Regional Australia – Smart & Proud

Community & Co-design

On the 3rd May, I had the privilege of giving the occasional address at the University of Wollongong Shoalhaven Campus graduation.  As part of my chat with the students I said,

“ It is a privilege to be part of this significant milestone in your professional careers. Hopefully, you will leave this ceremony thinking about how you will grow, what you will gain – and how you can give back to the community.

My background, I suspect like many of yours, has been grounded in regional Australia. You will hear a lot of chatter in the media about urbanisation and smart cities. Much of what we see, at a political level, are city-centric solutions transposed to a regional context. If you look at the papers, you would be forgiven for having the impression that intelligence and culture can only be found in the city. So not true! ”

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Myself with UOW Deputy Chancellor Noel Cornish

In a recent speech the CEO of the Regional Australia Institute, Jack Archer, noted:

  • Regions contributed half of our nation’s growth post Global Financial Crisis, fulfilling their role as a source of resilience for the economy
  • Regional Australia is at the forefront of productivity in over a third of industries, including healthcare and logistics
  • Overall the regional economy is resilient, highly productive, diversified and shifting, to a services led future

I encouraged the University of Wollongong graduates to leave the ceremony proud of their education at a regional university.

You will hear talk of ‘the sandstones’ – those long established institutions with grand masonry buildings and formal courtyards. The sandstone of the Shoalhaven campus is still in the ground – literally forming the foundation of the campus. Our courtyard is a vast expanse of the Australian bush.”


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