Federal Government committed to education reform:Federal Education and Training Minister, the Hon. Christopher Pyne

The Federal Government remains committed to its higher education reforms, Federal Education and Training Minister, the Hon. Christopher Pyne has told a CEDA audience in Adelaide.

“The whole Government policy is to bring it back in spring and have another go at passing it,” he said.

Mr Pyne said he will be talking to the Greens and Independents to see how they can work with the Government to pass the reform bill in the Senate.

On why the Government is still pushing for the reforms, Mr Pyne said it is vital because it will transform education and also the Australian economy.

“The higher education reform has not been dropped because the government is absolutely committed to it and unlike some aspects of last year’s budget the party room in Canberra is 100 per cent united behind this reform,” he said.

The university sector and private providers also support the reform agenda with 40 out of 41 Vice Chancellors in favour of it, he said.

“When you have the sector on side, when you have the party and government entirely on side and you know you have the right policy, why would you walk away from it,” he said.

“We will not be walking away from it...because we want to spread opportunity to more Australians to be able to get a higher education.”

Discussing specific aspects of the reform, Mr Pyne said the changes to funding sub-bachelor and pathways programs are social justice measures.

“This is a social justice measure because the people who tend to use those pathways programs to get to university are typically low socioeconomic status, young people and mothers returning to the workforce,” he said.

International education also remains a focus for the Government with revenue increasing in the sector by $2 billion in the 2013-14 year making it a significant export, he said.

“They (international students) come here because of our reputation for quality which is built on our research reputation and our teaching reputation,” he said.

“The only way we’re going to be able to continue to expand that reputation is by getting more revenue into higher education.”

The New Colombo Plan is also an important part of this as it continues to grow, he said.

“The new colombo plan is a terrific tool because it shows that Australia doesn’t see it as a one way street and sending our best and brightest overseas to improve their skills and knowledge is a high priority,” he said.