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Tuesday, 8 May 1973
Page: 1747

Mr ERWIN (BALLAARAT, VICTORIA) - Will the Prime Minister give consideration to the financing of a country university which is to be divided between Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong?

Mr WHITLAM - In the brief period that I was the Minister for Education and Science I asked the Australian Universities Commission and the Australian Commission on Advanced Education to make recommendations on the siting of further universities in and near Sydney and Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga. The report was compiled very promptly and was tabled by my colleague the Minister for Education last week. My memory of the report is that the proposal by the Victorian Government that there should be a country university dispersed over Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo had not been supported by any facts or figures for the 2 Federal commissions inquiring into this matter. They reported that it would be more appropriate at this stage to establish a new university at, say, Dandenong than to establish the university proposed by the Victorian Government, for 2 principal reasons.

The first is that most of the students at the dispersed university would have to come from the metropolitan area, if it were to be viable. Secondly, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo each already has a teacher's college and a college of advanced education. In these circumstances it seemed that rational planning would lead to a priority for Dandenong. Be that as it may, the Commonwealth of course is prepared to consult with any Victorian Government on this subject. I regret that assistance was not forthcoming from the present Victorian Government on this matter. We have to face up to the fact that in Australia no university will be established or significantly extended without Commonwealth co-operation. That has been the position for at least the past IS years.

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