Friday, April 11, 2014


Each year Universities Australia delivers a great campaign to raise awareness about the importance of our universities. This year’s campaign is no different: it’s got great creative, a moving, quirky animation, and a good presence on social media.

But besides the creative elements the important part of this campaign is reinforcing that all of us need to work together to ensure our universities don’t get left behind the rest of the world. More to the point the campaign highlights that if our universities get left behind so too does our nation.

I think for most people,  universities are seen as a place of learning, somewhere to gain a qualification. I think many people don’t actually understand that as well as performing this vital function in society universities are also an industry, and like any industry require investment and continuous innovation to ensure they remain competitive and relevant in not just a national sector but a global marketplace.

Let’s take a look at the facts:

  • Australian university graduates are worth $188b to our economy (that’s annually).
  •  Australian universities employ 110,000 staff and contribute $23b to national GDP.
  • International education is Australia’s biggest non-resource export.
  • Universities provide opportunities for a generation of young people – equipping them with the knowledge and skills required for the future of our nation!

What’s more, regional universities (just like CQUni) employ 10,000 people nationally and are often the biggest employer in their local area. They contribute $2 billion to regional economies and work with regional industry and business on research projects to help them stay competitive.

It all sounds pretty important doesn’t it? These facts make universities seem like thriving businesses in a multi-billion dollar industry. Yet, more needs to be done to not just protect our universities but grow them and make them more relevant on the global stage. When we see so many other industries struggling or worse yet exiting Australia full stop, it’s never been more important to secure the future of those industries that are still strong! However, in terms of investment Australia is not keeping pace with the rest of the developed world. The potential for global success is there but much more needs to be done to invest in not just the education sector but so too research and development.

Research has shown 88 per cent of families aspire for their children to go to university, yet in 10 years’ time there could be a shortfall of 280,000 people with tertiary qualifications needed for our economy. For my mind investing in universities is the smartest investment we can make in our nation’s future.

We all need to get behind our universities and keep them strong. To learn more please visit and sign the petition. 

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