Australia needs regional higher education strategy
Federal Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan has introduced a Private Members Bill seeking a comprehensive higher education strategy for regional Australia.
Ms McGowan says the strategy is needed to underpin the policy decisions of government, as well as strengthen and promote the contribution of regional universities to national development.
“The delivery of higher education in regional Australia is central to the economic prosperity of this nation,” Ms McGowan said.
“The bill mandates that the government maintains a strategic plan and analysis of regional higher education, and recognises the role of regional universities in sustaining economic growth and supporting employment in regional Australia.
“They act as an anchor for investment and, importantly, workforce development. One of the biggest threats to sustainability of rural communities is the great export of our young people to cities.
“Three-quarters of students who study at regional universities actually stay in regional communities after they graduate.”
Ms McGowan said the regional higher education strategy must be developed in partnership with all levels of government and with regional higher education providers, representative bodies and industry.
She called on the National Party and regional Liberal MPs to take action on a higher education strategy rather than settling for a “one size fits all” approach.
“The consequence of the one size fits all is that regional Australia gets left behind; we fall into a deficit model and we’re not able to take our rightful place in developing this country.”