TAMWORTH’s four state candidates all believe a full-blown university in the city is a must if the region is to reach its full potential.
The University of New England has revealed plans for a multi-million dollar campus near Tamworth’s CBD, with a 500-person capacity, however it is reliant on a successful NSW government grant application.
Local education advocate Mitch Hanlon is seeking to put the issue on the election radar of all candidates, to sure up city’s tertiary education future.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said there was already a lot of work being done behind the scenes.
“I’ve arranged meetings with the Deputy Premier’s office to look at applications for funding and collaborations with the federal government for funding arrangements,” he said.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers’ Jeff Bacon said he was fully supportive of the idea and had reached out to Mr Hanlon to get a handle on the situation.
“It’s looking likely that we’re going to have a hung parliament, and with a number of strong SFF candidates, we could quite likely hold the balance of power,” he said.
“If we were to have myself as the MP, that would leave us in a strong position to be able to deliver for this electorate.”
Labor candidate Stephen Mears also supported the idea, however said any successful push for a university would need support from all three levels of government.
“Given there are only 43 universities in Australia, it’s definitely something worth pursuing,” Mr Mears said.
“There would be a massive boost to the economy, and a windfall of jobs. It would bring international students and other students in to town, giving us another boost.”
Independent Mark Rodda said it was a no-brainer that a big centre like Tamworth should have a university presences.
“We all know about the benefits of having an educated population,” Cr Rodda said.
“If we don’t value options for country kids, the future is bleak for them, particularly if they don’t have those alternatives.”