UTAS

I may have missed something.

The University of Tasmania wants to spend $220 million dollars to deliver a purpose built education facility in the heart of Launceston stimulating significant and ongoing economic activity.

However, our most common response as a community is to criticise the lack of potential for car parking?

The reality is that the UTAS campus at Newnham is losing five per cent in student numbers per year, which when coupled with the fact that the site will be far more expensive to retrofit, encapsulates the immediate challenges that we face as a community. 

And as most people would recognise, when you lose student numbers, the decline in teaching staff and research capacity, the bread and butter of an outstanding University is consequently impacted.

The Newnham Campus is no longer fit for purpose, in many ways a relic of the past, and not likely to attract modern, mobile and internationally connected students who can’t remember the last day they didn’t use Google.

Property, construction, manufacturing, tourism, retail and the service sector will drive our economy into the future and the relocation combined with the growth stimulated by vacating the Newnham site will offer opportunities that the local market will embrace.

A move by the University of Tasmania to the Inveresk Campus will place education and what it means to be world class front and centre of public debate and discussion.  This is essential if improvement in educational attainment is our goal.

Local Launceston legend has it that during the last century 1000 students attended the nearby Invermay Primary School sustained by railway workers and their families.  It would be apt if sounds emanating from a hive of activity, albeit attributed to a radically different generation echoed once more.

The current crop of Launceston City Council Alderman have a mandate to lead; to provide informed and proactive community guidance in what remains a tenuous economic time for the proud and parochial north of the state.

I have faith in their collective ability to recognise potential and need, and to that end I was impressed with the willingness of the Deputy Mayor and the State Treasurer to expend political capital at the recent Albert Hall public forum.

This is a significant test for what has traditionally been an extremely conservative council and for our city’s future I hope they don’t miss the opportunity.

Media contact:  Brian Wightman |M  0429 073 773  |E  bwightman@propertycouncil.com.au