Recent reports of a freeze in federal government funding for undergraduate places within the university sector are frustrating, especially for regionally based universities who look set to bear the brunt of the government’s latest move.

Short changing education providers is never going to be popular and is always going to cost more in the long run, and the frustration among the hierarchy at La Trobe University is understandable and to be expected.

The government’s decision effectively penalises La Trobe more than many other institutions because La Trobe harboured significant growth plans over the next few years, and it now has concerns about its ability to deliver on its own aspirations.

While the larger so-called Group of Eight universities face an average 3.5 per cent hit to funding for undergraduate courses over the next two years, regionally based unis can expect to lose an average seven per cent in funds for undergraduate places.

In the interests of especially those regional students whose place at university might otherwise be compromised by the government’s move, we urge all parties to take a closer look at ways to ensure students are not the ones to suffer most from this.

Country based universities do not have the same access to overseas students to help boost their bottom line, and smaller campuses can cost more to run, but they are a vital part of the community they exist in and serve.

There’s too much at stake in all this, and potentially shutting some students out of the uni system should not be an acceptable alternative.

 

CREDIT where credit is due, and in this case it seems the City of Greater Bendigo deserves acknowledgement for its performance in the latest community satisfaction survey released yesterday.

The survey has long been considered a benchmark of how residents rate the council in a broad range of areas.

Pleasingly for Bendigo, we have come out of the survey looking better than we have in previous years, continuing a steady improvement that deserves to be noted and commemorated.

Greater Bendigo’s overall performance score of 59 is a three-point lift on the previous year’s outcome, and while there have been falls in the areas of advocacy and sealed local roads, council has made significant gains in making community decisions, customer service and its overall direction.

While the annual satisfaction survey is just one measure of council’s performance, it is an important one, and perhaps the only one that gives us all an idea of how we rank against other municipalities.

None of us will ever be pleased with what any of us do 100 per cent of the time, and we should always continue to look for ways to improve, but an overall positive outcome from this survey is something the council, and the broader community, can and should be proud of.