The University is finalising plans for the future of our campuses at Melton and Sunbury.
The Commonwealth Government has given approval for the relocation of all higher education courses to our other campuses in the western suburbs. Some vocational and further education courses will remain at Melton.
There will be no staff redundancies as a result of these changes and no courses have been dropped.
These plans follow a resolution in October last year by the University Council to scale back our involvement in these campuses because they had become unsustainable in their present form as student numbers continued to drop.
Maintaining the quality of the student experience and the support services available to students and staff is essential. The University plans to meet regional education needs by investing in a strong backbone of campuses with the capacity to support growth of the University to an estimated 65,000 students by 2016. The main centres will be at Footscray, Sunshine, St Albans, Werribee and in the city.
The University will retain ownership of the Melton site and will ensure the campus continues to operate as a community and vocational education centre with strong local involvement. Several community facilities and agencies will maintain their presence, including the University of the Third Age, the Brookfield Preschool and Community Access Learning Melton, a service for disengaged youth. The sports hall will continue to be available to local schools and community groups.
VU will maintain an ongoing presence in the vocational and further education sectors at Melton and will work with other providers to manage the facilities and expand education programs. We plan to enlarge our trades training program, which will be primarily focused on building and construction, and to continue our work education program. In addition, the State Government has funded an $11.2 million trade training centre that will host programs delivered by VU and local partners.
Over 2010 and 2011, all higher education courses will be relocated to St Albans or Footscray Park to take advantage of more modern facilities and a wider range of student services. No new higher education students will be accepted for courses at Melton in 2010.
Library and student services will be adjusted to align with future arrangements.
No new students will be accepted for courses at Sunbury and all continuing courses will be relocated to our St Albans and Footscray campuses from the start of next year. These campuses are within convenient reach of the Sunbury region by public transport and by car. The University will honour its commitment to retain student accommodation at Sunbury Hall until the end of 2010.
We are working closely with the State Government and local authorities to examine future options for the site.
In both the Melton and Sunbury regions, VU is working with State and local authorities to plan future education provision, and we will continue to work with local schools.
The largest concentration of VU students is now at our two Footscray campuses, where major new facilities will open in 2010. These VU initiatives will complement State Government plans to develop Footscray as a regional hub. Further development is planned at our Sunshine, St Albans and Werribee campuses, also in step with State and local government planning priorities. We are working closely with governments to secure capital funding for new investment in these campuses.
The development and modernisation of our campuses is a vital component of the growth of the western suburbs of Melbourne. These plans will help us consolidate our leading role in tertiary education and community partnerships that deliver highly valued education programs, research, and support.
We hope to make the relocation as smooth as possible and we have set in place an information program for staff and students to provide further details of the relocations over the coming weeks.
Professor Linda Rosenman