Friday, April 11, 2014


Each year Universities Australia delivers a great campaign to raise awareness about the importance of our universities. This year’s campaign is no different: it’s got great creative, a moving, quirky animation, and a good presence on social media.

But besides the creative elements the important part of this campaign is reinforcing that all of us need to work together to ensure our universities don’t get left behind the rest of the world. More to the point the campaign highlights that if our universities get left behind so too does our nation.

I think for most people,  universities are seen as a place of learning, somewhere to gain a qualification. I think many people don’t actually understand that as well as performing this vital function in society universities are also an industry, and like any industry require investment and continuous innovation to ensure they remain competitive and relevant in not just a national sector but a global marketplace.

Let’s take a look at the facts:

  • Australian university graduates are worth $188b to our economy (that’s annually).
  •  Australian universities employ 110,000 staff and contribute $23b to national GDP.
  • International education is Australia’s biggest non-resource export.
  • Universities provide opportunities for a generation of young people – equipping them with the knowledge and skills required for the future of our nation!

What’s more, regional universities (just like CQUni) employ 10,000 people nationally and are often the biggest employer in their local area. They contribute $2 billion to regional economies and work with regional industry and business on research projects to help them stay competitive.

It all sounds pretty important doesn’t it? These facts make universities seem like thriving businesses in a multi-billion dollar industry. Yet, more needs to be done to not just protect our universities but grow them and make them more relevant on the global stage. When we see so many other industries struggling or worse yet exiting Australia full stop, it’s never been more important to secure the future of those industries that are still strong! However, in terms of investment Australia is not keeping pace with the rest of the developed world. The potential for global success is there but much more needs to be done to invest in not just the education sector but so too research and development.

Research has shown 88 per cent of families aspire for their children to go to university, yet in 10 years’ time there could be a shortfall of 280,000 people with tertiary qualifications needed for our economy. For my mind investing in universities is the smartest investment we can make in our nation’s future.

We all need to get behind our universities and keep them strong. To learn more please visit and sign the petition. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hitting the road to share a more comprehensive approach

The Chancellor and I had a wonderful week last week visiting Gladstone, Mackay Emerald and Rockhampton as part of our comprehensive roadshows. It was great catching up with staff from both CQUniversity and CQ TAFE to answer questions and provide the latest updates on our merger.

Time is flying by as we approach 1 July and I’d like to congratulate all the CQUni and CQ TAFE staff  who have been working together seamlessly over the past seven months to make the transition as smooth as possible. It’s so impressive to see our project teams, made up of staff from both institutions, working side-by-side - for them they are already part of the one team.

Once the merger between CQUniversity and CQ TAFE is complete, our newly merged organisation will have one of the largest footprints of any tertiary education institution in Australia. This is something we can all be very proud of and excited about. We are part of something really special – something that will change the face of education and training in our region and beyond.

Another exciting milestone our colleagues at CQ TAFE are celebrating this year is their institution’s 125th anniversary.  I’m absolutely delighted to think that CQUniversity is about to merge with an institution that has such a long and rich history – without a doubt CQ TAFE has played a major role in making Central Queensland what it is today.

We will build on this wonderful tradition and continue to ensure that the newly merged institution plays an equally vital role in our local communities.

As a merged institution I want CQUniversity to lead the way in delivering education and training. CQUniversity will stand out in the crowd because we will offer students more comprehensive choices. We will be the only Queensland university that allows our students to seamlessly transition between awards, providing them with added value in their education and giving them an edge over others when they graduate. For example our engineering students may choose to also pick up various trade qualifications during their degree – how many electrical engineers graduating from other universities might also be qualified electricians? How many mechanical engineers might also have welding qualifications? That might just be the edge employers and graduates are looking for.

What’s more, many of our students will be able to pick up an award after their first year of study and gain part-time employment in their chosen field while completing their degree. In the coming years many of our education and nursing graduates will have already been working in their chosen field, in some capacity, for two years or more, before they even graduate. That type of experience will obviously place them ahead of the pack when applying for graduate roles.

Being a more comprehensive university isn’t just about being a place to study, but being a place that allows people to discover more opportunities, giving themselves the very best chance to be exactly what they want to be.

I’m really glad I had the chance to get out last week and spread the comprehensive message to staff. I look forward to continuing this journey long after 1 July, spreading the message loud and clear to everyone. 

The Chancellor addresses staff at the roadshow