PREMIER Denis Napthine rolled out the welcome mat for the first intake of students to the newly formed Federation University Australia yesterday.
With 66,000 students across the state receiving their first round university offers, Dr Napthine said there would be more university students in Victoria than ever before.
Visiting Federation University in Ballarat for the first time in its current form, Dr Napthine said about 1600 students had nominated the university as their first preference, with teaching and health sciences the most popular.
“I believe this is a great step forward in higher education in regional and rural Victoria, as well as across Victoria,” he said.
Dr Napthine also defended the selection of the new name for the university, which has drawn some criticism for its abbreviation.
“I think Federation University is an absolutely excellent name because it encompasses what Australia is about, particularly regional and rural Australia and it links the history of Ballarat with Eureka and the history of Federation,” he said.
“University students are always very creative but we’ve got Flinders University and I think Flinders University is well known as Flinders University and I’m sure Federation University will be known as Fed U or Federation University Australia.”
Dr Napthine also visited Ballarat Base Hospital yesterday to officially launch the construction of the new helipad.
“It will provide faster, more efficient access for seriously ill patients from Ballarat to Melbourne where they will receive the special tertiary care that will make a difference when saving lives,” Dr Napthine said of the project.
Construction of the multi-deck car park and helipad is expected to be completed later this year.