Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


A letter to the PM …

Dear Prime Minister,

RE: The establishment of a new Northern Tasmania institution of higher education and training

A group of concerned citizens has come together in Launceston Tasmania to express their concerns and to question the merit of proposed changes and relocation of the Northern Tasmanian Newnham campus of the University of Tasmania.

The site for relocation away from the established site at Newnham – Newnham being just a 6/7 minutes driving from Launceston’s centre – towards the commercial centre of town on two (2) flood-plain sites connected by a proposed footbridge across the North Esk River.

These small parcels of land:

• Are the site of a former railway terminuses and industrial workshops –now owned by Launceston City Council;

• Came under Council ownership via a Federal Government $10.28m ‘Better Cities Site’ redeveloped initiated in 1994;

• Are sites upon which there is considerable concern relevant to the city’s flood risk.

The city’s, indeed Northern Tasmania’s, ratepayers and residents have more generally expressed serious concerns that it is proposed that there be $4.5M worth of land that will be gifted to UTas.

Moreover, the concern is that the whole purpose of the ill-conceived plan is an apparent disguise for the continued ‘dumbing down’ of the university facilities in the north of Tasmania. The imperative seems to be a transfer of upper level courses from Launceston to the UTas Hobart campus.

A proposal by UTas to offer new Associate Degree courses only at the Northern Campus, seems to be the basis upon which UTas say an additional 10,000 students will be attracted to the two new sites.

There is no evidence that this number of new students could ever be achieved via this strategy. It seems particularly so as the completion of graduate programs would require students to later move to the UTas Hobart campus or indeed interstate.

It is the view of a growing number of northern Tasmanians that the very significant investment in buildings and infrastructure at Newnham must not be abandoned. Furthermore, it is believed that any new facilities that may be required into the future can be located at Newnham where there is 51ha already set aside for educational facilities.

If necessary, we believe that the Newnham campus ought to be divorced from the UTas Hobart administration so as to be allowed to compete on a fair and more economic basis, much like has occurred with Southern Cross University interstate.

Many people believe that the handsome sum being sought by UTas for their relocation project could be spent better by building onto the present infrastructure at Newnham campus and on other more important projects in Northern Tasmania.

We attach an open letter that we believe illustrates the Northern Tasmanian community’s concerns, and puts some perspective into the provision of tertiary educational facilities and services in this region. .

In preparing this open letter, input has been invited from a broad spectrum of the Northern Tasmanian community including past academics of UTas, and other institutions, all of whom are willing to speak up. Furthermore, the group has facilitated the production of an online OPEN LETTER – http://pmopenletter.blogspot.com.au/

Consistent with the precedent establish by Southern Cross University in 1992 we ask that via your good offices you facilitate the establishment of:

• An Advisory Group to consider the implications of a proposal to dismantle the now amalgamated campuses of the University of Tasmania; and In due course

• An Independent Advisory Group to advise ‘government’ on the establishment of a new university/institute in the North of Tasmania; initially as

• As an academically integrated institution incorporating another university/institution with the potential to establish additional sites at other northern Tasmanian sites as required; and

• Federal and State Ministers jointly appointing an Implementation Advisory Panel to advise on the strategies necessary to give effect to the proposed new structures and announce the successor institution to the UTas network.

It is also proposed that the new university/institution develop under the sponsorship of a major metropolitan university for the first three years, while operating under its own name and Council and awarding its own degrees in the longer term.

We welcome comment and feedback on this matter.



For and on behalf of concerned citizens of the Tamar/Esk region in Tasmania

• In Comments … The Quadrant Mall: HERE

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Tasmanian Ratepayers Association Inc.

    March 8, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Launceston City Council has come to the conclusion that all is not as it should or could be in the Quadrant Mall. So, it is trying to repair the damage its done and is likely to continue to do in the Mall.

    Late as it is the council is trying to tell ‘the public’ that the Mall is still open for business. Isn’t it a bit late?

    From the get-go Quadrant Mall traders have been frustrated in their attempts to express their concerns about the potentially devastating impact this project may well have upon their trading via its method of implementation.

    These concerns were expressed well before works commenced, but it seems to no effect because up went the barricades anyway and now the mayor is walking the Mall trying to placate the traders.

    Clearly, this project is being done to the community – traders, shoppers and others – not with the community. It is an exemplar of the flaws in the ‘top down’ approach.

    Council is spending $1.9 million of ratepayer’s money on the redevelopment of the Quadrant Mall. Work started at the end of February, and, surprise, surprise, some businesses are now saying that their trading is suffering.

    Interestingly, it seems that the project proceeded against the background that there may well be collateral damage (acceptable damage?) and one has to ask, is this acceptable representational governance? Is such damage acceptable or even inevitable? Where is the accountability?

    So what to do? It appears as if the answer is put on a band-aid and hope the bleeding stops. Advertising the Mall to people who already know that it is there might work but then again it might not. What then?

    Apparently, mayor Albert van Zetten thinks that it will all be worth it in the end. Now he seems to be recognising that there are “issues that need to be worked through”. Is it not, issues that needed to be worked through some time ago?

    But why so late and with so little recognition of the issues? What kind of community engagement has there been? If it had been adequate, or even relevant, then why are there unforeseen issues right now? Who didn’t the planner listen to or even ask?

    Clearly the Quadrant Mall is a valuable shopping precinct and all through this now obviously ill considered, ill conceived even, project it is important that businesses remain open to allow them to keep the city vital. How can it be done?

    According to ‘The Examiner’ Cityprom is holding a “QM Tuesday Flash Sale” between 10am and 5pm.

    But it seems Cityprom didn’t explain what one was to either ‘The Examiner’ nor the Mall traders. Intrepid shoppers may find out by picking their way through the barricades.

    The really worrying thing here is what is being exposed. Has there been any planning? Well yes, but by whom, when, by what method and was is real or effective ?

    Who hasn’t been listened to? Who hasn’t been doing the listening?

    These will be questions that are going to plague the council for a long time to come.

  2. Basil Fitch

    March 7, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    At 12.15 PM today Basil Fitch will be delivering to Launceston City Council documentation in regard to the concerned citizens network’s progress thus far in their efforts to call upon Council to reconsider its position relative to its Memorandum of Understanding with UTas.

    To date Council has made no attempt to meet with representatives of the growing network of concerned citizens and the deadline for action following the the Tramsheds Function Centre, February 9 Public Meeting is March 15.

    The group has been collecting signatures for a Citizens Petition and there are now sufficient signatures to require Council to call a Public Meeting in accord with SECTION 57 of the Local Government Act.

    Mr. Fitch will be available at 12.15 in Civic Square near Town Hall to answer questions and provide further information in regard to the petition and the group’s open letter to the Prime Minister … SEE http://lcc63.blogspot.com.au/p/the-fitch-file.html

  3. Brian P.Khan

    March 7, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Correspondents need to read open letter before making comment Luigi it is well prepared

  4. Treva Alen

    March 3, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    This is something that we are likely to see a lot more of all round the world. Universities are like old hats, more decorative than useful.

    Universties are becoming less relevant every day as they deliver the same same old but It need not be like that.

    It time to look anew at what we need in post secondary education and training. There are people driving taxis and flipping hamburgers at Macaz with PhDs. If that made them better at those jobs it be OK but its not likely or needed.

    As for Andrew Nikolic he will not be doing anything useful here for Launceston we have to suspect.

    That is unless he sees himself getting elected again. But the trouble is this is one of those situations where it is ideas that needs to be chucked about not money or weight.

    First have an idea or be able to listen to or recognise one!

    This will be a big test for our Andrew.

  5. Clive Stott

    March 3, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for bringing this up, it sure seems like a big waste of money.

    Poor ol’ congested Lonny. Have air studies been done to see what the additional load will be?

    My question is….who wants Newnham?

    Pretty much every time someone is relocated like this in Tas there are other big plans in play.

  6. Bonnie Loy

    March 3, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Exciting times – an advisory group; and an independent advisory group; and an advisory panel – that’ll get things moving at the Newnham site. Of course there’ll be a co-ordinating committee, and OH&S group and a strategic planning body.

    With that all in place it’ll be ‘Fasten your seat belts’ as things take off with the usual vigor and hullaballoo of government. The resulting University of Administration (as it will probably be named) will offer courses that help people everywhere achieve total conformity with regulatory requirements. Wow! Hang on tight!

  7. Luigi

    March 3, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    I’m sure Andrew Nikolic can help out with this one, knowing his passion for UTAS.

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