Education and Training
Through the Education and Training portfolio, the Australian Government takes a national leadership role in early childhood education and child care, preschool education, schooling, higher education and research, skills and training, and international education.
The portfolio works with state and territory governments, other Australian Government entities and a range of service providers to provide quality policy advice and services for the benefit of all Australians, and through its range of programs, supports Australians living in regional and rural communities.
As at 31 December 2018, the Department of Education and Training employed approximately 1,800 staff under the Public Service Act. Of this total, 1,685 staff (93.7 per cent) are employed in Canberra, central Melbourne and central Sydney, 106 staff (5.9 per cent) in other capital cities and 7 staff (0.4 per cent) in regional areas.
In May 2018, the Government announced the relocation of approximately 40 positions (2.2 per cent) in the Unique Student Identifier (USI) Office from Canberra to Adelaide, as part of the Australian Government’s decentralisation agenda. The relocation will commence from April 2019.
Extension of Preschool Funding Arrangements
The Australian Government has committed a further $453.1 million to provide universal access to 15 hours of quality preschool a week in the year before school, through to the end of 2020, and to undertake the related National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection. This builds on the previous decision to provide Commonwealth support for preschool until the end of 2019 and will benefit around 350,000 children throughout Australia, 100,000 of whom are estimated to live in regional Australia.
An additional $1.4 million will be invested to fund work by The Smith Family to work with state and territory governments and disadvantaged communities on strategies to further improve preschool participation, particularly for families in regional and remote communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
The Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory
The Australian Government is investing in a smarter future and growing higher education and research capacity in regional Victoria, with funding of $5.0 million over two years from 2018-19 to the University of Melbourne to commence construction of the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory.
The laboratory will allow scientists to conduct experiments and research that relies on the most precise of measurements. It is important for some experiments to be conducted in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to validate research findings. Establishing a Southern Hemisphere laboratory at Stawell will allow for more accurate pinpointing of hard to detect particles critical for astronomy and address seasonal variations in the Earth’s motion around the sun. Further research opportunities are possible in other industries, such as defence, chemical and biological sciences.
The Australian Government will invest $3.3 million in three school-based arts education programs: Music Australia’s Music Count Us In, the Song Room’s Transformational Learning through Creativity, and Bell Shakespeare’s National Education Program. Together, the three programs cover all five elements of the Arts learning area of the Australian Curriculum—music, drama, dance, visual arts and media arts - and will promote student engagement and support students’ social and emotional wellbeing.
This funding will benefit an estimated 786,000 students and teachers in Australian schools and support delivery of these arts programs throughout Australia, with a focus on improving access to arts education for disadvantaged schools in regional and remote areas or low socio-economic areas.
Promoting Regional Study
The Australian Government will build diversity in Australia’s international education sector and support students’ access to study in the regions by establishing the $93.7 million Destination Australia Program. This incentive will offer up to 4,720 scholarships worth up to $15,000 per student, to incentivise both domestic and international students to study in regional Australia.
Ensuring all parts of Australia share in the benefits of tertiary education is essential in building vibrant communities and promoting better outcomes for individuals. This program will support up to 1200 domestic and international students per annum with the costs of studying at a higher education or vocational education and training (VET) campus in regional and remote areas. This will encourage domestic and international students to consider alternative study locations, helping to spread the economic and other benefits of Australia’s higher education sector to more regional communities.
Increase HELP loan limit for Aviation Courses
The Australian Government will amend the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to increase the combined Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan limit to $150,000 (indexed by CPI) for eligible students undertaking aviation courses at a VET Student Loans approved provider from 1 January 2020.
The increased limit recognises that existing loan limits are insufficient to obtain the licences and ratings required for most practical commercial aviation employment. The increase will improve accessibility to courses and better support students and the commercial aviation sector.
Remission of HELP debts for Teachers in Very Remote Areas of Australia
The Australian Government will reform HELP to increase incentives for teachers in very remote area schools and give effect to the Prime Minister’s Closing the Gap commitment on 14 February 2019. The Government will remit the HELP debt incurred for recognised teaching qualifications after teachers have been placed in very remote locations of Australia for four years (or part time equivalent).
Individuals who are teaching in very remote area schools will have the indexation frozen on their entire HELP debts from 14 February 2019. New teachers moving to very remote areas will also have their indexation frozen from their commencement in the school, and teachers who teach in very remote area schools for four years (or part time equivalent) will have a remission of their HELP debt up to the value of five years’ education undertaken to achieve their teaching qualifications.
This measure targets very remote schools in recognition of the geographic, social, cultural and economic challenges that are unique to delivering education in such locations, as well as the much higher level of relative need. The measure will seek to attract and retain teachers to schools in very remote communities regardless of their cultural background or where they currently reside.
Support for North Queensland Flood Affected Schools
Many schools in disaster declared areas of Queensland are providing support to students, their families and teachers. The cost of this assistance has adversely affected some schools’ finances. The Australian Government is providing financial support to help affected schools address these unforeseen challenges and to remain financially viable.
Special Circumstances Funding is available to schools that may encounter severe, unforeseen and short-term financial difficulty, and may need financial assistance. In addition to schools affected by natural disasters, Special Circumstances Funding is provided for schools with students from disadvantaged communities, schools impacted by an industry failure, schools in remote or regional locations, or schools catering for students with high rates of disability or other special needs.
Strengthening Higher Education in Regional Australia—additional support for students and universities
The Australian Government is providing $134.8 million over four years from 2018‑19 to strengthen higher education enrolment in regional Australia by funding additional study places, scholarships and enhanced facilities to increase accessibility.
The measure includes $92.5 million over four years from 2018‑19 to support more students at five regionally focused universities: the University of the Sunshine Coast, James Cook University, the University of Newcastle, Central Queensland University and Federation University Australia.
The measure also includes $42.3 million over four years from 2018‑19 to provide:
- an additional 1,955 scholarships in 2019, valued at up to $18,000 each, for students undertaking Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Health and Agriculture tertiary qualifications—more than doubling the 1,200 scholarships previously available under the Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships announced in the 2017-18 Budget to provide $24.0 million over four years from 2017-18 to 2020-21 as part of the Australian Government’s 2016 election commitments;
- support for additional Regional Study Hubs, for a total 16 Hubs across 22 locations to improve access to higher education for students from rural and remote Australia. This builds on the Regional Study Hubs announced in the 2017-18 Budget, which provided $16.7 million from 2018-19 to 2021‑22 to improve access to higher education for students from rural and remote Australia by supporting the establishment and operation of regional study hubs. Such hubs typically support regional students to study courses locally delivered by distance from any Australian university by providing greater access to study support and infrastructure; and
- support for the development of a National Regional, Rural and Remote Higher Education Strategy, as part of the Government's response to Emeritus Professor John Halsey's Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education.
This builds on the Australian Government’s existing commitment of $123.6 million from 2017‑18 to 2021-22 for additional Commonwealth supported places to support expansion into regional areas. The University of the Sunshine Coast will receive funding for an additional 1,200 ongoing bachelor places in 2020, growing to 3,600 ongoing places in 2022, at a new campus in Moreton Bay. The University of Tasmania will receive funding for 1,000 ongoing places from 2019 to support the Northern Tasmanian Transformation Project. Southern Cross University will receive funding for an additional 105 ongoing places in 2019 and 210 ongoing places in 2020. These places, which are expected to grow to 315 ongoing places by 2021, will be utilised in allied health courses at a new campus in Coffs Harbour.
Australian Apprenticeships—increased support
The Australian Government has increased support for Australian Apprenticeships, with $27.6 million over four years from 2018‑19 to extend eligibility for the Support for Adult Australian Apprentices Incentive to apprentices aged 21 years and over (the current eligible age is 25 years and over).
Extending eligibility to include apprentices aged 21 to 24 increases the support available for all Adult Australian Apprentices and provides a stronger incentive for employers to engage more adult apprentices in areas of skills needs.
Skills Package—delivering skills for today and tomorrow
The Australian Government commissioned the Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) System in late 2018, conducted by the former New Zealand Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, the Hon. Steven Joyce. In response to the review, the Australian Government is providing a comprehensive package of VET initiatives, totalling $525.3 million over five years from 2018-19.
The Skills Package—delivering skills for today and tomorrow seeks to reposition the sector to deliver the skills needed for Australia’s future prosperity and address issues faced by today’s workforce, including low literacy and numeracy, and a lack of digital skills, while tackling priority skills shortage areas.
The Government’s response to the review includes a number of measures that will specifically benefit Australians in regional areas:
- $9.9 million over three years to establish a new Indigenous delivery pilot of a language, literacy, numeracy and digital (LLND) program to provide project based delivery of LLND skills to individuals in remote Indigenous communities in four pilot areas.
- The establishment of ten Training Hubs across Australia ($67.5 million over five years) to trial supporting school‑based vocational education in regions with high youth unemployment, with an aim of creating better linkages between schools and local industry, and other skills development measures.
- $8.2 million over three years to expand the Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians. This will provide up to 400 scholarships nationally that will support people to participate in vocational education and training with strong pathways to jobs in areas of skills needs.
- The Government’s Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package includes a range of targeted initiatives that respond to immediate priorities and position the VET system for the future. These will benefit individuals and employers across Australia, including in regional areas. The initiatives include:
- $42.4 million over four years to establish a new National Careers Institute and appoint a National Careers Ambassador to raise the profile of the VET sector and provide better careers information for all working-age Australians to support and inform their study and career choices, including an information portal that centralises career and education pathways information.
- $52.5 million over four years to establish a new LLND program to upskill at-risk workers. This includes LLND training to support over 11,000 workers with low-level language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills.
- $200.2 million over four years from 2019-20 (and $147.5 million in 2023-24) to establish a new Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment to boost existing incentives for areas of identified skills needs to support up to 80,000 new apprentices over five years, as well as simplifying and streamlining the Australian Apprenticeship Incentives Program.
- The establishment of a National Skills Commission ($48.3 million over four years) and national pilot of Skills Organisations ($41.7 million over four years). The Commission will form an integral part of systemic long-term reform to the sector. Two national Skills Organisations will be piloted in the areas of digital technologies and the human services workforce to trial new, industry-led methods of qualification development and assessment.
- $20.1 million over four years from 2019-20 to better identify emerging skills needs in the Australian economy through phase three of the Jobs and Education Data Infrastructure Project, along with simplifying students' access to their education and training records by expanding the Unique Student Identifier to all higher education students and developing a centralised repository for students' education and training records.
- $350,000 in 2019-20 to support the National Rugby League’s (NRL) VET Apprenticeship Awareness Program. The funding will help the NRL provide ongoing player and community education, including promoting their NRL VET ambassadors who share their success stories and help promote the value of Australian Apprenticeships and VET qualifications.
- The Government is also providing $34.2 million of additional funding in 2019-20 to the six signatory states and territories of the Skilling Australian Fund (SAF) National Partnership Agreement to support initiatives to boost apprenticeships and traineeships.
National School Reform Agreement—Commonwealth contribution to national policy initiatives
The Australian Government will contribute to the costs of implementing national policy initiatives developed with the states and territories to support implementation of the National School Reform Agreement. The initiatives will focus on strategic reform in areas that will have the most impact on student achievement and school improvement, to support every child to realise their full learning potential. By signing up to the Agreement, governments commit to a sustained reform effort that will drive improved student outcomes and excellence in the classroom.
The National School Reform Agreement, developed through the Council of Australian Government’s Education Council, has been informed by recommendations of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, led by Mr David Gonski AC and the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education This measure builds on the 2017-18 measure: Quality Schools—true needs‑based funding for Australia's schools.
Response to the Review of the Socio‑Economic Status Score Methodology
The Australian Government will provide a further $4.5 billion from 2018-19 to 2028-29 ($1.2 billion over four years from 2018‑19) to implement recommendations of the National School Resourcing Board's Review of the socio‑economic status score methodology. This will help ensure funding to non‑government schools flows to students who need it most. The measure includes:
- $3.2 billion to introduce, from the 2020 school year, a fairer and more equitable method for calculating Australian Government funding for non‑government schools, which uses parental income to measure a school community's capacity to contribute to their school's costs;
- $170.8 million over two years from 2018‑19 to provide funding certainty for non-government schools for the 2019 school year; and
- $1.2 billion over 10 years from the 2020 school year to establish the Choice and Affordability Fund to address specific challenges in the non‑government school sector, such as supporting schools in drought‑affected areas, schools that need help to improve performance, and to enable parental choice in the schooling system.
School Funding—additional support for students
The Australian Government will provide targeted additional funding from 2018‑19 over four years to support student achievement and school improvement, particularly in disadvantaged communities including those in remote and regional locations. This funding includes:
- $9.8 million over four years for non‑government distance education schools, which provide an alternative for families where mainstream schooling is not appropriate for reasons including students’ geographic isolation, health issues or learning difficulties; and
- $2.8 million over two years to extend the Flexible Literacy for Remote Primary Schools Program pilot into the 2019 school year, to help improve literacy outcomes by trialling flexible teaching methods.
Online Teaching and Learning Courses—support mathematics and phonics
The Australian Government will provide $9.5 million over four years from 2019-20 to strengthen the capacity of teachers across Australia to teach mathematics and phonics through freely available, nationally coordinated, high quality professional learning and resources. This initiative will deliver:
- Mathematics Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for teachers of Foundation to Year 10 students, provide supporting face-to-face professional learning and a repository of teaching and learning resources through an online Mathematics Hub. It aims to inspire Australian school students to learn mathematics and equip them to become our future mathematical and technological innovators.
- Online learning and teaching resources to support phonics education for the early years of school. This initiative will provide teachers with ready access to teaching and formative assessment resources to ensure the students who need the most support to learn to read get the help they need.
The online courses and resources will be freely available to all Australian teachers and students, with resources being readily accessible to those living in rural and remote locations, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The mathematics and phonics online resources are designed to support teachers and provide professional learning opportunities.
Government Response to the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education
As part of its 2016 election commitments, the Australian Government commissioned an independent review into regional, rural and remote education to consider factors that affect student learning outcomes and identify innovative and evidence-based approaches to help students succeed at school and in their transition to further study, training and employment.
In response to the review, the Australian Government is providing a total of $96.1 million over four years from 2018-19.
The Australian Government will provide $28.2 million over four years from 2018-19 to expand the availability of sub-bachelor (including enabling) places to allow greater access to higher education for rural and regional students. It is estimated that approximately 500 additional commencing sub-bachelor (including enabling) Commonwealth supported places annually from 2019 will be provided to institutions that operate in regional areas. The Australian Government is also providing $14.0 million over four years from 2018‑19 to fully support an additional 185 commencing Commonwealth supported bachelor places from 2019 (rising to 500 in 2022) for students studying in regional study hubs.
The Department of Social Services is providing funding through Improved Access to Youth Allowance (YA) for Regional Students. The Parental Income cut-off for the regional workforce independence criterion will increase from $150,000 to $160,000, plus an additional $10,000 increase to the cut-off for each additional child in the family.
Quality Schools Reforms
Under the Quality Schools reform package, the Australian Government is implementing a needs-based funding model for schools. As part of the Australian Government’s Quality Schools Reforms, students with the same need in the same sector will attract the same level of support from the Commonwealth.
Under these arrangements, the Australian Government will grow its record level of recurrent funding for schools from $17.5 billion in 2017 to $32.4 billion in 2029, bringing total investment to a record $310.3 billion for school recurrent funding from 2018 to 2029. Of this, an estimated $69.7 billion will benefit students in regional and remote schools. Total Commonwealth funding for students in regional and remote Australia will grow from $4.4 billion in 2018 to $7.2 billion in 2029—an increase of 63.3 per cent. On average over that period, per student funding for students in regional and remote areas will grow by 3.8 per cent per year (from a 2018 base).
The funding arrangements retain the Schooling Resource Standard, which comprises a base funding amount for all students and loadings to address disadvantage.
One of the loadings addresses school location, which recognises the additional costs of delivering education in regional and remote areas. It is estimated the location loading will account for 2.3 per cent of Australian Government recurrent school funding expenditure in 2019. Funding for the location loading will grow, on average, by 4.5 per cent per year over 2019 to 2029 (from a 2018 base).
Further, a school size loading, may benefit some regional schools, providing extra funding for medium, small and very small schools in recognition that they cannot achieve the same efficiencies of scale as a large school. It is estimated the size loading will account for 1.6 per cent of Australian Government recurrent school funding expenditure in 2019. Funding for the size loading will grow, on average, by 3.6 per cent per year over 2019 to 2029 (from a 2018 base).
The Quality Schools package also provides additional support for government schools in the Northern Territory and to help improve the literacy and numeracy skills of Tasmanian school students.
The Child Care Package
The major elements of the Australian Government’s childcare reforms commenced on 2 July 2018. The centrepiece of the package is the Child Care Subsidy, which replaced the previous, multiple payment system and is paid directly to service providers. The arrangements are designed to ensure greater support for those families who earn the least and work the most.
Support for rural and remote families is an important feature of the reforms. The $1.2 billion Child Care Safety Net aims to give the most vulnerable children a strong start and includes specific funding through the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) to assist vulnerable or disadvantaged families and communities.
As part of the CCCF, the Connected Beginnings Program, which commenced in July 2016, provides for the integration of child care, maternal and child health, and family support services in communities where Indigenous communities are experiencing disadvantage.
The Australian Government has also provided an additional $35.1 million over four years from 2018‑19 to increase the In Home Care (IHC) program's family hourly rate cap from $25.48 to $32.00 and to increase the number of IHC places from 3,000 to 3,200. These changes help to improve families' access to affordable IHC services. The program provides access to Government subsidised child care provided in the family home to assist families who are unable to access mainstream child care options and who meet other criteria including being geographically isolated.
National School Chaplaincy Program
The National School Chaplaincy Program aims to support the wellbeing of students and school communities through the provision of pastoral care services and other support services. Schools participating in the program are eligible to receive up to $20,000 per annum or up to $24,000 for remote and very remote schools, to engage the services of a qualified school chaplain.
High Achieving Teachers Program
The Australian Government is taking steps to support alternative pathways into the teaching profession and support areas of workforce shortage. From 2018-19 alternative employment-based pathways will be provided into teaching to increase the number and distribution of high achieving teachers in Australia.
This initiative builds on the success of the Teach for Australia Program.
Teach for Australia
The Teach for Australia program fast-tracks high calibre, non-teaching graduates (known as Associates) into disadvantaged secondary schools through two years of intensive teacher training that leads to a Master of Teaching.
The Australian Government is supporting 10 cohorts of the Teach for Australia program, providing more than $77.0 million in funding through past and present contracts spanning 2008-09 to 2020-21. The program has placed 831 teaching Associates in more than 180 rural, remote and metropolitan schools in Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, filling hard-to-staff teaching positions, including in STEM subjects. Over 40 per cent of Associates have been placed in regional, rural and remote communities, while the remainder are in disadvantaged metropolitan schools.
National Research Infrastructure Investment Plan—implementation of Government response
The Australian Government is investing an additional $1.9 billion through the Department of Education and Training over 12 years from 2017-18 to implement the Research Infrastructure Investment Plan (the Plan), informed by the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap (the Roadmap) to address priority National Research Infrastructure (NRI) projects.
Projects will be delivered through an expansion of the existing National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and will bring the Government's investment in NRI projects under the Plan to $4.1 billion over 12 years (indexed for inflation).
The Australian Government has provided total funding of $140.0 million to enable urgent upgrades to Australia’s two peak high performance-computing facilities located at the Australian National University (announced in the 2017‑18 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO)) and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre hosted at the University of Western Australia provided through the Industry portfolio.
The NCRIS Program provides important infrastructure to the Australian research community and benefits rural and regional Australia through localised research infrastructure projects and facilities. Research in health and agriculture is directly supported by many NRI facilities, which also support industry and research collaborations on genomics and grain yields. Benefits will be realised for researchers in regional and remote areas through continued access to NRI through eResearch platforms.
Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA)
The ELLA program is an innovative, digital play-based language learning initiative aimed at making language learning engaging and interesting to pre-schoolers. ELLA includes a series of interactive applications (apps), available on tablet devices, that provide the opportunity to learn a language other than English, including Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, Indonesian, French, Italian, Spanish, and Arabic. Modern Greek and Hindi were introduced in 2018.
The Australian Government committed $11.8 million over three years from 2018-19 to extend the ELLA program in up to 5,000 preschool services, and trial ELLA in Foundation to Year 2 in up to 300 schools. There will be further development of the ELLA apps into four new languages; Turkish, German, Korean and Vietnamese. Regional and remote Australia will benefit directly as the apps are designed so that preschool educators do not need the knowledge of the language being taught. This is particularly beneficial for use in regional and remote communities where access to qualified language teachers can be limited.
English Language Learning for Indigenous Children (ELLIC) Program
The Australian Government is providing $5.9 million from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to trial English applications (apps) to improve literacy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, for whom English is a second or subsequent language. The trial will take place over 2019 and 2020 in at least 20 preschools and is based on the successful Early Learning Languages Australia program.
The trial will further support the Australian Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap in literacy achievement between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and non-Indigenous children. Children will access the apps on tablet devices in preschool, supported by educators trained on how to integrate ELLIC into the preschool’s learning program. The selection of preschools for this program will focus on regional and remote areas, which will be identified through consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
School Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives
As part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, the Australian Government has allocated over $64.0 million to fund early learning and school STEM initiatives under the Inspiring all Australians in Digital Literacy and STEM measure. The initiatives support children and young people to embrace the digital age and increase their engagement with STEM education. Students who are most at risk of falling behind in the digital age, including those in regional communities, will be given opportunities to participate and engage. Support is also available for educators to increase their capacity to teach STEM subjects in preschool programs and in schools.
This funding is in addition to $12.0 million provided to restore the focus on, and increase the uptake of, STEM in all Australian primary and secondary schools, under the Restoring the Focus on STEM measure of the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. A total of $5.0 million was also provided under the Australian Maths and Science Participation Program to continue existing science programs.
Supporting More Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Careers: Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI)—National Research Internship Program
The Australian Government is providing $28.2 million from 2016-17 to 2019-20 to support more women in STEM careers. The AMSI National Research Internship Program will support 1,400 new industry-based internships, with a particular focus on women researchers, through a nationally expanded PhD internships program run by AMSI. The national program will be open to all universities, including those in rural and regional areas, and will ensure participation by regional students. The internships will provide an opportunity for PhD students to train and build their research skills in an industry environment, and to develop their entrepreneurial skills and work-readiness.
Learning for Life Program
The Australian Government is providing $48.0 million over four years, from 2016-17 to 2019-20, to expand The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program, which will support an additional 24,000 disadvantaged students.
The Learning for Life program provides financial, practical and emotional support to disadvantaged students to encourage them to stay at school, complete Year 12 (or its equivalent) and successfully transition from school to work or to further education and training. The program is delivered in over 90 communities across every state and territory, approximately half in regional and rural areas.
Pathways in Technology Pilot (P-TECH)
The Australian Government is providing $5.1 million from 2016 to 2021 to pilot P‑TECH as part of its strategy to improve Australia’s STEM capability.
Current P-TECH sites classified as regional include Geelong and Ballarat, Victoria; Townsville and Brisbane, Queensland; Burnie, Tasmania; Wyong and Heatherbrae, New South Wales; and Darwin, Northern Territory.
The pilot involves establishing partnerships between the education and industry sectors to support young people to make a successful transition from school to further education, training and work.
Jobs and Growth in Tasmania—University of Tasmania campuses in Launceston and Burnie
The Australian Government has committed funding of $150.0 million to the University of Tasmania to improve its critical infrastructure through the relocation and expansion of its Launceston and Burnie campuses. This initiative aims to address critical economic and community challenges facing the North and North‑West of Tasmania by providing better access to quality higher education.
Commonwealth Grant Scheme Update
The Australian Government will provide an estimated $7.2 billion in 2019-20 through the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) to subsidise students’ higher education costs. This is an increase in funding of approximately 85 per cent since 2008-09. The subsidy supports domestic students undertaking a range of sub-bachelor (including enabling), bachelor and postgraduate courses, mainly at public universities. Some students enrolled with private higher education providers may also be eligible for the subsidy. Under the CGS, eligible universities with regional campuses will receive funding of $74.4 million in 2019‑20 in regional loading to help meet the costs associated with higher education delivery in regional areas.
Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education
Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) provides specialised tertiary education opportunities for students, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from remote parts of northern Australia. In recognition of BIITE’s important role, it will receive over $30.0 million over the next four years (2018-19 to 2021‑22) through the National Institute Grant, along with funding through the Research Support Program and Research Training Program to support its research activities.
Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP)
HEPPP provides funding to universities to improve access to undergraduate courses for people from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds, and improve their retention and completion rates. This includes assisting students from regional and remote Australia who are from low SES backgrounds. The Australian Government will provide $704.6 million in funding to public universities under the HEPPP over four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23.
Reading Writing Hotline
The Australian Government is providing $0.6 million in 2019-20 to TAFE New South Wales to support the continued delivery of the Reading Writing Hotline. This important referral service supports adults to improve their reading, writing and numeracy skills. It is delivered nationally, with targeted marketing to regional communities across Australia, where there is often a high need for services.
Skilling Australians Fund
The Skilling Australians Fund is an important part of the Government’s commitment to growing the number of apprenticeships and traineeships and working with state and territory governments to achieve this goal. The focus on apprentices and trainees recognises that they are a national training priority area and that they are the flagship of the Australian VET sector.
The Fund is being managed through a project based National Partnership Agreement, requiring state and territory governments to commit matched funding and develop projects focused on support for apprenticeships and traineeships across a range of agreed priority areas, including rural and regional areas. Each project will also require engagement with, and support from, employers and industry. The Government is confident that more people will be able to choose and succeed in an apprenticeship pathway, and that more employers will be able to gain the skilled workers they need to drive innovation and growth.
Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)
The Australian Government is providing $259.0 million in 2019-20 for the AMEP, which provides up to 510 hours of free English language tuition to eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants, within the first five years of their arrival in Australia. This helps them to successfully settle, and participate socially and economically in Australia. Additional tuition is also available under the Special Preparatory Program, the Settlement Language Pathways to Employment and Training Program, and Adult Migrant English Program Extend.
AMEP is delivered nationally in metropolitan, rural and regional areas, including through classroom-based and distance e-learning.
Skills for Education and Employment Program
Since 2002 the Skills for Education and Employment Program has provided training to assist job seekers to build skills necessary to gain employment or participate in further training. In 2019-20 the Australian Government is providing funding of $89.0 million for this national program to provide approximately 17,000 eligible job seekers with language, literacy and numeracy training. Clients will receive free accredited training through registered training organisations. Training is delivered to meet both client and industry needs. Services are available nationally through face-to-face and distance delivery.
Vocational Education and Training Student Loans (VSL)
In the six months to 31 December 2018, the Australian Government supported approximately 41,000 students, including 2,300 rural and regional students, to study higher level vocational qualifications aligned to workplace and economic need through the new VSL program. VSL commenced on 1 January 2017 and replaced the VET FEE-HELP scheme, which closed to new students on 31 December 2016.
Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)
The Australian Government HELP provides loans to students, including many from regional and rural areas, to help them with the cost of their tuition. Eligible students do not pay any of their tuition fees up-front and are not required to start repaying the loan until they earn over the minimum compulsory repayment threshold.
Research Block Grants
The Australian Government is providing $1.9 billion in 2019-20 to universities to support research and research training through performance-based funding formulae. Research block grants help to support regionally‑based researchers and research students. Universities are key to the economic and social growth of many regions, through the employment they provide and the students they attract, as well as their role in innovation systems.
Research block grant funding arrangements for universities support success in industry and other end-user engagement and drive greater research industry collaboration.