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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 10315


Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (18:46): I seek leave to move amendments (1) and (3) as circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

Ms McGOWAN: I move:

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (after table item 9), insert:

9A. Schedule 4A

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

(3) Page 54 (after line 5), after Schedule 4, insert:

Schedule 4A—National regional higher education strategy

Higher Education Support Act 2003

1 After section 238 -7

   Insert:

238 -7A National regional higher education strategy

(1) The Minister must cause to be prepared a strategy to be known as the national regional higher education strategy.

(2) The strategy must cover, but is not limited to, the following matters:

   (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.

(3) The Minister must cause a copy of the strategy to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after 1 January 2018.

(4) The Minister must cause the strategy prepared under subsection (1), or that strategy as previously revised under this subsection, to be revised every 4 years.

(5) The Minister must cause a copy of a revised strategy under subsection (4) to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 4 years after the previous strategy or revised strategy was tabled under this section.

This will require the minister to present the parliament with a national regional higher education strategy within 15 sitting days after 1 January 2018. The minister will be required to table an updated strategy every four years. To my colleagues on the other side who represent regional Australia: can I ask you to pay particular attention to this amendment and choose carefully how you will vote.

I move this motion from a sense of absolute frustration. The government says it supports regional development. The government says it supports decentralisation. The government says it supports economic growth and development. How are we going to do it if our universities can't provide us with the skilled people in the areas that we need over the longer period? So I say to my colleagues: please pay serious consideration to this particular bit of legislation and to this particular amendment because, in voting against it, you vote against the future of our regional universities.