Uni centre to become reality
Saturday, 20th May, 2017
By Daniel Stringer
The Far West University will now become a reality, after Broken Hill was announced as one of five locations to receive funding by the state government.
After over a year of planning and submitting applications, the region has finally been approved as one of the locations to establish a university centre under the Cooma model.
Executive Officer of RDA Far West, Michael Williams, has been a driving force behind the project and says he is over the moon with the end result.
“It is a fantastic outcome and a wonderful result for our entire region, but also for the collaboration between us and the Cooma model that we can start to offer greater opportunities to our students,” Mr Williams said.
“I am incredibly grateful for the state and federal government for their assistance with funding,” Mr Williams said.
With the announcement now official the process will now begin to establish the university centre. Mr Williams says the aim is to have the university fully functioning and ready for this year’s graduates.
“We will start to look now at getting a steering committee together and formalising that steering committee and then going through that whole process of a company structure behind that.
“So what we will be working towards is having the centre open and established by January at the latest.”
Also on hand for the official announcement yesterday was Duncan Taylor, who is the CEO of Country University Centres. Mr Taylor was instrumental in establishing the Cooma model and says that Broken Hill will make the perfect location to further that model.
“I think Broken Hill is a really good location, it is a good population size out here in the Far West and it is very important for to see those pathways in Broken Hill.
“I am actually really looking forward to a location in Cooma, a location in Broken Hill and other locations around the state actually working together to increase the student cohorts.
“The opportunity to have a centre in this part of the state will actually give universities to deliver more opportunities for higher education.”
Given the early nature of the announcement there is not yet a clear idea around the budget for the project and what money will be allocated. The state government has committed $8 million dollars for the establishment of the five new centres, but Mr Williams says that only time will tell how much of that is allocated to the Broken Hill centre.
“We are still really looking at I guess the budgets that we are able to support the establishment of five of those centres.
“Realistically the budget we need to establish that centre in Broken Hill, hopefully within the next two to three weeks we will start to get to that point at looking at exactly what the dollars are and what we can achieve with those dollars.”
A steering committee will now be formalised in order to drive the project forward, with a location expected to be finalised within the next two to three weeks.