The Vocational Partnerships Group (VPG) and Cassowary Coast Regional Council are partnering to deliver the Cassowary Coast University Centre. The Centre is supported by the Australian Government through the Regional University Study Hub (RUSH) program. This program is focused on improving access to tertiary and vocational education for regional and remote students.

In 2023 Council and VPG entered into arrangements for the establishment of a RUSH in Innisfail and this was formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding executed in December 2023. VPG’s application to Round 4 of the Federally-funded RUSH program was successful so the RUSH was able to be confirmed with an announcement in late March 2024.

VPG’s application was supported by Council with support including advocacy and a commitment for in-kind contributions and ongoing collaboration, industry partnerships, promotion and marketing and integrated learning placement support.


The Australian Government’s Regional University Study Hubs program (formerly the Regional University Centres program) takes an innovative approach to improve access to tertiary education for regional and remote students.

A Regional University Study Hub is a facility that regional students enrolled at any Australian tertiary institution can use to seek support to study tertiary courses delivered by distance.

The Regional University Study Hubs program aims to -

  • Enable students in rural, regional and remote Australia to access and complete higher education without having to leave their community
  • Meet a demonstrated gap in support for study in a regional, rural or remote community
  • Support students who wish to stay in their community while they complete their course of study
  • Enhance the experience of students studying within their own community
  • Encourage strong links between the hubs and other organisations in the area, including other support services that students may access and industry
  • Complement, rather than replace, existing and planned university investments and activities in regional areas, such as satellite campuses and study centres


In late 2023 Scyne Advisory was engaged by Council to complete a preliminary options assessment of a range of potential facilities to identify a preferred option that may be suitable to host a RUSH in Innisfail. Scyne’s report considered the available infrastructure in Innisfail (detailed in the Background section of this report). The facility size needed to cater for between 50 to 100 students with floor space of 200 to 250 m2 and be ready to commence operations in July 2024. Scyne’s assessment concluded that the Community Hub Space at the Innisfail Library Building Top Floor was the preferred facility for the RUSH. Read the report here!