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Tuesday, 25 November 2003
Page: 22715

Mr SAWFORD (2:54 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Education, Science and Training. Can the minister confirm that applications for South Australian universities in 2004 are up by more than 1,000? Is the minister aware that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, James McWha, has warned that 2,000 South Australian university places are at risk under the Howard government's university changes? Will the minister guarantee that no places will be lost from South Australian universities?

Dr NELSON (Minister for Education, Science and Training) —I thank the member for Port Adelaide for his question. There are a number of things that I can confirm. The first is that this government realises that Australian universities need reform, they need significant sums of money in the longer-term and they need changes to the way in which they are currently funded and regulated. I can confirm that in the state of South Australia the overenrolment at South Australian universities ranges from 2½ per cent at the University of South Australia to 10 per cent at Flinders University. I can also confirm that, in working through this package with those members of the Australian parliament that are prepared to take a constructive approach to these issues, I can guarantee in fact that the opportunities for university education in South Australia and right across Australia will expand under the proposals being put forward by this government. I can also confirm that if the Australian Labor Party were of a mind to get off the $10 billion of public money we are waiting to invest in Australian higher education over 10 years, all universities and future generations of students would sleep more easily.