SCU contributes more than $500m to region
A NEW study has shown that Southern Cross University has contributed half a billion dollars to the region.
The study, commissioned by the Regional Universities Network (RUN), found that SCU contributes $506.8 million to the Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Gold Coast and Tweed Heads economies and provides 2365 full-time equivalent jobs.
RUN had commissioned the report analysing the economic impact of all its six member universities, including SCU, and found that they together contribute $2.1 billion in gross domestic product, $1.2 billion in household income and more than 14,000 (full time equivalent) jobs.
Vice Chancellor of Southern Cross University, Professor Peter Lee, said this study just goes to show how important universities are to their regions and that this number is only set to increase.
"It means great things for the region - not just for Southern Cross - it's half a billion dollars of economic impact to the whole region."
Prof Lee also said that he believes this study is limited, and that SCU's true impact is greater than the results displayed here.
However, he said, these results demonstrate "the importance of universities in their region," and said he hoped that more people will now understand the "vital role" that universities play in the community.
RUN Chair David Battersby said that this study shows the "enormous benefits for Australia - both economically and socially - that are generated by universities in regional areas."
"The combined GDP and income figures of more than $3 billion are equal to all of the economic activity generated by the Great Barrier Reef each year," Mr Battersby said.
The report also found that between 2006 and 2011, the proportion of the population aged over 15 with a university qualification increased in each of SCU's regions - from 16.8% to 18.6% in Lismore.