Regional Development Australia (RDA) Sunshine Coast Chair Professor Max Standage has congratulated the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) on winning a $24 million Commonwealth Government competitive grant.
USC was one of three Queensland universities to receive government funding to boost higher education in regional centres and support partnerships with TAFE to create a more integrated tertiary sector.
Prof. Standage said the grant would provide a significant contribution to the Sunshine Coast economy through the construction of new facilities and delivery of streamlined higher education programs.
“Maximising education and training opportunities is a key priority identified in RDA Sunshine Coast’s 2011 Regional Roadmap. This grant will allow the University to partner with key players to bring new education and training resources to the Coast,” he said.
The funding will go towards a $33 million Collaborative Futures Project between the University, the Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE and the Wide Bay Institute of TAFE (WBIT). It will help fund construction of a new $24 million building at USC’s Sippy Downs campus and another at the WBIT’s campus in Gympie, valued at $4 million.
“These new facilities will deliver both TAFE and university programs and support our future workforce by providing people with opportunities to gain multiple and higher level skills and qualifications,” said Prof. Standage.
He said the funding demonstrated the government’s commitment to the expansion of higher education in regional Queensland.
The grant, delivered by the Australian Government’s Structural Adjustment Fund, was introduced this year to allow fairer competition between universities in a deregulated higher education environment from 2012.
Employment, Skills and Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, who announced the recipients last week, said the University of the Sunshine Coast, Central Queensland University and the University of Southern Queensland would receive more than $145 million for a range of projects.