Regional MPs must stand up for a national regional education strategy
Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan says regional Members of Parliament must stand up for their communities and adopt a national regional education strategy.
Ms McGowan called regional colleagues to account for failing to adopt the strategy proposed in her amendments to the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (A More Sustainable, Responsive and Transparent Higher Education System) Bill 2017.
The measure had the support of the Australian Labor Party and cross bench but was rejected by the government.
“This legislation as it stands is not a good deal for regional universities and students and I do not support it,” Ms McGowan said.
“There is still time for representatives of regional electorates to listen and act for their communities as the legislation passes through the Senate.”
Acknowledging the work of the Regional Universities Network, and La Trobe and Charles Sturt universities, Ms McGowan said the proposal for a national regional education strategy had the overwhelming support of the higher education sector. The amendments also included FeeHELP relief for students at regional universities.
“People in the regions understand the vital role universities play in driving the economic, social and cultural value of their communities,” Ms McGowan said.
“They are a driver of economic growth and development, key employers, and a major attractor to young people, and they can make the difference between economic survival and going backwards.
“At $21.6 million over the period to 2021, adopting this amendment would be a relatively small investment with an enormous benefit for the regions.
Ms McGowan said she would continue to represent the concerns of the people of Indi.
“To my colleagues representing the regions I say, show your commitment to what we know to be true: this is too important to let go. Please stand up for rural and regional Australia.”