By promoting growth in new and transitioning sustainable regional cities and towns, Australia should achieve a more balanced, stronger and resilient national economy. Growing, sustainable regional cities enjoy strong economic, employment and population growth, and are often characterised by the presence of a regional university.
Regional universities are one of the largest, most visible assets in their regions. They make a fundamental contribution to Australia through their teaching and learning activities; research and innovation; and regional development and service functions. Regional universities help to educate their communities’ future professional workforce and enhance the social and cultural amenity of their regions through the contributions of their students, staff and facilities.
Healthy, vibrant regional universities help to make healthy, vibrant regional cities and communities. Support for regional universities will help to promote regional development, attract private investment, new businesses, inward migration and a more diverse and resilient regional economy. Achieving more balanced growth will help to alleviate some of the pressure on our capital cities and their associated infrastructure.
This submission outlines how the universities of the Regional Universities Network (RUN) are contributing to their regional cities and communities.
Government needs to support regional research which will produce start-up companies, new technologies and new processes to improve productivity. It is only when a university is seen to be at the forefront of development, commonly in niche areas, that the best people are attracted to the regions. Currently, investment is focussed on large, well established capital city universities. Unless we see a policy shift this will continue, and skilled people will be lost from or will not be attracted to regional universities and regional cities.