The University of New England (UNE) has its eyes on another community, with Moree council this week voting to support a plan to roll out tertiary education in the town.
It's unclear yet whether the UNE Moree Plan 2022 - a strategy to provide the same industry-centric education as in Tamworth's UNE campus - will involve a physical building.
Moree Shire Council voted to spend $10,000 to support the plan, with the university to spend a matching amount.
Deputy Mayor Greg Smith said the new institution would help keep local students in Moree, and offer access to higher education to people unable to leave.
The town already has a Country Universities Centre, a high-tech centre that connects local students to faraway universities through the internet.
"There's always been a large contingent of people from this region going to Armidale university, either through colleges or doing courses there externally, anyway," he said.
"That may be one of the drivers for them to come out into this area."
UNE Vice-Chancellor and CEO Brigid Heywood said the institution is excited about "the next phase of our collaboration with Moree Plains Shire Council and the Moree community."
"UNE's role in Moree is to provide access to University learning in a way that builds educational aspiration and opportunity, starting in schools and extending into workplaces, creating research to grow innovative solutions for business and the community," she said.
"We are in the early stages of working with stakeholders in Moree on a hub model of education, embedded in industry. Student support will continue to be provided through our partnership with the Moree CUC and the UNE Moree Study Centre at the TAFE campus."
The university will conduct a series of round table discussions with business leaders in six industries: agribusiness, business management, health and community services, manufacturing, transport, freight, and logistics, and Indigenous enterprising.
The UNE Moree Plan 2022 will be launched in 2022 after a draft plan is finalised by August 2021.
Cr Smith said the plan would help train up the employees the town's special activation precinct (SAP) would need.
"In the SAP masterplan, to get the full socioeconomic benefit through to the community you need employment. To enter into these value-adding industries you need a trained workforce, so that's why UNE have come on board," he said.
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