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Celebrating GUC expansion with $1.8 million

Celebrating GUC expansion with $1.8 million

Regional education is always a high priority for Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price, who advocates widely for better education facilities across her Durack electorate.

And last year the Durack electorate had some big wins.

One of them was the allocation of more than $1.8 million to expand the Geraldton Universities Centre (GUC) and Ms Price was delighted to present the cheque to GUC Director Natalie Nelmes and Board Chairman Steve Douglas before they wound up for the Christmas New Year break.

“The Geraldton Universities Centre has been operating since 2010 as an incorporated body and I’m delighted this funding has been allocated,” Ms Price said.

“I have always been an advocate for preventing the ‘brain drain’ that occurs in regional areas when students leave to study and possibly never return.

“The GUC was ground-breaking as an education model, where university courses are supported on behalf of partner universities, and this model has now been recognised and will be replicated across Australia, I’m very excited about this.”

Ms Price said she had pushed hard for the Federal Government to support existing and new regional university centres.

“It has always been a priority of mine and I’m thrilled the government listened and acted,” she said.

GUC Chair Steve Douglas agreed that the funding will be transformational for many regional communities to now provide vital local access and support for university students.

“GUC is exceptionally proud that our supported university model is the one that other regions will seek to emulate, but also that GUC itself will be able to grow further and provide the professional regional workforce our own community needs to thrive,” he said.

“The funding will see us expand our current facilities, introduce new courses and increase local support, especially for our Aboriginal students.

“Funding for this has been made possible by Melissa’s ongoing advocacy and unwavering support of the GUC and our model,” said Mr Douglas.

Ms Price said another big win is the establishment of a Pilbara Universities Centre in Karratha.

“We will soon have the Pilbara Universities Centre in Karratha - modelled on the GUC - operating with a study hub in Port Hedland that the Federal Government has funded to the tune of $3 million,” she said.

“This will be revolutionary for the region and the State.”

Keeping the momentum going on regional education, Ms Price recommended that the former Director of the Geraldton Universities Centre, Ms Meredith Wills be appointed to the Expert Regional Education Advisory Group, part of the Federal Government’s $134.8 million additional investment in regional higher education.

“Meredith is the perfect person to be part of this group, her leadership and commitment to regional education, as well as her on-the-ground experience with the GUC will be a huge asset,” said Ms Price.

“I am thrilled she has been appointed and will be able to help steer the outcomes from this group.”

The Expert Regional Advisory Group will report to Government by the middle of the year.

“The Federal Government also saved Moora Residential College from closing at the end of last year, with $8.7 million in capital funding, and the State Government was forced to reverse its decision to close the Schools of the Air, thanks to public backlash,” Ms Price said.

“These are sensible wins for regional families and their children.

“All Western Australian students, no matter where they live, deserve the same level of education.”

Pic: Happy New Year: Geraldton Universities Centre students celebrate with GUC Chair Steve Douglas and Director Natalie Nelmes, as Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price, centre, presents the $1.8 million cheque on the site of the planned universities centre expansion.

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