Expansion plans welcomed

La Trobe University has welcomed Victorian state election campaign calls to double the size of the University’s popular Shepparton campus.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Regional) Professor Richard Speed said the campus was at full capacity and needed to grow to meet strong demand from local employers and students.

“We welcome suggestions from the Member for Shepparton, Suzanna Sheed, for the next State Government to partly fund expansion of the campus,” Professor Speed said.

“We now call on the Labor, Liberal and National Parties to commit funding to this much-needed investment if elected at the November poll.”

Professor Speed said student numbers at the Shepparton Campus had grown by 160 per cent over the last ten years, with enrolments forecast to continue growing by another 48 per cent in the next five years.

“At a time when some universities want to reduce their commitments to regional Victorian communities, La Trobe unashamedly wants to expand and teach more local students,” Professor Speed said.

“We introduced four new courses in 2017 at the request of the community. Now we’re running at capacity and desperately need to create more teaching spaces to meet strong demand.”

Professor Speed said La Trobe was committed to working closely with State and Federal governments to share costs of the $21 million expansion.

“La Trobe is one of the largest providers of tertiary education in Regional Victoria, with the largest share of nursing, dentistry and allied health enrolments, across four regional campuses.  We are working closely with the University of Melbourne in Shepparton to provide a pathway for regional students into their medical program, and we have commenced discussions aimed at ensuring La Trobe will be a partner in the Munarra Centre for Excellence.

“An investment in education is an investment in local jobs. Most regional graduates continue working in regional areas, directly addressing local skilled workforce shortages. Each of our graduates adds an estimated $100,000 to the State’s Gross Regional Product every year.

“In Shepparton, there’s a critical shortage of professional health staff, as Goulburn Valley Health need 150 additional nurses by 2020. La Trobe University wants to be part of that solution by training local people for local jobs.”

Media Contact: Tim Mitchell – t.mitchell@latrobe.edu.au 0437 457 780