$5.1M in state funding needed now for extension

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IT IS clear to see that La Trobe University’s Shepparton campus is in desperate need for an extension, and the government is being called on to fund a planned extension of the building.

Over the last 10 years, student enrolments at La Trobe in Shepparton have increased by 160 percent, with the school currently graduating about 140 students per year, with over 70 percent of those commencing work in regional Victoria.

Speaking during an adjournment debate in State Parliament last week, Member for Northern, Victoria Wendy Lovell called on the treasurer to give a commitment to provide funding of $5.1M, being the State Government’s share of the proposed $21.4M project.

The planned extension will see the existing four-level building expand south to Stewart Street and the construction of a three-level multi-deck car park for use by La Trobe University and nearby GOTAFE, accommodating for the university’s estimated 48 percent enrolment growth into the future.

Ms Lovell said, “It is estimated that $17M will be value-added to the Greater Shepparton economy during the construction phase and $5M ongoing post construction, supporting 83 jobs during construction and an additional 49 direct and indirect jobs upon completion.”

La Trobe University Shepparton head of campus, Elizabeth Capp said, “The investment made by the university, federal, state and local governments in construction of the existing campus has been an exceptional success. The building has reached capacity 10 years ahead of forecast and has the potential to grow significantly. It is straining to cope with 2019 enrolments, likely to continue in light of projected increases in demand.

“Funding an extension to our campus building will ensure that La Trobe Shepparton students have the best possible experience, that we further expand and diversify our teaching programs to meet local demand and workforce needs and that we can develop greater research capacity and outputs in partnership with local industry and regional organisations.

“At present our ability to pursue these goals is constrained by infrastructure limitations.”