Good news page


This page celebrates the achievements and contributions of our tertiary education and training institutions, their staff and their students.  If you have a good story to tell, send it to us – [email protected] and click headlines and highlights to link to articles.

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Threads for workworking wardrobe logo

6 October 2014     |      People who experience disadvantage face many challenges , not the least of which is  finding suitable clothes to wear to an interview and during the early period of their employment.  The Working Wardrobe, an initiative being launched by Melbourne Polytechic’s Work Education Centre is a not for profit clothing store selling clothes suitable for a variety of workplace situations, with money raised being used to outfit disadvantaged students for the workplace.  Staff in the Work Education Centre will be able to give advice to people in understanding what type of clothing is suitable for work. Start-up costs were funded via a business development grant from the Inner North Community Foundation, supported by Portland House.  Rosanna Matovinovic, a teacher at the Work Education Centre, explains that:

Understanding and being able to present yourself appropriately for work seems like a really simple thing, but in fact it’s quite difficult for some people for a whole range of reasons.  We aim to help our students take that first step with the confidence that they look completely appropriate for their working environment.



Teachabout helping out

teachabout31112 September 2013    |     Teachabout is an organisation set up by University of Melbourne students and ex-students to run school holiday programs for children in remote communities. It was established in 2010, with funding from the university and the Cybec Foundation charitable fund, by a group of students from Melbourne University’s Trinity College who had visited Minyerri in the Northern Territory the previous year.

But the Teachabout people wanted the program to be more than just a boredom cure.

So our program has a twist…We incorporate literacy and numeracy into fun, engaging activities with a fundamental commitment to community involvement and cultural activities. Our aim is to contribute to a brighter education future for kids in remote communities.

A video about Teachabout


Scholarship program for indigenous uni students

In a recent column in The Australian, Gavin Moodie noted that, outside the Go8 at least, corporate philanthropy isn’t a big ticket item in Australian higher education (although it is spread wider than in the US and Britain). But here’s a useful recent effort by one of Australia’s leading energy companies.


3 December 2012

indigenous gradsArrow Energy has announced a two-year $780,000 commitment to provide Indigenous scholarships at all six Queensland-based universities. The commitment is spread between $222,000 of tertiary scholarships and $168,000 of associated support programs each year, for scholarships offered at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Queensland University of Technology, CQUniversity, Griffith University, University of Queensland and James Cook University.



With a spotlight on on the impact of research, here’s some research that took nearly forty years to yield a result.

Dud hormone gets to the heart of its value

The Age

No longer will it be dismissed as “the dud hormone”. As of today a synthetic version of relaxin — a hormone first described in 1929 — is the key ingredient in a new class of medicine for acute heart failure that has been shown to improve symptoms and reduce deaths among sufferers.

Now retired, Professor Tregear, 71, began his relaxin research in Melbourne in 1975. And while he knew the hormone was important, it took decades to prove it.

“There was always people asking ‘why are we still working on relaxin, it doesn’t do anything’,” he said.

With patience and perseverance, Professor Tregear and his Howard Florey Institute colleagues set about establishing the chemistry and biology of relaxin, a member of the insulin family. They were the first to isolate the genes that code relaxin and the first to make it artificially, allowing scientists to explore it.

[Continue reading]…

Curtin  student  wins  industry-run  Crops  Competition

30 September 2012

A Curtin University student has won the top prize in the 2012 Australian Universities Crops Competition, taking her agricultural knowledge out of the lecture theatre and applying it in the paddock.

Third year agribusiness student Helen Duncan of Ravensthorpe was awarded the most successful individual student prize, while third year agribusiness student Andrew Reynolds of York achieved fourth place. Their success contributed to Curtin’s best-ever performance at the competition, achieving a second place result from six competing universities.

The Crops Competition, run by Grain Growers Limited and held annually at Temora in New South Wales, involves students identifying crop type, crop health and weed species, and making management recommendations for each.

Emerging 3D designers to exhibit in London

13 September 2012

Six 3D Design students at WA’s Central Institute of TAFE have been invited to exhibit in an international designers exhibition to be held in London.  The emerging designers are second and third year students.   The furniture and product designers were hand picked by author and London Design Festival curator, Ms Suzanne Trocmé, who was a guest judge at the recent Vibrant Visions in Design (VIVID) in Melbourne, which is the contemporary section of Furnitex, Australia’s largest furniture trade show.

[Continue Reading]…


Towards a better future

7 September 21012

Assistant principal of Tullibigeal Central, Jacqui Dillon, with Tayah Glasgow

The youngest students ever to take part in UNSW’s ASPIRE program have travelled from remote central NSW to experience university for the first time.

ASPIRE is a social inclusion initiative that actively promotes university to primary and high school students from low socio-economic backgrounds.  It has assisted several thousand students since its inception in 2007.

Year 2-4 students from Tullibigeal Central School and Year 4-6 children from Ungarie Central School in the state’s central west took part in a day of campus activities designed to address the additional barriers regional students face when considering higher education.


Music camp to create and stage opera in just one week

4 September 2012

More than 40 talented young people from Tasmania and around Australia will come together from Monday 3 September 2012 for an Australian and possibly world first: the inaugural WotOpera Camp at the University of Tasmania’s Conservatorium of Music in Hobart.

From diverse cultural, educational and SES backgrounds, the promising students aged between 16-19 will take part in the week-long intensive residency, taking comprehensive classes with industry professionals in singing, composition, stagecraft and creative writing.

[Continue Reading]…


“All of a sudden I could see a little flash of light. It was amazing.”

30 August 2012

I didn’t know what to expect, but all of a sudden, I could see a little flash…it was amazing. Every time there was stimulation there was a different shape that appeared in front of my eye.

In a major development, Bionic Vision Australia researchers have successfully performed the first implantation of an early prototype bionic eye with 24 electrodes.

Ms Dianne Ashworth has profound vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited condition.  She has now received what she calls a ‘pre-bionic eye’ implant that enables her to experience some vision. A passionate technology fan, Ms Ashworth was motivated to make a contribution to the bionic eye research program.

[Continue Reading]…


School music program to help Black Saturday survivors

22 August 2012

The University of Melbourne will run a series of music workshops for teenagers in communities still recovering from the Black Saturday bushfires, culminating in a Melbourne concert. Six recent Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) graduates will work with woodwind and brass ensembles at schools in Alexandra, Healesville and Whittlesea, to support and enhance existing music teaching.

The students will then perform alongside the University of Melbourne’s Wind Symphony and the Royal Australian Navy Band in an afternoon concert at the University’s Melba Hall on Sunday 16 September. The project co-ordinator at the MCM, Anastasia Russell-Head, says the program will be a rewarding experience for the students.

Music is sometimes described as the ‘best medicine for everything’, and this program should give participants a strong creative outlet after what’s been a trying few years.


Nathan James Mulholland to The John Laws Morning Show

9 August 2012

Mate, you’ve got some very depressing callers.  Here’s a story about the Muslims I associate with.  Each Friday I’m at TAFE, and every week, 3 different students are chosen to provide morning tea. Two of the three last week were the two Muslim boys in our class. They put on a massive spread for the other 25 big blokes in the class.  Shish kebabs, hummus, tabouleh, all the good stuff. They didn’t eat a bite.  It’s currently Ramadan.

[Continue Reading]…


Teachabout helping out

3 August  2012

Teachabout is an organisation set up by University of Melbourne students and ex-students to run school holiday programs for children in remote communities.  It was established in 2010, with funding from the university and the Cybec Foundation charitable fund, by a group of students from Melbourne University’s Trinity College who had visited Minyerri in the Northern Territory the previous year.

But the Teachabout people wanted the program to be more than just a boredom cure.

So our program has a twist…We incorporate literacy and numeracy into fun, engaging activities with a fundamental commitment to community involvement and cultural activities.  Our aim is to contribute to a brighter education future for kids in remote communities.

  • Check out Teachabout’s  Donation page.


Vocational students recognised

Five hundred of the nation’s most skilled students have been recognised for their efforts in vocational education and training in schools.   Acting Minister for School Education, Senator Chris Evans, said:

The Australian Vocational Student Prize recognises students who have demonstrated exceptional skills and commitment while completing a Vocational Education and Training in Schools program, or an Australian School-based Apprenticeship.  In addition, 20 students who strive to be the best and achieve outstanding results are awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Skills Excellence in School.

[Continue Reading]…


Australian first program could discover the next “Facebook”

An interactive internet radio service, a remote area power system and a streamlined booking system for venues, are just some of the projects that are being translated from ideas to reality through a new entrepreneurial program at the University of Melbourne.

Julie’s second chance scores a medal

Macarthur Chronicle   18 June 2012

Julie Halcrow speaks from experience when she says no one should ever be afraid of doing something different.  Julie left school as a 15-year-old with no formal qualifications.  Thirty-five years later, she returned to TAFE to do her Certificate IV in Building & Construction (Building).  She admits it was the hardest thing she’d ever done – going back to formal education as a mature age student – but also the best.  Julie was awarded a state medal at the 18th TAFE NSW South Western Sydney Institute Achievement Awards. She says:

I am so proud of this achievement and my family are as well.  I hope I am an inspiration to others to never give up or think age or gender is a disadvantage for anything you want to achieve.


Another chance for Brad

CQU News 18 June 2012

Life is definitely looking up for second year CQU Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science student Brad O’Connor.  Brad, 39, is a recipient of one of CQUniversity’s Accommodation Scholarships and is making a fresh start here in Rockhampton after a bumpy few years, including a separation from his wife.   Brad relocated from his hometown of Bundaberg in 2010 after completing CQUniversity’s STEPS program, and was determined to combine his intense love of sport with a university degree.  Yet he says that education took a back seat in his formative years.

To find out more…click


Bloomsday on Bondi

UNSW Newsroom   15  June 2012

The heart of Irish Sydney, Bondi Beach, will become the centre of annual Bloomsday celebrations for the first time this weekend at an event hosted by UNSW.   Bloomsday is celebrated world-wide to mark June 16, 1904, the day James Joyce chose to set his modernist masterpiece, Ulysses. This year, the beach location was chosen for the all-day celebration because of its significance to Australia’s Irish diaspora.  Professor Rónán McDonald, Director of UNSW’s John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies, says:

Bloomsday has long been marked in Sydney, but this is the first time that the famous Bondi Beach has become the centre for festivities.  The sea and the beach feature prominently in Joyce’s novel, so the setting is appropriate, but also because of the number of Irish backpackers and migrants that have made Bondi their temporary or permanent  home.


The Queen’s academic gongs

11 June 2012

Simon McKeon, who has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, warns that Australia is at risk of losing its mantle as the “clever country”. The phrase was made popular by Bob Hawke when he launched his 1990 election campaign, and it’s one that weighs on McKeon’s mind.

We think we’re the clever country.  But we underspend by about 20% what the average OECD country spends as a proportion of their GDP on education.

On the challenges of the two-speed economy, he says the best response is “we can only respond by being cleverer”.

Still, the Honours List announced on 11 June shows that we certainly celebrate the achievements of formally “clever people”: perhaps 40% of recipients in the upper echelons of the Order (Companion, Officer and Member) are academics, researchers and educators (this is not to say other recipients aren’t clever, too).  Two of the eight Companion awards are to active academics, for their contributions to their fields of study.

Two former vice-chancellors and one serving vice-chancellor were made Officers.


Higher degrees reach the centre

13 June 2012

Charles Darwin University will celebrate a special day on 14 June with the graduation of its first Alice Springs-based doctoral student.  Dr Jane Walker will have that special honour when she collects her testamur at the university’s evening graduation ceremony in the Alice Springs Convention Centre.  Campus Administrator David Reilly said it marked the end of six years of research during which Dr Walker examined the management of a large and fragile portion of the Northern Tanami Desert near Lajamanu, 870 km north-west of Alice Springs.  He said Dr Walker’s achievement is an indication of things to come in terms of higher education inAlice Springs:

We have developed a strong reputation for delivering quality VET programs over a number of years, but it is just as important that we get more runs on the board in higher education.


Seeking the next big thing

Hungry for the ideas of a new generation, The Big Issue organisation is challenging university students to invent a social enterprise that will do as much good as the $5 magazine it sells fortnightly on the streets.  About 400 homeless and disadvantaged vendors sell 33,000 copies of The Big Issue, pocketing half the cover price in a scheme that offers a product, provides jobs and preserves dignity.   Now Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Wollongong and the University ofNSW have signed on to run a competition to find the next big idea that will carry things a step further, creating a pipeline of viable not-for-profit businesses.   The brief is to create something with low or no barriers to entry, sturdy enough to weather all phases of the economic cycle, as The Big Issue has since it was established here in 1996.  Swinburne’s Noordin Shehabuddeen says the task now was to “incite” innovation.

You cannot tell people to innovate.  Young, bright minds with the skills we are developing in management and IT, combined with freshness of thinking, are absolutely crucial to innovation.


Bid to develop bushfire management system

   22 May 2012

The University of Tasmania is hosting a Bushfires, Biodiversity and Climate Change workshop. The workshop will bring together a variety of participants hoping to develop a bushfire management system that will allow Australia to cope with a changing climate that will almost certainly bring more bushfires.


New bioimaging centre to drive healthy ageing research

30 May 2012

A new research facility located at Monash University will drive world-first research into the early detection of cardiac disease using ultra-sensitive biomedical imaging equipment supplied by Siemens.

Supported by a $7 million grant from the Victorian Government, the Monash Biomedical Imaging (MBI) centre features state-of-the-art Siemens equipment, including pre-clinical and clinical scanners, which will be pivotal in assessing how imaging can detect plaque formation in the carotid arteries of elderly patients.

MBI Director, Professor Gary Egan said the facility’s unique co-location with the Australian Synchrotron Imaging and Medical Beam Line, enabled advanced imaging techniques to predict cardiac function and disease onset in the elderly.


MSIT & Holmesglen combine to offer degrees

Courier Mail     |     18 May 2012

Students in Brisbane will be able to earn a bachelor degree at TAFE, with Mt Gravatt-based Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE to offer degrees in accounting, early childhood education, fashion design and screen production.  The initiative is a partnership between MSIT and Victoria’s Holmesglen TAFE, in what is described as the first example of cross-jurisdictional co-operation in the non-university sector.  Holmesglen CEO Bruce Mackenzie said the “historic” partnership would offer more Australians the opportunity to study for a university degree.

MSIT in particular is targeting students in lower socio-economic areas with poor education participation rates, so this arrangement opens up a world of new study opportunities.

But prospective students will face a fee for service degree, as the federal government is yet to offer any commonwealth supported places.


Training boost at CDU’s Katherine campus

17 May 2012

A purpose-built facility on Charles Darwin University’s Katherine rural campus will provide a much needed boost to community and health training for remote students in the Territory.  CDU General Manager of VET Business Improvement Dr Steve Shanahan said the facility housed equipment to meet various training requirements in the critical areas of health and community services.


Research off to flying start

10 May 2012

Using bumblebee aerodynamics to enhance flying robots and research to improve aircraft engine reliability has won two PhD students from UNSW Canberra Amelia Earhart Fellowships.   Priyanka Dhopade and Sheila Tobing, from the School of Engineering and Information Technology, have both received $10,000 from the fellowship, which helps women pursuing advanced studies in aerospace-related sciences and engineering achieve their research goals.  Tobing’s research is taking cues from the flying abilities of bumblebees and hoverflies, to further enhance Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), which are machines capable of performing surveillance, reconnaissance and other tasks in situations deemed to be hostile to humans.


Swinnie students scoop film awards

3 May 2012

Swinburne’s School of Film and Television has earned a remarkable 15 awards at the 45th Annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival.  Film and television student, Romilly Spiers, took out the festival’s top award for her short film Ten Quintillion, winning a Grand Remi for Experimental Film and Video.    “This is a formidable achievement, since only eight Grand Remis were awarded across the entire festival,” said Swinburne University of Technology Film and Television lecturer Dr Jeffrey Bird.   Known for discovering such enigmatic talent as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, the Coen brothers, Oliver Stone, Peter Weir, Spike Lee and David Lynch, the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival is the oldest independent film and video festival in the world.  The festival is highly competitive, regularly attracting around 4500 entries from across the globe each year. The awards recognise and honour outstanding creative excellence in film and video.

Watch the Ten Quintillion trailer.


CQU cements its presence in Cairns

CQU News   23 April 2012

CQ University will open a state-of-the-art centre in Cairns, for more than 350 Far Northern students.  The $500,000 hub will open in July and allow students to form study groups, access e-library and internet resources, sit exams, lodge assignments, participate in live lectures broadcast via high-speed internet, and make academic enquiries.

Local Cairns-based staff will operate the centre and provide an on-the-ground point of contact for students and prospective students alike, while ‘hot desks’ will  be in place to allow CQUniversity’s pool of academic and research talent to operate out of the centre while working in Cairns

“The new centre will give CQUniversity a bricks-and-mortar presence in a city where we have been operating for many years as one of Australia’s leading providers of distance education,” says v-c Scott Bowman.

  •  A hub of higher learning for Cairns – Cairns News   23 April 2012

UWS plan to create jobs

Daily Telegraph   16 April 2012

The University of Western is seeking the backing of Penrith City Council  for a consortium between the University of Western Sydney and the Penrith Business Alliance to create 400 jobs under a $28 million development in Sydney’s west.  The project would create jobs in the research, education, health, wellbeing and digital communication sectors in a 7000sq m building on university land at Werrington.  UWS would commit $14 million in funding for this $28 million development and is seeking $14 million in funding from the Commonwealth suburban jobs program.  More than 60%of Penrith’s resident workforce travel outside the suburb to work

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