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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7191

Mrs ANDREWS (McPherson) (10:03): Today I would like to speak about Bond University and the ineligibility of Bond University students to access OS-HELP. Bond University is based in my electorate of McPherson and has over 4,000 students enrolled and 35 per cent of these students are international students. The university has enrolments from students from over 70 countries and over one-third of Bond's international students are from Asia. Bond University has over 65 exchange partners in over 20 countries, and these relationships facilitate the exchange of students between the university and other universities in the US, Europe and increasingly in Asia. The university and its students recognise the importance of Australia in the Asian Century and the benefits of education driving our connection with Asia. However, despite the university's 65 exchange partners, less than five per cent of Bond's students utilise the opportunity to study abroad with insufficient financial support being cited as a reason for not embracing such an exciting opportunity.

Bond University, in its submission to the House Standing Committee on Employment and Education's inquiry into the Higher Education Support Amendment (Asian Century) Bill 2013, put the issue quite succinctly.

It said:

As a not-for-profit, private university Bond delivers high-quality graduates into the Australian workforce who have not received any benefit from the Commonwealth Grants Scheme tuition subsidy. Under the current and proposed HESA arrangements, they will also be excluded from the same incentive and support for Asian studies that is available to their public university counterparts through the important OS-HELP scheme.

I note that the House standing committee recommended as a result of its inquiry that the Commonwealth government consider extending the eligibility for OS-HELP assistance to non-CSP students.

Bond University, Bond University Student Association and Bond University Exchange Club have all sought an extension of OS-HELP for some time. Bond University Exchange Club started a petition seeking an extension of OS-HELP and in a very short space of time collected over 250 signatures. That petition has been presented directly to the Standing Committee on Petitions, and I look forward to a favourable response from the minister. I seek leave to table a copy of the petition.

Leave granted.

Mrs ANDREWS: Thank you. In conclusion, I am encouraged that the advisory report contains a recommendation that I and my coalition colleagues argued for and that was supported by everyone on the committee. I would like to thank the committee, as well as thanking the Vice-Chancellor and President of Bond University, Professor Tim Brailsford; the director of infrastructure and planning, Chris Hogan; the Treasurer of the Bond University Exchange Club, Christopher Land; and the President of the Bond University Student Association, Matthew McLean, for rigorously pursuing this issue. (Time expired)