Country Universities Centre (CUC) Balonne Officially Opens to Empower Regional Education
09 Mar 2022
The new Country Universities Centre (CUC) campus in St George and Dirranbandi have been officially opened on 7 & 8 March 2022 respectively.
The facilities were opened by Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud, and the ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Balonne Shire, Samantha O’Toole, Chair of CUC Balonne, Matthew Magin, and Balonne community leaders.
CUC Balonne Chair Matthew Magin said local Balonne students have benefited from access to CUC Balonne campuses in St George and Dirranbandi since July last year.
“The CUC Balonne St George campus has had a significant upgrade by moving into the just-completed Hub, a $6 million purpose-built library, business centre and education complex.
“This centre and the broader CUC network seek to empower regional people by building highly-connected learning communities and opportunities for a vibrant and prosperous future. It provides a dynamic environment where tertiary students have space, technology and support to focus on and succeed in their studies.”
“CUC Balonne is part of the second round of project funding. It received $737,082 for establishment and operations, which will bring degrees closer to regional students pursuing their higher education studies in and around Balonne.
“CUC Balonne has been open for just two semesters and early in this semester has 39 already registered students. We want more people in and around Balonne to remain in their local area, study successfully and develop the skills and qualifications that will help them secure local jobs.
“As CEO of the Balonne Shire Council, I have seen first-hand the importance of diversification and equity of access to education in rural, regional and remote Queensland, enabling people to have a real choice about where and how they study.
“CUC Balonne is a game-changer for keeping our youth in our communities, while also giving anyone, of any age, the opportunity to further their studies from the place they call home in a professional, purpose-built and technologically-advanced Country Universities Centre” Mr Magin said.
Mr Magin expressed his appreciation to the Federal Government and the Centre’s foundation sponsors – including the Balonne Shire Council and the Dirranbandi Rural Transaction Centre – for their significant funding contributions.
CUC CEO Duncan Taylor acknowledged the significant contributions towards the establishment and operations of CUC Balonne from government.
“We are very grateful for the support we’ve received. Without the Federal Government funding and Council support, we wouldn’t be opening the CUC Balonne today,” Mr Taylor said.
“CUC Balonne is community-driven. The people of Balonne want to ensure its students of today can succeed in the jobs of tomorrow. Without this community’s passion, drive and support, we wouldn’t be here today,” Mr Taylor said.
“We also recognise the Balonne Shire Council and acknowledge its significant contribution and commitment to helping foster lifelong learning. Without our community champions, the volunteer board members and our amazing Centre Manager, Ms Alix Greenhill, we wouldn’t be here celebrating today.”
The Australian Government has continued to invest in the Regional University Centres model with a new round of funding just recently announced.