Planning begins for Gippsland university

MONASH University and the University of Ballarat’s councils have decided to join forces to create an expanded, regionally focused university from January 1.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Ed Byrne said following the councils’ decision to proceed, the focus would move to seeking the necessary approvals from the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments and to detailed implementation planning and activity.

A new name for the university is being consulted upon, and will require approval of the Victorian Parliament.

“Whilst the proposition cannot be implemented until these approvals are received, we can make preparations while they are being sought,” Professor Byrne said.

“The next seven months are going to be very busy for everyone involved.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Gippsland campus, Professor Robin Pollard extended his appreciation to local stakeholders, residents of the Gippsland region and the campus community for their interest and involvement in the consultation process.

“Since late February, we sought input and engagement with all those who will be affected by this development,” he said.

While some concerns and disagreement were expressed, we also received support from organisations and individuals who see the benefits of the changes proposed.

“It was apparent that different community groups care deeply about the campus, while at the same time confronting the region’s low participation in university education.

“The campus intends to maintain the healthy dialogue.

“The next few months will mean working closely with the University of Ballarat to ensure a smooth transition and we expect minimal disruption to current teaching and research.”

Students currently enrolled will remain Monash students, and will be able to complete their studies at the Gippsland campus graduating with a Monash degree.

Discussions are continuing with the NTEU and staff regarding the detail behind the proposed staffing arrangements. However all eligible Gippsland staff will be offered employment by the new university on terms and conditions no less favourable than they currently enjoy.

Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall MLC has offered his in-principle support for the proposition, which he said would benefit students across the state, giving them access to a wider range of courses and services that are tailored to the needs of regional students.