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First steps towards a university college for Berwick

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Campaign Media Release

Minister for Higher Education Kim Carr

Member for La Trobe Laura Smyth

Member for Holt Anthony Byrne

Candidate for Aston Rupert Evans


The Rudd Labor Government has committed $500,000 for a feasibility study into expanding University services in South East Melbourne.

The study is part of Labor’s plan to ensure people from all walks of life can access university courses and facilities in regions that have been traditionally under-represented.

The feasibility study will investigate the particular needs of South East Melbourne and how Federal Labor can accelerate the development of the Berwick campus, as well as options for developing a university college, which offers pre-university preparation and alternative pathways into university.

Labor will work with Monash University to draw on their deep experience in the region.

The aim of the study is to explore ways to boost university participation for all young people regardless of their postcode, social or economic status.

Minister for Higher Education Kim Carr commended Member for La Trobe, Laura Smyth, Member for Holt, Anthony Byrne, and Federal Labor Candidate for Aston, Rupert Evans, for their tireless work helping local residents gain better access to higher education.

“Labor’s strong team in the outer east have made the case for helping local people meet their potential. A university college here can encourage students to

stay at school and ensure they can access, and succeed at, higher education in the future.

“Labor has already boosted the number of university places by 190,000 since 2007 but it is now time to build on that achievement.

“That is why Labor will provide $500,000 to fund this independent feasibility study. We will consult the sector, state and local governments, policy experts and other relevant parties to provide informed, expert and evidence-based advice on the best way forward.”

Laura Smyth welcomed the announcement and said she looked forward to the results of the study.

“There is a clear need to take a fresh look at how we prepare students for uni in the south east, and I am delighted that Federal Labor is going to improve access to quality university experiences for local students.”

Anthony Byrne said a re-elected Federal Labor Government would put us on track to achieve better opportunities for our kids and a brighter future for our region.

“We will do the work on the ground to ensure we settle on the best and most efficient way of further improving higher education opportunities here as quickly as possible.”

Rupert Evans said a college that would help people aspire to and succeed at university would help lift educational levels in the region.

“Attainment rates in the outer east are significantly lower than the national average - close to 10 per cent lower in some areas - and there are many pockets of disadvantage. This is a practical step to change that.”

Labor is on track to meet its target of a 20 per cent participation rate by 2020 among university students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds, with the target for female students having already been achieved.

“In contrast to the savage cuts the Coalition made last time it was in power, Labor is committed to extending the opportunities of a high quality university education to all Australians regardless of their circumstances,” Minister Carr said.

The $500,000 in funding for this study is already included in the budget.


Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111

Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor Party, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600