The Taree Universities Campus will now become a reality with the announcement from Nationals Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie that Federal funding for the new multi-million-dollar campus has been secured.

“This is a magnificent day for our region. Many people have been wondering if we would ever get a uni campus, and I’m pleased to announce we will be getting one that will begin operating from next year,” Dr Gillespie said.

“It will deliver enormous social and economic benefits for our region for many years and decades to come.”

Dr Gillespie said the Taree Universities Campus was one of nine submissions to be successful in the latest round of the Australian Government’s Regional University Centres program.

“Taree Universities Campus will form partnerships with a number of universities and TAFE to offer a range of courses that deliver a combination of local face-to-face and distance learning, known as mixed-mode delivery,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Essentially, school leavers and mature age students will be able to complete their tertiary studies locally with the various levels of academic and pastoral support the new campus will offer.”

Dr Gillespie established a Local Steering Committee last year to gather broad community support and develop a funding application for the TUC proposal.

“This was one of the key projects highlighted by locals in our Vision 2030 Plan survey a couple of years ago, and I’m delighted we have now secured the Federal funding to make Taree Universities Campus a reality,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Following the establishment of the steering committee, which included local school principals, business, industry, council, community and academic representatives, we then moved to establish a new entity called the Taree Universities Campus.

“From there, a board was appointed of local people with experience and backgrounds in academia, business, industry and community, and together with members of the the steering committee, we were all able to put together a fairly comprehensive submission.”

Dr Gillespie said the Taree Universities Campus was a community-based non-profit entity that would rely on a combination of Commonwealth funding, community and in-kind donations.

“Now that Federal funding has been approved to assist with the establishment of the Taree Universities Campus, the Board can now negotiate a formal funding agreement with the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment,” Dr Gillespie said.

”That agreement will provide assistance for the establishment of the campus and its facilities, together with dedicated Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs).

“Since we announced this initiative, there has been a wonderful response, including locals wanting to donate books and equipment and others offering to volunteer at the campus, including former academics. It’s been fantastic!”

Dr Gillespie congratulated the TUC Board on its successful funding submission.

“I’d like to publicly acknowledge the volunteer board members John Howard, Alison McIntosh, Lisa Proctor, Graham Brown, Maurie Stack and Steve Atkins for their commitment and work in getting us to where we are today,” Dr Gillespie said.

“I’d also like to thank the various organisations and institutions who contributed to the project’s development including council, local schools, business chambers and the potential partnering institutions.”

The Country Universities Centres at Parkes, Kempsey and Ulladulla were also announced.