VICTORIAN Senator and Opposition higher education spokesman Kim Carr has announced a national $300 million package for higher education in Midland.
Campaigning with Labor candidate for Hasluck Bill Leadbetter, Mr Carr said if Labor was elected, it would establish a Commonwealth Institute of Higher Education in Midland to deliver new technical and education opportunities.
“A Commonwealth Institute in Midland would deliver a mix of higher and advanced vocational education to up to 1600 more students, as a joint venture between university, Tafe, industry and state and local government,” Mr Carr said.
“Commonwealth support will be subject to a funding agreement with the WA Government.”
Mr Leadbetter said a Midland site would be one of a network of pilot institutes to address acute needs in areas of higher education under-participation, while trialling approaches tailored to local conditions.
While Australians are accessing higher education at record rates, the participation rate in some areas, such as the eastern suburbs of Perth, have not moved at all.
“Commonwealth Institutes will deliver high-quality and hands-on work-integrated learning,” Mr Leadbetter said. “Labor will invest $300 million to bring this education to the eastern suburbs of Perth.”
Students will be offered advanced diplomas and associate degrees, and the option to continue on to Bachelor degree study at university.
Mr Carr said degrees could cost up to $100,000 under the Turnbull Government and courses were being slashed from university faculties.
“They have stood by while the VET system’s reputation has been trashed, its students ripped off, its quality of provision degraded and the taxpayer bled dry by unscrupulous operators raiding the VET fee-help system.
“Only Labor can be trusted to have a comprehensive plan for Australian higher education, ensuring Australia’s prosperity and secure jobs of the future.”
Midland Tafe student Jack Smith said he was excited about the announcement because he wanted to pursue further studies at university level in the future.
He has been at the Midland Polytechnic since mid-2015 and said he found it hard to juggle study and work.
He is completing his Certificate 3 in community services and wants to enrol for his Certificate 4.
“This would be beneficial to young students in the area,” he said about the announcement.
“It is definitely a lot dearer to study than it used to be, which is why I have to run a business while I am completing my studies to fund the course.”
Mr Smith runs a shelving business from home as well as completing his course.
“It’s a juggling act and I find it stressful doing both.”