La Trobe University Vice Chancellor Professor John Dewar said he was encouraged to learn that the regional taskforce, chaired by the Prime Minister, would work towards closing the gap between city and country in education and health services.
“To have the Prime Minister and key cabinet ministers on the regional taskforce identify education and health services in regional areas as key areas of focus after their first meeting is a great start,” Professor John Dewar said.
“La Trobe’s regional presence has resulted in more than 14,000 students graduating at our regional campuses – more than half of whom have stayed on to work in the regions.
“We have invested in facilities at all our regional campuses, including a planned $40 million expansion at our largest regional campus in Bendigo.
“But we can’t do this alone. We need the Federal Government to step in to stem the regional brain drain.”
Professor Dewar said an Australian-first study, led by La Trobe University researchers, had revealed regional students across every state and territory were turning to metropolitan universities at an unprecedented rate.
The study found the number of regional students across Australia moving to a city location to study increased by more than 76 per cent between 2008 and 2014.
Professor Dewar also welcomed news that the regional taskforce would focus on improving health services and boosting the number of doctors in regional areas.
“La Trobe has also been leading the way in calls to improve regional health training and services for many years.
“Our proposed Murray Darling Medical School is a great example of how we can improve education and health opportunities. This would enable regional students to read for a medical degree without needing to relocate to a metropolitan area thus expanding opportunities for our regional communities.
“La Trobe looks forward to working with the regional ministerial taskforce in addressing these challenges.”
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