Medical school is key


Battersby focused on ‘opportunities’

THE Gippsland Medical School’s survival was a key condition imposed by the State Government on any moves to create a new university entity in the region.

State Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall told The Express “from day one” the State Government had insisted “what we want to see is a net benefit for the Gippsland region and we would not agree to any sort of lost medical school”, adding “it has been a hard fought battle to get it into the region”.

It is proposed a new regional university, formed between University of Ballarat and Monash University, will allow for the medical school to remain in Gippsland under the continued governance of Monash.

Mr Hall said he expected “one of the main benefits for Gippsland students would be an expansion of courses”.

He said the State Government was keen to work with both universities through an implementation stage over coming months “to ensure those benefits come about”. He said by the time relevant legislation was framed and ready to pass through state parliament, “(future) course offerings will be open and we will see what range there will be at each campus”.

The minister conceded if the new entity failed to maintain broadened course offerings there was no means of recourse given “you can’t compel a university to continue with something; they are self-accrediting organisations in their own right”.

Regardless, Mr Hall said the government would still need to “consider, and be confident” the new university could deliver on its strategic plan.

“I am very confident that the good, positive will being demonstrated by the University of Ballarat will ensure this region is an important part of their operation,” he said.