A NEW Riverina training venture backed by Chinese investment has been given the green light.
Edward River Council and Ausway College sealed the $1.5 million deal with China’s Guizhou Province on Thursday.
Guizhou United Front Work Department Vice Minister Wang Maoai signed a 20-year memorandum of understand with Edward River Council mayor Norm Brennan for a training and research facility for international students at Deniliquin.
The facility will be operated by Ausway College with the Australian Educational Society, which is committed to supporting less privileged Australian and international students.
Regional Development Australia - Murray chairwoman Jennifer Weller welcomed the partnership, which would have its first intake of up to 60 students within 12 months.
She said it would provide an important platform for technology exchange, international market development and the opportunity to develop a strong relationship at an education and research level with Charles Sturt University.
“The short-term benefits are bringing people into the Deniliquin region and the exchange of technologies,” Ms Weller said.
“The long-term benefits would be direct exports from the region to Asia.”
The agreement will allow Guizhou Province’s Education Department to send Chinese students to learn about Australia’s agricultural expertise at Ausway College at Deniliquin.
The signing ceremony was a return visit to Australia from Guizhou Province representatives after Edward River Council’s then administrator visited China in July 2017 to initiate the venture.
The agricultural courses will be based at Murray Valley Industry Park, Todd’s Lane, Deniliquin.
Mayor Norm Brennan said Edward River Council was pleased to facilitate the development of an Ausway College campus at Deniliquin.
“Regional Australia has so much to offer international students, and given the Edward River region’s reputation as one of the most agriculturally productive and versatile regions in NSW; Deniliquin is the perfection location for an Ausway College campus,” he said.
“Council recognises the importance of developing a versatile economy, and the international education sector presents exciting opportunities in terms of achieving that goal.”
Ausway College director Patrick Lay said the programs to be rolled out at Deniliquin for students from Guizhou Province would enhance the agricultural and cultural connection between Australia and China.
“Ausway College is aiming to attract international students, particularly from China, to regional Australia, boosting the local economy and better integrating Australia’s agricultural sector to the region,’’ he said.
“The vision of Ausway College is to replicate the business plan being developed in Deniliquin in other regional centres of Australia, to help generate jobs growth and have a positive impact on the local rural and regional communities.
“Graduates might even help fill gaps where there are local skill shortages.”
Ausway College at Deniliquin has entered into a licence agreement to lease Murray Valley Industry Park, which was originally a NSW government research station before coming under control of the former Deniliquin Council.