The Australian senate today recognised greater education benefits for regional students as part of the Coalition Government's higher education reforms.
A notice of motion by Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, highlighting these benefits was passed in the senate today.
It called on the senate to recognise that further expansion to higher education access for all students, whether studying at universities, TAFEs or private colleges, will provide a further boost to regional economies by ensuring:
- greater student accessibility to higher education
- a more skilled regional workforce; and
- the opportunity for education institutions to expand and thereby employ more people and invest back into the local community
The motion also recognised a number of universities that have forged partnerships with regional TAFES to develop new courses, regional university centres, pathways to higher education, and pathway programs in areas relevant to local regional industry.
Senator McKenzie congratulated Federation University Australia at Ballarat for being one university to take this initiative with a range of TAFEs in regional Victoria.
She said these partnerships are made possible under the government's reforms which include expanding the current system and provide support to students completing higher education diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees; and extending Commonwealth support to private universities and non-university higher education institutions.
“Regional students will benefit from more opportunities to access a higher education as will the universities and TAFEs in attracting more students,” Senator McKenzie said.
“At the same time, these partnerships are helping to provide a skilled workforce in the regions.
“After some confusion in the ranks, Labor today finally recognised that these reforms will provide more pathways to a higher education for around 80,000 more students, many who come from regional and low socio-economic backgrounds, are early school leavers and mature age students. And I congratulate Labor for its support.
“These pathways are one of a range of initiatives introduced by the Coalition government to increase participation in higher education.
“Labor should support the rest of our reforms to increase participation and excellence in post secondary education.”