State Government Election 2018 - Candidate Statements

Ahead of the State Government election on Saturday 24 November 2018,  La Trobe University wrote to over 160 candidates nominated in electorates adjacent to our campuses at Melbourne (Bundoora), Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury-Wodonga and Mildura to request they provide a short statement outlining what they would do as a Member of Parliament to help us deliver on our mission (advancing knowledge and learning to shape the future of our students and communities) and vision (to promote positive change and address the major issues of our time through being connected, inclusive and excellent.)

The responses provided by or on behalf of candidates in Melbourne’s North / Regional Victoria are as follows:

Melbourne's North

Ms Fiona Patten MP
Reason Party Candidate for Northern Metropolitan Region.
Leader of Reason Party.

The Reason Party is hugely supportive of your University City of the Future plan and a re-elected Fiona Patten would happily advocate in support.

It is the type of forward thinking, planning and innovation that sits comfortably within our existing policy platforms and that Reason would be happy to embrace.

Ms Samantha Ratnam MP
Greens Candidate for Northern Metropolitan Region.
Leader of the Victorian Greens.

The Greens want Victoria to have a university system that is recognised as among the best in the world. Our universities are places of learning and research that benefit the whole community, and have a positive effect on jobs, wellbeing and liveability in their regions. We support La Trobe’s University of the Future plan and will work with the university to ensure the plan helps create a sustainable, liveable future for the Bundoora region.

The Greens want to see a world-class public transport system for all of Melbourne, We oppose the North-East link and are calling for better public transport to and from the La Trobe University Cluster. Our plan includes a Rapid Bus Network for Melbourne’s east with seven new routes to La Trobe University, and an upgrade of tram route 86.

We believe that sport plays a key role in improving people’s health and wellbeing. While our policy focuses on improving funding for community sport programs and facilities, we also support La Trobe’s plan for a Sports Park to improve teaching and community participation in sport.

Melbourne’s rivers and waterways are precious, and the Greens have always fought to protect them from the effects of pollution, climate change and unsustainable use. The Greens strongly support the work La Trobe is doing to protect and preserve its environment and waterways. We are pleased the university is working with the Wurundjeri people to protect the eco-corridor, and we will support the development of an Eco-Corridor Neighbourhood that is sustainable, that protects the area’s biodiversity, and works with the local custodians of the land.

Regional Victoria

Ms Maree Edwards MP
Labor Candidate for Bendigo West

Underpinning Labor’s Education State initiatives and investments is the simple fact that a high-quality education can transform a person’s life and is key to breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
As a dedicated supporter of lifelong learning, I will continue to champion education and access opportunities.

I am pleased of what our local community has been able to achieve over the past four years with the development of the Bendigo Education Plan 2028. This plan is an excellent example of what our education community can achieve and I am delighted to endorse this for the Bendigo Community.

As Chair, I was very pleased to be part of the consultation, planning and establishment of the Bendigo Tech School at La Trobe Bendigo Campus. It is a purpose built space for students to collaborate and participate in high-level problem solving, using specialised high-tech STEM equipment.

Bendigo Tech School emphasises the vital science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills needed for the 21st century.
We are part way through our Bendigo-Kangan TAFE revitalisation program. There is now a new Food and Fibre Centre of Excellence and a Health and Community Centre of Excellence and I am excited that planning has commenced to rebuild the administration building.

As part of the 2018-19 Victorian State Budget, over 40 priority TAFE courses are now free-of-charge in a state wide effort to boost employability for school leavers.

Labor recognises the need to continually raise the professional standing of Victorian teachers by investing in mentoring, peer-support and on-going professional training for all educators.

Labor values the academic rigour and independence of Victorian Universities and the opportunities they offer to local and international students for meaningful learning and career opportunities.

I will ensure high standards of governance and accountability are maintained in higher education institutions, including gender balance in leadership roles, and maintain student and staff representation on university councils.

The sharing of TAFE and University expertise and resources are essential to deliver a seamless learning experience to expand adult training and education to the Greater Bendigo community.

Ms Jenny O’Connor
Independent Candidate for Benambra

I am focused on creating a Benambra that is prosperous, well connected, with the infrastructure and support services that it needs. Benambra should be a regional centre of excellence in education and training, where we can train, and retrain, our workers for those industries that will form the basis of our future economic growth. I am firmly of the belief that the role of universities is not only to prepare a future workforce, but to encourage us to think deeply and carefully, and to face future challenges in a way that is informed, considered, and effective.

I have released two policies that put education and training at the centre of plans to tackle local challenges. My New Jobs policy focuses on seizing the opportunity of new industry development in our region. Benambra is currently a world leader in the deployment of distributed energy technology. I am proposing a New Jobs Training Hub, a whole of industry strategy for renewable energy. Wodonga TAFE could be delivering Grid Connect Design courses for our local electricians, supported by electrical and mechanical engineering courses at local universities to develop the smart grid devices of our future electricity system.

I have released a dairy industry policy that focuses on supporting the dairy industry, and dairy communities, in Benambra’s valleys.  We need a plan to transition family farms to the next generation, and to bring new farmers into the industry. With a local Dairy Workforce Strategy, we can ensure that the next generation of dairy farmers have access to the business training and technical skills they require, and that our young people can train in the agricultural sciences so that they can become the agronomists, economists, and marketers to help grow our local industry.

You can read all of my policies here: https://jennyforbenambra.com/my-policies/

Ms Nicole Rowan
Greens Lead Candidate for Northern Victoria Region.

I am responding on behalf of all Greens candidates running in Northern Victoria, including those who are candidates for lower house seats and all support candidates on the Northern Victorian ticket.

The Greens want Victoria to have a university system that is recognised as among the best in the world. Our universities are places of learning and research that benefit the whole community, and have a positive impact on jobs, wellbeing and liveability in their regions.

Everyone deserves a high quality education, no matter where they live or what their income is. The Greens strongly support our regional universities, and will continue to advocate for better, fairer funding for universities and TAFE across country Victoria. We are particularly grateful that La Trobe University continues to have a significant presence in rural Victoria, ensuring that people, including women and those from a migrant background, can receive a higher education without having to leave their families.

We have announced our plan for a minimum of 70% of government vocational education and training funding being guaranteed for TAFEs, so that our TAFE system can keep providing low cost, high quality vocational education to all Victorians. We also support collaboration between the universities and TAFEs that ensures that our education and training system is meeting the needs of all Victorians.

The Greens believe that investment in public education, including universities, is essential to ensure a fair Australia and to support the transition to a sustainable new economy. Our federal colleagues have strongly campaigned to reverse the cuts the Liberal government has made to the university sector, and are committed to lifting the base level of funding by 10% by 2020.

Ms Suzanna Sheed MP
Independent Candidate for Shepparton

La Trobe University plays a crucial role in Shepparton District's education landscape and is a strong leader in our push to improve schooling opportunities and outcomes for our young people.

At a time when we have the chance to continue making transformational change in our region, a strong and growing university is vital to our future.

La Trobe has a proven ability to work collaboratively with our region’s secondary colleges, Goulburn Ovens TAFE and the broader community, and as your Independent Member in the State Parliament for the past four years I have worked hard to ensure the university can continue to provide innovative and targeted learning pathways for our community.

It was a pleasure to host a deputation from the university's senior leadership to meet with the Minister for Regional Development and to offer my vocal support for the funding required to complete the much need expansion of the Shepparton campus and for the creation of a state-of-the-art regional education precinct in the heart of the city.

With more than $660 million of critical infrastructure investment currently being spent in the region on health, education, rail and road projects, now is the time to ensure our young people are equipped for jobs now and into the future.

Not only will the expansion support the education of the professional workforce required to drive strong economic growth, it will also enable La Trobe to further develop its focus on research and industry engagement.

As a powerhouse of food production and processing, this would give Shepparton District the opportunity to truly establish ourselves as an industry centre of excellence and thought leader in the agricultural field, and I will continue to champion our community’s needs to make this a reality.