A suite of new and updated education and employment policies will take effect from today, boosting education outcomes for Australians and helping them get the skills they need to find a job.
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, and Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert, said the new year changes mean more Australians can make the most of education and employment opportunities.
‘Some of our youngest Australians will benefit from getting the best possible start to their education thanks to the Preschool Reform Agreement which takes effect from today,’ Minister Robert said.
‘Around 1.2 million Australian children will benefit through access to at least 15 hours of preschool each week in the year before they start school, across the life of the agreement,’ he said.
‘The Preschool Reform Agreement will ensure all Australian children have access to high-quality preschool options and are better prepared for their first year of school.’
Minister Robert said the Morrison Government is providing an extra $49 million to support older Australians so they can update their skills and stay in the workforce.
‘From today, we are doubling the number of places in the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers Program, which provides career advice and support for those wanting to transition to new roles, as well as expanding the eligibility criteria,’ Minister Robert said.
‘The Morrison Government is also doubling the Skills and Training Incentives, which provides up to $2,200 to jointly fund training to help participants upskill or re-skill to remain in the workforce for longer.
‘This will help remove barriers and disincentives for older Australians who want to continue to pitch in.’
There are also a range of higher education measures which come into effect from 1 January to assist students and those undertaking further research.
‘We are extending the current FEE-HELP loan fee exemption for the entirety of 2022, benefiting around 30,000 undergraduate higher education students,’ Minister Robert said.
‘We are also investing $27.8 million in regulatory fee relief for the duration of 2022, including certain fees for Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) registrations, and the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) Levy.’
Other higher education policy changes which take effect from 1 January 2022:
The Research Training Program has introduced a new industry internship weighting, providing a financial incentive for universities to engage early with research doctorate students and industry. This will drive industry-based learning, create stronger links between universities and industry, and provide a pipeline of highly skilled research doctorate students for employment in industry based, non-academic roles.
From today, students accessing Commonwealth assistance must make adequate progress in their course of study to protect them and taxpayers from the accumulation of excessive HELP debts. The change is part of the Job-ready Graduates reforms, and is a student protection and provider integrity measure.
An additional $9.4 million to extend the Innovation Development Fund, applications for which will open in the coming days. The extra funds will offer short-term targeted support to private English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) providers to diversify their education offerings into online and offshore delivery.