House debates

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Questions without Notice

Job-ready Graduates Package

3:00 pm

Photo of Melissa McIntoshMelissa McIntosh (Lindsay, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Education and Youth. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government's Job-ready Graduates Package is providing an additional 30,000 university places for Australian students and encouraging take-up in courses that are more likely to get them into a job during our COVID-19 recovery?

3:01 pm

Photo of Alan TudgeAlan Tudge (Aston, Liberal Party, Minister for Education and Youth) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Lindsay for her question and for her outstanding advocacy for Western Sydney and in particular the University of Western Sydney, which she is a very strong supporter of. I can confirm that the job-ready package is working as intended to deliver more people into courses which have a greater chance of them getting a job at the other end. You might recall that this package was put together last year during the pandemic. It was designed to provide more opportunities for young people to upskill and to do degrees which will get them into work. There were a number of components to this package. First up, there were an additional 30,000 places for young people next year and 100,000 over the course of the decade. That means 100,000 more opportunities for young people to get a government subsidised place at university. I can confirm that this year applications are up seven per cent already, which is a great result.

The second point about this package is that it was very carefully constructed to drop the prices to students for courses that had the best job outcomes. For example, that might include agriculture, nursing, teaching or IT—some of those courses which we've dropped the fees for as a way of encouraging people to go into those courses. I can confirm to the member for Lindsay and to this House that, again, the preliminary data shows this is also having the desired impact. For example, in agriculture—and we know the opportunities in the agricultural sector—we dropped the fees to students by 59 per cent. We have seen, in part because of this, applications go up 16 per cent already. That is a great outcome as a result of that. The Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture has said that, without exception, numbers have gone up across the board for agricultural courses from between five per cent to, in some cases, over 50 per cent.

In health courses, including nursing, we reduced the cost to students by 18 per cent and we've seen a 15 per cent increase in applications. Again, that is another great outcome. In education prices are down 42 per cent, and we have seen applications go up 10 per cent. In IT prices to students are down 18 per cent, and applications are up seven per cent. These are great outcomes. Of course, students make up their own minds which courses they do, but they are choosing to apply to those courses which have the best chance of getting a job, and that's what this package was intended to do. (Time expired)