Senate debates

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities, and Other Measures) Bill 2009

Third Reading

1:21 pm

Photo of Barnaby JoyceBarnaby Joyce (Queensland, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

Certainly. I have come to the conclusion that it was actually Steve Fielding’s secret agent who was here last night! If we do not find some mechanism to achieve support for sporting facilities, especially for regional universities, those facilities will fall into disrepair. That will be the catalyst for the public to question whether a university is an institution they want to send their son or daughter to. If that is the case, then that university will be put at threat. I think that is terribly unfair and it will begin to bring a sense of discrimination back to regional areas in one of the most fundamental things we want to keep at parity—that is, educational opportunities. I do not think we are asking for a major change but we did seek to remove the major cost. Other people have questions about other costs. They are all conjecture and calibrations of the issue. It is undeniable that the major cost for universities is their sporting infrastructure. I do not think anybody suspects, even in the slightest way, that sport is a political activity. I think that universities, as businesses, should be allowed to cover the costs of their businesses, of which sporting infrastructure is a part. We will look to having this discussion again, I imagine, in about three months. 

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