Uni merger issues to be discussed

Related coverage: Protest over uni name change

BALLARAT University’s Vice Chancellor Professor David Battersby will address Advance Morwell’s annual meeting on Wednesday night.

Professor Battersby is busy overseeing a merger between Monash University and the University of Ballarat and on Wednesday he is expected to respond to a series of questions from the public.

Advance Morwell member Keith Brownbill said anyone was welcome to attend the meeting in the Latrobe Community Health Service auditorium, corner of Buckley and Church streets, Morwell from 7.30pm.

Issues expected to be raised at the meeting include the merger’s impact on overseas students, which courses will remain in Gippsland, what future research capacity will look like in this region and what will happen to Gippsland’s resources under a new university structure.

Advance Morwell chair John Guy said the group had invited Professor Battersby to speak “as a direct result of the public’s reaction to the proposed change to the university” and he claimed Gippsland had been “divided in (its) views about the change”.

He said there had been criticism earlier information sessions were held at times when it was difficult for people to attend.

Mr Guy said while many had welcomed the opportunity for a new, regionally focussed university in Gippsland, others believed Monash was a globally recognised, leading Group of Eight university and an important player in this region’s future.

He said Latrobe City Council appeared “divided on the issue”, and other Gippsland councils had either supported the proposal or “did not see any benefit to them because of their councils’ proximity to Melbourne”.

“It is essential for the new university and employers to work together so that, when students graduate, the skills they have learnt are directly relevant to new and expanding industries helping them get a job in the region,” he added.

Professor Battersby’s address will start at 8.15pm, to be followed by a question and answer session.