As part of the 2014–15 Budget, the Government announced an ambitious package of higher education reforms to address the challenges facing the higher education sector. These reforms were intended to strengthen the higher education system and ensure Australia is not left behind at a time of rising performance by universities around the world, foster greater innovation in education offerings and to widen opportunity and access to support the growing diversity of student needs and aspirations.
Informed by the discussions of the last six months, the Government has released a paper, Driving Innovation, Fairness and Excellence in Australian Higher Education, which sets out options for reform that support the Government’s vision of a stronger, more sustainable system of higher education. The Government is seeking feedback on the individual elements of a new higher education reform package to be considered later in 2016.
To facilitate this consultation, the Government has taken the decision to delay implementation of the reforms by a further year to 2018. The Government will also not be pursuing full fee deregulation for Commonwealth supported places. It will consider future arrangements, including options for some form of fee flexibility, as part of its consultation on the future of higher education.
The Government welcomes feedback on the ideas presented in this paper. The Government will continue to consult with students, parents, employers, higher education providers and peak bodies on its reform proposals. To assist in this process, the Government has appointed an expert advisory panel to provide advice on the content and implementation of the final package.