Federal Nationals MP Mark Coulton has welcomed plans to spend more than $24 million over the next four years to help establish or expand 16 Regional Study Hubs covering 22 locations throughout Australia.

The Nationals Member for Parkes said the funding of Regional Study Hubs in Broken Hill, Moree and Narrabri was a major win for local students and the local community.

“A Regional Study Hub in the community means local students can take up higher education and training opportunities without having to relocate to the city or travel long distances from home,” Mr Coulton said. “There should be equality of opportunity to access higher education for every Australian, no matter where they live. By providing more higher education and training opportunities locally we can retain skills and experience that will boost our local economy and keep our community vibrant.”

“More funding for Regional Study Hubs was part of our additional $134.8 million commitment to regional and rural higher education, bringing the total additional new funding for regional higher education to $400 million over five years.”

Mr Coulton said the Nationals in Government were also providing $870,000 to Country Universities Centre Far West, and $830,000 to Country Universities Centre North West, to support the community-owned Regional Study Hubs in the Parkes electorate.

“The Country Universities Centre Far West is already an absolute rip-roaring success, well exceeding its target for student numbers in the first year of its operation,” Mr Coulton said. “There are some wonderful academic results being achieved by the students utilising the space in Broken Hill and I’m looking forward to seeing the communities of Moree and Narrabri have access to such a facility for the benefit of their students in 2019. The Country Universities Centre North West will provide study spaces, internet access, video conferencing, administrative, pastoral and academic support for regional students studying via distance at partner universities.”