Residents of South Australia’s Upper Spencer Gulf region will soon have access to higher education, with the ‘Uni Hub Spencer Gulf’ project now underway.
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the Hub, soon to boast campuses in Port Pirie and Port Augusta, will provide country students with accessible study facilities, IT and support services and the ability to undertake on-the-job training through local industry placements.
“I have advocated for years to bring about better access for regional students and $1.9 million funding through the Federal Government will provide an operating budget for the start-up facility for the first four years,” he said. “It comes on top of the $1.1 million that I was able to secure through the Regional Jobs and Investment Package for the Upper Spencer in April.
“I strongly believe the hub offers a breakthrough in regional education and will provide regional students with access to top-class tertiary education.
“That grant has enabled the hub to secure property and undertake capital works so they can begin first thing next year.
“Providing unprecedented access to local tertiary education and supported learning opportunities means that students in remote locations can now study for a range of qualifications closer to home.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the project sought to identify higher education gaps in the region through consultation with schools, industry and civic institutions.
“The wide range of courses that will be available will meet the emerging industry and skilled workforce needs of the region – providing extensive economic growth opportunities,” McCormack said.
Port Pirie Mayor Leon Stephens said the hub will offer a range of student services, including enrolment support, course advice, academic examination services and IT assistance.
“Students who opt to study through Uni Hub Spencer Gulf are going to experience a whole new level of support,” Mayor Stephens said.
Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow said the demand for higher education had been rising in regional areas, and the Hub was set to directly service the educational needs of an estimated 680 people.
“It will be great to have a facility that not only links students with the needs of local industry but provides access to tertiary courses that have previously been out of their reach,” Cr Benbow said.
This project was jointly funded with the Federal Liberal and Nationals’ Government investing $1.11 million through RJIP, $1.9m for operational costs from the Federal Government, the Port Pirie Regional Council $174,250, the Port Augusta City Council $19,500, Regional Development Australia $30,000, the Upper Spencer Gulf Common Purpose Group $140,000, Central Queensland University $250,000, Flinders University of South Australia $10,000, the University of Adelaide $10,000, TAFE South Australia $10,000, Southern Cross Austereo $360,000, Fairfax Media Ltd $60,000 and the Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North Inc. $90,000.