CQUniversity Cairns Campus Opening
Speech delivered as Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia:
Thank you Jodie for your kind introduction. I warmly acknowledge elected representatives, members of the CQUniversity Council, executive and staff, distinguished guests, all of you, ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I are honoured to join you for the official opening of this magnificent new campus.
I have come to know Cairns well over the years I’ve travelled here, as a Supreme Court Judge, then as Chief Justice, and more recently of course, as the 26th Governor of Queensland.
Over this time I have observed its emergence as a highly significant part of our great State, both culturally and economically, becoming Australia’s northern gateway to Asia and beyond, a major service provider into the top end of Australia, not to mention a preferred tourism destination for the many thousands of interstate and international visitors who flock here each year.
One could speak in similar terms of CQUniversity’s emergence in recent years. From beginnings in 1967 as the Queensland Institute of Technology (Capricornia) based in Rockhampton, to now being the largest university based in regional Australia, offering qualifications which range from certificate to doctorate level, on 20 campuses to over 30,000 students all over Australia.
This is a truly remarkable record of achievement which reflects a connectedness with and an ability to respond to the needs of, communities, not only in the North of Queensland, but in all the Australian jurisdictions where CQUniversity has now an established presence.
I note the origin of this new campus was the CQUniversity Cairns Distance Education Study Centre, which has supported students based in Cairns and further afield in the Far North Queensland Region for the past three years. It is a natural progression to establish a more fully fledged campus to serve the growing needs of the top end region, and indeed the lucrative international market, which is so accessible to Cairns now with direct international routes connecting to major Asian cities.
As I remarked at a reception earlier this week, I recently travelled to Hong Kong and Korea, to advocate for and highlight our State’s strengths as a trade and investment partner and as a destination for tourism and education.
I was very proud to tell the story of what Queenslanders can offer internationally, and particularly from regional areas such as Cairns, which is growing in its capacity to provide a competitive and diversified portfolio of products and services - including education and training - to global markets.
The establishment of a CQUniversity campus in Cairns, is a very significant example of this growing capacity and it bodes so well for the future of this region and Queensland overall that there is another, accessible offering of higher learning and training here to serve local, interstate and international need.
My regional Government House program in Cairns over the past few days has included several opportunities to meet local students, many of whom spoke to me of their further education and career aspirations. And I am so very glad that for them, the tyranny of distance that can sometimes make dreams of obtaining technical and university qualifications so difficult to realise, will not apply. For they have the good fortune to have a range of choices available to them right here in Cairns, if they should so choose to follow those dreams.
I congratulate the CQUniversity on this wonderful new campus and I wish the very best for all who will study or conduct research here. May they go on to make their university and communities proud and to make positive contributions to this region and to our great State.