Victorian Government commits $10.2 million to Deakin University for regional student accommodation
Minister for Skills and Higher Education Peter Hall today announced the Victorian Government would commit $10.2 million towards new regional student accommodation for Deakin University’s Warrnambool and Waurn Ponds campuses.
“The Government’s funding will mean a total of $10.2 million will be spent to develop 411 student beds, comprising 100 student beds at Warrnambool and 311 student beds at Waurn Ponds,” Mr Hall said during the announcement at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus.
The $10.2 million investment is part of a larger $51.25 million to be spent on infrastructure at Deakin, with the balance to be sourced from cash reserves held within the university.
“In addition to providing badly needed student accommodation in these regional areas, this project will create 100 new direct jobs and 180 indirect construction jobs with significant flow-on effects in production and income that will strengthen local communities,” Mr Hall said.
Mr Hall said research commissioned by Regional Development Victoria established there was a shortage of at least 1,000 on-campus student accommodation beds in regional areas, particularly in the key regional centres of Geelong, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Bendigo and central Gippsland.
“The shortage of supply in regional Victoria has been identified as a critical factor inhibiting higher education retention and attainment rates,” Mr Hall said.
“The prohibitive cost of living away from home is the single biggest barrier to study or training for people from regional areas, yet skilled young people play an important role in the long-term prosperity and social environment of regional Victoria.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said funding for the new regional student accommodation was part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, aimed at creating jobs and promoting regional growth.
Mr Ryan said Regional Development Victoria’s research demonstrated 70 per cent of students who study in regional Victoria will choose to live and work in regional communities following completion of their study.
“Improving access to higher education in the regional towns of Geelong and Warrnambool will play a critical role in helping to raise the proportion of skilled people in these areas,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Hall said State Government final funding would be subject to evidence of approved Commonwealth funding under the National Rental Affordability Scheme.