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A Queensland-based university ranked as one of Australia’s top universities for teaching quality has been selected to develop the exciting new Moreton Bay Region University Precinct at Petrie.

Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland said the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) had been selected through a competitive Expression of Interest and tender process managed by KPMG.

“As one of the big four accounting firms, KPMG has worked closely with a number of interested universities in Australia throughout the Expressions of Interest and tender process,” Mayor Sutherland said.

“There could be no better early Christmas present for the people of our region than today’s exciting announcement.”

Mayor Sutherland said the USC will develop a campus at Petrie in equal status to its Sippy Downs campus.

“The Petrie campus will have a comprehensive offering of courses including law, business, science, engineering and many specialty courses such as mechatronics,” the Mayor said.

For the 10th consecutive year, USC has received a five-star rating for teaching quality from the independently published Good Universities Guide.

The university has also achieved higher than average participation rates for low socio-economic status students.

Moreton Bay Region University Precinct is expected to cater for up to 10,000 students within the first 10 years, starting from the year 2020.

Currently up to 90 per cent of university students in the Moreton Bay Region travel up to three hours a day to attend university.

“This takes a massive toll on our region’s young people and their families who battle every week to get to and from university,” the Mayor said.

“The tyranny of distance can be a massive deterrent to many young people wanting to take on higher education, or mature aged students in our community looking to study around their work and family commitments.

“I make no apologies for this council having a bold vision for our region’s future that helps to deliver the best possible economic and educational outcomes for our people.”

USC’s Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Hill thanked Moreton Bay Regional Council for awarding the tender to USC, which has experienced sustained rapid growth since opening in 1996.

“This is wonderful news for the people of the Moreton Bay Region – a community of more than 400,000 people – to soon have a full-service campus that we’d see as becoming much the same size as our Sippy Downs campus over the first 10-15 years,” he said.

“We feel we’re already a big part of this community. About 15 percent of our students already come from the Moreton Bay Region. And roughly a quarter of the students from the region who attend university come up the road to us.

Regional Development Australia Moreton Bay initiated the development of a Tertiary Education Strategy for the Moreton Bay Region, which articulated the need to increase access, participation and aspiration for higher education in one of Australia’s fastest growing regions. The investment by Council and now by the University of the Sunshine Coast are significant steps towards the delivery of this strategy.

Image credit: Moreton Bay Regional Council