11 March, 2016
Senator Richard Colbeck, Minister for Tourism and International Education, said the University of Tasmania's plans for Northern Tasmania have the potential to be an education game-changer in the state and warrant serious consideration.
"I have had a number of conversations with Vice Chancellor Peter Rathjen and Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein regarding the University of Tasmania Northern Expansion project," Senator Colbeck said.
"The proposal warrants serious consideration and I will present it for discussion when the Joint Commonwealth and Tasmanian Economic Council meets next month."
Senator Colbeck said the University of Tasmania's proposal has the potential to be an important part of the process of changing attitudes towards education and encouraging more Tasmanians to participate in higher education.
"To achieve this cultural change will take a concerted effort and coordinated approach across government, the education sector and the community," he said.
"The addition of associate degree courses will provide a pathway to assist students gain higher education attainment. I am a strong supporter of the concept and believe the model could be used around Australia.
"Expansion of demand driven funding to diploma, advanced diploma and associate degree courses, was proposed as part of the Government's higher education reforms.
"Unfortunately, we were not able to secure passage of this legislation through the Senate. I will continue to consult on further reforms, including the uncapping of sub-bachelor places, which would greatly benefit the University of Tasmania with their proposed northern expansion.
"Education has been an area of interest for me for a considerable length of time. I spoke about it in my first speech to Parliament in 2002 where I highlighted that the level of prosperity of a community is directly related to its level of education."
Senator Colbeck said the project also creates an opportunity to realise a significant vision for the university's Northern Tasmanian campus.
"The visit of Defence Minister Marise Payne earlier this week demonstrated that Tasmania has scope through the Defence White Paper to build on defence links that already exist in food and maritime research and development, training and innovation.
"The University of Tasmania through the Australian Maritime College has infrastructure that is unique to the Southern Hemisphere. The creation of an R&D and innovation hub that builds on Tasmania's strengths should be realised as part of the plans for Northern Tasmania.
"While the direction of much of the physical construction of navy assets might be set, there is no reason we can't be the brains behind the build as a centre for R&D, training and sustainment of the assets.
"The freeing-up of space at Newnham opens the opportunity for this aspiration and the university and community should aim high."