4 July 2018
Good morning everyone. I’d particularly like to acknowledge Ministers Dutton and Birmingham and Mayor Sutherland, each has played a crucial role in making this concept, this shared vision, become a reality.
And I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this country – we look forward to following their lead in caring for this site so that it becomes an integral part of community.
It really is a genuine thrill to be here today, to celebrate the start of what is arguably Australia’s first new university campus since USC Sunshine Coast was established more than 20 years ago.
This project began to take shape over 5 years ago. USC was looking to establish a physical presence in the Moreton Bay region, while at the same time, Moreton Bay Regional Council had decided that a university was a crucial missing link in its planning for the future. And from the USC perspective, it became obvious that they were compatible partners who shared an understanding of the power of higher education to transform communities and they were intent on quality. We exchanged dance-cards!
When the Council purchased this site, it was clear they were definitely serious about their university. And then, of course, they put us through an extremely rigorous tendering process before selecting us as the successful bidder in 2015. No easy ride for USC there.
And the tender process helped us to really understand the Moreton Bay community and what it needed, and to design what I think will be a truly outstanding campus. I’d like to acknowledge here the contributions of Dr Scott Snyder, our Chief Operating Officer and his team. Scott has lived this project for the past 4 years and he’s left no stone unturned in his determination to ensure that the Moreton Bay community gets not just some university buildings but something very special.
And it’s really important that they do. As you know, this community – like the Sunshine Coast – has traditionally been under-represented in higher education. Moreton Bay is one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions (and I’m sure Allan will correct me here and reinforce that it’s in fact the fastest), and it is the only region of its size in Australia without its own full-service university campus. USC Moreton Bay represents an exciting opportunity to harness the region’s potential, and significantly boost educational opportunities for local residents.
And many locals are already choosing USC. In Semester 1 this year, we enrolled about 1,000 new domestic students from Moreton Bay, representing nearly one quarter of the commencing domestic student cohort. Around half of these students started at USC Caboolture – a campus previously held by QUT until the start of this year. And we look forward to welcoming many many more students to the USC community when this new campus opens in 2020.
In line with our reputation for delivering practical outcomes, USC Moreton Bay’s initial undergraduate, postgraduate, and research programs will have an employment focus to ensure benefits flow quickly to the wider community.
As the Caboolture and Moreton Bay campuses grow, we will work closely with local schools, industries and community groups to ensure we deliver study options that meet the region’s needs, and prepare graduates for the opportunities provided by the changing economy.
We’re proud to belong to this community and to bring to the region a truly innovative university campus, purpose-built to support and empower the people of Moreton Bay. USC’s Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast communities together will help connect, expand and improve educational futures throughout the South-East Queensland corridor.
I will now present a short fly-through video of an artist’s impression of USC Moreton Bay.
Last week Moreton Bay Regional Council approved an Agreement which details the arrangements for the development of an Educational Establishment at this location. It also details the rights and obligations between USC and Moreton Bay Regional Council. Today, as we mark commencement of construction, it seems an appropriate opportunity for us to sign this agreement. It’s my pleasure to invite Mayor Allan Sutherland from Moreton Bay Regional Council to come forward for the signing of the Development Agreement.