New uni to go ahead despite cuts, says MP

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
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The decision to cut university funding will not affect plans to build a Pilbara university, according to Federal MP Melissa Price.

As part of the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, the Federal Government placed a two- year freeze on the Commonwealth Grants Scheme to universities and a cap on funding for student places.

Despite the latest funding cut, the proposed Pilbara Universities Centre is going ahead.

“The Federal Government has committed $15 million towards the establishment of six regional universities centres around the country, with one of the leading candidates being the Pilbara,” Ms Durack said. “I fought hard for the funding to be included in 2017’s Federal Budget.”

Ms Price assured locals and stakeholders the funding for the proposed university was separate from the Commonwealth-supported places being cut.

However, not all universities in the Pilbara are in the clear as CQ University faces pressure because of the funding cuts. Vice-chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said the cuts could affect several Pilbara projects and partnerships.

“The 2017 Higher Education Reform Package noted the challenges of delivering higher education to Australia’s regional and remote communities, and highlighted the success of community-based university centres,” he said.

“Capping Commonwealth funding for the university will limit the resources available to (regional) students as they progress through the final years of their courses, and will be contrary to the intent of the funding proposed in the May 2017 Budget to increase funding available to regional communities for collaborative higher education partnerships.”

Professor Bowman also noted students who were part of the recent partnership with North Regional TAFE would be affected.

“The freeze will mean that while we won’t be able to cover the full cost of hospital placements for courses such as nursing, it won’t stop us from pressing forward and working hard with our industry stakeholders to continue training nurses,” he said.

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