The Coalition Government will create additional university places for Australian students and provide more support for regional students and universities.
The Coalition Joint Party Room today endorsed the Job-ready Graduates legislation with amendments following the consultation process. The key amendments will:
- Create the disciplines of Professional Pathway Psychology and Professional Pathway Social Work to reduce the student contribution for studying units as part of a pathway to professional qualifications. This change will set units at CGS cluster 2 (now $13,250) and student band 2 (now $7,950). To offset fee reductions for psychology and social work, the maximum fee for student bands 1 and 2 will increase by $250.
- Distribute the Tertiary Access Payment of $5,000 for Outer Regional, Rural and Remote students as a scholarship allocated to universities based on historical enrolment of regional students.
- Establish a floor for the maximum basic grant amount for higher education courses to guarantee university funding in legislation.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said Australia was facing its biggest jobs crisis since the Great Depression and our university system must respond by strengthening its focus on Australian students.
“The reforms in Job-ready Graduates will grow the number of university places for domestic students by 39,000 in 2023 and 100,000 in ten years. That means more Australian students will get a university degree,” Mr Tehan said.
“We will make it cheaper for students to study in areas of expected future job demand. So students will pay less for their degree if they study teaching, nursing, clinical psychology, English and languages, agriculture, maths, science, health, architecture, environmental science, IT, or engineering.
“We have made sensible amendments to the legislation after listening to the constructive feedback provided during the consultation process. I would like to thank everyone who made a submission on the draft legislation or participated in the broad consultation process.”
Minister for Regional Education and Decentralisation Andrew Gee welcomed the endorsement of the Job-ready Graduates legislation.
“The amendments to the Job-ready Graduates legislation will help bridge the gap between country communities and the cities, including the divide in educational attainment and access to services such as mental health,” Minister Gee said.
“Country universities have made it clear that they like the fact that the reforms provide faster growth in university places for them, and bring stability and certainty to the tertiary education sector.
“The successful amendments, which were supported by country universities at the Regional Universities Roundtables, demonstrate in a very tangible way that we’re backing our country universities.
“An additional $400 million is a big win for the bush.
“These comprehensive tertiary education reforms will generate new growth places, demand driven funding for Indigenous students and an expansion of the Regional University Centres initiative.
“Country universities are vitally important anchors in our communities, driving economic growth, job creation and regional development. Simply put, they are the training grounds for our future country workforce.
“Our country communities have been hit hard by drought, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects have been devastating. Providing a lower cost pathway for social work and psychology will mean that there will be more vital health professionals to support the recovery of rural and regional Australia.
“The changes to the Tertiary Access Payment mean that country universities are able to better compete on a more level playing field with their city counterparts to attract country students, while uncapped Grandfathering means that country students studying part-time can now rest easy with funding certainty.
“Bridging the great divide between the city and the country is vitally important work of this Parliament – these reforms and amendments aim to do just that.
“It’s now up to all MPs to back Australia’s country universities in and pass this package.”
The Job-ready Graduates legislation is expected to be introduced into the Parliament on Wednesday.