Allied Health funding pledge made today by Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker.
Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee, Mayor Denise Knight, Chamber of Commerce president George Cecato.
Allied Health funding pledge made today by Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker. Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee, Mayor Denise Knight, Chamber of Commerce president George Cecato. Trevor Veale

Election sweetener: $12 million university health complex

SOUTHERN Cross University's Coffs Harbour campus will become a medical training hub, with the Coalition Government announcing $12 million to build an allied health facility and clinic.

Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker will make the election pledge this morning with the grant to fund stage one of an allied health building.

"This announcement cements Coffs Harbour's growing reputation as a premier regional medical training and education hub," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"The allied health facility will greatly expand the breadth of medical and allied health studies available in the Coffs Coast region.

"It is a known fact that health professionals who train in regional areas are more likely to stay and work in these areas."

Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee said new courses would be offered at the campus and the new facility would also complement existing health courses including nursing and midwifery, psychological science and sport and exercise science.

"We will introduce degrees in speech pathology and occupational therapy and establish the SCU Health Clinic, an innovative model of providing community care and professional experience for our students," Prof. Lee said.

The university is also said to be considering a paramedic training course.

The Allied Health Centre concept has been a collaborative project involving the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce and Coffs Harbour City Council.

"When a city such as Coffs Harbour offers more educational and training opportunities, it enhances its desirability as a place to live, invest and raise a family," Coffs Harbour mayor Denise Knight said.

Chamber of Commerce President George Cecato said it was important to have investment in Coffs Harbour infrastructure and educational facilities.

"This is a significant boost to the Coffs Harbour business sector; there will be jobs created and many opportunities to directly and indirectly get involved in the construction and operational phases of the Allied Health Centre," Mr Cecato said.

SCU Coffs Harbour Head of Campus Professor David Lynch said the university contributes around $36.1 million in gross regional product to the economy and this project will bring with it new jobs, in the construction phase and beyond.

An artist impression of what SCU's Coffs Campus would look like after the upgrade.
An artist impression of what SCU's Coffs Campus would look like after the upgrade. SCU

THE TIMELINE

SCU Professor David Lynch approached the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce late last year with details of the Allied Health Facility.

The chamber's executive and members were told if the Allied Health facility did not get support, the long-term future for the university would be strained.

The Chamber agreed to support the University and champion the cause to "Future Proof the University."

An executive luncheon was recently held where the benefits of what an Allied Health Facility would bring to the university and community were discussed.

A Coffs Harbour Chamber Allied Health Building Working Group was set up comprising community stakeholders, industry specialists, council staff, chamber representatives and Southern Cross University academics.

From there the government through Mr Hartsuyker was lobbied for funding.

The candidancy of independent candidates John Arkan and Rob Oakeshott is said to have assisted in the expediency of the funding, which is now dependent on Luke Hartsuyker being re-elected next weekend.

If you're voting in the seat of Cowper, who will you be voting for?

This poll ended on 30 June 2016.

Current Results

Wayne LAWRENCE - Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

0%

Michael GOUGH - Citizens Electoral Council

0%

Carol VERNON - The Greens

4%

Damian WOOD - Labor

3%

Rob OAKESHOTT - Independent

48%

Luke HARTSUYKER - The Nationals

39%

John ARKAN - Independent

2%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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