Professor compares regional Australia to Mad Max

A UNIVERSITY leader has compared regional Australia to award-winning film Mad Max: Fury Road.

Speaking at an economic forum in Brisbane yesterday, University of Southern Queensland Vice-Chancellor and president Professor Jan Thomas said regional Australia was the engine room the Australian economy needed.

She said reports and discussions about Australia's economic growth often had a Mad Max: Fury Road feel to them and innovation in regional Australia was a "forgotten piece" in the nation's growth agenda.

Prof Thomas was on a panel of university vice-chancellors who spoke at Committee for Economic Development of Australia event.

The panel discussion followed the release of a report earlier this month on Australia's economic future. The CEDA used the report to make a list of priorities to help the country's future prosperity.

It recommended the new federal government give greater weight to innovation at universities.

It also said Australia's adoption of innovation was declining and that while there were good incentives for basic research at universities, these incentives were weak when it came to research into productivity-raising improvements.

Ms Thomas said innovation and productivity could come out of major regional centres if given more consideration.

"I would encourage people to think beyond the mega-cities ... and think about how we can drive innovation," she said.

"Regional Australia is often overlooked, but in fact is the kind of the engine room of much of the economy that Australia needs desperately to be successful."

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