Senate

Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020

Addendum to the Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Education, the Honourable Dan Tehan MP)

Additional information to be included in the Explanatory Memorandum to the bill

Review of the Job-ready Graduates Package

On 3 September 2020, the Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 (the Bill) was referred to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee (Committee) for inquiry and report by 25 September 2020. In its report on the Bill dated 25 September 2020, the Committee recommended that the Government undertake a review of the Bill two years after its commencement. The Government agrees to conduct a review of the operation of the Job-ready Graduates Package (the Package) 18 months after its commencement. To reflect this, the second paragraph under the heading 'Outline' on page 2 of the Explanatory Memorandum will be deleted and replaced with the following paragraph:


The Bill contains measures that will encourage higher education providers to produce job-ready graduates, create more opportunities for regional and remote students-including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians-and direct growth in the higher education sector towards Australia's regions and national priorities. These measures are part of the Government's Job-ready Graduates Package (Package) that was announced by the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan, on 19 June 2020. A review of the Package will be undertaken 18 months after its commencement. The Bill also includes measures to extend and strengthen student protection and provider integrity measures in HESA, and ensure higher education providers are more accountable for the outcomes they deliver for students, industry and the wider community.

Update to financial impact statement

To reflect updated costings undertaken by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment in relation to the Package, the first paragraph on page 6 of the Explanatory Memorandum will be deleted and replaced:


The measures contained in Schedules 1, 2 and 3, and items 17 and 18 of Schedule 5, of the Bill, as announced as part of the Government's Job-ready Graduates Package (the Package), were budget neutral. Subsequent amendments to Schedule 1 of the Bill mean measures announced as part of the Package produce a spend of approximately $105 million over the forward estimates.

Clarification regarding calculation of a provider's MBGA for higher education courses

During the inquiry, higher education providers also requested that the geographical growth factors and indexation arrangements outlined in the Package be included on the face of the Bill. The Government has committed to applying indexation factors and growth factors to the calculation of a provider's MBGA for higher education courses under the Package. To reflect this, the following information will be inserted after the second paragraph under the heading 'Maximum basic grant amounts for Table A providers' on page 21 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill:


When a provider's MBGA for higher education courses is calculated, a number of factors will be taken into account, including indexation and any applicable geographical growth factors, which will be specified in a provider's funding agreement.

Update to grandfathered Commonwealth contribution amount

To reflect the Government amendment made to item 14 of Schedule 1 of the Bill by Sheet RV130, the amount of $13,500 specified in the second column of the fifth row of the table on page 31 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill will be deleted and replaced with the amount of $13,250.

Enabling loading

During the Committee's inquiry, a number of higher education providers raised concerns around the treatment of enabling programs in the Package.

The Government recognises the importance of enabling programs as a pathway to access higher education. To reflect this, the following information will be inserted at the end of the second paragraph under the heading 'Items 4 and 5 - Paragraphs 30-25(3)(b), (ca), (d) and (da), Subparagraphs 33-1(1)(b)(i) and (iii)' on page 44 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill:


The Government recognises that enabling programs play an important role for students with an educational disadvantage, such as those from a low SES background, regional and remote areas, and Indigenous people, in providing them with access to tertiary education.