Lismore campus sell-out denied
By JANE GARDNER
A PROPOSED $20 million Southern Cross University campus minutes from the Gold Coast has attracted criticism the university is shifting its focus to Queensland.
However, the university's executive director, Malcolm Marshall, said the four-hectare campus would not downgrade Lismore's position as the region's drawcard educational facility.
"We are not about to sell out," Mr Marshall said.
"We are funded for Northern NSW and the Commonwealth Government would not be very pleased if we went elsewhere."
Although the proposed site is adjacent to the Gold Coast Airport, it is still below the Queensland border, he said.
It will be controlled by the Gold Coast Airport Corporation and negotiations are still under way to secure a development site.
Due for completion in 2009, the campus will accommodate 1500 students, and 18 months of market research will be done before the courses are chosen.
Mr Marshall said although the new site would cater mostly for full fee-paying and international students, it wouldn't affect new enrolments in Lismore.
"The international market is difficult to predict, but it shouldn't have any major impact," he said.
"We are doing market research to make sure we don't destroy what we have here at Lismore."
The SCU board looked at four other sites in the Tweed region before choosing the one furthest north.
Tweed Shire Council administrator Max Boyd said it was a 'disappointing' decision.
"It has virtually gone to Queensland," he said.
"You would think they would at least have tried to keep it in its own territory.
"It would be interesting to know what terms they have obtained from the Gold Coast Airport, who may have been very generous."
The new campus has already been allocated $4 million in capital funding from the Federal Government.
Federal Member for Page, Ian Causley, said despite the money not being spent in his electorate, the Federal Gov- ernment funding was good news.
"Many students come from that area and money spent there will only strengthen Southern Cross University as a whole," he said.
The existing SCU campus in Brett Street, Tweed Heads, will be transformed into a Graduate College of Management.
It will cater for international and domestic students undertaking postgraduate programs.