Government will move amendments to the Higher Education Bill

Media Release
  • Minister for Education
  • Leader of the House

The Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP today announced the Abbott Government would seek to move amendments, and accept further cross bench amendments, on the vital Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014.

The Bill is a crucial reform and this is recognised by an historic consensus of the higher education sector. It is very important that it pass the Senate this week to give students and universities certainty.

The Government has already accepted Senator Bob Day’s amendment to keep the indexation of HECS at the consumer price index and agreed to Senator John Madigan’s amendment for a HECS interest pause for new mums and dads.

The primary care giver to a new baby will have a five year pause on their HECS indexation and all student loans will remain indexed at the current low CPI levels.

Today the government will seek to move further amendments in the Senate this afternoon that will:

  • Provide for the creation of a structural adjustment fund for universities, focussed on those with large numbers of low SES students. This is proposed to be $100 million over three years.

  • Ensure that domestic student fees must be lower than international students.

The Government will also support the creation of scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds that would add further support for rural and regional students through local universities.

At the same time we will ensure that the guidelines for the creation of Australia’s biggest ever Commonwealth Scholarships programme will ensure they are focussed on disadvantaged and regional and rural students.

The Government will direct the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to monitor fees in the higher education sector as implementation rolls out and we have guaranteed a process of evaluation of the reforms over coming years.

The Government will also support all Australian undergraduates - from diploma courses through to Bachelor degrees. And we will help make our university system robust and sustainable into the future.

The Government urges the Senate to carefully consider these important changes.

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