Release type: Media Release


Improving higher education opportunities for regional students


The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Education

More regional and remote Australians will get a post-secondary education as a result of the Morrison Government’s National Regional, Rural and Remote Higher Education Strategy.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan today announced the members of the Expert Regional Education Advisory Group and its terms of reference. The Advisory Group was part of the Morrison Government’s recent $134.8 million additional investment in regional higher education.

The Advisory Group will be chaired by The Hon Dr Denis Napthine and include Emeritus Professor Peter Lee, former VC Southern Cross University, Ms Caroline Graham, Regional Skills Training CEO,  Ms Meredith Wills, former Geraldton Universities Centre Director.

The Terms of Reference for the Expert Advisory Group are:

  • build on the work of Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education and investigate the need for a commissioner to oversee the implementation of the Strategy;
  • identify strategies and policies for the Australian Government to put in place to bring the attainment rate of regional, rural and remote students to parity with students from metropolitan areas;
  • examine the literature and research on aspiration, access and success for regional students and the barriers to access to tertiary education facing people in regional Australia;
  • leverage research undertaken on the provision of tertiary education in regional Australia and the support services provided to regional, rural and remote students at university;
  • consider the current policy options supported by the Government, including student income support, as well as the opportunities presented by the Regional Study Hubs Program;
  • recommend how current and potential new approaches should be best combined as a coherent suite of policy responses to address issues particular to a region, to deliver improved higher education outcomes to students in regional, rural and remote Australia;
  • recommend a target for regional, rural and remote education outcomes.

"Young Australians living in regional areas are half as likely to have a university level qualification as those living in cities and this inequality must be addressed by improving access to higher education," Mr Tehan said.

"Only the Morrison Government is focussed on keeping our regions strong by supporting the operation of regional universities and vocational education providers as well as enhancing the role of regional education providers in the economic development of regional centres."

The group will report to Government by the middle of next year.