'Lift USC funding freeze': Llew O'Brien
WIDE Bay MP Llew O'Brien has called for a funding freeze at the Fraser Coast USC campus to be lifted, claiming it has had "unintended consequences” for nursing.
The freeze to the Commonwealth Grant Scheme was announced in the the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in December 2018 and took effect from 1 January 2018.
Mr O'Brien argued yesterday the freeze would result in the cutting of nursing places at the campus.
"In the time since the freeze was announced I've been meeting with the Vice Chancellor of USC, Professor Greg Hill, and communicating USC's concerns about the impact of the freeze on the University to the Government,” Mr O'Brien said.
"The freeze has had the real effect of cutting funding to USC which is going to result in a cut to the number of nursing degree places it will offer at Hervey Bay in the next semester, beginning in July.
"It's important that we train more nurses, not less, and it's also important that they are trained locally, to care for our aging population.”
Mr O'Brien said the number of people with a bachelor degree in Wide Bay was nine per cent, compared with the national average of 22 per cent.
He said the Federal Government needed to ensure policy did not restrict the number of places for a degree in "an area of increasing importance to Wide Bay.”
"We need to grow the number of nursing places to train a local workforce to increase employment opportunities and cater for the needs that come with of our ageing demographic,” Mr O'Brien said.