Adjournment: Deakin University Warrnambool

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Training and Skills, and the action I seek is for her to meet with my community and state her position on the issue of the sale of any land at Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus. As the new minister would be aware, as she is also a member for Western Victoria Region in the Council, Deakin University has recently made a commitment to stay in Warrnambool. The decision came with a series of cost-saving measures that include staff redundancies, a reduction in courses and changes to campus services and maintenance.

I welcome Deakin’s long-term commitment to Warrnambool and congratulate them on listening to the community’s concerns. I look forward to working with the university and the newly appointed associate dean community engagement and regional campuses, Professor Barry Cooper. I also look forward to a continuing dialogue between the university and the community and urge them to continue to employ people who truly understand how special the Warrnambool campus is and the wonderful lifestyle it offers staff and students alike.

One of the proposed changes is the closure of the nine-hole golf course which wraps around the outside of the campus. The golf course is the only open space in that part of Warrnambool and residents in that part of town fear it will be sold off for housing developments. As the minister would know, the land on which the campus sits was gifted to Deakin University some 25 years ago when it merged with the Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education. The Warrnambool community established the institute and gifted its facilities and grounds to Deakin in good faith. The community is concerned that if the land is sold off, the money will go into Deakin’s general coffers.

While the main focus remains on ensuring that tertiary education remains in Warrnambool long term, the community does have concerns that assets they worked hard to establish in the 1970s will be stripped with no benefit to the campus or the community. As the state government must sign off on any sale of land at Deakin, I ask that the minister inform my community of her position.