Paul Johnson on the Bradley Review

The Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education released in late December by the Minister for Education, Julia Gillard is welcomed by La Trobe University. It supports many of our strategic goals. 

 In particular, we welcome the points on:

*    Increasing social inclusion and education participation
*    New pathways fits our ideas of MOUs and agreements with TAFEs
*    The new $80m funding proposal for regions

In the coming weeks we will reflect on the contents of the review and begin discussions about the implications of the report for La Trobe University.
The Rudd Government is considering the recommendations and findings of the review and will provide a response to its directions in 2009.  Some key recommendations of interest are:

*    A national target of at least 40% of 25-34 year olds having attained a qualification at bachelor level or above by 2020
*    An increase for total funding allocation for Research Infrastructure Block Grants (RIBG) funding of $300m
*    Provision of up to 1,000 tuition subsidy scholarships per year for higher degree research students in targeted programs
*    Provision of an additional $80m per year from 2012 to fund sustainable higher education in regional areas.  (Including support for local flexible and collaborative delivery arrangements)
*    A study to examine the feasibility of a new national university for regional areas
*    A process to identify the higher education needs of outer metropolitan and regional communities
*    More rigorous criteria for accrediting universities based on a deeper link between teaching and research
*    A revised financing system designed around principles, including government funding driven by student demand and rewarding institutions that achieve agreed targets
*    Establish a fund of $400m to support structural reforms in the sector
*    Provide $200m over three years (capped per institution) to match new philanthropic donations.  

What Im hoping for now is focused discussion in the run up to a Government response in February a response that sets a new agenda for Australian higher education for the next 15-20 years.

The worst outcome would be for the report to be shelved, and second worst would the adoption of a report that is highly contested, and not supported by all sides of politics.

Higher education is extremely important to our national and personal well-being.  In higher education the product lead times are very, very long.  We dont want proposals to come forward which may not be supported by another government down the line as that will cause instability.

I encourage staff, students and the broader community to consider this report, and invite you to email your views to me at

The Bradley report is available at the DEEWR web site.