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Study reveals CQUniversity tips $1.8bn into Northern Australia economy

Published:29 July 2020

An independent study has revealed that CQUniversity tips in $1.8bn into the Northern Australia economy

CQUniversity’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Nick Klomp says regional universities will drive community recovery following the devastating impacts of COVID-19, despite a lack of support from Government.

Professor Klomp’s comments come hot on the heels of a new report, commissioned by CQUniversity, which reveals the University contributes $1.8 billion annually to the Northern Australia economy.

According to the findings of the study, CQUniversity injects an impressive $1.2 billion into the Northern Australian economy each year in direct and indirect expenditure; with an adjustment for consumption-related effects, the total output is $1.8bn per year.

Professor Klomp explained that the impact of regional universities on the communities they serve was often overlooked, especially by governments. 

“The study confirms what we’ve long known: that CQUniversity contributes significantly to the regions in terms of financial output and jobs supported.

“Every dollar spent on CQUniversity operations in Northern Australia supports an additional $13.50 in spending across other industries, and for every person we employ, we support an additional 3.32 jobs.

“Our contribution to Gross Regional Product, meanwhile, is $365 million – a million dollars a day – and $933.1m when you calculate the flow-on impact through other industries.

“Directly, CQUniversity employs 2,038 full-time-equivalent jobs in the region, and – when indirect and consumption effects are accounted for – we generate a very welcome $702.3m in household income for Northern Australian families.”

Professor Klomp also explained that the report only looked at the geographical area determined as Northern Australia and did not take into account other campuses south of Gladstone, meaning that the actual economic impact of the University’s operations would be even greater.

“This report was commissioned specifically to look at the University’s economic impact on the communities we serve within the area formally designated as Northern Australia.

“It does not take into account our extremely successful operations in Bundaberg where we have strong student growth and where we conduct some of our most engaged industry research. Nor does it take into account the impact of our large metropolitan campuses, meaning our economic impact is actually far greater than what is outlined.”

Professor Klomp said that CQU is just one example of the economic role regional universities play on the national stage, despite lean budgets and uncertain operating conditions.

He said it was therefore baffling that regional universities had been “shut out” of stimulus initiatives like JobKeeper.

“We’ve had to make some tough but necessary decisions this year to ensure we continue to thrive into the future.

“Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as recruiting more students, as we’re already over the government-imposed limits on domestic students. And we are not eligible for JobKeeper.

“We’ve had to become leaner, more agile, and do more with less while still driving community recovery through education, training, industry collaboration and applied research.

“Regional universities like CQUniversity will continue to do the heavy lifting in keeping regional economies thriving long after 2020, but we could do so much more if the government could only untie that hand from behind our back,” said Professor Klomp.

An opinion piece written by Professor Klomp on this issue can be found here