TAMWORTH education advocate Mitch Hanlon wants to form a working group to push forward the city’s case for a full-blown university campus.
While Mr Hanlon has welcomed the support of all four candidates running for the state seat of Tamworth, he wants to move ahead with actions, not words.
Mr Hanlon plans to hold a community meeting in early February to gauge the level of interest from the general public.
“Ideally, from that community meeting we would form a reference group,” Mr Hanlon said.
“Council and other stakeholders, like the government and the University of New England, could refer back to us for guidance about what our community’s requirements are for a university.”
UNE has revealed plans for a multi-million-dollar campus near Tamworth’s CBD, with a 500-person capacity; however, it is reliant on a successful NSW government grant application.
The Leader understands the government is assessing the project’s business case. It’s hoped a decision will be made before the March 23 election.
Mr Hanlon said the dream wouldn’t end should UNE’s application fail, and the working group would “be in this for the long haul”.
“From a business point of view, the university would be a significant sustainable economic driver, in terms of employment numbers and the flow-on effect to our local economy,” Mr Hanlon said.
Mr Hanlon said he’d like to see an announcement from Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, who last week said he’d been working on the issue behind the scenes, including organising meetings with the Deputy Premier’s office.
“He says he’s done all this stuff, so it’s important to see some solid dates,” Mr Hanlon said.
“To me, not enough information has been made available. Until it’s there, I’ll continue pushing this in the public sphere.”
Mr Anderson and his rival state candidates – independent Mark Rodda, Labor’s Stephen Mears and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers’ Jeff Bacon – have all backed the idea of a university campus in Tamworth.