Member for Page Janelle Saffin has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, of funding for 45 new Commonwealth-supported higher education nursing places at Southern Cross University in the electorate of Page. 

The new places commence in 2009 and are part of the Australian Government’s 2008-09 Budget Health and Hospitals Reform – Health Workforce initiatives.

“The 45 extra nursing places for the electorate will help take the pressure off hospitals in the region. They include places to increase the number of specialist nurses in mental health,” Ms Saffin said.

The University has indicated that one of the courses where new places have been allocated will offer places to enrolled nurses to upgrade their qualifications.”

One of the courses will provide clinical placement opportunities in rural and regional areas.

“The new places will give more students the opportunity to qualify as registered nurses, and will increase the number of nurses available to work in our hospitals,” Ms Saffin said.

“Addressing the national nursing shortfall will significantly benefit patients in the health system, their families and the local community.

“The Australian Government is showing the way and honouring its commitment to the Australian public to increase the numbers of higher education-qualified people in the workforce.”