LOCAL MP Adam Marshall will fight to secure Armidale as a digital hub for NSW TAFE.
Mr Marshall met with Regional Development Minister John Barilaro and urged him to consider the Northern Tablelands as the headquarters for the TAFE unit and the 60 jobs that come with it.
Wagga Wagga, Tamworth and Bathurst are also pushing for the unit to be established in their own cities.
Mr Marshall said he believes Armidale is in with a fighting chance.
“I believe the case for Armidale is strong and I have met with the Minister again to convince him of that,” he said.
“He knows I’m not going away, I’m going to keep pushing right up until the final decision is made.”
The Digital Education Headquarters were conceived as part of the government’s TAFE reforms.
Mr Marshall argues that Armidale has the best digital infrastructure of any urban centre in the region.
“Every house and business in Armidale is connected to the information highway by NBN’s high-speed fibre-optic cable,” he said.
Armidale boasts a family-friendly attitude with plenty of schools, a university and World Heritage Areas and this will be a bonus for future staff members, said Mr Marshall.
“We are an hour’s commute from Sydney and Brisbane, via three airlines making 18 flights a day, residents seldom have to commute more than 10-15 minutes to and from work,” he said.
“And for the city, there would be huge advantages in this move.
“Preliminary estimates suggest that the unit might have about 60 employees. In a capital city, these people would be swallowed up.”
The addition of 60 new jobs and families to the area would provide a significant economic boost for local schools and businesses.
Mr Marshall urged Minister Barilaro to join the Federal Government in recognising the multi-layered advantages of regionalisation – in this case with a new department that can be built from the ground up in Armidale on purpose-built foundations.
The MP expects the Minister to determine the location of the headquarters within weeks.
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