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University launches mobile accommodation trailers


Steve Spinks
16 August 2013
Southern Cross University health students now have access to mobile accommodation when they go on clinical placements to regional and remote areas.

The two accommodation trailers, were launched at the University’s Lismore campus today (August 16) by federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin MP. Guests were welcomed by Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee, who acknowledged the advocacy efforts of Janelle Saffin as local federal member and as a member of the University Council.

The accommodation trailers, which are transported by a prime mover, can house up to 12 students each and feature a kitchenette, living and sleeping facilities. The cost of the trailers was $1,731,092 and the project was made possible due to funding from Health Workforce Australia, as an Australian Government initiative.

Head of the School of Health and Human Sciences, Professor Iain Graham, said the new trailers provide a great benefit to students.

“These trailers will provide lodging for students on placements in areas where safe, secure, low cost accommodation is not available,” he said.

“We are committed to increasing access to higher education for regional and rural students, including Indigenous students and health professionals. We know that students who undertake their placements in regional Australia are more likely to gain permanent employment in these areas.

“The trailers are comfortable and are fully stocked with all the day-to-day implements the students will need while on placement, from ironing boards to toasters and even a barbecue.

“A unique aspect of the trailers is that they are fitted with solar panels to assist in providing power. They also have capacity to carry 90 litres of fresh water and 90 litres of grey water.”

The accommodation trailers can be used in conjunction with the School’s state-of-the-art Mobile Learning and Research Facility, or Sim trailer, which has been in use since 2011.

Ms Saffin said the federal government set up Health Workforce Australia to look into and support the training needs of the health workforce, now and into the future.

In addition to the trailers, Southern Cross University is also due to receive $1,650,252 for Clinic Training Funding and $299,763 for Simulated Learning Environment from Health Workforce Australia for 2014. This funding is critical to support clinical placement opportunities for students and clinical supervision in numerous locations across the region.

Photo: Member for Page Janelle Saffin and University Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee officially launch the mobile accommodation trailers.