New university at Petrie officially opens

The opening of USC Moreton Bay at Petrie will forever change the educational, employment and earning potential of one of Australia’s fastest-growing regions.

Federal Member for Dickson Peter Dutton officially opened the university and spoke of it’s significance for the region.

“It’s great to be here celebrating the opening of a world-class university right here at Petrie in the heart of our region,” Mr Dutton said.

“This is the first new greenfield university campus to be built in Australia in the last 14 years and I am very proud it is based right here in our community.

“For the first time young people will have the opportunity to undertake tertiary study in our region with world-leading facilities."

Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth spoke about the research and tech capabilities planned for the site.

“There is $15 million worth of technology in this precinct. Students will get to utilise a thermodynamics laboratory, nursing simulation rooms, robotics facilities, and even a large ‘superlab’ for chemical experiments,” Mr Howarth said.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a student in this area. I look forward to seeing how businesses in areas like North Lakes, Narangba and Clontarf will seize this wave of business, and all that the stream of well-educated and forward thinking graduates will do to innovate, expand and create new opportunities in our community."

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government’s $35 million investment in essential infrastructure at the Mill at Moreton Bay would provide long-term benefits to the Moreton Bay Region.

“In addition to addressing the current undersupply of tertiary education options within this growing region, this investment will also produce long-term economic benefits to the region as it will also serve as a catalyst for the creation of a surrounding innovation and economic hub that is expected to generate significant employment and investment opportunities,” Mr McCormack said.

“By supporting 100 jobs in construction and creating an expected 2,200 ongoing jobs after completion, in addition to using local businesses and supplies, this project will help bring economic prosperity to Moreton Bay for many years to come.”

Minister for Education Dan Tehan spoke about the Commonwealth loan which enabled the university to become a reality.

“The Commonwealth is proud to support tertiary education in Moreton Bay and the $121 million loan enabled Stage One of the USC Campus to go ahead,” Mr Tehan said.

“The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring Australian students have access to top quality universities across our cities and in regional areas.”

Acting Mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council Mike Charlton said this project was an emblem of what’s possible when all three levels of government work together.

“When Regional Development Australia’s Tertiary Education Study revealed just 35 per cent of local school-leavers went on to university, we knew we had to act,” Cr Charlton said.

“Council appealed to the state and federal governments to partner with us and USC on a project to transform the educational opportunities and job prospects of generations to come.

“Today is the start of that journey, and I cannot wait to see Petrie evolve into an exciting new epicentre of learning and economic opportunity that will lure the best and brightest minds from around the world to study, live and work right here in Moreton Bay.

“Many people don’t realise that The Mill PDA will become a knowledge and innovation hub that’s 50 per cent larger than the Brisbane CBD, which will generate thousands of new jobs and write a brand-new chapter for the Moreton Bay Region.”

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said Moreton Bay had been under-represented in higher education, and was previously the only location of its size in the country without its own full-service university campus.

“Today, that has all changed,” Professor Hill said.

“We now have the exciting opportunity to harness the region’s true potential, significantly boosting education opportunities for local residents with jobs-focused programs that have been tailored to meet local needs.

“The strong demand for university education in Moreton Bay is clearly evident, with Semester 1 enrolments already exceeding our expectations across the 50 undergraduate programs offered here.

“In fact, our QTAC first preference applications indicate that USC has become the university of choice for Moreton Bay residents.”

The foundation building was designed by architecture firm Hassell Studio to cater for rapid growth of the student population over the first three years.

This project received $35 million in funding from the Australian Government under the Community Development Grants Program and a further $121 million on loan, as well as $52 million from the Moreton Bay Regional Council.

The project was officially opened by Minister Peter Dutton on 9 March 2020.