Mayor's Message - 9 June
I know that this news has already been reported on, in a number of different ways, but I would like to touch on how excited I am, that our funding application to establish the Bass Coast University Centre was successful. It’s no secret that rural and regional students are less likely to attend university, or even finish Year 12. This in part, can be attributed to the fact that they don’t want to, or can’t, leave home to continue their education. Having a local option that allows local people to complete a university degree is a huge deal. As one of Council’s top ten Advocacy Priorities, it was at the forefront of many discussions with both State and Federal politicians, for at least 18 months. There has been a lot of hard work, from a lot of people, put into making this dream a reality and it really will be a game changer for the whole region. People living in rural areas should have the same education opportunities as their metropolitan counterparts and the establishment of the Bass Coast University Centre will go a long way towards creating that equality for our community. I would again like to congratulate and thank all the people involved in helping to achieve this vision, especially Federal Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, Member for Monash, Russell Broadbent, the Bass Coast University Centre Board and CEO of Country Universities Centre, Duncan Taylor.
Unfortunately, we also got some bad news last week. It was so disappointing to learn that the 2020 Phillip Island Motorcycle Grand Prix has been cancelled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It really is a huge blow to our Shire. In a normal year, the Grand Prix represents the cornerstone of our events program, as it is a major driver of off-season visitation and employment and brings with it an economic benefit in excess of $30 million. In fact, it is the largest sporting event held in regional Victoria, with over 85,000 people in attendance over its four days. We know the tourism sector has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and we will continue to work with local businesses to help them navigate through this incredibly difficult time. I would encourage all local business owners that are experiencing hardship to reach out to our Business Support Team by phoning (03) 5671 2211 or emailing email@example.com,gov.au.