At times, Council decisions receive criticism from sections of our community. Gympie, as we know, is located within the Wide Bay Burnett region which has been identified as one area of the lowest socio-economic regions in Australia.
A key factor in economic development, or restraint, is access to quality education facilities, allowing community members to enhance their qualifications in the hope of securing or increasing employment opportunities.
Following recent media coverage of the University of the Sunshine Coast expanding its footprint into the TAFE premises here in Gympie, Council will not hesitate in continuing to advocate and assist in the push to finalise an agreement between the State Government and the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Historically, this Council provided financial assistance in facilitating the construction of the current campus building and around Australia this is not unusual, with many regional councils supporting further education in their communities.
Hundreds of Gympie residents have benefitted from the presence of the Gympie campus of USC. In opposing Council’s involvement in the matter, our local state member needs to recall that he was a member of Gympie Regional Council when it voted to provide financial assistance for the establishment of the USC Gympie Campus.
I am not interested in politicizing the matter, I am interested in supporting the key stakeholders, being USC and the government of the day to broker an outcome.
Council will continue to play a role, which reflects the true nature of regional local government; facilitating opportunities for residents, delivering services and planning for the future.
More importantly, Council wants to support access to higher education for our youth and mature age students, not be part of political finger pointing as to why a positive outcome has not been achieved.
Mayor Mick Curran