Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey spoke in Parliament yesterday in support of the establishment of a regional education hub in his electorate of Grey.
In the 2017 Budget the Government announced $15.2 million to be allocated to establish and operate six new regional study hubs for higher education students in rural and remote areas.
“In the electorate of Grey we have the Upper Spencer Gulf region, consisting of three small cities-Whyalla, Port Pirie and Port Augusta-with a combined population of about 50,000 people, plus the rural catchment,” he said.
“In total, there are perhaps 70,000 people-an ideal number to establish a regional study hub.
“A considerable amount of work has already been done by the Upper Spencer Gulf Common Purpose Group on a proposal similar to the Community Owned Tertiary Education Campus-COTEC-at Geraldton, and the one in Cooma. A delegation from the Upper Spencer Gulf has visited Geraldton.”
Mr Ramsey said a regional education hub could successfully operate in Grey with no adverse impact on the Whyalla Uni.
“It’s important to note that currently UniSA has a regional campus in Whyalla,” he said.
“The courses available have been expanded in recent years, and I thank UniSA for their interest and support.
“We need to ensure whatever we do does not negatively impact on them. There are a huge range of degrees, trades and diplomas that a co-tech facility could deliver without impacting on UniSA, and that is certainly my intention.
“The city-country divide is always an issue for us. In urban Australia 31 per cent of the population have completed degrees. In regional Australia, that figure is 15 per cent. The average level of those holding qualifications above certificate level in South Australia is 23 per cent.
“In the Upper Spencer Gulf this figure is just 11 per cent. This is a serious deficit, and it needs to be addressed. Our regions hold great promise and are essential to the success of South Australia and Australia.”
Mr Ramsey said it is important to offer regional students every opportunity to continue their education and take the opportunity to begin the supply of skilled workers regional Australia needs.
“The Upper Spencer Gulf proposal focuses on the strengths and existing assets in Grey,” he said.
“I will fully back their submission when it arrives.”