A REPORT commissioned by Notre Dame university has found its Fremantle campus generated $252 million in social and economic benefits to the local economy in 2020.
The report by economic consultants ACIL Allen says the 7618 students enrolled at the Fremantle campus that year spent $44m consuming local goods and services, while they earned almost $50m through part-time and casual jobs.
Wages for the 474 staff based in Fremantle were worth $75 million.
The review was commissioned to provide Notre Dame with baseline figures as it embarks on a new 10-year strategic plan which flags lifting the number of international students to 12.5 per cent by 2026.
Notre Dame vice chancellor Francis Campbell said important conversations were being held about the future of Fremantle, which made the economic study an invaluable piece of research.
“This report provides an accurate snapshot of how the local community and economy benefits from having a university embedded within the city,” Prof Campbell said.
“We are proud that the streets, the businesses and the people of Fremantle form our campus.”
The report will no doubt also feature in discussions between Notre Dame and Fremantle council, with Fremantle mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge flagging during her election campaign a push to get a greater cash contribution from the university under their regular Memorandums of Understanding.
“I think it’s great to have a baseline impact measure and am optimistic that we will work collaboratively in the future to continue to grow that impact,” Ms Fitzhardinge said.
One of the uni’s senior staffers said the report was not produced to “rub the results in people’s faces” but they were a little apprehensive about the reaction from the university’s detractors.
Amongst long-term criticisms of the university, they bemoan the fact its exempt from paying rates, while students are blamed for taking up too much parking then deserting the city (and its businesses) during holidays.
The staffer told the Herald the increase in international students meant that Notre Dame was exploring accommodation options around the city, but said it was proving difficult finding suitable sites.
The international quest would also involve partnering with overseas universities to offer joint courses, providing all students with greater opportunities to study abroad, while potentially fast-tracking potential workers for WA such as nurses.
by STEVE GRANT