The Australian Greens are committed to making Higher Education a priority, even if the old parties won't.
Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Education, says the cornerstone of the Greens' policy is a series of initiatives to help Australia meet its target to have 20 per cent of higher education enrolments at undergraduate level coming from low SES backgrounds by the year 2020.
Achieving this requires real investment and a plan to tackle the needs of universities, academics and students right through to post-graduate level.
The Greens' plan would:
- Appoint a Higher Education Parliamentary Secretary to focus on Higher Education issues
- Reform the Australian Postgraduate Awards to support young researchers and career academics
- Require universities to develop a higher education workforce plan to address emerging issues, including casualisation of the academic workforce
- Raise the level of Youth Allowance to provide an extra $115 a fortnight for students
- Ensure students who have to move 90 minutes out of home to access tertiary education receive the full rate of Youth Allowance
- Implement a three-point plan to deal with fair and affordable student accommodation, including a $50 million student-specific division of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS)
Higher Education deserves a dedicated Government representative to ensure that the concerns of students and academics do not simply slip through the cracks.
The dangers of ignoring Higher Education are many and varied, from greater skills shortages to an underperforming economy. The Greens take Higher Education seriously, and it's time Labor and the Coalition followed suit.