Regional Futures Institute director Associate Professor Jeremy Buultjens (right) and Southern Cross University colleague Simon Wilde at the soon-to-be-completed Bilinga campus.
Regional Futures Institute director Associate Professor Jeremy Buultjens (right) and Southern Cross University colleague Simon Wilde at the soon-to-be-completed Bilinga campus.

Report reveals uni is a cash cow

SOUTHERN Cross University (SCU) will inject $125 million into the Tweed and Gold Coast economies next year, according to a new report.

The report, released yesterday, also estimates the university will employ 531 people in the region once the new Bilinga campus opens in February.

SCU vice chancellor Professor Peter Lee said the report provided a clear message about the economic value of the university.

“Education is a key industry across this region, providing not only opportunities for students but contributing to the overall economic and social development of communities,” Prof Lee said.

“We are investing heavily in this region and are committed to providing increased opportunities for high quality university education.

“The federal government has set a target of 40 per cent of all 25 to 34-year-olds to hold a qualification of at least bachelor level by 2020 and we are certainly aiming to contribute to meeting that target.”

Professor Lee said the university was also taking a prime role in environmental sustainability and the social and cultural development of the regions.

“We have strong connections with many business and community organisations and we will continue to look for new ways to strengthen those ties,” he said.

The report was completed by SCU’s Regional Futures Institute, using a computer-based regional economic modelling and planning system.

Associate Professor and Regional Futures Institute director Jeremy Buultjens said the economic modelling was based on an input-output model.

“This is a standard modelling tool which gives an estimate of the value of an economic activity on a regional economy,” Prof Buultjens said.

Prof Bullltjeans said the estimated economic impact of the Tweed Heads and soon-to-be-opened Gold Coast campuses was analysed in two phases.

The university’s economic value for 2010 was estimated using the number of current employees and non-local student expenditure as inputs to the model which allowed the economic value to be determinedThe econominc benefits relating to the Gold Coast campus were also estimated.

As well as the financial benefits for the Tweed and Gold Coast, the report estimated SCU will be worth $291 million to the Lismore and Ballina economies and $67 million to the Coffs Coast.



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