Labor’s announcement today of $70 million for student places at the USC Moreton Bay feels like we’ve already been here before.
In fact, we have. In February this year the LNP made almost the same announcement, committing $69.4 million for 1200 student bachelor places for when the new campus opens in 2020, then 2400 bachelor places in 2021 and 3600 ongoing places from 2022.
On top of this, the LNP is supporting the development of the new campus through a $35 million grant to the Moreton Bay Regional Council to build infrastructure and through a $121 million loan facility to USC at concessional rates.
Labor is playing catch up just like they had to play catch up with Susan Lamb’s paperwork.
Under the LNP, funding for the University of the Sunshine Coast was $161.2 million last year and will keep growing to $182.8 million in 2021.
At Senate Estimates on 31 May, Labor Senator Deb O’Neil when asked what Labor’s commitment to USC was, she said she’d have to “take the question on notice”, something she still hasn’t answered. A clear sign Labor’s announcement today is simply policy on the run.
The LNP’s plan to link funding to performance in areas such as retention and employer satisfaction, will mean our universities will need to better focus on supporting students which ultimately benefits them and delivers better value for taxpayers.
Ultimately, only the LNP Candidate for Longman and the Coalition Government have a plan for a stronger economy so we can guarantee essential services for the students and families in the Moreton Bay region.