The University of Western Australia is disappointed that the Federal Government’s Higher Education Bill has been rejected by the Senate for a second time.
A deregulated tertiary sector would allow universities rather than government to set their own fees and would be of great benefit to the nation.
According to UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson, greater autonomy would help universities better compete in a globally competitive market by enabling them to enhance the student experience, conduct more high-impact research, and attract the best academics from around the world.
Professor Johnson said Australia’s university sector had been fully behind the reform proposals and the Bill’s rejection would result in further uncertainty.
“While Australia has a good higher education system with four universities, including UWA, ranked among the world’s top 100, we face huge challenges as other nations increase their investment in higher education,” Professor Johnson said.
“If the Bill had been passed, the nation’s universities would have been able to differentiate and play to their strengths. They could provide greater choice to students by opening up the higher education market to new competitors, offering differing price points and ensuring there was appropriate and sustainable investment in teaching, research and community engagement.
“Deregulation of Australia’s tertiary sector would ensure the nation retains a world-class higher education system.
“The status quo is not sustainable as it will, over time, erode the quality of our education and research activities.
“While it remains unclear what will happen next in the political process, it’s encouraging at this stage that the Government says it remains committed to higher education reform.”
Sally-Ann Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 7975