THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SENATOR DEBORAH O’NEILL
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR INNOVATION
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
MEMBER FOR DOBELL
MEMBER FOR NEWCASTLE
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR ROBERTSON
WEDNESDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plan to help Australians study at university.
EMMA MCBRIDE MP, MEMBER FOR DOBELL: It's really exciting to welcome you all to Ourimbah Campus of the University of Newcastle in my electorate on the Central Coast. I am so pleased that the Deputy Leader has come here to make an announcement about funding that really makes a difference in communities like ours, supporting mentoring and the real support to get people into university. At this campus here, one in four students have come through pathways programs, New Step or Open Foundation. It has made such a difference in our community. We've just heard today from people who are the first in their family to attend university, the first in their family to have a Bachelor's degree, the first in their family to go on to higher tertiary qualifications. I know people personally, having grown up on the Central Coast, Sam who I worked with who's a speech pathologist, she wouldn't be a speech pathologist working in our health system today if it wasn't for Open Foundation. Other students like Michelle who now is a nurse at our local hospital, who wouldn't be nursing and caring for our community without these programs. I am just so pleased. Last time Tanya was here, the Deputy Leader and our Education spokesperson, she stood up for communities like ours in regional communities across Australia and stopped this Government from introducing fees for these pathway programs, and also opening up to RTOs. It is so critical, it is key to the success of the programs that they are here on campuses like Ourimbah. I'd like to hand over to Tanya now. Thank you so much.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you so much Emma McBride for that fantastic introduction and it's such a pleasure to be here with Senator Deb O'Neill, with my colleague from Newcastle Sharon Claydon, with Labor's wonderful candidate for the seat of Robertson, Anne Charlton. We're here today talking about making sure that every young Australian can get access to a university education. Labor has made a number of commitments in recent times. We fought off the cuts to pathways programs that Emma was talking about a moment ago. But we also said that we would restore the demand-driven system. We would take away the artificial caps that the Liberal Government has introduced to the number of students who are able to get a university education. When Labor was last in Government we uncapped student places. The Liberals re-introduced those unfair caps meaning that thousands of students who've worked hard and studied hard miss out on a place in university, back to the bad old days of John Howard when university places were rationed. Well we say if you're prepared to work hard and study hard there should be a place for you at university and we'll uncap places. That's a $10 billion commitment over the next decade and it means about 2,200 extra students on the Central Coast will get a chance at a university education.
But we've also announced as Emma said that we will make sure that those university places are more evenly distributed throughout the Australian community. If you're growing up on the north shore of Sydney and you're a young person, there's 63 per cent of young people on the north shore of Sydney who have got a university degree, but if you're growing up on the Central Coast only 21 per cent of young people here have a university degree. Now we know it's not because the kids on the north shore are smarter or because they're harder working, it's because there's less opportunity for a university education on the Central Coast. That's just not fair. In a country like Australia we want a university education to be available to anyone who's prepared to put in the effort to work hard, to take on the student debt, to spend those sleepless nights studying here in the 24 hour library - every one of those students should be entitled to expect a university education. And we've announced $174 million for more programs that will reach out into disadvantaged communities, low socio-economic schools, into Indigenous communities, into regional and remote communities, to build aspiration for university and build capacity for university. We've seen the amazing success of pathways programs here at the Ourimbah campus at the University of Newcastle and right around Australia we've seen fantastic programs that support people who are the first in their family or coming from an under-represented community to get into university. University of Newcastle for example has a fantastic program where they're working with children - well children who have grown up - who are leaving out of home care to support them to get a university education. We know that can make such a difference when it comes to job opportunities, being able to support yourself and being able to support your family in later years. Nine out of ten jobs that will be created in coming years will require a university degree or a TAFE education. We want to make sure that young people in communities like this have every opportunity of taking on those jobs.
Now we're going to hear from a couple of students about their pathway into university. I think we're hearing from Zack and Emily, is that right? Who's going to go first? Emily, you going to jump right in?
EMILY, STUDENT: Hi my name is Emily, I'm a current student of the University of Newcastle here at Ourimbah campus. I'm studying Environmental Science. I would just like to say how grateful I am that I had the opportunity to go through the bridging pathways here on this campus. Open Foundation truly changed my life and gave me a chance to achieve my full potential. It's amazing that the Labor Party is continuing to support these pathways because future students have the chance to achieve what I have. I'm now completing this degree with merit, I'm the President of the Environment Club. None of this would have been possible without that course. Coming from a disadvantaged background and a low socio-economic school, I never thought that coming to university was possible but because Open Foundation is a free pathway, I thought I'd give it a chance, and here I am today. So thank you again for supporting me and hopefully future students like me can come through this pathway.
ZACK, STUDENT: Hi my name is Zack, I'm a current student at the University of Newcastle. I'm currently doing New Step at this present time and I must say I've just loved the opportunity that it's given me. Without it I wouldn't be able to do undergrad whatsoever. It just gives so many people the opportunity that they thought they would never get, that opportunity to go into university. It should be known that the support throughout this program is just amazing. There are always people there, the teachers are so willing to help, but it's prepared me so much for next year and I'm going into a degree next year knowing what to expect and knowing what I'm going to do, so I'm currently thinking about doing primary teaching next year so I'm really excited for the opportunity I've been given through New Step and I just encourage any students just to apply for this even because you just never know how your HSC is going to go; it's just an unknown, so just apply to New Step, it's a really good program. It will help you so much and it's helped me so much.
PLIBERSEK: Thank you so much, that's fantastic. OK any questions? No? Thank you very much.