The Gippsland East Study Hub was formally opened in Bairnsdale today to support more students to learn skills and qualifications locally.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the opening was a landmark day for the region in what has been a challenging year.
"The Gippsland Hub in Bairnsdale is one of a number of Regional University Centres designed to improve higher education outcomes in regional Australia," Mr Chester said.
"The centre will generate new jobs and opportunities in Bairnsdale, giving local people the support they need to undertake tertiary studies without having to relocate.
"Throughout the year, the Gippsland Hub has been able to virtually support close to 100 students. The centre is ready to re-open once restrictions allow, with comfortable, functional spaces for group work, private study and break-out areas, and effective social distancing measures."
Regional University Centres support students studying a tertiary course by distance at any Australian education institution. The funding supports local infrastructure by providing a safe, supportive learning environment, with access to technology and high-speed internet, as well as administrative and academic support services and pastoral support for local students.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the centres were an integral part of the Australian Government’s focus on regional tertiary education.
"Young Australians who live in our major cities are twice as likely to be university educated as regional students," Mr Tehan said.
"Regional University Centres help level the playing field to address that disparity.
"Since 2016, the Government has invested more than $1 billion so that more students from regional, rural and remote communities can access and benefit from high quality tertiary education."
Minister for Regional Education Andrew Gee said investing in Regional University Centres boosts opportunities for local students in regional communities such as Bairnsdale.
"Our Government is delivering on its commitment to create more opportunities within regional communities to ensure every Australian, no matter where they live, can access a world-class education," Mr Gee said.
"The centre will also provide opportunities to share in the social, economic and cultural benefits of tertiary education."
The Australian Government has committed $74.2 million to fund up to 33 Regional University Centres across Australia.