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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 198

Discussion paper: Driving Innovation, Fairness and Excellence in Australian Higher Education

(Question No. 607)

Ms Butler asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Training, in writing, on 10 November 2016:

What, if any, are the terms of reference, parameters, criteria, or other guiding principles for the expert panel, in considering the submissions that he has received in respect of the Government's higher education discussion paper 'Driving Innovation, Fairness and Excellence in Australian Higher Education'.

Mr Hunt: The Minister representing the Minister for Education and Training has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

The terms of reference for the expert panel appointed to assist higher education reforms can be found at Attachment A.

Attachment A

Terms of Reference - Expert Panel

Driving Innovation, Fairness and Excellence in Australian Higher Education


The Australian Government is determined that Australia will be a nation that is agile, innovative and creative. A strong education and training system is key to achieving this. It is through access to excellent early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary education that Australians are able to achieve their potential - in the labour market, in the social and cultural life of the nation, and as engaged global citizens.

The Government is committed to a higher education system that provides genuine choice and appropriate support for students, removes barriers for under-represented groups, underpins economic growth and allows institutions to excel and innovate to deliver world-class education. At the same time, it recognises that this system must be affordable and provide a return on investment for both students and the nation.


As part of the 2016-17 Budget, the Government released a policy options paper that sets out options for reform that support the Government's vision. The reforms are intended to:

provide increased opportunity and choice for students that enhances their employment opportunities

ensure fairness and equity in access to and participation in higher education

provide institutions with the flexibility to provide education in an innovative manner that provides excellence and quality across teaching, learning and research

ensure the affordability and sustainability of higher education provision, including the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP).

The panel will provide advice on the issues that have been identified for reform in the Government's policy options paper, including:

how the Commonwealth Grant Scheme funding clusters should be designed

what share of the cost of higher education funding should be borne by students

how HELP can be made more sustainable

how to give universities the flexibility to be innovative in their course design and delivery, and the concept of flagship courses

what types of higher education courses should be funded on a demand driven basis

how Commonwealth supported postgraduate places should be funded and allocated

how best to support students from regional or disadvantaged backgrounds.

The panel will have access to a data collection and analysis process initiated by the Department of Education and Training on the relative and reasonable cost of delivery of higher education.


The panel will engage with stakeholders and take into account stakeholder submissions from the consultation process completed in August 2016 as part of the provision of advice to the Department of Education and Training and the Minister for Education and Training.


The panel will work with the Department of Education and Training and the Minister for Education and Training up until December 2016.


The expert panel will comprise four panel members.