Uni tops wish list

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - SIMEON THOMAS-WIL­SON

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.

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