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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Updated Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt statistics—2017–18

The Department of Education and Training (DET) has released Higher Education Loan Program (HELP, formerly HECS) data, updating last year’s release from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The DET HELP data is based on the ATO's annual HELP data report for 2017–18 (available from Data.gov.au), and previous ATO annual HELP data reports. Further historical data is available in the ATO release. All figures are at 30 June for the relevant financial year. Figures have not been adjusted for inflation.  Total amount of outstanding HELP debt This release updates the total amount of outstanding HELP debt to $62.0 billion, up from $54.0 billion in 2016–17. Figure 1: Tot... Read more...

Will the new Future Drought Fund leave the Education Investment Fund high and dry?

On 26 October, the Coalition Government announced it would create a new Future Drought Fund, with initial investment to come from transferring the $3.9 billion uncommitted balance of the Building Australia Fund, one of the Nation-building Funds originally created by the Gillard Labor Government. The announcement has raised the question of the status of the other remaining Nation-building Fund, the Education Investment Fund (EIF).  This FlagPost provides an overview of the EIF to assist in understanding its current status. It updates some of the information provided in the Medicare Levy Amendment (National Disability Insurance Scheme Funding) Bill 2017 [and] related Bills Bills Digest. ... Read more...

Tertiary education providers—more regulation for some and less regulation for others

In the last sitting week of Parliament for the year, the Government changed regulatory requirements for tertiary education providers with the passage of the Education Services for Overseas Students (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015, and the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Reform) Bill 2015. It is timely to take stock of Australia’s fragmented approach to the regulation of the tertiary education sector. Read more...

For sale: Refurbished National Research Priorities

Back in 2002, the Howard Government announced four National Research Priorities (NRPs) to focus investment on research in key areas that could deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits to Australia. The Australian Government has just unveiled 15 new Strategic Research Priorities; the result of a long-awaited and thoughtful refurbishment. The original National Research Priorities were: An Environmentally Sustainable Australia Promoting and Maintaining Good Health Frontier Technologies for Building and Transforming Australian Industries Safeguarding Australia Each of the NRPs was expanded into a number of priority goals that covered research in a range of disciplines.  Th... Read more...

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