Support is growing for Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) bid to expand its health and human services programs through a submission to the Regional Priorities Round of the Education Investment Fund (EIF) for $63.6 million, with health providers keen to voice their endorsement.
Mr Alan Morrison, the education manager at the Ambulance Service of New South Wales is a representative from one such external body.
“Our organisations have worked closely for several years to support the development of our paramedic workforce in NSW,” Mr Morrison said.
“Ambulance, as an integral part of the state health system, provides out-of-hospital care to the community across NSW. Consequently, the provision of care to communities in regional and remote NSW is of vital importance to the Ambulance Service.”
If successful, the EIF funding will be used to deliver 12 new courses at CSU in Orange and to build a world-leading paramedic education facility in Bathurst.
The project has a total value of more than $84 million, with co-contributions from CSU of $19 million, $1.27 million from the NSW government, $200,000 from the Charles Sturt University Foundation Trust and around $60,000 from the Bathurst Regional and Orange City councils.
Another supporter of CSU’s bed is Ms Jan Savage who currently works as regional fundraising coordinator at Cancer Care Western NSW and is on the Orange City Council health liaison board.
“I support Charles Sturt University’s application to the Education Investment Fund for several reasons,” Ms Savage said. “It will increase opportunities for rural students to study health science programs within a rural environment and work in rural areas, and it will stimulate new jobs and economic activity to help develop our region and improve the staffing levels in much needed areas of health.”
Mr Morrison agrees that the programs will strengthen opportunities for rural students and regional communities.
“Our partnership with Charles Sturt University is significant in sourcing a fit-for-purpose paramedic workforce drawn from these regional communities,” Mr Morrison said. “The EIF application will continue to enhance opportunities for rural students to consider and further pursue a career in paramedicine, undertaken ’in place’ within the rural context leading to employment in rural communities. This realises a mutual benefit to students, rural communities and the Ambulance Service in the provision of health care and employment opportunities.”
CSU’s EIF application was a community effort, with letters of support coming from Orange and Bathurst councils, CENTROC, Regional Development Australia Central West, Local Health Networks across rural NSW, the Western Institute of TAFE, the Western Region of Department of Education and Communities, local schools such as Kinross Wolaroi, local businesses and chambers of commerce, and other community groups.
Charles Sturt University’s EIF application follows a major program of investment across its campuses, including more than $100 million invested in veterinary science, oral health, wine science and campus refurbishment in Wagga Wagga; $100 million relocation and expansion of the Albury-Wodonga Campus; more than $5 million for the dental and oral health centre in Dubbo; and $23 million campus developments in Port Macquarie and Wangaratta.