Release type: Media Release

Date:

Strong interest in regional educational infrastructure funding

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations
Leader of the Government in the Senate

The Australian Government’s $500 million Regional Priorities Round of the Education Investment Fund (EIF) for world leading infrastructure projects has received strong interest from the tertiary education sector, Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, said today.

“A total of 160 expressions of interest were received through the first stage of the competitive Regional Priorities Round, which closed on 4 November 2011,” Senator Evans said.

“This included 130 expressions of interest from vocational education and training providers and 30 from higher education institutions.”

Applicants from every state and territory are seeking funding to develop transformational teaching, learning and training infrastructure projects in regional Australia.

“Increasing access and participation in tertiary education for students in regional areas is central to the Australian Government’s objectives,” Senator Evans said.

“Students and staff based in regional Australia will benefit from this initiative through the delivery of world-class teaching and training facilities.”

Latest enrolment figures show an estimated 50,000 additional undergraduate students are enrolled at Australian universities compared to 2009.

“Labor has opened the doors of Australia’s universities to more students. Regional universities have 10 per cent more student places than in 2009,” Senator Evans said.

“Improved university participation by regional students is central to the Government’s higher education reforms.”

The Regional Priorities Round involves a two-stage application process. All expressions of interest will be assessed against the EIF evaluation criteria by the independent EIF Advisory Board.

The Tertiary Education Minister will consider the advice from the EIF Advisory Board and successful applicants invited to submit a full application through Stage 2 of the process in early 2012.

Further details on the Regional Priorities Round of the EIF, Program Guidelines and key dates http://www.deewr.gov.au/EIFRPR