of years more in the vocational training space, looking at how we make the Maranoa an education hub and this was one of the key initiatives that came out the Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise study tour to America and Canada back in 2013,” Cr O’Neil said.
“We were pleasantly surprised and excited by this concept coming from the Economic and Development Queensland, they brought this to council to show how successful these country universities have been going across NSW.
“There is still a lot of water under the bridge but ultimately what we have agreed to is a pre-feasibility report that will iron out all the detail but conceptually we would have a location in town whether it be a new site or utilise an existing building to create the university hub.”
Cr O’Neil said it would allow for students to study closer to home, and would prevent a brain drain by removing the tyranny of distance.
“If we can create a learning space here to keep kids out of school to stay in the region and not move to Brisbane or Toowoomba to do their studies it will further allow long-term residents to emulate that, which is a win-win for us and our community and it also adds to our liveability,” he said. The pre-feasibility study will be presented to council before Christmas.
LEARNING HUB: Building owners The Smidt family, which proposed their building for a Country University Centre in Grafton, have seen the education hub flourish.