News National ‘Round two’ for university deregulation

‘Round two’ for university deregulation

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Education Minister Christopher Pyne is committed to passing his education reform bill, reintroducing it on Wednesday morning after it was defeated in the Senate on Tuesday night.

The upper house decisively voted down the bill without letting it get to the second reading stage where amendments could have been considered.

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Mr Pyne said the university deregulation bill would be reintroduced on Wednesday to be debated in February, and he hoped senators were prepared to change their mind.

The University of Western Australia said fees would jump 30 per cent if higher education institutions are able to set their own fees under the proposal.

“I believe we are making progress. I’m a great believer in forward momentum and I won’t be taking a step back,” Mr Pyne said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“The future for universities without reform will be slow decline… it will give us the chance to be competitive.

He rigorously defended his decision to reintroduce the bill.

“I’m not a quitter and I have no intention of giving up on this reform,” he said.

“We had a defeat this week, and I don’t think there’s any shame in that at all.

“I think if you believe in something you should have a go and I think the Australian public give you great credit for putting your money where your mouth is and not slinking away from the camp in the middle of the night hoping you won’t have to fight the battle.”

The Government will also offer more scholarships for students from low income and rural backgrounds, while the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will be given the power to monitor university fees.

Under the proposal, interest on university loans will be charged at the CPI rate, instead of a government bond rate.

“As far as I’m concerned, round one is over, round two begins tonight.”

With ABC

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