Four regional students considering an undergraduate degree at the University of Southern Queensland have been awarded scholarships valued at up to $20,000 each as part of the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) Inland Rail scholarship program.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the scholarships provide a pathway for students to make a start in a career that will benefit the future of regional Australia.
“Along with 16,000 jobs created during Inland Rail’s construction, this is a long-term investment in young people and a commitment to support jobs and skill development through the delivery of Inland Rail,” Mr McCormack said.
“These scholarships also represent an investment in our local communities as these students embark on a career in industries that will contribute back to their regions by developing a skilled workforce, education and training.
“Every person trained through Inland Rail will have skills and expertise to take back to their communities, wherever they are in Australia, which will help boost local economies.”
The ARTC scholarship program is open to undergraduate degree students living in areas close to the Inland Rail alignment and provides financial assistance of $5,000 per year for study.
The program enables students to learn and ultimately pursue careers to enrich and diversify regional economies and contribute positively to their community. Successful students also receive invaluable support from the University of Southern Queensland to help them integrate and stay engaged.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said skilled workers play a vital role in the Australian economy.
“Beyond the $16 billion boost from its construction, Inland Rail can add another $13 billion in value to gross regional product over its first 50 years and that depends on the conditions to invest along the rail line,” Minister Cormann said.
“It’s good to see the Inland Rail Skills Academy doing their part to build the workforce capability that will attract and retain investment to regional Australia and boost economic output for the long-term.”
ARTC’s Inland Rail Director for community and environment Rebecca Pickering said the academy was keen to support students by providing opportunities for them to graduate into careers, which add value to their local regions.
“These scholarships and the employment opportunities they unlock will act as a catalyst for positive change in many regional communities along the Inland Rail alignment. And we are delighted to partner with the University of Southern Queensland in support of our locals,” Ms Pickering said.
University of Southern Queensland’s Vice Chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie said she was pleased the scholarship program was able to provide valuable financial support to students who need it.
“The Inland Rail Scholarship Program will support students and ensure a higher student completion rate,” Ms Mackenzie said.
“It’s fantastic that Inland Rail is providing financial support to regional students who might struggle to afford tertiary education – giving them the opportunity to graduate into fulfilling careers and give back to their communities.”
Awardees of these Queensland scholarships include Sophie Boon, Samuel Butler, Rebecca Hallahan and Braidyn Newitt.