CQU reveals preferred new campus site in $50m funding push
CQUNIVERSITY has singled out a prime corner block in the Cairns CBD for a new campus and have joined forces civil leaders in a push for $50 million in Federal Government funding.
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp yesterday revealed the Cairns Regional Council-owned former post office site on the corner of Grafton and Hartley Sts as their desired location for the 9,980 sqm vertical university.
It could cater for up to 4000 students - more than doubling the capacity of their current Cairns Square site on Abbott St.
Prof Klomp said the project was almost "shovel ready" and urged the Federal Government to back it and help give the city a post-COVID kick start.
"We've got a lot of support indicated by the Commonwealth, but now is the time for the Commonwealth to write the cheque … and show how committed they are," he said.
"We are ready to start building now and that's really important.
"Cairns is hurting right now and needs that Commonwealth support."
Prof Klomp said on top of the initial "sugar hit" of jobs the construction would create, the growing campus would inject more than $500 million into the region's economy over the next decade.
He said the build was expected to take between 18 months and two years.
A larger campus would also increase the number of courses offered, particularly in areas such as allied health.
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said he had already spoken to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Education Minister Dan Tehan about the project and they supported it, but he feared the Victorian outbreak may delay funding decisions.
He said the build could be the catalyst to other Cairns projects, including the Nova City apartments, which have stalled during COVID, but are potential student accommodation.
Cairns mayor Bob Manning said council supported the project and the location which they would lease to the university.
"(CQU) has been a wonderful citizen of this town and their model is one that we approve," he said.
"If you're going to back anybody it's going to be this university and this is the time to do it.
"I don't think it would be hard for the Prime Minister and Treasurer to say this is a project we should support.
"We're talking about a measly $50 million."
The project is also expected to be on the agenda for a "mini convoy" of senior Cairns delegates heading to Parliament House in Brisbane next week
Originally published as CQU reveals preferred new Cairns campus site in $50m funding push