Businesses to run regional network for strategic future

SOUTHERN Cross University vice chancellor Peter Lee says a new regional committee joining public and private organisations will allow the Northern Rivers to move into the future "strategically".

"It tries to develop new business for a local environment ... it tries to harness the expertise that resides in local universities," Prof Lee said.

The move to revamp committees was an idea brought forward by the Regional Universities Network, of which Southern Cross University is a member.

Based on the recently formed Local Enterprise Partnerships in the UK, these committees would be a "more strategic version" of current Australian regional development committees.

Rather than being chaired by local councils, businesses on the Northern Rivers would take the reins while councils and universities provided input.

"If there's major studies to do or investigative work, then there has to be money on the table," Professor Lee said.

"We (universities) just don't have the resources to do that."

Prof Lee said the network had brought the proposal to the Federal Government.

"We're putting this forward right now ... about what the role going forward for regional development authorities should be," he said.

"What does digital disruption mean for the Northern Rivers?

"What are the businesses of the future we could be harnessing now?

"How do we sit down and plan that together and not be too concerned about local council or shire issues?"

The Regional Universities Network is made up of six universities around Queensland, NSW and Victoria and is designed to come up with innovative solutions to improve Australian higher education institutes.


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