9 May 2013
Rural Victorians will benefit from up to 1700 extra health professionals over the next four years, thanks to La Trobe University’s Rural Health School.
Opening the new facilities at the La Trobe Rural Health School today Minister for Higher Education and Skills Sharon Bird said the Gillard Government was investing more than $59 million into the school.
“This School is a boost for the local community, and for regional Victoria. In the short term it will bring new students to the area. Longer term it will help address regional Victoria’s need for more allied health professionals,” Minister Bird said.
“The La Trobe Rural Health School will deliver up to 750 additional student places each year with an initial graduation of 211 fully-trained allied health professionals.”
The School will help keep local students, nurses, paramedics, dentists, oral hygienists, occupational therapists and other health professionals in the area.
“In a range of fields, students who study in the rural and regional areas are more likely to work in them. The same is true here – 71 per cent of graduates from this campus choose to work in regional Victoria,” she said.
La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the launch was a symbolic step forward and a signal of renewed intensity for the University in Bendigo.
“These facilities are central to our commitment to train the next generation of health professionals for the Bendigo region and, just as importantly, for other parts of regional Australia,” Professor Dewar said.
The new facilities include a clinical teaching facility at the Bendigo hospital, an anatomy and physiology facility and health sciences building, dental training facility and student residential accommodation at the university campus. Minister Bird said suitable residential accommodation could be critical to successful study for rural and regional students.
“I was pleased last year to be able to open some of the Health School’s accommodation facilities in Shepparton, Wodonga and Mildura last year and now we are opening an additional 200 rooms for students here in Bendigo.
“It reminds us that enrolment is just a first step; ensuring students complete their courses can be a challenge, so living under the same roof with other students can boost their chances of success.”
The $75.9 million Rural Health School was funded through the Gillard Government’s Education Investment Fund ($59.5 million), as well as contributions from La Trobe University ($11.2 million) and the state government.
The Education Investment Fund has funded over $4.5 billion worth of infrastructure in the higher education, skills and research sector.