BY MITCHELL REARDON
DESPITE the Raffles Education Corporation recently withdrawing a $100 million-dollar application to construct a university in Midland, those in the area still hold out hope that a tertiary institution of note will be built in the northeast corridor.
Raffles initially signalled its intentions in April 2009 when it launched an ambitious bid, sighting an opportunity in WA’s northeast. But Raffles have since withdrawn that application and are yet to comment as to why.
The proposed university was to be only WA’s second private sector university and was expected to have a capacity of about 8,000 students.
The northeast corridor has a lower university attendance and completion rate than that of Perth as a whole. It was hoped a university closer to home would open opportunities for students who live in the vicinity.
Kieran Kinsella, CEO of the Midland Redevelopment Authority, says that while disappointed, he and the people of Midland are still optimistic that a university will be built in the area.
“We haven’t given up on having a significant higher education facility here; it just may not be delivered by the Raffles Education Corporation.”
Mr Kinsella adds there’s a “glaring need” for higher education services to be upgraded in the northeast and the area would welcome anyone willing to provide.
“There’s a glaring need for higher education services to be upgraded through here (the northeast corridor) and we’ll continue with our efforts to advocate for that and have an open door to anyone who might want to bring such a facility to the site.”
The proposed site for the university was the Midland Railway Workshops.
Mr Kinsella said the workshops were to be a central hub of Midland for residential living and education especially the arts before the Raffles bid. Now that it fell through, they again plan to move forward with the initial idea.
Perth’s five universities are located in the metropolitan corridor – with Curtin located in Bentley, UWA in Crawley, Murdoch in both Murdoch and Rockingham, Notre Dame in Fremantle and ECU in Mt Lawley and Joondalup.