June 23, 2014
REGIONAL universities have taken the opportunity to brief federal Nationals MPs on key issues facing the higher education sector.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester attended a meeting with university vice chancellors from the Regional Universities Network and other regional MPs in the National Party Room in Canberra last week.
Professor David Battersby, Vice Chancellor of Federation University Australia, was among those to address the MPs.
Mr Chester said the meeting was a great opportunity to listen to representatives from Australian regional universities
“These regional universities are a central part of the social and economic life of our communities,” Mr Chester said.
“Federation University has been very successful in attracting regional students to its campuses in Gippsland, Ballarat and Wimmera.
“In particular, Federation University has become a leader in “First in Family” participation, where students are first in their family to enrol in university.
“At the moment the proportion of regional students attending university is still behind that of our metropolitan counterparts, but significant work is being done by the Federal Government to ensure students from regional areas continue to have university access to reach their full potential.”
Professor Battersby said the meeting presented an excellent opportunity for the Regional Universities Network to discuss higher education reforms announced in the recent Federal Budget.
“We are happy to work with government to ensure that the needs of regional universities are fully understood and that policy decisions take into account the diversity of regional university campuses,” Professor Battersby said.
“The university sector is still working through the implications of the Budget reforms and it is important that we have opportunities like today to brief Members of Parliament who share our interest in the future of the regional universities.”
Mr Chester has been working with Federation University to promote its Gippsland campus to schools throughout the region.