Higher education reforms ignore Cathy McGowan’s suggested changes

AT ODDS: Education Minister Simon Birmingham and Indi MP Cathy McGowan.
AT ODDS: Education Minister Simon Birmingham and Indi MP Cathy McGowan.

The federal government’s higher education reforms have passed through the House of Representatives without Cathy McGowan’s suggested amendments to help regional students – and the Indi MP is not happy.

She wanted the government to make changes such as raising the FEE-HELP payment threshold for regional students and creating a national regional education strategy.

The idea was supported by Labor and the crossbench, but rejected by the Coalition.

“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.”

Despite criticism the reform would result in less money for universities, Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the reforms would ensure the higher education system was sustainable into the future and provide better value for money for taxpayers.

“We want to give students more choices and to get the most bang for taxpayers’ bucks out of universities,” he said.