Plibersek positions Labor to expand university access

A Labor government will spend $174m on mentoring and support “designed to boost opportunities” for university study for people in areas “where graduation rates are low.”

“We want to support students who are first generation in their family to go to uni.  We want our unis to attract more students from our outer suburbs and the country, more Indigenous students, and more students with a disability,” Opposition education shadow Tania Plibersek says.

Money will go to universities and not for profit community groups who propose programmes.

Ms Plibersek will announce the funding today at Caboolture in south-east Queensland, accompanied by recently re-elected member for Longman, Susan Lamb and Labor candidates for the government electorates of Dickson (held by Peter Dutton) and the ultra-marginal Petrie.

The initiative builds on Ms Plibersek’s equity-credentials. Last year she campaigned hard against a government move to cut funding for university preparation programmes and offer them on a fee for service basis (CMM July 12 2017).

This is smartly targeted politics. Brisbane’s outer north and adjacent areas have way below city rates of graduates in the population. Greg Hill, VC of the local University of the Sunshine Coast is also chair of the Regional Universities Network and a vocal supporter of more resources for his members, including for access programmes. “Regional universities have a majority of first in family students and this needs to be taken into account.” … ““RUN does much of the heavy lifting on equity,” he has  told CMM (January 17 2017).


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