A new Country Universities Centre will be established in Kempsey to boost jobs and provide higher education study options for Macleay Valley youth thanks to the support of the Nationals in Government.

NSW Nationals Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey and Federal Nationals Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan welcomed the announcement for the region.

Mr Conaghan said the Country Universities Centre (CUC) would provide improved education and employment opportunities for young people in the Macleay Valley.

“I want young people living in Kempsey and the Macleay Valley to have the same study options as their city counterparts, so that young people don’t have to move to Newcastle or Sydney to gain higher education,” he said.

“Equally, I want businesses on the Mid North Coast to have access to skilled local individuals to employ.

“This is why at the last election The Nationals promised to establish new regional university centres and this month the Government allocated $15 million for nine Regional University Centres, delivering on this promise.”

Mrs Pavey said the centre will enable more Macleay students to obtain a higher education qualification.

“The centre will provide a range of innovative learning opportunities for university students studying by distance,” she said.

“With study spaces, high-level information technology equipment and internet access, administrative and academic support services, and pastoral support, the Country Universities Centre will support students studying a course at any Australian Uni.”

Kempsey Shire Council and the CUC Macleay Valley Board were one of nine successful grant applicants for the Federal Government’s $53.2 million Regional University Centres program.

Kempsey Shire Mayor and CUC Macleay Valley Board Chairperson Liz Campbell acknowledged the efforts of both Council staff and the CUC team in championing Kempsey’s application.

“Both Council and the CUC Board have long recognised that local education is fundamental to our community,” she said.

“The parents of Kempsey have for too many generations seen children leave the shire to go to University.

“We have worked towards creating a university presence for Kempsey since 2012 and now, with the support of the State and Federal Governments working with the council, the community board and the CUC model, we will have one in the heart of Kempsey’s CBD.”

The CUC Macleay Valley will be open to students from Semester 1, 2021. This project is a great example of what can be achieved when all tiers of government work together. Conditions of the grant and the precise investment amounts from each tier of government for the CUC Macleay Valley are still being determined.

For more information on CUCs, visit www.cuc.edu.au or call 1800 687 282.