- Truss and Ryan announce $2 million for Longerenong College
- $4.5 million project will upgrade student accommodation facilities
- Project will encourage more students to live and study on-campus
Longerenong College’s ageing student accommodation will be refurbished thanks to a joint Commonwealth and State government investment, encouraging more students to live and study on-campus.
Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss joined Deputy Premier Peter Ryan, Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad and The Nationals candidate for Lowan Emma Kealy at Longerenong today to announce the $2 million joint investment.
Today’s announcement delivers the final instalment needed to fund the redevelopment of Longerenong College’s student accommodation facilities and follows an earlier commitment of $1.1 million from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
Mr Truss said it was an honour to visit the Wimmera to announce the $2 million investment that would help one of the country’s best agricultural colleges improve its facilities.
“Longerenong College is one of Victoria’s leading agricultural education and training facilities and is the only educational facility in the region that offers agricultural training and on-site accommodation,” Mr Truss said.
“The College delivers hands-on training through its 1,070 hectares farm which is complete with cropping, sheep and beef cattle enterprises, and offers students a wide variety of courses such as shearing, truck driving, header operation and farm management among others.
“It has a wide-reaching reputation for producing highly skilled graduates, who are highly sought after to work on-farm or in associated agribusiness.
“While student numbers are at an all-time high, sadly the accommodation facilities, which are up to 70 years old, have fallen into disrepair and as such are only at 50 per cent occupancy.
“This joint investment will ensure the student accommodation facilities match the magnificent training on offer here at Longerenong College, encouraging more students to live and study on-campus.”
Mr Ryan said the project would be a ‘game-changer’ for the College’s students, and would involve:
- Refurbishing 108 single occupancy student rooms;
- Refurbishing six single occupancy student rooms to provide disabled access;
- Refurbishing shared residential facilities (bathrooms, kitchenettes, kitchen, lounge rooms and laundry), pathways and stairwells;
- Constructing a new three-storey building, adjoining the accommodation, including two new communal study areas and a separate recreational area;
- Installing reverse-cycle air conditioning and electronic access;
- Upgrading wireless internet infrastructure; and
- Replacing the existing hot water service.
“Today’s announcement is great news for students, the community and the agricultural sector more broadly,” Mr Ryan said.
“Most of Longerenong College’s 300 students live more than 100 kilometres away so access to on-site residential facilities and catering is a key factor in them being able to undertake vocational training.
“This investment means the College will be able to attract students back to on-campus living, while providing valuable casual accommodation for visitors to the region during the holiday season.
“Replacing the hot water service will also ensure there are no more cold showers, which I am sure will be warmly welcomed by Longerenong College students.”
Mr Ryan said the joint Federal and State government funding would be provided through the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program - Victoria.
“This program has been designed to strengthen and diversify local economies impacted by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,” Mr Ryan said.
“The $15 million fund includes $10 million from the Federal Government and $5 million from the Victorian Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
“Today’s investment is a terrific example of how we can use this fund to support local economies and I look forward to returning to the Longerenong College once this project is complete.”
Mr Ryan said the remaining $1.4 million needed to complete the project would be provided by Longerenong College.
Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731