Uni tops wish list
THE Derwent Valley and Central Highlands mayors have backed calls to make university expansion the No. 1 project for southern Tasmania.
Mayor Martyn Evans said the University of Tasmania’s planned STEM centre in Hobart would be great for the Derwent Valley, while Central Highlands Mayor Lou Triffitt added her voice to the push.
They have joined with 10 other southern Tasmanian councils in a united show of force to call for the $400 million proposal to be the region’s top federally funded infrastructure project.
The proposal would involve moving the UTAS science, technology, engineering and mathematics faculties from its Sandy Bay campus into the Hobart city centre.
Councillor Evans said because of the central location, it would be much more appeal- ing to prospective students from the Derwent Valley.
“Especially for the Derwent Valley and its young people, and older people getting back into education, because it’s just one bus to get to town,” Cr Evans said.
“When you have to take extra buses to Sandy Bay and other campuses around Hobart, it makes it so hard. And they are talking about accommodation in Hobart, which makes it easier for our young people to engage in education, and education is one of the keys to life itself.
“Any opportunity for that to move forward is applauded.”
Councillor Triffitt said that STEM subjects should be encouraged earlier in primary and secondary schools in the region if the project gets funding approval.
“Meeting the needs of our students is difficult in the country, and at some stage does require relocation to the city to further education, especially in the STEM area,” Cr Triffitt said.
“For our students who do relocate to further their academic abilities, success is based on their foundation of knowledge that is formed through piquing interest in primary school, and then providing a solid base throughout secondary school, where STEM subjects should be compulsory.”
It follows the State Government program to expand Year 11 and 12 courses into the Derwent Valley through a partnering arrangement between New Norfolk High School, Glenora District School and Claremont College, encouraging young people in the region to stay at school beyond Year 10.
An announcement about a City Deal for Hobart, of which the university STEM project would be a centrepiece, is believed to be imminent.
The university says it would have statewide benefits.