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### Coalition warns of potential student failure due to university reforms

Feb 28, 2024 – 12.45pm

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The opposition has expressed support for the federal government’s proposed reforms in higher education, emphasizing the importance of increasing access to education, especially for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

While endorsing the overarching goal, opposition spokesperson on education, Sarah Henderson, raised concerns about the potential impact of expanding the student population from 860,000 to 1.8 million by 2050. She cautioned against compromising admission standards, suggesting that accepting school-leavers with ATARs as low as 45 could dilute the quality of education.

Opposition spokeswoman on education, Sarah Henderson, highlighted, “Merely opening doors without adequate support mechanisms is insufficient.” She emphasized the need for sustained commitment, investment, and effort to ensure student success.

Senator Henderson underscored the importance of removing obstacles for underprivileged and regional students within the reform agenda. Additionally, she advocated for the establishment of an ombudsman to address mishandled complaints of sexual violence on university campuses.

While endorsing the establishment of regional university centers, Senator Henderson questioned the rationale behind developing such centers in suburban areas.

Education Minister Jason Clare, following the interim report on the accord released in July, proposed the creation of up to 10 new regional university study hubs, with plans to replicate the model in suburban locations across major cities.

Senator Henderson opposed the idea of incentivizing universities with bonus payments for each graduate from an underprivileged background, stating that ensuring student completion should be inherent to the university’s responsibilities.

She emphasized the critical role of governments in enhancing school education standards, citing concerning statistics from NAPLAN results and reading proficiency levels among students.

Julie is the Education editor with over two decades of experience in writing, journalism, and editing. Connect with Julie on . Email Julie at

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