The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, Professor Duncan Maskell, has issued this statement on the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report, released yesterday:
“I’d like to thank Professor Mary O’Kane and the Accord team who have put together this interim report.
“The Accord process is enabling a national conversation about Australia’s higher education system and the priorities we need to identify to set the sector up for success in the next decade and beyond.
“I agree wholeheartedly with Minister Clare’s comments about the power of education. Education changed my life. If there is one thing I hope the Accord achieves, it is creating opportunities for more people to benefit from the same transformative experiences. The Minister’s focus on the entire education ecosystem – from early childhood through to post education – is very important.
“There are a lot of proposals in the Report which the University will now take the time to consider so that we can make a further detailed contribution to the Accord process.
“Already, we are encouraged by the report’s focus on the Job Ready Graduates Scheme. The University has maintained that the JRG is not good policy and should be replaced. We look forward to a fairer model being included in the final report at the end of the year.
“The University supports the five ‘first steps’ that will be implemented straight away. We agree that the 50 per cent pass rule should be abolished, and we must find more ways to make university more accessible for Indigenous Australians. The funding guarantee for the next two years provides necessary certainty for universities.
“The University looks forward to the opportunity to debate a proposed international student tax. The University believes that such a tax is likely to undermine Australia’s global reputation, rather than enhance it.”