I wish to make a statement on the Deakin University annual report 2006. I remind the house that Deakin University was originally established under a 1974 act. The primary specialisation of the institution in the 1970s was the promotion and facilitation of higher education through external studies, which was quite new to this country at that time. In the electorate I represent Deakin has three campuses. One is in Geelong central. It is called the Geelong waterfront campus and opened in 1996. There is also a Waurn Ponds campus, which is the original home of Deakin University, and a Warrnambool campus, which was brought into the Deakin family as a result of a consolidation with the Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education in 1990.
What I would like to focus on this morning is the priority of Deakin as it stands now — that is, its real commitment to community responsibility and rural and regional engagement. It is quite spectacular not only in that it has a set of words it is committed to but in that it actually lives that out in a vigorous way in a whole range of teaching and intellectual activities right across the institution. It is worthwhile reading out Deakin’s goal in respect of this. The report states:
“To work in partnership with local communities in Burwood, Geelong and Warrnambool, and with governments, industry, business and the professions, to advance the interests of Victoria and Australia; to champion equity and access; and to be committed to providing: flexible teaching programs, distance and online education; workplace-based learning and the continuing education; and research and teaching programs that advance the needs of south central and south western Victoria.”
One of the major significant announcements made in 2006 was of the establishment of the medical school at Deakin. Not only will this assist regional Victoria but it will have a specific positive spin-off for western Victoria, particularly the Geelong and Warrnambool areas, given the amount of money and resources that the Bracks government has now committed to the Warrnambool Hospital. The interface between the Warrnambool Hospital and the new medical school at Deakin will bring about an alleviation of some of the shortages we have seen in western Victoria.
Beyond that, in terms of its commitment to genuine partnerships, Deakin has also entered into a significant partnership with the University of Ballarat, which is also located within the upper house electorate of Western Victoria Region. There are three components of this partnership. The first is a partnership in relation to the new medical degree from Deakin University and a new health science degree from the University of Ballarat.
The other very good news in respect of all of this is that a joint university department of rural health will be located at Ballarat. There will be ongoing interaction between the Deakin campuses and the University of Ballarat in that respect.
Deakin’s activities involve not only the provision of external studies or distance education, not only the new medical school and all the other allied health education services that will be provided, but also a whole range of other areas. They include the Deakin motion lab, which is positioning Victoria’s industry at the forefront of international developments. It has also established two cooperative research centres. One is for cast metals manufacturing and another relates to advanced manufacturing. Both centres are located in Geelong and are central and key elements in the ongoing development of manufacturing in Geelong. I commend the report and look forward to a long and ongoing association with Deakin University.