House debates

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Matters of Public Importance

Tertiary Education

3:42 pm

Photo of Andrew GeeAndrew Gee (Calare, National Party, Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education) Share this | Hansard source

The truth does hurt over there. The truth does hurt. They gutted, as I said, a whopping $1.2 billion out of the system—a shameful record if ever there was one. And, as I said, their woeful reforms to the VET FEE-HELP system saw thousands of vulnerable students exploited by unscrupulous operators. That's their record, yet they have the hide to come into this place and lecture us on higher education! Ninety-one thousand students have had VET FEE-HELP loan debts re-credited by the Commonwealth to the tune of $1.5 billion. What a shameful record that is. However, all is not lost because the coalition is here to help.

An honourable member interjecting

We are here to help. In higher education, especially in country Australia, we have invested more than $600 million in additional new initiatives since 2016. Listen to this. I think you're going to like it. I think you're going to learn a lot too. Just recently, on 1 June, I was delighted to announce, with the Minister for Education, nine new regional universities centres. We love those in the country.

An honourable member interjecting

What are they? What are regional universities centres? They are facilities where students can come in—it doesn't matter what uni they're from. There's a quiet place to study. They can get some advice, and they can get their university qualifications from a regional centre. We love them in the bush. I'll tell you what, here are the new ones. I'm sure the member for Hinkler would be very interested to know.

Mr Pitt interjecting

No, I don't think you have! That's not to worry. A lot of our colleagues in the bush have them.

Mr Pitt interjecting

Yes, if you go to the Country Universities Centre in Maranoa, in Roma; or the Country Universities Centre in Macleay Valley in Kempsey. That's in the member for Cowper's electorate. They've got the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey and now they are going to have the Country Universities Centre as well. That's a great win for them. There's also the Country Universities Centre in Balonne, in both Saint George and Dirranbandi; the Country Universities Centre in Parks, in the member for Riverina's electorate— (Time expired)

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