Academy submission to the Job-ready Graduates Exposure Draft Legislation

The Academy yesterday made a submission to the public consultation on the Job-ready Graduates Exposure Draft Legislation.

As reflected in our previous statements on the government’s proposed changes to university fee structures, the Academy does not support the Job-ready Graduates Package in its current form. Under the new model, total funding for humanities subjects in the Society and Culture cluster has increased, in recognition of the historic underfunding of these subjects, but the cost has shifted to the student who will now face 93% of the share (up 113% to $14,500 per annum) with the Commonwealth support at 7% or $1,100 per annum.

The proposed changes, in addition to placing a financial burden on the current cohort of university-aspiring senior school students, misjudge the skills and knowledge required for our society and our economy, by undermining our knowledge and expertise on matters that are uniquely Australian, including Indigenous history and culture; impeding our ability to smartly position Australia in a rapidly shifting global order; and jeopardising the skills needed for Australia’s growth industries.

Our submission points out that the package is predicated on unsubstantiated and contentious claims about disciplines that support the ‘national interest’ and that the ‘job ready’ ambitions of the package fail to account for the interdependencies between science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) fields in the economy.

Given the magnitude of the proposed changes, which promise a fundamental reshaping of higher education in Australia, our submission calls for rigorous review and impact modelling prior to implementation.

Read our full submission (PDF, 364KB).

Read our submission (PDF, 356KB) to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee Inquiry on the Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020.

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.