I rise to make a contribution on the Deakin University annual report 2010. I would like to begin by acknowledging Professor Sally Walker, the former vice-chancellor of Deakin University, who resigned from her position during the reporting period. Professor Walker was Deakin’s fifth vice-chancellor and its first woman vice-chancellor. She led the university for seven and a half years, and during that time had many achievements. The quality, opportunity, excellence and strength of Deakin University today has much to do with the leadership that Professor Walker added to the institution. I wish her well in her future endeavours.
It is an absolute pleasure to welcome the sixth Deakin vice-chancellor, a woman as well, Professor Jane den Hollander, whom I have had the opportunity to meet on several occasions.
Professor den Hollander began as vice-chancellor at Deakin in July 2010. I wish her well in her continuing leadership of Deakin.
Members in this chamber may well know that Deakin is a frontrunner in the area of research. Last year, during the reporting period, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited the Geelong technology precinct at Waurn Ponds to announce funding of $37 million for the establishment of the Australian Future Fibre Research Innovation Centre. This grant, which demonstrates the absolute confidence governments have in Deakin University, signals the university’s excellence in the development of materials and fibres. The grant includes expansions, the construction of new research laboratories and the establishment of the Australian Carbon Fibre Research Facility.
Last year I had the pleasure of attending the official opening of the Proof of Concept building at the Geelong technology precinct by the member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allen, who was then the Minister for Rural and Regional Development.
An important component of Deakin’s strength in the area of research is its international relationships. In November of the reporting period the BioNanotechnology Research Centre, a partnership between Deakin University and The Energy Research Institute, was opened in New Delhi.
Deakin University is unique. It is Victoria’s only regional university comprising four distinct campuses: one in Warrnambool, two in Geelong — the waterfront and Waurn Ponds campuses — and one in Melbourne. Through these different geographical locations Deakin offers a wide-ranging, diverse service to many Victorians, Australians and international students in rural, regional and metropolitan areas. Deakin has some 10 000 virtual students in addition to its part-time and full-time on-campus students. Deakin’s online learning facilities are a great feature of the university.
Deakin University is recognised as one of Geelong’s major employers.
It is also a significant employer in Warrnambool. It is right at the heart of innovation, education, culture and excellence in Geelong, Warrnambool and metropolitan Melbourne. Its linkages and partnerships within Geelong and regional Victoria and internationally are an absolute credit to the staff, students and management of this great institution.
In the Warrnambool Standard on Tuesday this week there was a photo of the mayor of Warrnambool, Jacinta Ermacora, the vice-chancellor of Deakin University, Jane den Hollander, and the CEO of Warrnambool City Council, Bruce Anson, who have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will help plan research agendas and facilitate collaboration across government, academia and industry. It is an MOU that has been signed by the council and the university. It will also mean there will be an interaction between staff whereby staff can be seconded across the council and the university. It will also foster student placement arrangements going between the university and the council.
To quote Mr Bill Millard, the director of city growth for the Warrnambool City Council:
“This is a very exciting step in the future of education and learning in our city …”
I commend the report to the house.