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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3901


Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan) (13:49): I am proud to rise on this side of the chamber in support of the biggest education reform in 30 years. The government's higher education reform will expand opportunities for all students, including those in the gallery this afternoon. In an increasingly competitive environment, Australia's universities cannot afford to stand still. We need to do more now to keep up with the rest of the world. Deregulating our universities will give them the opportunity to compete with the established universities of the United States and Europe.

The government is introducing a scheme where one dollar of every five dollars of additional revenue raised by higher education providers will fund the government's largest ever Commonwealth scholarships program in the nation's history. These reforms will allow students who usually would not have access to a university degree or an apprenticeship to study for a degree or to learn a trade, increasing their earning capabilities and their potential for long-term employment. Students who achieve a lower tertiary entry rank will have the opportunity to access higher education through alternative pathways, such as diplomas or associate degrees, which are now uncapped. The best part is that, with the Higher Education Loan Program, students do not have to pay a single dollar up-front.