Regional universities make a fundamental contribution to the economic development of regional Australia, and are anchor institutions for their regions. That is, they are embedded in and stay in their regions, and are commonly the largest, or one of the largest, regional employers.
The institutions enable the best use of regional human capital and resources and contribute to educational opportunities, economic prospects, innovation and community capabilities for the more than 30 per cent of Australians who live outside the capitals. They are one of the largest and most visible physical, intellectual, cultural and sporting assets in their regions and cities. The teaching and learning activities, research and innovation and service functions of regional universities contribute to: human capital development; regional governance and planning; community development; health and ageing; arts, culture and sport; environmental sustainability; and industry and business development in regional Australia. Staff and students play active and visible roles in their communities and contribute to regional capacity building, including internationally. Regional universities are major employers across a wide range of occupations, and purchasers of local goods and services.
If the economic power of these anchor institutions were more effectively harnessed, they could contribute even more to community wealth building.