Passage of job-ready graduates bill provides certainty to sector

8 October 2020

Today’s passage of the Morrison Government’s Job-ready Graduates legislation provides much needed certainty for Australia’s higher education sector, following what has been a year of disruption due to COVID-19.

ATN recognised when this package was first announced in June 2020 that, now more than ever, Australia needs universities that are diverse, inclusive and open to all those who seek to further their education and development.

ATN welcomes the 30,000 new places in 2021 and up to 100,000 new places by 2030. These are needed to educate the growing number of young Australians expected to complete secondary school in the next decade, improve educational attainment rates across Australia, and help workers affected by the pandemic and ongoing industrial transformation in the economy.

The commitment of a review of the legislation after 18 months is important to ensure that total funding rates continue to align with the cost of delivery – in particular for science and engineering courses. As Education Minister, Dan Tehan has identified, developing skills in priority areas like STEM is important for Australia’s economy, and it is critical that universities are able to continue to deliver world-class education in these disciplines.

We are also pleased that the Government has recognised the important role that enabling programs play for students who have experienced educational disadvantage. ATN believes that all Australians, regardless of their background or circumstance, should have the opportunity of a post-secondary education. Enabling courses are an integral offering in a diverse, inclusive and open system.

Comments attributed to Mr Luke Sheehy, ATN Executive Director:

“ATN universities look forward to doing their part to deliver 30,000 new places in 2021 and 100,000 places by 2030. Combined with the 50,000 new short courses announced in the Budget this week, the Job-ready Graduates legislation will allow our universities to provide more opportunity for Australians.

“We are pleased that the Government has recognised the need for a review of the package, which ATN called for in our submission to the Senate inquiry. We want to ensure that funding for courses, particularly in science and engineering, allows ATN universities to continue delivering world-class education in these disciplines.

“We look forward to contributing to the establishment of the National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund and the Indigenous, Regional and Low SES Attainment Fund, which will help drive equity, participation and student employability outcomes into the future.”