The Liberal and Nationals Government will provide West Coast Heritage Study Hub with a further four years funding to ensure it will continue to offer students in Zeehan and Smithton the opportunity to participate and succeed in furthering their education.

West Coast Heritage Study Hub is one of 16 Regional University Centres, covering 24 sites around Australia, that will receive a share of up to $27.9 million over four years.

People in regional Australia are less than half as likely to complete a university degree compared with people in cities. Regional University Centres are helping communities across Australia to reverse this trend.

The centre supported 73 students to pursue a tertiary education at institutions across Australia in 2021.

Minister for Regional Education, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said extending funding for a further four years would enable the West Coast Heritage Study Hub in Zeehan and Smithton to continue supporting its students and the broader community until June 2026.

“'Stay and study in your own backyard' is the motto of the West Coast Heritage Study Hub, which has expanded to include a pilot site at Circular Head," Minister McKenzie said.

"Several students have successfully graduated from the University of Tasmania and others have successfully completed their Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

“We are extremely proud of the Regional University Centre program, which enables aspiring students from regional Australia to be supported while undertaking study by distance with any Australian tertiary provider.

“These Centres make a real difference to our students, as they no longer have to leave their friends and families to pursue further education and can remain at home while studying, where their skills can boost local communities and economies, which is part of our plan for a strong economy and a stronger future.

“Our government is investing almost $20 billion in higher education in 2022 – this is 32 per cent higher than under Labor.”

The Liberal Member for Braddon, Gavin Pearce MP welcomed the announcement saying he believed what West Coast Study Hub was developing and refining in Zeehan and Smithton would become the gold standard right across regional and remote Australia.

“Access to education is everything. Whether you are seven, seventy or anywhere in between, my goal is to create opportunities for everyone to connect with education at the time that’s right for them. That’s what these study hubs are all about.

“Over the last two years I’ve had the privilege of opening the West Coast Study Hub and the Circular Head Study Centre, and now they have funding surety, demonstrating both my commitment and the Federal Government’s commitment to improving educational opportunities in our region,” Mr Pearce said.

Regional University Centres’ offer students access to high-speed internet, dedicated study spaces, computer facilities and importantly, administrative and academic skills, as well as supporting their wellbeing.