Universities Australia, the peak body for Australia’s 39 universities, has called for parliamentarians to maintain what it describes as “the positive nature of recent debates on higher education” in the forthcoming debate on the Demand Driven Funding System Bill that was introduced to the House of Representatives last month.


Universities Australia Chair, Professor Glyn Davis, said that the passage of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) legislation had been “a special example where all sides of Parliament have worked together, in collaboration with the sector, with a focus on the same goal: enhancing the contribution that can be made by the universities in Australia."


"We applaud the Parliament's efforts in working together, and with the sector, to ensure the legislation meets our national needs. Media coverage has been modest, yet this is a major reform and one that positions Australia much better for dealing with its future through quality training of graduates and quality research for the nation. We now look forward to working closely with the new national regulator,” Professor Davis said.


However, Professor Davis said that the task was not yet finished.


“The ongoing debate regarding the Demand Driven Funding System is focussed on the next major step in the new framework for higher education.


"This is important legislation that permits universities to enrol all Australian students who meet entry standards and seek access to undergraduate degree studies.”


Under the new legislation universities will be funded according to the numbers of places they provide, rather than on places that the Education Minister decides they will be given.


Professor Davis said that further pending legislation will address important remaining reforms and enhancements to the higher education system, including Student Amenities, Student Finances, and the Base Funding Review.


“Together these can ensure that regulation for quality is matched by funding of quality. Universities Australia calls on our political representatives to continue to engage these matters in the constructive and positive spirit that has emerged."


"New foundations for Australian higher education and research are being laid and credit for that can be shared. In consequence we can have more faith that the gains can be enduring. Universities will be able to get on with delivering on their responsibilities with enthusiasm", he said.