The Australian Universities Accord before us today is a once in a generation opportunity.
It is a rare moment to stem the escalating challenges of space, distance and the diseconomies of scale that exist for regional Australia.
Regional Australia is the heartbeat of the Australian economy two-thirds of Australian exports come from regional communities and regional universities are vital in providing the education and training and the skilled workforce required, but our participation rates and our qualification attainment rates in the regions are much, much lower than in the big cities and that means thousands and thousands of Australians are missing out on the benefits provided by tertiary education in terms of career and lifestyle and wealth.
Our work at CQUniversity enhances the cultural and economic and social and environmental development of the regions and we recognise that this is really important, but it's time that the national policy reflected that.
The University's Accord is a chance to dismantle the barriers of educational inequality and build up an agile and responsive tertiary education sector.
This is a responsibility that has been long-shouldered by regional universities often without the support that our regions deserve, so my message is simple, we need to do better and we need to do it now because if you're a regional student it's getting harder.
Harder to juggle study home and work commitments, harder to fund upfront study costs, harder to pay for the costs of teaching blocks, harder to find and afford accommodation in the regions and as a result it's easy to put education in the too hard basket and that's simply not good enough, that is the challenge for the Australian government.
This Accord process must reach into the regions such as the regions can reach back and find education within their grasp, it must acknowledge that the heart of national prosperity lies in the regions such that the nation doesn't prosper until the regions prosper and must acknowledge that regional universities bear the responsibility of the demands of applied research, new knowledge and highly specialised skills and in the quest to address this disparity the Accord process must not do anything that incentivises policy positions that detract from regions in any way.
Despite the complexity of the task at hand we cannot shy away from the responsibility we know that there are no simple answers but there is a will to change to make the system more equitable more inclusive and more accessible.
A system that is firmly based in the fundamental value that every Australian no matter what their background or location has the right to an equal access to tertiary education and the life-changing benefits that that provides. In our submission you'll see.
I don't envy your task, but I implore you to put regional Australia at the forefront of all your deliberations.
Thank you for considering our proposal.
Advocating for our Regions
CQUniversity Australia is a proud regional university that contributes enormous value to communities across Australia. As well as having a campus presence in several major regional cities in Queensland, CQUniversity is also the only university with a physical presence across every mainland state of Australia. This presence is made possible through our campuses and our partnerships with regional and community university centres.
CQUniversity is committed to improving regional outcomes through the delivery of world-class education and training, as well as high-impact research that is informed by the needs of the communities and industries we serve. In order to achieve this, CQUniversity must advocate for our regions and our students, through meaningful engagement and consultation with government.
Working in collaboration with all levels of Government allows CQUniversity to support all facets of regional growth and development and empowers our people to develop innovative solutions to current and future challenges.
Find out More
CQUniversity Australia has provided a Submission to the Australian Universities Accord Discussion Paper. The Submission sets out 16 individual recommendations, all developed to maximise positive outcomes for all institutions, while still ensuring that any outcomes from the Accord process do not unintentionally detract from the prosperity of regional Australia. Each of the recommendations respond to one of six key focus areas including regional responsibility; equity, access and attainment; funding a sustainable education model; fostering equitable access to research and innovation; an integrated post-schooling continuum; and an agile and efficient higher education
CQUniversity has also submitted a response to the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report. The submission is a reflection of the Report's recognition of the critical role regional universities play in cultivating skilled regional workforces, driving applied research, and advancing outcomes for underrepresented groups in remote and regional areas. It is also in alignment with the Accord Panel’s overarching mission to foster a highly skilled national workforce through enhanced equity.
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