Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie said she is disappointed the Member for Indi is opposing the Coalition Government’s higher education reforms which expand opportunities for regional students in pursuing further education.
Senator McKenzie, chair of the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee, said the reforms include expanding the current system to provide support to students completing sub-degree courses, and extending Commonwealth funding to non-university higher education institutions.
“These initiatives mean that universities and TAFEs in regional areas like north-east Victoria can offer more courses to students including pathways to further qualifications,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Wodonga TAFE and La Trobe are one example of forging a partnership to provide pathway opportunities to suit a range of aspirations while meeting the skills and knowledge needs of local business and industry.
“Ms McGowan in her speech opposing the reforms referred to the good work of university-TAFE partnerships in the north-east which is exactly what the reforms encourage particularly in the regions, also helping to overcome the financial and distance challenges in pursuing a higher education away from home.
“More than 80,000 additional students nationally will benefit from these increased opportunities by 2018, many of them from rural and regional areas like Wodonga and Wangaratta.
“Further, the low higher education enrolment and attainment figures and the 30 per cent deferral statistics in the Hume region that the Member for Indi refers to in her speech are exactly why the reforms should be supported because of the benefits to regional universities and students.
“Our reform package gets the balance right between access for all Australians to a quality higher education and supporting excellence on the international stage. I urge the Member for Indi to rethink her opposition and vote for the reforms.”