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Dual sector university decision will transform Central Queensland

Published: 07 December 2012

The Queensland Government has today officially approved the merger between CQUniversity Australia and CQ TAFE, setting the stage for the creation of Queensland's first dual sector university and the release of $73.8 million in federal funds.

The decision, which follows more than two years of negotiations, will transform post-school education and training in the Central Queensland region and unleash tens of millions of Commonwealth funding for new teaching facilities and infrastructure.  

PhotoID:13734, Professor Scott Bowman
Professor Scott Bowman CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Scott Bowman today warmly welcomed the decision, one of the remaining hurdles in creating a "one-stop-shop" to address the region's skills and qualification needs.

"Today's decision signals the start of an exciting new era in post-school education and training for the state, and another ‘first' for Central Queensland," Professor Bowman said.

"I congratulate the Queensland Government on its foresight in recognising the huge boost this merger will deliver to Central Queensland, not only in terms of investment and job opportunities, but most importantly in terms of improved educational outcomes for people from all walks of life.

"I also acknowledge the Commonwealth Government's longstanding support for the merger, having committed $73.8 million towards the proposal in December last year. This funding was conditional on the State Government approving the merger, so today's announcement signals a once-in-a-generation injection of funding into education and training for Central Queensland.

"The people of Central Queensland have waited a long time for this decision, but we won't waste any time in getting to work on building a new, shared future for University and TAFE in the region.

"I'm particularly looking forward to working closely with CQ TAFE staff, students and stakeholders to ensure they play a prominent role in the shaping of the new institution and its future."

Major projects that will soon get underway as part of the merger include a major overhaul of the flagship Mackay TAFE campus ($10.2m), a new state-of-the-art engineering hub in Mackay ($16.6m), stage two of the public-access CQUniversity Health Clinic in Rockhampton ($14m), and a unification of teaching technology across the entire University and TAFE networks - from integrated email systems to cutting-edge videoconferencing facilities.

CQUniversity estimates that these projects will create up to 500 new construction jobs, and that the resulting dual sector university will create around 120 additional jobs over its first five years.

"One of our top priorities is to ensure the process is a smooth one for all staff and students within both the TAFE and the University," Professor Bowman said.

"I'm looking forward to speaking directly to staff and students of both organisations to discuss the way forward and to answer any questions that people may have.

"I'm really excited about sharing the journey ahead with all concerned, including our industry stakeholders and the wider community. This proposal got over the line in no small part due to the overwhelming support and efforts of many people in the community and industry, in particular the support from Capricorn Enterprise, REDC in Mackay, our mayors, State and federal politicians in Central Queensland, the Regional Development Australia bodies in regional Queensland, and many people in the industry, employment and education sectors."

CQUniversity expects to have completed its merger with CQ TAFE and begin operating as a dual sector university from 1 January 2014.

At a glance - CQUniversity dual sector statistics
  • Estimated student numbers following merger 40,000
  • Estimated staff numbers following merger 2500
  • Projected additional jobs to be created following merger 120 by 2018
  • Projected increase in staff salaries following merger $15m by 2018
  • Projected revenue increase for CQUniversity following merger $35m by 2018
  • Projected capital works expenditure as part of merger $55m
  • Projected new construction jobs for capital works in CQ region Up to 500
  • At a glance - Major dual sector infrastructure projects soon to be underway
  • Construction of Mackay Engineering hub $16.6m
  • Construction of stage two Allied Health clinic in Rockhampton $14m
  • Major overhaul of Mackay TAFE campus $10.2m
  • Major IT and learning technology upgrade for all Uni & TAFE campuses $9m