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Monday, 15 November 2010
Page: 2237

Mr GARRETT (Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth) (4:35 PM) —in reply—I rise to sum up the contributions that have been made in the House on the Higher Education Support Amendment (2010 Budget Measures) Bill 2010. This bill reflects the government’s continued commitment to an unprecedented investment in our universities through the full funding of the student-centred funding system. The commitment will deliver a growing and sustainable higher education system. Under the student-centred funding system the government will fund a Commonwealth supported place for every eligible undergraduate student accepted into an eligible course at a public university. There is a transitional period in 2010 and 2011 during which the cap on overenrolment for Commonwealth supported places will be lifted from five per cent to 10 per cent in funding terms.

Australian universities are in a good position to deliver on the government’s higher education attainment ambition that, by 2025, 40 per cent of all 25- to 34-year-olds will hold a qualification at bachelor level or above, with an estimated additional 115,000 Commonwealth supported places over the period 2010-13. In the 2010-11 budget the government provided an additional $986 million over the four years to 2013-14 for anticipated growth in Commonwealth supported places and for overenrolments in 2009. This bill provides $681 million of that funding for 2010 and 2011 for additional Commonwealth supported places in those years and for the overenrolments in 2009.

Following the implementation of the student centred funding system in 2012, the Higher Education Support Act will no longer have maximum amounts for the Commonwealth Grant Scheme, as there will be no overall limit on the number of students that table A higher education providers will be able to enrol. This means the bill does not provide an update for the additional funding for Commonwealth supported places in the years 2012 and onwards. Funding from 2012 will be based on enrolment numbers.

Revised indexation arrangements for 2012 for programs funded under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, already provided in the Higher Education Support Amendment (Indexation) Bill 2010, will promote improved quality by ensuring that funding for teaching and learning and research keeps pace with increasing costs. This will contribute towards the overall financial stability and viability of the higher education sector and will provide greater certainty for individual institutions when planning for future development. The new indexation funding will provide an additional $2.6 billion to the sector over the years 2011 to 2015.

This bill promotes a diverse, responsive and dynamic higher education sector that delivers benefits for universities, for their students and, in turn, for the wider Australian community. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.