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Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Page: 12454

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell) (11:47): It is my pleasure to rise to speak on the Higher Education Support Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2011. I would like to take up from where the member for Herbert left off. This bill is very important to his electorate and I thought he made some very important points about regional universities and campuses that may have gone unnoticed unless I had the opportunity to recognise his contribution in particular.

The member for Herbert was right to say that this bill is important to improving the amount of funding going towards universities. As he rightly pointed out, the bill increases the maximum public funds allocated to Commonwealth supported university places to account for the projected increase in the number of Commonwealth supported students. This is a worthy intention by the government and the coalition fully supports it.

The bill emerges from the Bradley review, which recommended several changes and improvements to Australia's higher education system. One key recommendation, of course, was an aspirational goal for 40 per cent of Australians aged 25 to 34 to hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree by 2020. It is important to have that aspirational target in higher education, without displacing the importance of other forms of tertiary education, including TAFE and technical training and other vocational skills training. Having an aspirational goal is very important and is something I would like to see in today's educational environment.

The member for Herbert made some excellent points about this bill. They deserve to be fully noted by this parliament. It was my privilege to have the opportunity to recognise his important contribution to the debate on this worthy bill.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): I sincerely thank the member for Mitchell for his contribution to the debate.