Cook Shire ready for Regional University Centre

Published: 2nd June 2022

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has welcomed the Regional University Centre program’s recently announced expansion to Cook Shire. 
Cooktown’s inclusion comes after sustained advocacy by Queensland councils to have this successful program made available to more local communities in the state. 
LGAQ CEO Alison Smith said the program is an exciting development for Far North Queensland. 
“This program is championed by the LGAQ for its track record of removing barriers and offering quality educational opportunities to students in regional and remote areas,” Ms Smith said. 
“And, in Australia’s most decentralised state, it is already proving to be a game-changer. 
“At 105,719² kilometres, Cook Shire is well and truly Queensland’s largest local government area, and this tremendous development will boost access to education for the community, enhance liveability and help to ease regional skills shortages. 
“I recently highlighted the opportunities the program is delivering for local communities, at the State Government’s 2022 Workforce and Skills Summit. 
“Centres are already up and running in the Maranoa, Goondiwindi and Balonne local government areas – with the recently announced centre for Mount Isa to come online soon – and the LGAQ, and in particular our Regional University Centre working group, looks forward to continuing its advocacy to help more Queensland communities join this program.” 
The new centre is expected to open in October 2022 and will be operated by Country Universities Centre and Cook Shire Council. Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott hailed the development as a game-changer for his community. 
“Council already has a Charlotte Street site in mind that will be suitable for the university centre, and we hope see it serving as an innovation hub, as well as a study centre,” Mayor Scott said. 
“Along with our own kids, our shire is home to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, as well as our adjoining First Nations council neighbours, and for them to have such immediate access to this level of education should be a game-changer.”  
“The average annual cost for a student to study away from home is more than $20,000 and that’s a big reason why people who live in regional Australia are less than half as likely as city students to complete a university degree. Regional university centres are changing those statistics and helping students graduate.” 
For more information: 
Tim Cox, Communications Advisor 
0436 655 409