Response to tertiary reform announcement

La Trobe University welcomes Minster Dan Tehan’s acknowledgment that universities have a vital role in providing Australians with the skills needed to succeed in jobs of the future and rise to the challenge of innovation and ingenuity to drive Australia’s recovery from COVID-19.

We broadly welcome the addition of new places for domestic students, noting that we will need to understand and review the details of the proposal before we can give definitive responses about how this will impact La Trobe.

We recognise the value of incentivising students to enrol in courses aligned with areas of expected employment growth. This includes areas for which La Trobe is already recognised including education, nursing, STEM, IT and agriculture. However, we also place high value on humanities, law and business subjects and a multidisciplinary approach to areas such as STEM, health and education. This is why, for example, we have created multi-disciplinary degrees such as the Bachelor of Humanities, Innovation and Technology – a unique fusion of humanities with business and emerging technologies.

We are concerned about the potential impact the changes will have on student enrolments, including low SES, Indigenous and regional students in important disciplines such as humanities, law and business. Shifting the burden of undertaking study in these important disciplines to students may ultimately be counterproductive to developing the skills Australia will need for future jobs and economic activity.

We strongly welcome any new measures designed to implement the Napthine Review and lift the education attainment for students in regional Australia.

As Victoria’s only state-wide University, with campuses in Melbourne, Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury-Wodonga and Mildura, we particularly welcome:

  • An additional $400m over four years for regional students, universities and communities to lift higher education attainment
  • The establishment of the Regional Education Commissioner
  • $48.4m research grants program to fund regional universities to partner with industry
  • $21m for regional university centres, some of which we believe could best be used by providing funding to La Trobe’s regional campuses, to give support and assistance for students studying both at La Trobe and in online programs with other institutions
  • A new fund to provide $500m a year to universities for programs supporting Indigenous, regional and low SES students to get into university and graduate.

We also welcome the investment of $800 million to establish the National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund to support universities to produce job-ready graduates for their local industries and communities.

La Trobe is already a leader in partnering with industry for skills development, research and innovation and in providing career-ready courses.  We look forward to continuing to work with Government and industry to benefit our students and the Australian economy.

Claire Bowers, 0437 279 903 | c.bowers@latrobe.edu.au and Kathryn Powley, 0456 764 371 | k.powley@latrobe.edu.au

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