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May 31, 2011

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed the Victorian Government’s $1.5 million commitment to the first stage development of the East Gippsland TAFE’s education precinct at the Port of Sale.

The funding will start the process for a full relocation of Sale TAFE campuses to the site.

Mr Chester said the new education precinct would provide greater accessibility for local students to a wider range of courses through TAFE’s existing tertiary partnership programs.

“East Gippsland TAFE already offers local students a variety of courses but unfortunately the campuses are spread out across the region making it difficult for some people to take up study opportunities due to public transport issues,” Mr Chester said.

“The development of a single facility at the Port of Sale will consolidate campuses and courses making it more accessible and less financially restrictive for local students to study in Gippsland.

“Research indicates that 70 per cent of students from regional areas who study close to home remain in the region after they complete their studies.

“We have a great pool of talent in Gippsland and it’s critical that we retain as many young people as we can in local jobs.”

Mr Chester said the education precinct would also reduce ongoing costs towards building maintenance.

“Maintaining older building is an expensive exercise and is far from ideal,” Mr Chester said.

“Reducing ongoing costs such as building maintenance will hopefully enable East Gippsland TAFE to direct more money into programs and projects that will deliver greater benefits for students and staff.”

Mr Chester said he would be supporting East Gippsland TAFE in its efforts to secure further funding from State and Federal Governments to complete the education precinct at the Port of Sale.

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