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Economic Disadvantage Report

Part 4: Health & Education


Strong health and education systems have wide-ranging social and economic benefits for a local economy and community. The Mornington Peninsula’s metropolitan designation limits the level of funding available to education and health organisations on the Peninsula to improve their services and infrastructure.

The Mornington Peninsula is part of metropolitan Melbourne within the State Government's health and education systems. As a result, we face funding, infrastructure, and transportation issues limiting our access to health and education services and disadvantaging our local community.

The Mornington Peninsula has an older age profile more aligned to regional Victoria. And our employment levels are only slightly more similar to regional Victoria than metro Melbourne in government-led industries.

These two service industries are part of our top five workforce sectors that make up our economy:

  • 14% Health Care and Social Assistance (the highest percentage of our workforce alongside Retail Trade) and
  • 9% Education and Training.

Health Services

Our only public hospital is Rosebud Hospital, with approximately 70 beds. And Peninsula residents most frequently attend Frankston Public Hospital outside of our municipality. Our reduced services and infrastructure funding opportunities for health organisations increase health risks and lower health outcomes in our community.

Health Care Funding Disparity

Health operators are eligible for two infrastructure funds based on a regional Victoria or metropolitan Melbourne designation. However, our health operators face challenges accessing metropolitan funding due to competition with larger metropolitan operators that are well resourced and experienced in the grant application process. And more funding is available to regional areas to improve health service capacity and service efficiency to deliver contemporary models of care in the health industry:

  • $490 million Regional Health Infrastructure Fund
  • $200 million Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Fund

In regional Victoria, the planned infrastructure expenditure for health and human services is three times higher than in metropolitan Melbourne on a per capita basis:

  • $5,100 per person in regional Victoria compared to
  • $1,400 in metropolitan Melbourne.

In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government included the Mornington Peninsula within the metropolitan Melbourne boundary to enforce health restrictions. As a result, our residents and businesses faced significantly more stringent regulations and movement restrictions than Geelong residents and businesses as part of regional Victoria. Despite the municipality having a similar population density to Geelong and lower case numbers, the metropolitan COVID-19 restrictions persisted in Mornington Peninsula.

Education Services

Twenty-three per cent of the Mornington Peninsula's population is under 25 years old, with over 25,000 full-time equivalent students. However, we have only one TAFE and no higher education providers within the Mornington Peninsula.

  • Chisholm TAFE is the only TAFE on the Mornington Peninsula.
  • Monash University is the only higher education facility near the Peninsula situated in Frankston, outside the Mornington Peninsula, and only offers a limited number of courses.

Education Funding Disparity

As part of metropolitan Melbourne within the state government's education system, Mornington Peninsula is ineligible for Victoria's 83-million-dollar funding package to improve educational outcomes for rural and regional students. As a result, our educational institutions cannot access:

  • $45 million to address teacher supply issues
  • $13 million for VCE revision lectures for regional students
  • $8 million to expand professional development for teachers and leaders in regional schools.

Mornington Peninsula is also ineligible for the student resource package program offering additional funding to Victorian rural schools that incur additional costs for goods and services associated with freight and communications.

In addition, regional areas have access to 3.5 times more infrastructure funding for education. For example, the education and training infrastructure funding is

  • $3,700 per person in metropolitan areas compared to
  • $13,000 per person in regional Victoria.

Limited Access to Tertiary Education Services

Chisholm TAFE is the only TAFE on the Mornington Peninsula. They indicated that the current designation has a limited impact on their operations. Still, a regional designation would advantage our area by providing a regional loading subsidy of 0.11% to alleviate the challenges of operating in a smaller market.

Monash University is the only higher education facility near the Peninsula, situated in Frankston (i.e., outside the Mornington Peninsula) and only offers a limited number of courses.

Limited public transport leads to our students facing public transport travel times of 45 min to over 2 hours one way to attend a local tertiary institution. This is a significant disadvantage for those under the driving age or unable to afford a car. In addition, limited public transport and access to educational services are likely to result in people settling for lower educational attainment, lower-skill and lower-paid work.

At the Federal Government level, most of Mornington Peninsula's population is ineligible for Relocation Scholarships. These lump-sum payments can exceed $11,500 to support students from regional and remote areas to live away from home to undertake full-time study in higher education (diploma and above). This funding provides valuable financial assistance for students who transition to higher education, potentially influencing the decision even to consider higher education programs.

Although a regional designation at the state government level would not change students' eligibility to access the Federal Relocation Scholarship, the ineligibility adds to the economic disadvantage faced by our residents to support them to access higher education beyond the Diploma level.

Impacts on Education Outcomes

Mornington Peninsula residents have lower engagement in higher education beyond the Diploma level in comparison to other areas of Victoria. For example, the 2016 ABS data shows that our residents are on par with other areas in Victoria for attendance in technical or further education. Students on the Peninsula also surpass other areas in Victoria in completing Certificate III level qualifications.

However, the Mornington Peninsula has half as many students attending university or tertiary institutions and significantly lower completion rates for a bachelor's degree and above.

2016 ABS Data
Mornington Peninsula Residents
Victorian Residents
Certificate III Attainment
Attended a University or Tertiary Institution
Attained a Bachelor's Degree or above


The Mornington Peninsula's metropolitan designation reduces funding opportunities for its health and education services compared to a regional designation. As a result, it is likely to contribute to substandard health and education outcomes for the local community due to lower levels of service and infrastructure.

Although our health services sector is part of metropolitan Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula does not have a fit for purpose health system to service the region. Our single 70-bed public hospital cannot provide sufficient public health resources to Mornington Peninsula, particularly in a post-COVID environment.

The COVID-19 restrictions imposed on metropolitan Melbourne had a negative social impact due to the increased isolation of residents. Given the older age demographic on the Peninsula, this has likely taken a considerable toll on our local population.

The Mornington Peninsula's metropolitan designation reduces education organisations' services and infrastructure funding opportunities. In addition, this is compounded by significant travel burdens due to the poor public transport system, limiting access to education and limiting students' opportunities to undertake studies near their local residence. Consequently, these issues result in reduced access to educational opportunities leading to lower education outcomes for our local community.

A regional designation could help address these issues by making the Peninsula eligible for more health and education services and support funding, plus transportation funding opportunities.

A change in designation is unlikely to have any negative funding implications.

Additional funding could improve access to health and education services and provides greater choice and opportunity to our community, yielding positive social and economic outcomes benefits.

What health and education services issues do you, your community, business or customers face on the Peninsula?

How can we help to advocate to improve health and education services on the Peninsula?

Sign up for further updates or access the full Economic Disadvantage Report to learn more.

This research was conducted by Urban Enterprise as commissioned by the Committee for Mornington Peninsula in partnership with Australian Unity.

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  • Continue to advocate to government at all levels to adequately support Mornington Peninsula businesses in the COVID recovery;
  • Advocate to state and federal governments for further investment into the Mornington Peninsula to reduce the current disparity in public investment between the Mornington Peninsula and neighbouring municipalities;
  • Commission and publicise robust research into the potential policy and funding advantages and disadvantages of a regional vs. metropolitan designation for the Mornington Peninsula, to best inform further advocacy objectives;
  • Advocate to elected representatives on all sides of politics for a more suitable designation for the Mornington Peninsula than the current metropolitan model or for commensurate government investment under the current model; and
  • Maintain a record of favourable policy decisions and funding announcements that benefit comparable ‘regional’ communities and were not made available to the Mornington Peninsula.