Within Baw Baw Shire there are no tertiary education institutions, with the closest facilities being two Federation University campuses – one at Churchill located in greater Gippsland and the other in Berwick, which is on Melbourne’s outer eastern fringe.
Baw Baw Shire is experiencing rapid population growth, particularly with young families. As these young people grow and progress through schooling, the Shire needs to be in the position to offer further levels of education.
In order to further their studies after high school, many young people are faced with the prospect of long travel journeys, or to leave the area to study at Melbournebased or other regional universities.
The cost of travel, relocation and accommodation is a significant barrier to participation in tertiary education.
Despite Federation University in Churchill being based in Gippsland, the level of study provided is quite limited. In addition, recent trends show that resources at this campus are being cut back with no indication that this situation will change in the years ahead.
Having the ability to provide higher education opportunities in a wide range of fields will enable young people to live and study in the Shire. This will result in skills and knowledge being retained locally improving the the workforce, and work options in Baw Baw.
Baw Baw is one of the leading agriculture areas in the state. A university located in the Shire would be able to leverage off this and include studies in food and nutrition, agriculture, horticulture, science and technology and environmental science to compliment their course offerings.
Additionally, a university located in Baw Baw would provide for the South West Gippsland catchment, along with the South Eastern suburbs of greater Melbourne.
What is Needed?
Council calls on the State and Federal Governments to assist in identifying a university to establish a base within Baw Baw Shire.