Real boost for regional health

More graduates from Bendigo La Trobe University committed to staying in our region will help address critical healthcare worker shortages according to Lisa Chesters, Labor candidate for Bendigo.

New evidence has emerged to prove that when people are trained in a regional setting they will stay. Roughly 71% of regional graduates have gone on to secure employment in regional and rural areas.

Last week, one thousand Bendigo La Trobe University students graduated and, based on this evidence, more than 700 of them will continue to work in regional and rural areas.

The graduates include a number of new health professionals who are urgently needed for the Loddon Mallee region.

Graduating for the first time were dentistry students from the first rural and regional dental department in Australia. This was a historic moment for Bendigo La Trobe and the La Trobe Rural Health School (LRHS).

The School is improving rural participation rates with 781 additional student places, training 211 graduates annually in central Victoria and addressing critical healthcare worker shortages.

Those trained in regional universities find employment in regional localities, thereby investing professional skills, qualifications and knowhow into regional Australia. This outcome represents fundamental ‘value adding’ and capacity building for the Loddon Mallee region and our nation.

Such outcomes are possible only because the Labor Government and regional universities understand, are engaged with, and relate to regional communities.

Funding under the Labor Government for La Trobe University has grown by 47 per cent, from $248.3 million in 2007 to $364.3 million in 2012.

The Federal Labor Government provided $59.6 million through the Education Investment Fund for the La Trobe Rural Health School.

The school is integrated across multiple campuses, health agencies, TAFEs and Monash University and will officially be opened on Thursday by the Minister for Higher Education, Hon. Sharon Bird.