Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, said the Forum on Regional and Rural Higher Education on Monday, February 2, would identify how the best outcomes for students, businesses and Indi could be reached.
“The forum will be a very broad ranging and open discussion on regional dimensions of tertiary education. There will be no preconceived views, or outcomes arrived at before the forum,” Ms McGowan said. “Our universities and TAFEs deliver high-quality education and this forum will ensure this continues.”
Ms McGowan said it was important to understand how the regional tertiary education system can provide access for anyone interested in gaining tertiary qualifications.
In 2014, Ms McGowan consulted widely with education providers and was informed about the issues facing the sector in regional areas. Following talks with La Trobe University and Charles Sturt University heads of campus, Dr Guinever Threlkeld and Professor Julia Coyle, the universities took the lead in hosting a forum.
“Regional Australia often experiences the unintended consequences of legislation,” Ms McGowan said.
“This forum is a way of identifying whether there will be unintended consequences in the future from any deregulation of the higher education sector, and how these can be avoided.
“Following the forum I will be taking the outcomes to Canberra.”
The deregulation of university fees featured prominently among people’s feedback when Ms McGowan canvassed the electorate for opinions on the 2014-15 Federal Budget. These included the cost of education, meeting the skills shortage, and the importance of education as a driver of economic development.
“Higher education must be accessible for students and families for positive outcomes,” Ms McGowan said.
Information and registrations can be made at http://www.latrobe.edu.au/events/all/forum-on-regional-and-rural-higher-education.