Tasmania has united around the idea that education holds the key to solving some of the State's most pressing challenges and that attracting more Tasmanians into higher education will create a more prosperous future for us all.
Our ambitious plans in Launceston and Burnie have garnered support across the political spectrum, with funding commitments from both major political parties. We are now confident they will become a reality.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to increase the number of Tasmanians in higher education through more affordable, flexible and relevant courses delivered in the cities from modern, inner-city campuses. At the same time it will be a major economic stimulus in north and north-west regions.
The University of Tasmania was established by state legislation to have a social mission, committed to providing access to a broad, tertiary education curriculum for the whole State.
We have a responsibility and an opportunity to help tackle the low levels of education; impediments to economic growth and existing industries.
Less than 15 per cent of Tasmania's population has a tertiary qualification, the lowest of any state or territory.
With education so closely correlated with employment and salary, it's not surprising to note that Tasmanians earn the lowest weekly full time wages in the country and that the youth unemployment rate exceeded 15 per cent.
The University's plans for Launceston and Burnie are part of a broader vision for Tasmanian communities rebuilt around knowledge and learning.
We think it can be a model for change not just in Tasmania, but for other regions in Australia facing similar challenges, such as those in regional or economically distressed communities.
You can read more about our plans on the Transforming Lives, Transforming Cities website: http://www.utas.edu.au/transformation