Two proposed amendments to the government’s higher education legislation were around yesterday. Labor shadow minister Tanya Plibersek proposed deleting all words after “a bill” and replacing them with “to recommend electing Labor,” (or something like that). But Cathy McGowan (Independent-Indi) has a marginally more practical idea. Ms McGowan wants to amend the bill so that people who study at regional universities only start repaying HELP when their income reaches $56 000, $14 000 than the government’s proposed threshold. She also wants a regional higher education strategy which is updated every four years.
The Regional Universities Network thinks these are splendid ideas “Ms McGowan recognises the pivotal role that regional universities play in the economic, social and cultural development of their regions,” RUN chair Greg Hill says. But while some outside regional lobbies could find the economics of these ideas improbable they might appeal to senators. The ABC reports, for example, that Derryn Hinch wants a universal repayment threshold of $50 000 and no cuts for regional campuses in his state, Victoria.
Good-oh but the senator’s vote is not enough. The government needs the three Nick Xenophon Team votes – a stretch to describe the three metropolitan Adelaide unis in their state as regional? Surely not.