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Prohibition on places should be abolished



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P ARLI AMENT OF AUSTRALI A H O U S E OF R E P R E S E N TA TI V E S

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.368 Centre Road. Bentleigh, Vic. 3204 Tel: (03) 557 4644 Fax: (03) 557 2906

MEDIA RELEASE 1 OCTOBER 1992

PROHIBITION ON PLACES SHOULD BE ABOLISHED

The Government should immediately lift the prohibition preventing universities from creating additional places for Australian students, the Federal Shadow Minister for Education, Dr David Kemp said today.

"The Government's arbitrary restriction on undergraduate places is placing an intolerable burden on many Year 12 students who will soon be facing their end-of- year exams.

"These students are painfully aware of the sudden death situation the Government has created, where a mark marginally below the cut-off line is sufficient to deprive them of a chance to pursue a university education.

"Minister Baldwin could significantly ease the pressure on students by acknowledging their right to obtain a place if they can obtain sponsorship or are prepared to make the financial commitment," he said.

Speaking at the National Conference of the Australasian Institute of Tertiary Education Administrators at Ballarat, Dr Kemp said that present arrangements, under which the availability of government funding remains the determinant of the number of undergraduate places, were severely limiting the resources available to universities

and the number of places available to qualified students.

"It is simply ludicrous that 50,000 qualified school leavers are locked out of a university education because the Government continues to prohibit universities from admitting these students on any basis while encouraging the admission of overseas students.

"In other words, the Government is perpetuating the gross inequity whereby international students can invest in their higher education in Australia, but Australian students cannot," he said.

Dr Kemp said tne removal of the prohibition would immediately create additional places for Australian students. .

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During his address, Dr Kemp pointed to an Industry Commission report which advised the Government last year that there were practicable solutions to the problem of unmet demand. Failing a reference from the Government, the Commission recommended "immediate implementation of one of the discussed options which overcomes the serious problem that qualified Australian students who do not currently have a funded place are prohibited from public university study."

Dr Kemp also said the Higher Education Council had recently told the Government that additional university places were "essential". The Council is currently examining alternative funding arrangements which would enable "the higher education system to generate some of its own funding".

"Universities must be given the freedom to determine "heir own enrolments," Dr Kemp said.

Further information : Richard Ellis (03) 557 4644