THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SEA 101.3FM WITH GAWNDY AND ASH POLLARD
WEDNESDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plan to help Australians study at uni.
DANIEL GAWNED, PRESENTER: So on the Coast today, Shadow Minister for Education Tanya Plibersek and she's here today to explain Labor's pledge, they're going to invest, well they pledge to invest an extra $174 million into tertiary education which is going to benefit locals wanting to study here on the Coast and Tanya joins us on the show right now. Good morning!
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hello, it's really nice to be with you.
ASH POLLARD, PRESENTER: Tanya you say that currently a young person from the Central Coast is about three times less likely to get a uni degree than somebody on Sydney's North Shore. Why is that?
PLIBERSEK: Well we know it's not cause the kids on the Central Coast aren't brainy and hardworking it's just because they've got less opportunity to go to university. It's a really common story right across Australia that young people growing up in the outer suburbs of capital cities and in regional communities have much lower university attendance rates and that's why we're investing this new money to try and boost expectations amongst those students and help them get into uni and help them in that first year when they're making a really difficult transition as well. When we were in government we worked with universities to do this, the Liberal Government's actually cut some of the programs that we introduced but the University of Newcastle, Ourimbah Campus for example has got fantastic pathways programs into uni, targeting young people growing up on the Central Coast and they've got really great, specialised programs including for example one for young people who have been growing up in foster care to help them get into uni and stay there once they get there.
POLLARD: So where is the money actually going, I mean does it go to universities, are you offering it for scholarships?
GAWNED: How do you plan on spending that $174 million?
PLIBERSEK: We'll work with universities but also with TAFE and non-government organisation that are really experienced in mentoring and support to make sure that we've got really good outreach from the universities, for example universities partnering with local high schools. I've seen some great programs around Australia where the uni students are going to schools where there's low levels of kids going into university and they're mentoring and tutoring those kids and talking to them about what a university education would be like, the sort of jobs it would make available for them because one of the things we know is the economy is really changing, nine out of ten jobs that will be created in the next few years will require either a TAFE qualification or a university degree to do. So, we need to be talking to young people when they're in year 9 and year 10 about the fact that the sort of jobs market that they'll be entering will really need them to do a bit of educational training after school as well. This announcement is actually on top of another announcement that we made a few weeks ago which is that we are uncapping a number of places at university, as well. So, when we were in government, we uncapped university places so where there was a demand for more university places, universities could expand those courses or expand the number of students on their campuses. More recently, the Liberals have recapped the number of students at universities. So, we've gone back to the bad old days, really, where you could study very hard in year 12, do your very best in the HSC, get a reasonable mark but still miss out on university and we don't think that's fair either. We want kids to have the opportunity of a great education at school but also a chance to go to TAFE or uni afterwards.
GAWNED: And say if you do take the cap off, though and the numbers do rise. How do you manage that with facilities, teachers and all this kind of stuff that comes with it.
PLIBERSEK: The reason we're pretty confident that there's not going to be a blow-out in the number of students going to uni is because we're looking at the increases in university attendance rates in the last few years of the uncapped system and it was growing at around the same rate as the population so, we think there'll be an increase of about one or two per cent a year - it won't be much more than that. And I'm sure universities can cope, they tell us that they can cope, that they actually want the uncapped system, they want to give more people the opportunity of an education that will help them get a job.
GAWNED: Well, we appreciate you joining us on the show this morning and just quickly, Tanya because I know politics has been big the last few weeks with what we saw with Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal party and the, you know, they're all fighting within - if we go to the polls any time soon, are you guys confident you can take this one out this time round?
PLIBERSEK: Well, Gawndy, I don't think you can ever be confident in politics. The one thing that the other week tells you for sure is that things change very quickly so we're really working very hard to focus on what matters to the Australian people - a job with decent pay and conditions, a chance of a good education for your kids or yourself, a hospital when you need it, aged care, child care if you need it for your family - that's what matters and we're just going to keep plodding along with that and make sure we get those policies right and hope for the best.
GAWNED: Interesting times, that's for sure over the next six months.
POLLARD: Thanks, Tanya.
GAWNED: Thanks, Tanya, thanks for joining us on the show.
PLIBERSEK: Thanks Ash, thanks Gawndy, bye bye, nice to talk to you.