A Central Queensland university professor has waded into the debate about a regional university presence in Mount Isa saying they were already a "major player" in the region.
Professor Rob Brown of CQ University wrote a letter to Mount Isa City Council about increased university support services in the city which he said may have been driven by the recent implementation of Regional University Centres across many parts of Australia, supported through $15m in Commonwealth Government funding.
While the only Queensland centre on that federal list is Roma, Prof Brown said their objective was to increase opportunities for tertiary participation in rural, regional and remote Australia.
"I have just checked our current enrolment statistics, and it appears that there are more than 170 students currently enrolled in distance education programs either in Mount Isa, or the immediately adjacent postcodes," Prof Brown said.
"We are therefore already a major player in your community in trying to redress the imbalance that regional Australia faces in retaining its youth and helping them to gain tertiary qualifications locally."
The letter comes after Mount Isa City Council agreed to take a motion of support to the Local Government Association of Queensland conference in October to get behind a regional university centre in the city.
Mayor Danielle Slade said she wanted a university campus in Mount Isa for mining degrees.
"I had the University of Queensland come out to Mount Isa, Glencore, MMG, Capricorn Copper, TAFE, MITEZ and Commerce North West were there too, and we talked about what we wanted to see in Mount Isa," Cr Slade said.
"There's less and less students taking up mining degrees and there's a shortage of geologists worldwide, and there's 100 mining engineers retiring every year."
Cr Slade said while mining had become a "dirty word" in some places, those growing up in mining areas knew the benefit of the industry.
"They don't believe mining is a bad thing," she said.
"A university here would give kids an opportunity to do higher education and have the support of their family living locally but they'd also have the support and access to 30 world class mines in the region."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on Google News