RUN Media Centre | 18 March 2013
The RUN grouping of six of Australia’s regional universities contributes $2.1 billion in gross domestic product, $1.2 billion in household income and more than 14,000 (full time equivalent) jobs, according to an economic impact study it commissioned on the impact of its members on the Australian economy and human capital in the regions.
The Regional Universities Network (RUN) commissioned the study to examine the impact of its members on the Australian economy and human capital in the regions.
RUN Chair David Battersby says the study shows the enormous benefits for Australia – both economically and socially – that are generated by universities in regional areas.
The combined GDP and income figures of more than $3 billion are equal to all of the economic activity generated by the Great Barrier Reef each year. The $3 billion is also equivalent to the value of Australia’s entire cotton crop in 2011/12.
A large proportion of RUN’s economic activity directly benefits the regions in which the universities are located. Overall, RUN’s major campuses contribute $1.7 billion in gross regional product, $968 million in household income; and more than 12,000 FTE jobs to the combined economies of the Local Government Areas in which they are located.
The analysis did not include the impacts of various other campuses, overseas centres or any other operations of the universities including innovation parks or vocational education and training, or assessments of other benefits such as the universities’ role in encouraging people in their regions to undertake higher education.
The report also found that RUN universities have had a generally positive impact on higher education in their reions (albeit from a low base) and that over 60% of RUN graduates are employed in a regional location.
RUN is pushing for more incentives for domestic and international students to attend regional campuses, new funding for a regional development initiative, the continuation of the Collaborative Research Network that funds alliances between regional and larger metropolitan universities, and more structural adjustment money to facilitate cost-saving cooperation between regional universities.