Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 15 November 2010
Page: 1253


Senator JACINTA COLLINS (Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations) (9:13 PM) —The Higher Education Support Amendment (2010 Budget Measures) Bill 2010 amends the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to continue the government’s commitment to unprecedented investment in our universities through the full funding of the student centred funding system. This commitment will deliver a growing and sustainable higher education system. The bill provides additional funding for the implementation of the student centred funding system for higher education.

The government adopted the new system in response to the recommendations of the Bradley review of Australian higher education. 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, as Senator Mason mentioned, a transition 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. This bill provides $681 million in funding for 2010 and 2011 for additional Commonwealth supported places in those years, and for the overenrolments in 2009.

Universities have responded quickly to the new arrangements and it is now estimated that there will be an additional 115,000 Commonwealth supported places over the period 2010 to 2013. As a result, Australian universities are in a good position to meet 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.

This bill increases the maximum amounts of the Commonwealth Grants Scheme in section 35 of the Higher Education Support Act for the calendar years 2010 and 2011 to reflect the additional funding for overenrolments in these two years. The Higher Education Support Act no longer sets maximum amounts for the Commonwealth Grants Scheme for 2012 onwards. Funding from 2012 will be based on enrolment numbers. The bill also increases the maximum amounts to division 40-45 and division 46-40 of the Higher Education Support Act for actual indexation.

Revised indexation arrangements from 2012 for programs funded under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 already provided in the Higher Education Support Amendment (Indexation) Act 2010 will promote improved quality by ensuring that funding for teaching, learning and research keeps pace with actual increased 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. The bill also provides the maximum amounts for the 2014 calendar year in division 41-45 and division 46-40.

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. This commitment will deliver a growing and sustainable higher education system. I commend the bill to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.