Release type: Media Release


Positive reaction to job-ready graduates plan


The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Education

The Coalition Government’s plans for higher education which include cheaper degrees for students in areas of future job demand and more money for regional students and universities has received positive backing.

Regional Universities Network Chair Professor Helen Bartlett said:

“We are delighted by the particular focus in the package to assist more students from RRR Australia to attend and succeed at university – particularly the new Tertiary Access Payment of $5,000, and the new $500 million fund per year to universities for programs to support Indigenous, regional and low SES students. Guaranteed bachelor-level Commonwealth supported places for Indigenous students are particularly welcome. Lowering the cost of the student contribution for courses such as nursing, allied health, teaching, agriculture, engineering, IT and maths, should encourage greater uptake by regional students in these areas. It is estimated that there should be more places in the regions. More graduates from our universities will produce more graduates to work in regional Australia in areas of skills need.”

Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute Director Professor Tim Brown said:

“This is the most significant change to university fees and places in over a decade, encouraging greater participation in mathematical sciences whatever the focus of the degree, and crucially equipping graduates with the skills demanded by employers across growth areas in the knowledge economy. More graduates in mathematical science fields means greater intellectual capacity for the nation overall and enhanced capability to protect the wellbeing of all Australians and to optimise post-coronavirus recovery. The 46 percent reduction in tuition fees announced today also enables greater participation in mathematics by women, people from ethnic minorities and by members of Australia’s First Nations’ communities.”

University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE said:

“These reforms will support us to strengthen our focus on domestic students, and enhance the mutually beneficial relationships we have with business and government. We are particularly pleased that there will be support for programs that assist Indigenous, regional and low SES students to have access to a university education.”

Australian Technology Network Chair Professor Attila Brungs said:

“ATN welcomes the Government’s announcement of additional places and increased indexation in Australia’s higher education funding system as part of a broader plan to drive a reskilling agenda for the country. Australia’s future prosperity is reliant on supporting increased education, training and knowledge. Our recovery from economic downturn will mean more workers seeking skills, retraining or upskilling opportunities.”

Australian Catholic University Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven said:

“Increasing the number of domestic students that universities can enrol will help to accommodate the dual surge in demand from the ‘Costello baby boom’ and current economic conditions. The funding guarantee is absolutely critical to allowing universities to adapt to a post-COVID environment and the new plan. Minister Tehan focused extensively in his speech on areas of demand in the Australian economy. That demand is exactly why we have pressed ahead with our plans to open a campus in Blacktown, in conjunction with Blacktown City Council.”

Science & Technology Australia President Associate Professor Jeremy Brownlie said:

“Cutting the cost to university students of doing a STEM degree – or even taking a few STEM subjects as part of a broad-based education – will help to meet the demands of the future workforce.”

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Klomp said:

“Evidence shows that when people go to university in a regional area, they’re more likely to stay in the regions after they graduate and become part of the regional workforce. It’s vital to the future of the regions that we – universities and government – do whatever we can to encourage regional students to study regionally. Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction. Reducing the cost of studying teaching, nursing, agriculture, health and engineering will make these courses more attractive to students from all walks of life, particularly people from the regions.”

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO James Pearson said:

“Strengthening the relationship between universities and business and prioritising internships and work placements is particularly important. It will prepare people better for life and work after university, and provide valuable networking opportunities and experience.”

Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said:

“Today’s announcement of the expansion of university places with a focus on the needs of employers is welcome and will assist in meeting the higher skill level jobs needed to contribute to our transforming industry.”

Universities Australia said:

“Australia’s universities have welcomed plans to increase domestic student participation in higher education and the commitment to indexation of Government funding, as announced by Education Minister Dan Tehan.”