The Business Council of Australia has congratulated all parties involved in securing the passage of reforms to the higher education sector through the Senate today.
The reforms were passed with the support of the four Independent Senators.
BCA Chief Executive Ms Katie Lahey said the BCA was pleased that major sticking points in the negotiation process – the HECS threshold, the number of scholarships and highly centralised planning – have been successfully resolved without compromising the financing and governance principles contained in the BCA submission.
“Parliamentarians, educators, students and business groups have successfully negotiated a package of reforms that will provide a sound basis for future sustainability of the higher education sector,” she said.
“The key reform features of partial fee deregulation, increased university places and improved equity support provisions have been maintained ensuring longer-term benefits for the higher education sector and the community.
The new financing framework will allow the best and brightest of Australia’s young people to get a university education based on their talent and commitment regardless of their ability to pay upfront.
“It will also mean that universities can differentiate themselves and respond to market needs,” Ms Lahey said.
The package upholds the five fundamental principles identified by the BCA to underpin the financing framework for the higher education system:
- that it is sustainable and reflects the private and public benefits delivered;
- it provide incentives to institutions for excellence;
- there is reliability and predictability of base funding;
- it promotes flexibility and choice; and
- the system provides for access based on ability, not the ability to pay up front.
“It will now be even more important to develop effective outcomes measures for the sector so that the success of the reforms can be evaluated over the longer term,” Ms Lahey said.