Nationals Senate Deputy Leader Fiona Nash
Distinct Government Policy Needed For Regional Universities, Nationals Senator Tells Conference
Victor P Taffa
Regional universities have very distinct needs which must be addressed by distinct Government policy, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Education, Senator Fiona Nash told an the Innovative Research Universities Conference (IRU) at Griffith University on the Gold Coast on Thursday.
“We firstly need to recognise that regional universities are very different to metropolitan ones and face unique challenges, not just because of the tyranny of distance but also owing to greater difficulties in achieving economies of scale and offering a comprehensive range of subjects.” Senator Nash said.
“They are nevertheless vital to Australia’s education fabric and make an enormous contribution to regional Australia, its sustainable future, and therefore the nation.”
“The economic and social contribution of these universities to their region is extensive, but more importantly students who study there are demonstrably far more likely to go on to pursue a career in regional Australia.” Senator Nash said.
“If we agree that regional universities are quite different and that it is in the national interest to secure their future, it follows that we need a distinct regional universities policy from Government.”
Senator Nash said it wasn’t simply a case of the regional universities putting their hand out for more public funds.
“As I travel around the country listening to stakeholders in regional universities, the message is invariably a desire for more communication with government in order to develop smarter, win-win regional higher education policies.” Senator Nash said.