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Coalition Government addresses Ballarat student accommodation shortage

Tuesday, 08 March 2011

Ballarat University students will have greater access to accommodation under a Victorian Coalition Government commitment to expand regional student accommodation facilities.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today announced the Coalition would contribute $5 million towards a new regional student accommodation project in Ballarat which would provide 200 new student places.

“A $26 million student accommodation development involving the University of Ballarat will provide 75 new places at the university’s central campus and a further 125 places at the Mt Helen campus,” Mr Ryan said.

Speaking at the Mt Helen campus, Mr Ryan said research commissioned by Regional Development Victoria (RDV) had identified a shortage of on-campus student accommodation beds in regional Victoria.

“Limited student accommodation has been identified as one of the major barriers to students pursuing higher education in regional and rural Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government believes there is a clear need for more skilled young Victorians in the workplace as they play an important role in the long term prosperity of regional communities, and improving access to regional higher education will help alleviate this situation.”

Mr Ryan said research also indicated that 70 per cent of students who studied in regional Victoria then chose to remain working and living in regional communities after completing their education.

“Importantly, the $26 million Ballarat accommodation development project will also provide a jobs boost in Ballarat as it’s expected to create 92 indirect ongoing jobs and 53 local construction jobs, which will in turn have significant flow-on effects in the Ballarat community,” Mr Ryan said.

“This accommodation project will deliver 200 self-contained studio apartments with kitchenettes, ensuite bathrooms and study areas with access to central laundry facilities.”

Mr Ryan said the remaining $21 million towards the Ballarat accommodation project included contributions from the University and the Commonwealth Government, through the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

“Final funding is subject to Commonwealth Government funding support under the NRAS, which looks encouraging,” Mr Ryan said.

While at the Mt Helen campus Mr Ryan met with Deputy Vice-Chancellor Ms Rowena Coutts to discuss the Coalition’s commitment to regional education, with a focus on the new $20 million Partnerships Facilitation Fund.

“The $20 million Partnerships Facilitation Fund will increase the number of regional TAFE campuses providing degree-level courses,” Mr Ryan said.

“This initiative will help build a better future for regional students and help boost higher education participation rates across the state.

“The Coalition Government plans to improve delivery of higher education in regional Victoria, by providing students with greater flexibility, choice, and options to study,” Mr Ryan said.

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