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Higher Education Support Amendment (National Regional Higher Education Strategy) Bill 2018

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2016-2017-2018

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher Education Support Amendment (National Regional Higher Education Strategy) Bill 2018

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

Cathy McGowan



Higher Education Support Amendment (National Regional Higher Education Strategy) Bill 2018

 

OUTLINE

The delivery of higher education in regional Australia is central to the economic prosperity of the nation. This bill provides a way forward to ensure regional Australia has a comprehensive higher education strategy underpinning policy decisions of Government.

This Bill mandates that the Government maintain a strategic plan and analysis of regional higher education and recognises the role of regional universities in sustaining economic growth and supporting employment in regional Australia.

Support for delivery of higher education in regional areas is often seen only as an issue of equity - focused on improved access, participation and completion rates. While equity is important, regional education is also an essential driver of growth and prosperity of regional Australia.

A National Regional Higher Education Strategy will put regional higher education at the centre of integrated policy and programs across education, research, innovation, employment and regional development.

Regional universities play a unique role in developing regional economies and contributing to the social and cultural development of their regions. They act as an anchor for investment and workforce development.

One of the biggest threats to the sustainability of rural communities is a declining population of young people. Three-quarters of students who study at regional universities stay in regional areas after they graduate. Regional universities educate the future regional workforce and help to grow and stabilise the population of regional Australia.

The strategy should be developed in partnership with all levels of government, regional higher education providers - their representative bodies and industry. The strategy should identify opportunities to leverage regional economic advantages to better create economic development, industry expansion and employment, in consultation with regional development authorities.

The Minister will be required to table the strategy in parliament six months after the bill receives the Royal Assent and revise the strategy every four years. 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The bill will have no financial impact.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short title

 

Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Act.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

The Act commences on the day after the Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3: Schedules

 

This clause gives effect to the provisions in Schedule 1 of the bill.

 

Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

Higher Education Support Act 2003

 

Item 1 inserts, a fter section 238-7, a direction to the Minister to develop a national regional higher education strategy.

 

This section outlines what the strategy must include :

 

a)     strategies to support the provision of higher education in regional areas, including a review of regional loading;

b)     strategies to increase the representation of regional students in higher education;

c)     strategies to address the sustainability of rural communities and the declining population of young people in regional centres;

d)     strategies to provide greater support for those transitioning between secondary and higher education, including support to stay in a regional area or to relocate from a regional area to an urban area;

e)     strategies to ensure there is recognition of the workforce and economic development requirements of the community in developing higher education policy;

f)      strategies to support the role of regionally based higher education providers in creating diverse and resilient regional economies, taking into consideration other relevant policies and programs.

 

This section requires that the first strategy must be tabled in each House of the Parliament on or before the first sitting day of that House after six months after the bill receives the Royal Assent.

 

The Minister will be required to revise the strategy and table a copy every four years after the previous strategy was tabled.

 



STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Higher Education Support Amendment (National Regional Higher Education Strategy) Bill 2018

 

This bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the bill

 

A National Regional Higher Education Strategy will put regional higher education at the centre of integrated policy and programs across education, research, innovation, employment and regional development.

 

This Bill mandates that the Government maintain a strategic plan and analysis of regional higher education and recognises the role of regional universities in sustaining economic growth and supporting employment in regional Australia.

 

Human rights implications

 

This bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms. 

 

Conclusion

 

This bill is compatible with human rights because it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

 

Cathy McGowan