The Lismore Southern Cross University Plaza is a centrepiece of campus activity.
The Lismore Southern Cross University Plaza is a centrepiece of campus activity.

SCU anchors $483m economy wave

LISMORE’S university campus is definitely the hub of Southern Cross University and there are certainly no plans to move the university’s operations anywhere else, according to vice chancellor Professor Peter Lee.

“We are based in Lismore and remain the heart of a multi-campus university,” he told The Northern Star at a media conference to announce a report on the economic value of the university to the community.

The report found that in 2010, the value of Southern Cross University to the Northern Rivers region will be $291 million, to the Coff’s Coast $67 million and to the Tweed and Gold Coast region it will be worth $125 million.

“For every dollar Southern Cross University spends, $2.50 is generated into the local economy,” Professor Lee said.

Executive dean of the Faculty of Law and Business, Professor Michael Evans, presented the report with the vice-chancellor at Lismore campus.

“The uni is a very stable part of the economy, it has helped the region survive,” he said.

It is the first time a report of this kind has been undertaken and it is good news for businesses in the community.

While 1473 staff are expected to work at the Lismore campus next year, the employment attributed to the region from the university adds up to 1873 jobs.

These figures include supporting jobs at cafes, supermarkets and construction workers at the $4 million pool complex, expected to be completed early next year.

A Health and Wellbeing Clinic will be housed in the new $4-million Health and Wellness Building at the Lismore campus as well.

The annual turnover of Southern Cross University is $180 million. The economic strength of these numbers gives Lismore campus a firm footing as the heart of Southern Cross University.

Numbers for the region on levels of education are not so favourable. Nationally 32 per cent of 24 to 35-year-olds have qualifications above Year 12.

Lismore falls well behind this with only 18pc of 24 to 35 year-olds having above Year 12 educational qualification

“The federal government has set a target of 40pc of all 25 to 34-year-olds to hold qualifications of at least bachelor level by 2020, and we are certainly aiming to contribute to meeting that target,” Professor Lee said.

“The social impact of uni shouldn’t be underestimated in transforming lives through education.”

The economic report was the outcome of a decade of hard work but a regional university must be engaged with its community, Professor Lee said.

The economic report was completed by the Southern Cross University’s Regional Futures Institute.

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